The newest chapter of “Dark Red Riding Hood” is ready to read! I’m add it to the other chapter, but for now I’ve posted it here:
Chapter 2: Brother and Sister
I walked down the path toward the iron gate. Just beyond it was Gemstone. Gemstone was the capital city and pearl of the sovereignty of Fairyland, and my home for the last seven years. Fairyland, a country where science and magic coexist and intermix. Many of the devices and gadgets in Fairyland were invented by combining technology with arcane magic. Mystical creatures were kept as pets or livestock. Magic users and spell-casters lived among the general population. Magic was a common tool in Fairyland, granted most types of magic were outlawed.
Gemstone was a lovely city. The sun gleamed off the polished chrome of the geometrically-shaped skyscrapers, making them shine like real gemstones. Maybe that was why it was called ‘the brightest place in Fairytale’. Inside, though the clear blue windows, I could see the higher-class living their lives, surrounded by luxuries that only the middle-class could dream about having. Tall, sturdy oak trees stood alongside the manmade structures; their leaves a light shade of orange, a telltale sign of the coming of autumn.
I approached the gate and it open automatically. I stepped forward into the real world. I watched as the gates closed behind me with a loud metallic clank. Before me was a gravel road, which would lead me to the paved streets, which would lead me back to the city. I couldn’t tell you how happy I was to be out of that place. The first thing I wanted to do was go home, take a real bath, sleep in my own bed, and find my old friends. Yes, that was what I wanted to do. However, I knew in the back of my mind that there was something that I needed to do first.
“Little Red Riding Hood.”
I snapped my head to the left. There, leaning against the iron bars with his back, was a brown-haired boy with hazel eyes. He was much taller than me, but was as thin and pale as I was. His short chocolate hair came to stop behind his ears and his fringe sat coolly on his forehead. His hands were in the pocket of his grey hoodie, which was sewed onto the lower portion of the hoodie. His blue jeans ripped at the knees, probably due to the style, but then again, he could had ripped them himself. His white sneakers were torn and ragged, as though he didn’t take good care of them.
Instinctually, I stepped back and shouted: “Who the heck are you?!” It came out much less venomous than I wanted it to be due to my soft voice. He started walking toward me. He came to stand in front of me, towering over me. He looked me square in the eyes, a smile on his lips. He pulled his left hand out of his pocket and extended toward me. “The name’s Ivan. Ivan Nikolaeva.”
I didn’t shake his hand. Instead I stared at his hand for a while, before I shifted my gaze to him. I placed both of my hands on my hips and gave him the best skeptical look I could produce. “‘Ivan Nikolaeva’?” I scoffed. “Are you serious?”
Awkwardly, he retracted his hand and combed his hair with it. His smile faltered a small bit before coming back in full force. “Yes.” He said. “Why?”
I laughed vivaciously; it was the most I ever laughed in months. Judging by the dumbfounded expression on his face, the guy in front of me was surely taken aback, so I explained. “‘Ivan Nikolaeva’.” I repeated. “You can’t be Ivan Nikolaeva. If you were Ivan Nikolaeva, then you could be related to Aly Nikolaeva.”
“I am related to Aly Nikolaeva.” He said.
“Yeah, right! Then where’s-”
He interrupted me by pulling up the hem of his hoodie, revealing his well-toned abs. He pulled the hem of the hoodie so far up that he revealed his muscular pecs. My eyes went wide when I saw the brownish hoof mark of a fully-grown deer on the right side of his chest. “See?” He said as he chuckled softly.
I hurriedly ripped my stare away from his chest. My hands went to rub at my unbelieving eyes. I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing; I couldn’t believe that the boy in front of me was both a member of the most infamous group of mercenaries in the country and the brother of one of my best friends in the entire world. I stopped massaging my temple and looked his in the eye again. “Did Aly sent you?” I asked.
He lowered the hem of his hoodie, covering his chest once again. His hands returned to the inside of his hoodie pocket. “Yeah, my sis sent me. She wants to see you.”
Believe me when I say that I would like nothing more than to catch up with Aly. She and her family might have been mercenaries, but she also was the friendliest person I met since moving to the city. She was like an older sister to me for so long and I really looked up to her. However, like I said before, there was something I needed to do first. “I would love to see her. But I can’t.” I told him. “I’ll contract you as soon as I’m free.”
“Ok.” Said Ivan. “I’ll let my sis know that you love to meet up.”
“Alright then.” I said as I turned away from him, ready to leave. A cool breeze blew pass us and I pulled the hood of my cape over my head. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for laughing at Ivan. No, wait, it wasn’t guilt, it was fear. In my line of work, anything you say or do can, and will, be used against you in the future. I turned back to face Ivan. “Sorry for not believing you earlier, and for laughing in your face.” I said.
He chuckled. “Don’t worry about it. I know my sis doesn’t like to talk about our family.”
“Not hard to believe.”
I started walking down the beaten gravel path toward the road. I was halfway gone when he stopped me. “Hey!” He shouted. “If you want I can drive you to the Woodsman’s hideout.”
I turned back to him and called out: “No thanks. I prefer to walk.” I turned away and continued down the path. The path before was covered with fallen leaves and randomly scattered twigs. The crunching sound of gravel and leaves rung in my ears, accompanied by the musical songs of the birds in the trees. The cool air rushed over me, making me shiver slightly. It was still better than being locked in an insane asylum.
Hope you enjoyed!