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Demon Wolves Invade
the Enchanted Forest

Little Red Riding Hood jumped off of her horse after entering the barn, secured the doors, and ran toward her grandma’s house; picnic basket in hand. The old woman opened the door and slammed it shut after her granddaughter entered. She slid the bolt across the oak door and told the young woman, “You shouldn’t have risked your life while those monsters are out there.”

“I was worried that you might run out of food. It’s been two weeks since the demon wolves shifted into our dimension. I dropped hunks of food along the road behind me to attract them away from my horse. I wish I had a bunch of those poisoned gingerbread cookies the baker George ‘Gingerbread Man’ Miller bakes. I just hope and pray Humpty ‘The Egg’ Dumpty can arm all the King’s men with weapons that can rid the Enchanted Forest of those evil creatures. If he fails, I’m afraid he’ll have a financial fall he won’t be able to recover from.”

“At 500 pounds it’s a wonder he hasn’t died of a heart attack by now.”

“Have you received any news from my friend Snow White or Deborah Levi and the kids she’s taking care of on her farm? Hansel and Gretel’s parents now wish they hadn’t abandoned them.”

“At least Deborah loves them. I have some terrible news. Five of the seven dwarfs were killed by demon wolves before they could reach Snow White. Sleepy and Dopey were at home with her at the time. But I think Dopey is going to end up a meal because he’s out in the forest with a crossbow and a sword hunting for those monsters. He’s bold but stupid.”

“But he means well,” Riding Hood interjected.

“Good intentions plus idiocy equals one dead idiot,” the old woman added.

“What about the Bear Family?” Riding Hood asked.

“Mama Bear and Baby Bear were eaten in front of the eyes of Papa Bear. If Goldilocks hadn’t been there with a poisoned ham to distract the wolves, Papa Bear would have been the third course of the meal.” “How are you finding out about what’s happening in the forest?” Riding Hood asked.

“A little bird told me.”

As she spoke, the rapping of a tiny beak was heard on the kitchen window. The women entered the room and the grandma opened the window to allow the bird in. There was a series of chirps and tweets made by the messenger which the old woman understood after years of conversations in avian languages. She closed the window and allowed the bird to rest inside for awhile and eat his fill of seeds in the corner of the room.

“He has some more bad news. You had better sit down at the table first,” she advised as she went to the stove to pour some tea for her granddaughter and herself. The young woman obeyed the request.

“The old woman in the shoe and all her children were devoured last night. The leather couldn’t withstand the razor-sharp claws.”

Riding Hood’s mouth started to quiver and tears welled up in her eyes. “Was her daughter Gwen there?”

“I’m afraid she was, dear. I’m so sorry. The old woman was one of my best friends too. I’m going to miss her tremendously.”

The old woman poured the tea into mugs and brought them over to the table.

“The three little pigs high-tailed it for Old MacDonald’s farm until the demon wolves are either killed or are shifted out of this dimension. Since you came out here with a basket of food, go out into the parlor and bring it into the kitchen.”

As the young woman entered the parlor, screams coming from demon wolves were heard in the direction of the barn. Her horse cried out in terror as the creatures busted through the doors and attacked the steed. There was nothing she could do to save her beloved horse. She collapsed upon the floor and wept. Her grandma stayed in the kitchen and waited until she had composed herself. When the weeping became a whimper, the old woman entered the parlor and consoled her.

The old woman lifted the young woman to her feet and embraced her. She told her, “I know you loved Black Beauty since he was a colt. He was one of the finest horses in the Enchanted Forest.”

“Why did God allow demon wolves to shift into our dimension? He’s supposed to take care of good people and faithful animals. It’s not fair,” she protested.

“Life isn’t always fair; not even in the Enchanted Forest.” In anger, the young woman pushed her grandma away from her and dashed to the weapons cabinet where swords, bows, and arrows were located. She flung open the glass doors and drew a couple long blades from their sheaths.

“What do you think you’re doing, young lady? I hope it isn’t what I’m thinking it is,” she warned.

“They killed my horse. They have to pay,” she said, enraged.

“But you’ll get killed. Those things are nearly as large as a horse. They’re four-legged killing machines. You don’t even know how many are out there. There could be a dozen or more just waiting for you to do something stupid like fight them.”

“I don’t care. I loved Black Beauty.”

“But he was a horse. You can always get another one. You can’t be replaced,” she pleaded. But the young woman was determined to avenge the death of her horse.

“If you’re going to go out there, I might as well join you.”

“But Grandma —”

“I’m going to die eventually. I just don’t want you to go before I do. Let me grab some poisoned meat from the larder first and then I’ll join you; sword in hand. I’ll use Grandpa Wolf’s favorite blade. It seems fitting the weapon of a Wolf should kill wolves. Grab some meat too. Maybe they’ll kill the monsters before the creatures can attack us.”

The two women entered the cellar where the larder was located. Chunks of pork, chicken, and beef tied to strands of rope were hanging from hooks. They were becoming pungent from decay, the better to attract hungry demon wolves.

Each woman had half a dozen hunks of meat draped over their backs. They wore old work coats so their clothes wouldn’t take on the foul odor of rotting meat that was laced with poison. The odor overpowered the smell of chemical death. Each woman grabbed swords before exiting the house.

