During my time at uni, I wrote many short stories often inspired by other books that I had to read at part of my course. One of these books was Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’ which contained the short story The Company of Wolves. This led to me writing a continuation of the Little Red Riding tale. Here it is below, I hope you enjoy!
He is mine, and I am his.
I turned my body, twisting myself in his arms as I tried to get comfortable. He was mine, but not as I wanted him to be. His coarse brown hair curled on his head, framing his perfectly handsome angled face. His long eyelashes softly resting on his cheek, making him look sweetly innocent as he slept. He looked like the beautiful and muscular, godly man, every girl in the village described as ‘The One’. The one who would keep them safe, who would provide for them and give them a stunning cottage in the best part of the village to fill with dozens of their darling cherub children. A regular Prince Charming. But it wasn’t innocence that I wanted. It wasn’t the perfectly charming husband with perfectly charming children in the perfectly charming cottage. I was sick of being charmed.
This northern country isn’t one for charming princes. The cold froze their hearts long ago leaving only an illusion. The men that the girls in the village go after will never protect anyone but themselves; they are almost as bad as the devil himself. The girls know this really, if they didn’t they wouldn’t strap knives to their thighs, they wouldn’t teach their daughters to scream. The problem with girls in the village, however, is that they think their sexuality is a curse, not a weapon. I scoffed at the way girls would smile at men, hoping their innocence would make them behave. Hoping if they played their submissive role well enough, the men would play their Prince Charming role just the same.
And this is why I did not want a man. I refused to lay myself down at a man’s will and do nothing. I refused to hide in the shadows, praying to a non-existent God to protect my innocence until a charming man could choose me, and use me at his own pleasure. I refused to bring daughters into the world knowing the same would happen to them when their charming husbands grew bored of playing along. I would not give myself to a man with a frozen heart. I would not give myself to a man at all, for he would give himself to me.
“Jared” I whispered, in between taking little nibbles at his shoulder, “change, please.”
He moaned, his large hands pushing me away. My eyebrows knitted together, “Jared! Change!”
He turned over, shoving me off the bed as he moved and I landed with a thump on the cold wooden floor. I felt my teeth grind and my heart sped up, pounding in my chest as a growl rose up from the pit of my stomach. I gripped the edge of the mattress and used it to slowly pull myself up into a crouching position. Eyeing the purple vein that was pulsing on his neck, I licked my lips and pounced, sinking my teeth into his warm flesh.
His yelp sent a ripple of excitement over my skin and before I could think of what to do next, he flipped me over, nails digging into my wrists. I felt his hot breath on my face gain speed as I challenged him, looking deep into his glowing red eyes. I could smell the sweat that beaded up on his skin and sense the anger that built up inside him. Pushing my body against him, I smirked as I felt his muscles tense around me.
“Jared…” I said, lowering my voice to my huskiest tone after biting my lip. “I told you to change.”
He began to shake and his groans quickly formed into a howl as his mouth elongated into a snout. Soon all I could see was the long white canines that protruded from bloody red gums, dripping hot saliva onto my fragile human skin. My eyes widened as my brain sent fear signals to my heart, quickening my pulse. There was a certain thrill in knowing I could be torn open in a second by those beautifully large teeth.
I growled back at him, licking the damp saltiness from my lips, tasting a slight hint of copper where my own tooth had pierced the skin. I shimmed up into a sitting position, carefully ensuring his fur brushed against every inch of my bare skin, sending shivers down both of our spines.
I tensed my body, itching to fight when I was knocked to the side by a grey blur. Ignoring my bleeding skull, I hurriedly sat up to watch the pack wrestle on the ground. A fast moving ball of fur erupting with snaps and howls. I watched gleefully clapping my hands as the violence unfolded before me. The sound of my claps stopped the wolves rather than encouraging them as I had hoped. Their eyes, in varying shades of red, amber, and green reflecting their levels of anger stared up at me as their backs arched and they bared their teeth.
Wolf Jared pushed forward from the group, padding towards me and using his head to push into the backs of my knees, knocking me to the ground. I lay there flicking between the growling pack watching me and Jared staring into my eyes. Bowing his head, he softly licked my nose then tucked in his tail, flattened his ears and crouched down.
