Sunday 27 December 2020

Cry Wolf


By Richard Hough

a strong honey mead and gingerbread man

The two men were huddled in one corner of the Green Dragon Inn. Despite being brothers, they looked nothing alike. Jacob, the elder of the two was tall, dark and had a face perhaps only a mother could love. His younger sibling, Wilhelm, was short and bulbous with the sort of features which would turn heads in any room.

Both men were dressed in fine, elegant suits which were clearly tailored fitting, as they did, so well.

The couple were in high spirits as they discussed their latest triumph on this sunny Thursday afternoon.

“Did you see that gormless Emperor standing there as naked as the day he was born admiring himself in the mirror?” guffawed Wilhelm.

“He couldn’t really admit he wasn’t able to see the clothes we’d “made” could he? He looked a complete ass either way” agreed Jacob.

“I didn’t think we could top our last job - the way we conned that stupid boy into parting with his cow for a bag of soya beans. He really thought they were magic!” laughed Wilhelm.

Their celebrations were interrupted by a conversation taking place at the next table.

“...he might be a bit unconventional but young Peter is a good lad at heart. Do you know he collects his gran’s pension every Thursday at three o’ clock and takes it to her along with a cake?” said the stranger.

Jacob had glanced at his wristwatch and was already heading for the door, closely followed by Wilhelm. The brothers had the sniff of easy money in their nostrils.

The stranger continued, watching the brothers as they disappeared from the inn.

“Of course they had a few problems while he was guarding the sheep. He kept raising the alarm. I think he just needed some attention. He’s calmed down since he’s taken to wearing red and calling himself Scarlet.”

The brothers had passed the cottage on their way to the inn. The sign on the gate told them it was “Grandma’s House.”

They’d had just enough time to tie up the old woman and for Wilhelm to put on her spare nightwear when they heard the gate swing open with a creak.

Jacob hid under the bed as his brother jumped beneath the bedclothes. Wilhelm was surprised when a young girl came skipping into the room expecting, as he was, a boy called Peter.

“Peter, is that you?” he asked in his best grandma voice.

“I’m called Scarlet now Grandma. I’ve brought...” His sentence remained unfinished as the Green Dragon ale interrupted him. It had been churning inside Wilhelm forming a large cloud of gas which chose this moment to seek a release point. Wilhelm let out an enormous, roaring belch.

The sensitive Scarlet panicked and ran from the room screaming “Help, help, a wolf has eaten Grandma!”

A local lumberjack happened to be passing. Unaware of Scarlet’s problem with seeing wolves everywhere, he ran into the cottage where he encountered a hirsute creature wearing a bonnet. Realising it was not a grandma and working with the information provided by Scarlet, the lumberjack removed the creature’s head with a single swipe of his axe.

The head rolled to where a terrified Jacob was concealed. The sight of his former brother looking even shorter than he recalled gave him a fatal shock.

After the facts had been reviewed by the local constabulary, Grandma was reported to have been unharmed. The lumberjack received the appropriate counselling and Peter is getting the help he needs to permanently become Scarlet. Most of the cast have gone on to live happily for quite some time.


About the author 

Richard has an unhealthy obsession with what Red Riding Hood was really up to when visiting Granny. This may stem from his youth when he almost lost a finger when visiting his own grandma. Richard prefers to write light-hearted pieces but will have a stab at anything. He has been featured in two Best of CafeLit anthologies and has also written two books for which he is seeking an imaginative publisher.

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