Children Fiction posted November 30, 2009

This work has reached the exceptional level
A red cape and a lesson to learn....

Red Lives In The Hood

by Begin Again

Red twirled and squealed with delight. "Oh, Mommy, this is the best present you have ever given me."

Red's mother worked long hours sewing the little red cape for her daughter. The edges were trimmed in gold cord and the fabric was extra soft. "I'm glad you like it, dear."

Beaming from ear to ear, she hugged her mother very tight. "It's beautiful. I feel so special." She danced across the floor, spinning round and round, and tossing her strawberry-blonde curls everywhere.

Her mother couldn't help but laugh at her. Pulling a ruler from her sewing kit, she touched her little daughter's shoulders and announced, "I dub you Princess of the Hood."

"Princess ... Princess Red with a beautiful cape." She twirled around once more, and then with a twinkle in her eye, she whispered, "If I am to be a Princess, the cape must be magic."

"Magic ... hmmm. Every stitch was sewn with love for you, little one. So, you will be wrapped in my love all the time. Is that magic enough for you?"

"Oh, Mommy, how wonderful. I will never be afraid again." They laughed and hugged each other.

"Can I go and show my friends my beautiful cape?"

"Of course, you can. But remember, you mustn't talk to strangers."

"I promise. I'll go straight to Katie's house, and I promise not to talk to anyone on my way."

Princess Red waved goodbye and skipped down the sidewalk toward her friend's house.

As she rounded the corner and her house was no longer in sight, she saw a young man looking under the bushes, whistling and calling, "Sadie ... Sadie, come here."

"Did you lose something?" she asked.

The young man stood up and looked at her. "Well, hello, little girl. What's your name?"

"I am Princess Red. Mommy made me this beautiful red cape." She twirled around for him to see. She was so proud of the gift her mommy had given her.

"It's beautiful. I was going to ask you to help me find my dog, Sadie, but I wouldn't want you to get your pretty red cape dirty."

"Oh, you lost your dog. You must be terribly sad. Where did she go?" Red loved animals, and she was very worried that the young man's dog was lost.

"I think she is somewhere behind all these bushes. Could you help me?" The young man towered over Red. "I'm sure with your help I can find her."

"Did you say her name was Sadie? What kind of dog is she?" Princess Red asked the young man.

"She's a ... a ..." A frown covered his face and he searched for an answer. "She's brown and white. Yeah, she's brown and white."

Something about the young man was beginning to bother Red, and she stepped away from him. Her mother's words echoed in her ears. Remember, you must not talk to strangers.

"I'm sure if you and I look behind the bushes, we can find her." He reached for her arm to pull her with him.

Wrapping her cape closer around her, she backed away. "My friend will be looking for me. I really have to go." She quickly hurried off toward Katie's house leaving the stranger behind.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Two days later, Red was walking along the lane picking wild flowers and chasing butterflies. It was a beautiful day, and she was having so much fun. Before she knew it, she was far, far from her house. "Oh, Mommy will be worried. I must hurry home."

As she stepped back on the pathway that would take her home, a woman called her name. "Red, come over here, please."

Of course, Red had no way of knowing that the woman guessed her name because of the red cape she wore. She hurried over to the woman.

"You know my name, but I don't remember you."

"Of course, child, I'm your mommy's friend. She sent me to get you."

"She did?" Red wondered why her mother would send someone else to get her.

"Yes, she wants me to take you to get something to eat." The woman smiled, and Red could see that she had a tooth missing. It made her look scary.

She, also, remembered she had eaten lunch before she went for her walk. She couldn't possibly be hungry. Suddenly, she could hear her mother's voice. Red, don't forget, it's not safe to talk to strangers.

"Come on now. We must hurry or we will be late." The woman reached for Red's little hand.

Red shook her head violently and ran down the path toward her house with her red cape flying in the wind. She ran as fast as her little legs would carry her and didn't stop until she was safe at home.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

On Saturday, Red and her mother made cookies. They cut them with cookie cutters and decorated them with icing and candy.

"Sugar cookies are your grandma's favorite. We made them together when I was your age."  Red's mother smiled as she remembered the fun they had.

"Grandma isn't feeling well. Maybe I could take her some cookies." Red was excited, and she jumped up and down.

"I don't know. You have never walked that far by yourself." Grandma's house was six blocks away and that was a long way for a little girl.

"Please, Mommy, let me go. I will be very careful when I cross the streets. I know to look both ways for cars."

Red's mother thought and thought before she finally agreed to let her go. They put the cookies in a box. She hurried to get her beautiful red cape. "Grandma hasn't seen my beautiful cape either. She will be so surprised."

Her mother smiled at her daughter's excitement. "Now you must remember to go straight there and ..."

"Don't talk to strangers." Red finished her mother's sentence for her. She waved goodbye and set off for her grandma's house.

When she came to the first crosswalk, she looked both ways. No cars were coming so she quickly crossed the street. At the second and third streets, she did exactly the same thing. At the fourth intersection, a white van was driving slowly down the street so Red waited for it to pass.

When the van got to the intersection, a man rolled down the window and leaned his head out. "Excuse me, but do you know where Sixth Street is?"

Red nodded her head. She felt all grown up walking to Grandma's house by herself. She quickly pointed down the street. "It's two blocks down that way."

"Could you show me where it's at?" The man smiled at her.

"Oh no, I am not going that way." Red remembered what her mother had said about talking to strangers. "My Grandma's house is that way, and she is waiting for me." She quickly hurried on her way.

As she neared her Grandma's house, she saw a policeman standing on the corner. He smiled at her. "Are you lost, little girl?"

"Oh no, I am going to my Grandma's house. I have cookies for her and a new red cape that my mommy made." Red twirled around to show him her cape.

He laughed at her. "Your cape is very pretty. How far away is your grandma's house?"

Red pointed toward a blue house in the middle of the block. "She lives over there."

The policeman walked across the street with Red, and then waved goodbye. She hurried down the block, eager to see her Grandma.

When she reached the house, she noticed the door was standing open. That's strange, she thought. Grandma doesn't leave her door open.

As she climbed the steps to the porch, she listened for her Grandma's voice. Instead, she heard a man yelling. "Where is your money?"

Red peeked through the door and saw her grandma slouched in the chair. Her head lay against her chest and her snow-white hair was no longer neatly combed. A big man with long black hair and huge hands towered over Grandma. Red shivered at the sight of him and pulled her red cape tightly around her.

"Listen, old lady, tell me where your money is before I get really mad." He slapped Grandma with his big hand. Red gasped.

The man's head snapped in her direction, and their eyes met. He lunged at her, and she turned around and ran out into the street, yelling, "Help! Help!" Her red cape flapped in the wind as she ran.

The policeman heard her yell, and he ran toward her. The robber tried to run down the street, but the policeman caught him.

Later, as they sat eating cookies and drinking lemonade, Red shook her little finger at her Grandma. "See what happens when you talk to strangers, Grandma."


My modern version of Little Red Riding Hood.....
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