I could see my eyebrows raise in the reflection on his eyes, he is trying to make me submit! I thought to myself. Anger boiled up inside me and I could feel my cheeks burn red. I did not join the pack just to submit! I went to push myself up, ready to challenge the wolves but I felt claws digging into my back. I turned my head and saw Drogo, the alpha wolf, hunched over my body. I growled and he snapped his jaws in my face, hot bloody saliva staining my skin.
I glared into his eyes, ensuring he knew I would not forgive this, and then turned my face to lay flat on the ground. I felt the heat from his snort and screwed up my fists knowing he was laughing at me in his own wolfish way. Suddenly the claws were gone and a strong grip took hold of my shoulder, pulling me up onto my knees.
“Nice try, kid” he said, chucking me a red blanket, “cover yourself up and go back to sleep.” I kicked the blanket to the side and stood up, thrusting forward my chest as I strutted towards the bed swinging my hips and stroking Jared’s fur as I passed. His soft whine of appreciation cracked a grin on my face and I winked at Drogo as I slid myself onto the bed.
“Don’t encourage her, Beta.” Drogo said, pointing at Jared angrily before storming out of the house.
I stuck my tongue out at the door as it slammed shut and then wandered back over to Jared who was still crouched on the floor. I curled up on the floor besides him, entwining my fingers in his fur and burying my nose into the musky scent.
“Make me one of you, Jared.” I moaned, “Make me a wolf.”
His whine rumbled from his stomach, vibrating on my head causing my hair to fall in front of my eyes like a red curtain creating a shield between our eyes. I brushed my hair to the side and saw he was no longer looking at me, but rather into the flickering flames in the fireplace he once had made me burn my clothes.
“Do you regret it?” I whispered, running my fingers over his pelt, smoothing out the knots.
He looked back over at me staring deep into my eyes. I stared right back admiring the brilliant emerald green speckled with flecks of red and amber that were slowly fading away as his anger calmed. He nudged my head, pushing me off and then padded over the bed, leaping onto the mattress. His look invited me over. I joined him on the bed and curled up between his paws. His soft breathing soothed me, lulling me into sleep. Before I drifted off, I looked at the window to see the moon rising in the night sky. It looked full but was still slightly egg shaped. I fell asleep with a smile on my face for tomorrow, there would be a blood moon.
I woke in the morning with an ache in my neck. I looked at Jared and rolled my eyes. No longer did my beautiful wolf lay beside me, but Jared the Godly looking human. I left the bed and padded softly over to the cupboard, careful not to wake him. Opening the oak doors, I breathed in the scent of nature.
All my clothes were newly fashioned by the pack under the orders of Drogo who felt it was inappropriate for me to be naked – despite them being the same. Tunics made from deer pelts, leggings made from elk. Some were fashioned with porcupine quills or duck feathers, a couple of beads here and there. Maybe they would have been beautiful if I had cared.
I pulled some leggings and a tunic from the top of the pile and slid the hide over my skin. I then strapped a hunting knife to my thigh and fashioned the red blanket into a cloak. Grabbing a wicker basket, I headed to the kitchen to pack some meat, bread, and water.
Casting my eyes over to Jared, I skipped over to the sleeping beauty and began nibbling on his ear.
“Jared! Wakey wakey! Let’s go for a walk!”
He moaned as he woke from his slumber. “What? Why?” he mumbled groggily.
“It’s a beautiful day!” I giggled and tugged his arm, “Come on! Please” I begged, batting my eyelashes and twisting my body to show off the curves.
He reached out, grabbing me around the waist, pulling me on top of the bed. “Let’s just go back to sleep, baby, why leave the house?”
I smacked away his hands and then giggled again, trying to hide the frown that was starting to etch on my face. “Noooooo” I whined, dragging out the word in an attempt to appear cute. “Please?” I stuck up my bottom lip and widened my eyes.
He stared at me for a second and then rolled his eyes, signalling his defeat and I cracked a grin from ear to ear while pulling him off the bed. He pulled on a pair of leggings and walked over to the door.
“Okay fine, we can go. But let me just go tell Drogo and the rest of the pack.”
