by Richard Hough
hot chocolate with all the trimmings
Ruby had never forgiven herself for what happened on that August day and had finally found a way to make amends.
She reflected on the “accident” and how it had changed so many lives. Why did her Nan get so close to the cess pit in the first place?
“Come and have a look at this dear,” the old woman called out. Ruby couldn’t imagine what there was to see but Nan was always showing her things in the woods when they went out for walks. The old lady knew the names of all the flowers and birds and Ruby loved how Nan treated them all with respect.
Ruby was always a clumsy child. It was a bit of a family joke and somehow made her feel special. As she leaned over to see what Nan had spotted, she accidentally nudged the old lady who was only six stones wet through. Nan lost her balance quickly disappearing into the dark, disgusting sludge in the hole usually hidden under the metal guard. Frozen with terror, Ruby tried to scream for help but no sound came out.
“Is everything alright?” The deep voice made her jump. It was one of the Wolf family who lived deeper in the woods. They often popped along to see Nan bringing her the occasional venison steak.
“F...f...fine, th...th..thank you,” she sniffed, tears running freely down her cheeks.
At that moment Ruby’s father arrived after a day working in the woods. He was part of the team which managed the large area of Forest trying to keep the balance of nature exactly as it should be.
“Hello Ruby what have you been up to?”
Ruby saw a chance to save herself and without further thought of consequences cried out
“Oh Daddy, please help, the wolf has eaten Nanny.”
“Now hold on. I’ve just arrived,” insisted the wolf, nonplussed.
The woodsman ran into the house but could find no trace of his elderly mother. Believing Ruby to be a truthful child, he picked up his axe and without further questions, took the second innocent life that day.
Now, twenty years later, Ruby stood outside the cage. The storm raged around her as she beckoned to the wolf. The family had been caged ever since the day of the “accident.”
“Torak,” she yelled “over here.”
“Who are you?” demanded the elderly wolf.
“My name is Ruby, I...knew your grandfather.”
“Wait a minute, I know who you are. You’re the reason my grandfather was killed and why we’re all in this prison.”
“I’m so sorry. I had no idea what would happen. I was young and scared and it all happened so quickly. I’ve come to let you out. I want to put things right.”
Ruby swung open the gate
“You’re free again.”
“I’ve waited a long time for revenge,” snarled Torak, uttering the last words Ruby would ever hear.
Having devoured the last of the woman, Torak headed into the Berkshire countryside, ignoring the herds of sheep he passed.
About the author
Richard Hough still has nowhere to call home though he has bought a new shed (not from the profits of writing - still negligible). He was one of the authors in CafeLit 7. Richard has also written a new book and is looking for a publisher who is equally as strange as him with a dark sense of humour - any suggestions welcome.
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