The wolves were still feasting on Black Beauty when the women approached the barn. The barn doors had been shattered by the ravenous creatures. Four chunks of bait were flung toward the building and drew three of the beasts out. They snarled and snapped at the women. They were the size of Bengal tigers, but weren’t as cuddly and sweet. Each woman held a sword in the right hand and a strand of rope in the left. Another sword was tucked through their belts on their right hips. The wolves devoured the meat, but they didn’t drop over dead even though there was enough poison to kill two or three cows rubbed into and onto each chunk of meat. Eventually all the meat was tossed toward the animals. But it didn’t seem to even weaken them. They turned toward the women and cautiously approached them.

Little Red Riding Hood and her grandma separated and gave each other plenty of fighting room. With a sword in each hand, the women waved them at the wolves and shouted at them, hoping their screaming would scare them away. But the animals weren’t about to be scared away by two terrified women.

A pair of wolves attacked each woman. They lunged at them; fangs bared and claws extended. Grandma had kept the swords sharp enough to slice through small trees with one stroke. The Damascus steel was the finest metal for swords. The wolves were no match for the deadly blades. Heads were lopped off and limbs were severed. But the momentum of the wolves was enough to allow claws to scratch the women as the butchered animals fell at their feet.

Six more wolves charged out of the barn and toward the women. The first two were almost on top of the women when the sound of arrows was heard. The four behind the pair were dropped in their tracks, but only for a few moments. As the women dispatched the pair to demon wolf Hell, the final four struggled to their feet and tried to attack. More arrows hit their marks and dropped the creatures for good.

A dozen riders rode up to the women. Each had a long bow and a couple quivers of arrows strapped to the saddles plus an extra quiver on their backs. Each bow was made of steel and had steel cable instead of standard bow strings.

“You must be from the King,” said Grandma Wolf.

The leader of the band rode up to the old woman and said, “Humpty Dumpty sent us here. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men are out here trying to destroy these evil creatures. It appears our poisoned arrows are effective.”

“It also helps that the arrows are able to penetrate their tough hides,” added Riding Hood.

“Do you have horses...” He glanced at the smashed barn doors and heard nothing coming from the barn. “I guess that’s a silly question. We’ll take you to Prince Charming’s castle where you’ll be safe until the demon wolf problem is ended one way or another. There’s word that Rapunzel is holding off a pack from her tower. But it’s only a matter of time before the creatures figure out how to reach her by climbing on top of each other like circus animals. Her tower is tall, though.” “As long as she doesn’t let her hair fall from the window she should be all right,” said Riding Hood.

The women were lifted onto the backs of two of the men’s mounts and soon the band of wolf hunters were racing toward Rapunzel’s tower refuge. She had pulled several people to safety with her long golden tresses. Her neck was undoubtedly sore. But at least the people weren’t eaten; at least not yet.

Several demon wolves lay dead; stacked on top of each other below the tower window against the tower. A couple more layers of carcasses would be enough to allow demon wolves to climb up to the window.

With the wolves intent on entering the tower haven, the King’s men were able to ride well in killing range of the animals. Powerful arms pulled back the bow cables and let fly lethal shafts and poisoned tips that penetrated the creatures deeply. Before the remaining wolves could turn on the mounted archers, a dozen of their comrades were lying dead on the ground. There were only five wolves left and they couldn’t get within twenty yards of their attackers.

As the band of hunters approached the tower, the rippling of a dimensional shift was experienced and all remaining demon wolves that drew breath returned to the dimension of their origin. The leader of the band rode up to the stack of demon wolves and craned his neck to stare at the window where Repunzel and two of the people who had taken refuge there were smiling and waving at the soldiers turned hunters.

“Are all of you all right up there?” he asked.

“We’re fine,” said Repunzel. “If you can remove the debris from the door at the base of the tower, I can let everyone leave. They can use the stairs instead of my hair.”

“I’ll have my men do that. Where’s your mother?”

“I think she fled to Prince Charming’s castle. Maybe now I’ll be free to live a normal life once I leave this stupid tower.”

The woman noticed Riding Hood and said, “It’s good to see you survived the wolves, Red.”

“Grandma and I were able to kill some of them back at her farm. But Black Beauty is dead.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure you’ll find some horse to replace it, but not completely.”

“I know it won’t be the same. But maybe Old MacDonald who has a farm, the E I E I O, has some horses I can choose from. I’ll just have to listen for a neigh neigh here and a neigh neigh there. Here a neigh. There a neigh. Everywhere a neigh neigh.”

As the men were clearing the boulders and dirt from the door to the tower that hadn’t been opened since Rapunzel was a child, the occupants descended the steps which hadn’t been used for just as long. Cascades of hair flew out the window as Rapunzel clipped it off. When she emerged from the tower, her remaining locks only reached the middle of her back. Without the added weight of hair, she felt invigorated and much stronger.

Everyone in the Enchanted Forest that had survived the demon wolves met in Prince Charming’s castle to celebrate with a banquet that lasted for three days. There was also a special service in the chapel in which everyone could thank God for his protection and for removing the demon wolves from the dimension. They also prayed that demon wolves would never again shift into the Enchanted Forest.

Copyright © 2005 by Bewildering Stories on behalf of the author

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