First Draft Preview for the Intro to “Red,” part of the Twisted Fairy Tales Collection

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the entire world you know is a lie. While you’re complaining about his politician or that, planning your protests and counter-protests, and trolling anyone’s comment who doesn’t believe in the exact same things as you, there’s a world hidden right in front of your face. Just beneath the surface of reality, you will find that Hell is, indeed, real. I found this out the hard way at the tender age of 12. That’s when the veil was pulled back and I was finally able to see the world as it truly is.

It was a Sunday, like every other Sunday that had ever been. My parents and I went to church that morning and when the service ended, we headed to my grandmother’s house for lunch. Grandma lived in a small community called Parrish. Her house was small, and rather dark even in the daytime, but you could feel the love radiating from every corner.

After lunch, I went for my normal walk alongside the creek. I spent hours of my life there, listening to the water bubble as it flowed over the fallen log and the rock formations that made up the creek-bed. It was perfectly tranquil. I stayed there until the sunset and made my way slowly back to grandma’s house. Halfway up the hill is when I heard the first screams.

At first, I froze. I was only 12 and I hadn’t learned the things I know now. I was too afraid to move. The second scream changed that. I remember running as fast as I could. I made it to grandma’s front door in record time, but froze at what I saw.

The screen door was smeared with blood, more blood than I had ever seen. I may have stayed there, frozen in fright, but I heard a loud crash inside the house and grandma shriek out in pain.

Without thinking of the dangers, I flung the screen door open and ran inside the house. The entranceway was all but flooded with blood. Every step I took produced another splash, sending ripples out in all directions. What could have done this? What is going on?

I heard another crash in the back bedroom. I don’t know what I was thinking. I didn’t have so much as a pocketknife to defend myself, but I charged headfirst into danger anyway. I made it to back bedroom and had to stop to process what I was seeing.

There was a wolf, and not just any wolf, this thing was standing on its hind legs and had to be well over six feet tall. It turned to face me with my grandma’s fresh blood dripping from its fangs. It snarled and my legs decided on their own that it was time to get out of there.

I ran for the next bedroom and slammed the door shut. I knew I wouldn’t hold him, so I slid an old vanity mirror and dresser over in front of the door. I spun around looking for a weapon to grab and that’s when I noticed my parent’s bodies on top of the bed.

Their throats had been ripped out and their lifeless eyes were still open, faces locked in a horrible death-gasp. I covered my mouth and started crying. I walked over to their bodies and began shaking their legs. “Mama! Daddy! Get up! Why won’t you get up?”

I knew damn well why they weren’t getting up. I just didn’t want to face the facts. I couldn’t believe they were gone and I was now all alone in the world.

The door broke into pieces as the wolf charged into it. The dresser scooted out nearly six inches from the first impact. I knew it wouldn’t be long before he got inside the room. I stood there, hopeless, and simply prepared to join my family on the other side.

The barricade completely broke and the wolf came walking into the room with drool dripping from its mouth. It howled and the intensity of it felt like it might shatter my eardrums. It was absolutely terrifying. I felt a chill run down my spine so cold I thought I’d freeze to death before the wolf could eat me.

Suddenly, a man dressed in white whom I’d never seen before burst into the room carrying an ax. With one mighty swing he took the creature’s front-right paw completely off. The wolf howled in agony and ran away. I stood there, completely in shock of what I’d seen. I think for a moment; my mind was shutting down. I blacked out on the spot.

I woke up in the backseat of a car being driven down the highway. I sat up and my head felt woozy. I heard a man’s voice in the front-seat say, “Just lay down. You’ve had a very traumatizing experience.”

I wanted to stay upright almost out of spite, but the way the world spun convinced me to lay back down. I may have been on my back, but I was still full of questions. “What happened back there? What about my family?”

The man sighed. “I’m sorry to tell you, but your family is dead.”

I already knew that was true, but hearing it made the tears start rolling down my cheeks. I wiped them away and asked, “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere safe,” the man responded. “Somewhere that Werewolf will never find you.”

“Werewolf?” I asked. Surely, he was kidding. I mean, Werewolves are the things of fairy tales and horror movies. They weren’t real.

“Yes, my dear, a Werewolf. There’s a lot you don’t know about this world, but I’m willing teach you if you wish to learn. Do you want to avenge your family?”

I sniffled and nodded my head. “Yes.”

“Then I will teach you everything you need, but not today. We’ll start that tomorrow. As for now, who’d like some pancakes?”

And that’s how my apprenticeship started. For six years the man in white trained me. He heightened my senses, my reflexes. He made me stronger than I ever dreamt of being. In all those years, he never told me his name. He simply told me to refer to him as “M.”

On my eighteenth birthday I awoke to find my master gone. There was a present on the table, complete with a giant red bow. I opened it and discovered a red cape complete with a cloak. I figured it part of my master’s twisted sense of humor. He loved comparing my life to that of Little Red Riding Hood. He even called my “Red” because of my copper colored hair.

Along with the hood came a note: “My darling Red, enclosed you will find a cape that will keep you hidden and move you as silently as the stealthiest of Vampires. The pockets are enchanted. Each will provide you a limitless supply of a different weapon you’ll need to avenge your family. Go out there and make me proud! One day, I will call on you for a small favor for what I have done this day, but that day is far off. I’ll be watching you always and my fondness for you knows no bounds. Love, M.”

My name is Willow Ferrell, but you can call me Red. This is how my story begins. This is how I became a Werewolf-slayer.

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