White Hood Red
By Rhiannon McCormick
By Rhiannon McCormick
White hoodie glowing in the twilight, cut-off shorts, flip-flops flapping, her hair still damp and smelling of the sea. Her towel bunched under her arm, bathing suit a wet lump between terrycloth folds. Woodsmoke and pine in the air. Mosquitos buzzed around her head, but none landed.
When he stepped from the woods, she stopped, surprised. The camp sites were further up the road, hidden amongst the second and third growth pines and maples and birches; she couldn't even see the lights of the campfires. There were no paths here, save the road she was on.
He was big, and tall and gorgeous. His ears were hidden in his dark brown hair. His eyes sparkled with charm and curiosity. His smile exposed perfect, white teeth, and she found herself looking up at him through her eyelashes. She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and was pleased to note that his gaze drifted to her neck.
She hesitated when he proffered his hand, but she took it anyway. His fingers were long and thin and strong and warm. She flushed and shivered and blamed the shiver on her wet hair and the deepening twilight, and he smiled and knew she was lying. This way...his voice was warm too, soft and warm and safe.
She stepped into the trees.
When they found her, much later, her hair was finally dry, though matted. Her flip-flops no longer flapped, and her hoodie was dark red-brown, as dark and red-brown as the puddle she lay in. She was pale and clamy and rigid.
Her wounds, the authorities said, were teeth-and-claw marks. The tracks around her were canine.
A constable made a joke about red hoods and wolves. He was told to leave.
They followed the tracks, later, but lost them on the road.
Among the spectators behind the cordon was a young man. He was big and tall and gorgeous, with longish hair and charming, curious eyes. His smile, as he watched, was the slow burn of a predator's joy.
A girl noticed him. She smiled up at him, shyly. She was wearing a shirt that read, Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?
He winked, and offered his hand.
ETA: Fixed spelling mistakes. June 28, 2009