I wander the forest, trying to keep the old woman's house close, but also trying not to freeze to death. Yes, I'd rather freeze than go into a disease-ridden room. Can you blame me? That poor woman was so sick she barely looked human. Don't judge me. You didn't see her.
I look over my shoulder and spot the somking chimney. I should probably head back soon. When I turn back around, a wolf is standing right directly in front of me. Yes, he's standing. On two legs. Just like one of those funniest videos. I try not to laugh.
The wolf nods at me. The fur around the scruff of his neck looks so warm. When he talks, it's like silk. "Who are you?"
I smile. He seems nice. "I'm Ivy," I say. I feel like I should be a little smarter about what information I offer to this guy. I mean, he is a wolf. Wolves aren't exactly the heroes of fairy tales.
"What do you want?" the wolf asks. What a strange question. What does anyone want?
Focus, Ivy. "I just got back from that old lady's house," I say, pointing behind me. Think. Please think. This wolf is bad. There's an old woman and ... a little girl. "She's dead." I try to say it as convincingly as possible, but I'm working on the fly here and I don't think he buys it.
Still, the wolf's face wrinkles in concern. Have you ever seen a concerned wolf? It's hilarious. "I think I'll pay my respects." The words slip over his tongue like maple syrup.
My heart drops into my belly, but I manage to smile and nod. "I was just going to look for Little Red Riding Hood and let her know so she doesn't come all this way for nothing." Please please go away.
The wolf's face scrunches up again. "Hmmm." He turns around and walks (still on two legs) out of sight.
The forest fades away.
Even though I'm back in my own bed, I have a hard time falling back asleep. I hope the wolf gave up. I hope the little girl is safe now.