My heart thumped in my chest. “Nonono!” I stuttered, stopping him in his tracks. He looked at me, slightly rigid and rubbed his nose, I saw his eyebrows knitting together as he stared at me. You could almost see his brain working on figuring out what I was up to.
“It’s just…” I mumbled, dragging out the letters. “I…I already asked!”
“Oh?” he said, his voice, raising in pitch slightly.
“Yeah! He said it was fine, just to be careful”
Jared frowned, folding his arms and glanced at the door. “You sure? He didn’t want to send anyone with us, did he?”
“Nah! It’s fine, don’t worry!” I grinned, taking his hand.
His mouth pressed together but he nodded, “Okay, if you’re sure.” Then he followed me outside.
It was early morning, the sun was only just rising over the treetops, casting jagged shadows in the snow. We walked hand in hand through the forest, stopping every now and then for a bite of bread and meat or a drink to wash it down.
We had been walking for a couple of hours when the mountains came into view. Jared stopped in his tracks, looking wide-eyed between me, the mountains, and the faint outline of the full moon in the sky.
“Where are we going?!” he said, attempting to hide the shaky tone in his voice.
“We’re going to the mountains, Jared.” I replied in a low tone, slowly walking towards him.
I could see his adam’s apple bob in his throat as he gulped and, despite the freezing temperatures, I watched a bead of sweat drip down his face and splash onto his chest. I grinned as he slowly walked backwards away from me.
“Why are we going to the mountains?” he whispered, bumping his back into a tree.
“You know exactly why we are going to the mountains,” I said, flicking my eyes up to the silhouette of the moon.
“Girls don’t make good wolves” he mumbled, barely audible.
I smiled as I reached him and wrapped my arms around his neck, slowly kissing his neck. “Girls make great wolves… you’ll see.”
I took his hand again and led him to the mountains, smiling every step of the way.
We reached the mountain and I set down my basket and laid the blanket out on the snow. Jared stood a few steps away from me, watching. Our eyes connected and I watched my own reflection as I slowly slipped off my clothes. Baring myself to the world.
“You should go and get a sacrifice,” I said, nodding at Jared. “Nothing smaller than a deer please, I don’t want the spirits to think I’m weak.”
He shook his head, snapping himself out of his trance and nodded back, running off into the forest, changing into a wolf mid-leap.
I laid down on the blanket and allowed myself to drift off to sleep. Feeling the open air on the mountain absorb into my soul.
When I woke, the sun was near set and the moon was beginning to rise in the sky. Big and beautiful with a slight tint of red, reflecting the sins of the dead onto the earth.
I took a sharp breath in and quickly sat up. I looked around and saw Jared kneeling on the floor besides an injured mountain lion, stroking its head while whispering something in its ear. Next to them, a large crackling fire sent red patterns dancing on their bodies.
“Nice one,” I said in a hushed voice, joining him by the mountain lion, it’s panting picking up in speed as my finger traced the spot on his chest where his heart pounded in fear.
“You don’t have to do this…I can protect you!” Jared urged.
“I can protect myself now,” I said, “wait over there please.” I gestured away, not taking my eyes off the creature in front of me.
Jared sighed and kissed my forehead before walking away. I took the blanket, the only thing I owned back from my human life, and wrapped it around the mountain lion. I cast a quick glance up at the moon, now hanging alone in the sky, and pulled out my hunting knife.
Staring deep into the creature’s eye, I drove the knife into its stomach, splattering myself with blood and smiling as its scream echoed over the world. I dropped the knife and rolled the dying creature into the flames beside me. Its screams were soon joined by my own as I felt my skin tear and my bones break as the curse began to take over me.
A transformation that looked so fast for Jared, felt like hours to me as I tried to fight the pain as my spine bent and stretched and fur sprouted from my skin. As my ears lengthen out my hearing grew intense, the crackling fire screamed in my ears and Jared’s breathing pounded on my chest.
I looked up at him seeing every imperfection invisible to the human eye and I grinned a wolfish grin through the pain, howling up at the moon, thanking the spirits.
Jared changed into a wolf and padded over to join me, bowing his head, he softly licked my snout then tucked in his tail, flattened his ears and crouched down.
He is mine.