The Wolf

By Zara Quiter, TIWP Student

Once you’ve read the title, you’ll probably have a grudge against me.

It’s a little rude, but I am a wolf. 

A starving, tired, lonely wolf. 

So am I really that cruel?

If I saw a little girl in a red cloak and a basket full of cookies, would you blame my mouth for drooling? 

But maybe since this story is called The Wolf, I’m the good guy.

If it were called Little Red Riding Hood, like it always is, she’s the good guy.

Listen, listen, to my tail. Please.

///

Three full moons have passed since I left the pack, since I started to make my own decisions. And let’s be honest, it’s not going well. I haven’t dared to steal from humans, and I’m not that good at hunting on my own. Small things are hard to catch, and it’s not like I can take down a deer.

But the one productive thing I have accomplished is learning a new language. It sounds creaky on my tongue, but it works. Mostly.

I pace around a tree when I see my prey. A plump girl in a red coat. A smell of warmth and chocolate fills my nose. This is it! I think. I quietly follow her along the path, and she sings a tune I’ve never heard.

“The show hasn’t started until I sing! You can’t die until I sing! You will cry when I sing! The game’s not over until I sing! And sing… I… Shall…”

It’s pretty, and I find the courage to go and ask her where she is headed.

“Hello.” I say.Totally friendly. She squeaks.

“Sorry. I’m a wolf, I know. But, uh, could you tell me where you’re going?”

Oh. My. God. 

I ruined my chance, didn’t I? Only someone so, so stupid would tell a random wolf where-

“Oh, why, I’m headed to my grandmother’s,” she says. “Across the little stream, near the orchid field.” She blinks up at me with innocent, big, blue eyes. Okay. Well, I must be so charming… or she really is dumb?

“Thanks, little girl!” I say, and run off to the right, and then swerve toward the river. I manage to leap over it without touching the ice cold water. And right in front of me is the orchard field. I see a house made in the trunk of a huge oak tree. I’m about to break the door down but…

Wait, what am I thinking? Killing a girl and her grandmother? Who does that?

Not me.

But, I still push open the door. Might as well take a peek. And then I hear coughs. Loud, raspy ones. On the bed is the little girl’s grandma. She looks like she’s about to die. “Eat me, wolf,” she pleads. “End my suffering. Don’t make me die in front of my own grandchild.”

I tried to say no. I did. But she was asking to be eaten. So I bite down on her neck and plop, her head comes off and it falls onto the ground. I kick it under the table and begin to eat the rest of her. 

There’s no more grandma when I hear the girl’s song. I take off the old lady’s hat and glasses and dive under the bed. The little girl comes in, singing and dancing and smiling. “Hello, Granny!” she says. 

“Hello, grandchild.” I say. God, I wish I knew her name.

“Granny! What big eyes you have.”

Uh oh.

“The better to… See you with, my dear.”

“Oh, Granny, what big ears you have!”

This could be bad.

“The better to hear you with my dear.”

“But. Granny, what big, wide, slobbery mouth you have!”

She’s gonna find out. And then all of this death will be in her head.

“The better to eat you with, my dear!” I lunge forward, and she starts to scream.

I should’ve known I made a mistake right when I followed her.

And now the poachers were coming.

Horrible men with guns.

And the door is flung open and I leap out of the covers, but I’m cornered against the wall. I start to whimper. But what do they care?

At least I’m not scared for long.

It doesn’t take long to shoot me in the head.

So, friends, am I the bad guy after all, or is it just the telling of the tail?

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