Saturday, October 21, 2006

Blood-Red Riding Hood, A Halloween Story

Hey there, Halloweenies...this is a special story I wrote some time ago. Hope you like it. El P.

A Halloween Story
By El Postino
©2006 El Postino

Good evening and welcome! I see that you travelers have successfully made it through Psycho Swamp, over Mount Misery, negotiated the land mines and the barbed wire on the Plain of Pain, and found the shortcut through the Field of Screams.

You have made it past the Gruesome Gargoyle guarding the entry to Our Lady of Perpetual Hysteria Monastery, through the razor wire and flamethrower-lined Hell’s Hallway, and down the Collapsing Stone Stairwell to find me, Brother Grim. As always, I am tending to my toadstools and deadly nightshade plants. You will notice that this was once the torture chamber of the Monastery, where some years ago folks were brought here innocent, then tormented and abused until found guilty. Jolly fun, I’d say. I miss those good old days.

Perhaps you would like to pull up a rack and stretch out.

You ask what I do now that I am no longer breaking bodies? Nowadays I just tend to my little garden. Perhaps you would like some of the special tea that I am brewing. It’s made from these very toadstools. We find much use for everything in Our Lady of Perpetual Hysteria, even the snakes which are right now slithering over your feet and up your legs. We use them to keep the rats away.

Please excuse me for not removing my cowl. I’ve been in this dank dungeon for so long that a mold has permanently attached itself to my face.

But you have come to hear a story! Of course, it is Halloween. What a wonderful time of year it is, too. If there is anything more soul-stirring than the shrieks of the damned as their ghosts haunt the earth, the whoosh of a witch’s broomstick, or the rattle of a skeletal hand beckoning you to your grave then I don’t know what is!

I forget my manners. Here is your tea, still hot. Please sit and listen...

Once upon a time...yes, my story begins once upon a time. Actually, once upon a time and place and a person! The time was a few hundred years ago, the place was the Kingdom of Lycanthropia, and the person was Prince Harold, who was also a very happy werewolf.

From time beyond memory there was a family curse on the royal family of Lycanthropia, and as the oldest prince in a family reached the age of 21, he would automatically, upon the nights of the full moon, become a werewolf. There were princes who dreaded this, who even went so far as to kill themselves before the curse descended on them, but Prince Harold was different. He loved being a werewolf. To him there was nothing like being in the dark woods on an autumn evening when the fur came over him, and the lust to kill was in him. Prince Harold was a bit of a lazy prince, though. He didn’t like to chase after deer or bunnies. They were too fast for him. What he liked the most was to run down slow-moving peasants, attacking them with claws and teeth. He loved the taste of their hot, jetting blood.

And that reminds me, have another sip of your tea.

It got so that the hardworking serfs of Lycanthropia learned to avoid being outdoors or in the woods on nights of the full moon, and Prince Harold was having a bit of a problem finding good peasants to murder.

One particular night--a Halloween night, just like this--Prince Harold the werewolf padded on all four paws through the woods until he came upon a small cabin with a light in the window. He crept to the window and listened. He heard the voice of an old woman moaning and speaking to herself, “Red Riding Hood! Red Riding Hood! Where are you? You should have been here hours ago. Your grandmother is so afraid of you being out in the woods on the nights of the full moon!”

He went to the front door and using the claws of his front paw made a rapping sound. It’s a well-known fact--well, not so well-known, but I’m telling you now--that werewolves are good at imitation. After all, they are an imitation wolf, as it were. Prince Harold the werewolf said in his best little girl voice, “It’s me, Grandmother! Little Red Riding Hood! Let me in, let me in!” There was a momentary silence and then he heard the bolt being pulled back and the door creaked open. The old woman screamed when she saw the wolf, his red eyes glowing like coals, his white teeth bared and gleaming in the moonlight. The wolf sprang and within seconds the old woman had disappeared down his gullet.

Grandmother was a bit scrawny and stringy for his taste, but due to the shortage of peasants he couldn’t afford to be picky. He also thought, “If it is true that her little granddaughter is coming to visit, then I will have some dessert tonight!” He curled up on the floor in front of the old woman’s fireplace and closed his eyes. Some time later he heard footsteps coming through the woods. “Grandmother, Grandmother, it is me, Red Riding Hood. Let me in! Let me in! It is dark and I am afraid of Prince Harold the werewolf.” The werewolf immediately jumped up, put the old woman’s shawl over his head and leapt into the old woman’s bed, pulling the covers over himself.

“Come in, Little Red Riding Hood! The door is open.”

Expecting to see a child, he was surprised to see a beautiful woman of twenty. Her hair, or what he could see from under the red hood on her head, was a brilliant gold like the sun. Her skin was an alabaster white. She was tall, lithesome, buxom and beautifulsome. He swallowed hard.

Red Riding Hood was carrying a basket, in which was a bottle. He glanced and saw that it had a label that said, “Lycanthropia Blood Bank.” Red spoke: “I’m here to get my blood supply, Grandmother. Be a good old lady and stick your arm out so I can poke you with this needle and get a couple of pints.”

Prince Harold, not wishing to expose his hairy arm and paw, tried to change the subject. Once again he used his talent for imitation by using the old woman’s voice. “What a lovely hood and cape, my dear, make it yourself?”

The girl stared at him. “Of course not, you silly old woman! You made it for me years ago, don’t you remember?”

“Oh yes, indeed, how foolish of me to forget.”

