I was going to upload the pictures I took of the animal sanctuary I want to during my two-week trip to Lee, but then I finished the fourth chapter of “Dark Red Riding Hood”, and I really want to show it here. I posted it on my DeviantArt, and later, I’ll update the page on the blog. For now, enjoy the newest chapter of “Dark Red Riding Hood”.
Chapter 4: The Huntress
Little Red Riding Hood. Notorious huntress-thief for the feared crime boss, Woody Lumberjack, also known as the Woodsman. Never in my young life did I think that would be my identity. In fact, when I was a little girl, I wanted to be an adventurer; traveling to far and exotic places. My grandfather used to be an adventurer before meeting my grandmother. I doubt they would be proud of me, seeing what their precious granddaughter have become. I didn’t blame them if they’re disappointed in me; I was disappointed in me.
Allow me to explain what my job was as a huntress-thief. You see, “huntress”, or “hunter”, were just another word for assassin. We hunt down persons and then eliminate them, hence why we are called “hunters” or “huntresses”. There were different kinds of hunters and huntresses; those whose jobs where more than just assassinating. For example, hunter-runners or huntress-runners were assassins who worked in the drug smuggling business. Hunter-eyes or huntress-eyes were assassins who doubled as detectives. There were the royal hunters and huntresses who worked for the sovereignty. Then there were the hunter-thieves and huntress-thieves like me. Our jobs were to not only eliminate targets, but to also steal from targets. Just last year, I was ordered to steal a prized piece of artwork from the home of a wealthy art dealer.
I had just exited the Woodsman’s hideout and was making my way through the busy streets of Gemstone. The sun was high in the sky and the gentle breeze flew through what leaves where left on the sturdy oak trees that lined the streets of the city. As I walked, I noticed the sidewalks glimmering with a blue sparkle; it was as if the sidewalks were made from real sapphires, and not artificial gems that looked like real ones.
I passed by clothing stores, delis, flower shops, and other small family-owned businesses. I walked pass one of the city’s public libraries, it’s marble columns glistening in the sunlight. The many apartment buildings towered over me, their glass windows reflecting the sun’s light. I had to look away by the time I reached the elementary school; the sight of happy children playing reminded me too much of my own childhood. I turned a corner and walked into a dark alley. At the end of the alley, was my destination: the abandoned train station on the outskirts of the city.
The station was built about seven hundred years ago, I think. It was built near the base of the gray, snowy-topped mountains that stood towering over the city of Gemstone. It was a modest, two-story building that was the length of a modern house. It’s once brilliant and vivid blue painted exterior was now a moldy, dark green. It’s brown, tilted roof was so worn that holes began to appear. Its windows were shattered, their shutters broken in halves. The benches that sat on the front porch were all broken in the center, which made sitting on them nigh impossible. The door that led to the inside was just barely attached to the doorframe; it was hanging on its side, freely swinging. Not too far away from the door, attached to the overhanging roof, was a sign that still displayed the train schedule. In front of the station was the train rail that was abandoned along with the station; it was now covered in tall grass and wildflowers.
I stepped onto the porch, which creaked and groaned under my feet. Carefully, I opened the door and entered the dilapidated train station. The wallpapered interior was just as worn-down as the exterior. Four long wooden benches, all of which were coated in dust, sat in the center of the small station. A small window was built into the wall opposite me. The glass of the window was cracked and looked as if it was about to fall out of the frame. The room behind the creaked window used to be the ticket office, but now, it was mostly a home for field mice, raccoons, or some other wild animal. I made my way to the back of the station, where a narrow hallway led to the back of the station, where the lockers were. I was surprised, but somewhat grateful, to find the door to the back porch still attached to the doorframe and still in one piece.
I pushed opened the door and stepped out onto the back porch. There was a lone bench that faced a meadow filled with flowers of many species. In the distant, I could make out a shape hidden among the grass and flowers. The shape lifted its head and I saw that it was a unicorn. Seeing a unicorn in the wild wasn’t uncommon, that was, if you lived in the countryside. Creatures like unicorns made it a point to steer away from largely populated areas. I briefly wondered why I hadn’t recognized the animal the second I saw it. Then I saw that, unlike most unicorns, that were pure white, this unicorn was gray. It’s coat, mane, tail, and even horn was gray, making it blend in well with the surrounding area. For a moment, I envied the beautiful creature and wished I could just blend in, not stick out, be like everyone else. I snapped myself out of my trance and tore my eyes away from the animal. By the time I looked back, the unicorn was gone.
I turned my attention to the lockers, which sat beside the lone bench. The metal of the lockers was rusted due to years of being left in the rain and snow. The lockers were rectangular containers, stacked on top of each other, forming a six-by-two grid. Each locker had a lock, which could only be open with you had the right key. Lucky for me, I was given the right key. I approached the locker that was on the lowermost-right of the grid, kneeled before it, and inserted the key into the lock. The moment I turned the key, the heavy lock became undone. I removed it from the door and placed it, along with the key, gently on the wooden floor.
Slowly, I opened the rusted door of the locker and peered inside. The locker held three items. One was a leather holster. The other was a thick, black, and cylindrical object that looked to be about a foot in length. Finally, there was a small green and black box made from cardboard. I pulled all three items out of the locker with the upmost care. With one hand, I held the holster and cylindrical object while keeping the small box squeezed between my arm and my side. With the other hand, I closed the door of the locker and placed the lock back on it. I knew that no one came to this station anymore, but I still didn’t want someone or something to know that I was there.
As I stood, I examined the holster and cylindrical object in my hands. The holster was small enough to fit around my waist. There were two pockets, one of which was designed to hold a large gun, the other was designed to hold a sickle with a particularly long handle. Along the belt of the holster, were seven small loops to fit up to seven bullets. It was designed to be lightweight, so not to be a hindrance to the wearer. I wrapped the holster around me and fastened it with the clasp. Once it was secured around my waist, I patted the leather of the belt a few times and, suddenly, it vanished. I patted the area where the belt should be and it reappeared. The holster was enchanted to turn invisible when the wearer pat it. Anything in the pockets or loops of the holster also turned invisible. The perfect way to conceal weapons while walking in public. The Woodsman had this thing made for me around the same time joined his gang, that was about seven years ago. I was mildly surprised that it still fit me.
After putting on the holster, I took the small box from under my arm and opened it. Inside, were seven large brass bullets that were wrapped in purple shell castings. The brass slugs shimmered like gold in the sunlight. I could tell that they were expertly polished; I could even see my reflection in them. I could tell that these weren’t the rounds that I usually use. These were bullets that the Woodsman had his friend made. This friend was a gunsmith who also made specialty bullets. The guns and bullets he made normally came at a high price, but as he was an associate of the Woodsman, he gave them to my boss at the low, low price of free. I wanted to get angry. I wanted to go back to the Woodsman’s hideout and demand that he gives me my usual ammunition, but as I took each bullet and placed them inside the loops of my holster, I reminded myself that I had already made my boss angry when I leave and that I didn’t want to have a falling out with him. I collapsed the small box and put it in the pocket of my jeans.
With the holster around my waist and the bullets in their place, I turned my attention to the black cylindrical object in my left hand. It felt cold, hard, and somewhat heavy in my hand. I twirled it a few times in my hand, tossing it from one hand to the other, before having it toward the sky. The metal of the object shone in the light. There was an engraving on the object that read, “ROSEBUD G. HOOD”, in bright red, cursive letters. I held the object toward the light for a moment, before swinging it down with all my might.
With that one swift and abrupt movement, a red rod, a similar shade of red as that of my hair, protruded from the black cylinder. The red rod extended in length, becoming longer than one foot; as it extended, it also became skinnier than the black cylinder. The moment it stopped extending, a large, long, curved blade appeared from the top of the rod; as the blade emerged from the rod, it made a sound like that of a sword being removed from its sheath. A shorter, but equally sharp, blade appeared from behind the longer one. In a matter of seconds, the black cylinder transformed into a scythe with a black grip, a long red snath, and two steel blades that could slice the toughest of skin.
It was impressive, how an innocent and slightly useless object can turn into a menacing weapon. And it didn’t end there. I threw the scythe in the air and I watched it transform again. The blades retracted within the rod, then the bronze rod retracted until all that remained was the black cylinder. I watched it land into my outstretched hand. As it did so, something popped out from underneath it: it was a red trigger surrounded by a red trigger guard. I watched as a single red bronze barrel protruded from the black cylinder. At the same time, the cylinder bent itself to create the handle. The scythe had changed back into its previous state, and from there it transformed into a single-barrel sawed-off shotgun. This type of shotgun was break-action, meaning I didn’t had to pump anything; I could just break it and load the shell inside. This kind of shotgun was also easier for me to use; I was still considered a novice when it came to guns.
I looked down at the gun. The engraving never left the handle of the weapon; both the scythe and the shotgun has my name etched into it. I cracked a smile. I had this thing for almost seven years; I never did a job without it. It was a birthday gift from my late grandfather; it was on that same birthday where my grandmother gave me my signature red hood. My grandfather, bless him soul, taught me how to hunt, how to fish, and how to survive. He had this made for me and showed me how to use it properly. He told me that the weapon was made with a mixture of technology and magic and that the creator, a craftsman from some major metropolis in Fairytale, was a friend of his. Next to my hood, it was my most treasured possession. As much as I got angry with the Woodsman, even I had to admit that he respected the sentimental value of objects.
I placed the gun in one of the pockets of the holster. I looked down at the floor and saw that the rusted key was still there. I picked it up and stuffed it in the pocket of my jeans; I intended to bring it back to my boss when I got the chance. I had my weapon, ammunition, my holster, and the name of my target was in the jade cylinder, which was in my backpack. Now, I was ready to get back to work.