The werewolf licked his chops. My, but this girl would make more than a mouthful. Some very un-werewolflike carnal thoughts crossed his mind.

The girl said, “You know that I’m blind as a bat, but I could swear that you look different to me tonight. Is it your eyes? What big eyes you have, Grandmother!”

“Well,” said Prince Harold, “All the better to see you with, my dear.” Ho-ho, thought Prince Harold. Wouldn’t I like to see you without that hood and cape, and he licked his chops again. The young woman got closer. “And your nose...” She put out her hand and tweaked his muzzle. “You must have a cold, your nose is so cool and...ugh...wet,” she said, wiping her hand on her cape. Prince Harold thought, “This charade can’t last much longer,” and he bared his teeth.
“And those teeth! My goodness, whoever sold you those false teeth sold you quite a set of choppers! What big teeth you have, Grandmother!”

“All the better to eat you with, my dear,” cried the werewolf. He whipped the shawl off his head and jumped out of bed.

Red Riding Hood stepped back. “Are your teeth as big as MY teeth?” She said, baring her own. The werewolf stopped in amazement. Her canine teeth had suddenly grown to a length of two inches, and were needle sharp.

“I knew you weren’t my grandmother. Do I have the non-pleasure of addressing Prince Harold the werewolf?” In all of his years Prince Harold had never been addressed so casually by a commoner--a peasant girl, yet--but he shook off his shock. “Yes, I am Prince Harold,” he growled, “I ate your grandmother. And you’re about to become my dessert.”

“I don’t think so," said Red Riding Hood, waving her hand. At that the werewolf became frozen to the spot, unable to move. “I’m a vampire, and I have the power to hypnotize. You and your strength are no match for my brains,” she said.

“Werewolves!” she continued.. “Always looking for a piece of...of meat. You’ll find out that I’m not THAT kind of vampire girl.”

To his further surprise Prince Harold found himself whimpering. “But...but...getting strange stuff is always so much fun,” he said. Her lip curled and her face darkened.

“You say you ate my grandmother, eh? All right, open your mouth. Wide...wider, you idiot prince!” Her hypnotic power over him gave him no choice, and to his great astonishment the scrawny grandmother suddenly came up his esophagus and through his mouth, landing on the floor on her scrawny behind.

“Whew. ‘Bout time you got here, Red,” said Grandmother. “I’m not sure that I could have lasted much longer inside him. I’m glad I was able to come out that end and not the other.”

The grandmother went to the corner of her tiny cottage and picked up a broom standing there. She shook it at the werewolf, muttered an incantation in Latin, and to his utter horror he felt the werewolf slipping away and he then stood, naked, as the hairless, balding, flabby Prince Harold of Lycanthropia. He realized then that Grandmother was more than just an old lady. She was a witch.

“No wonder you like being a werewolf,” said Red. You make a fine looking wolf, but a terrible looking man.” She whispered in her grandmother’s ear and the two women consulted for several minutes out of earshot, occasionally pointing at various parts of his anatomy and snickering. He self-consciously but unsuccessfully attempted to cover these parts of himself with his small, smooth white hands. Then Red came back to him.

“Prince,” she said. “I need a husband. A prince seems like a good choice for me. My grandmother and I have decided that you will marry me and (a) I won’t drink your blood, or (b) she won’t turn you into a horned were-toad. What do you say?”

Considering his options he thought, “Might not be too bad.” She was a looker even if she was a blood-sucking vampire, and most wives’ grandmothers were one kind of witch or another. He knew that these two women had plotted to do this. They had set him up, but so what? He shrugged and said, “Consider yourself my new princess!” At that the old witch changed him back into his wolf form, much to his--and Red’s--relief.

The three of them, the witch, the vampire, and the werewolf, left the cabin in the darkness and headed for the castle. Along the way they ran into a hunter. In the original Red Riding Hood story the hunter killed the wolf, but in Brother Grim’s version--much superior, I might add, to that pansy Grimm Brother’s fairy tale--the three killed the hunter. After all, Prince Harold had been robbed of his peasant when the witch was vomited out of him, Red didn’t get her pints of blood from the old lady, and the old lady could use the hunter’s organs for some spell or another. What matter was it? The hunter was a peasant, and Red and her grandmother were soon to enter a more royal and exalted world than they could have ever dreamed of.

I’d say that as this tale ended, that the young couple went off and lived happily ever after, as the original sissy Grimm Brothers tale of Red-Riding Hood did, but it wasn’t exactly happily ever after. Oh, Princess Red and Prince Harold were happy enough, but just not delirious. She couldn’t stand him when he was a man, only when he was a wolf--now isn’t that just like a fickle woman?--and he couldn’t stand it when she put the bite on him for more money out of the kingdom’s treasury.

Actually, she brought out the beast in him, and he drove her batty...

Ho-ho-ho. Brother Grim must have his little joke, and the story is over, your tea is gone, and you must go. But what is this? I have been so busy enjoying my own tale that I haven’t noticed. None of you have moved for the last fifteen minutes, your eyes are glazed over and you are getting cold. Oh dear me! I guess the toadstool tea had either too much toad or too much stool. No matter. I will put you against the wall with the others who have come to visit me on past Halloween nights. You will make a good audience. You will never scoff at my stories, nor will you have to get up just as I am getting to the good part, and say you need to visit the bathroom.

Until next Halloween, then, I remain your faithful morbidly mirthful monk, Brother Grim.

The End

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