Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Battle (part 2)

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...

Missing The Battle (part 1)?

*** In this excerpt, the names of the villains are replaced with Big Bad 1 and Big Bad 2. It is just a #sneakpeak after all. Happy Reading! 📚📖📚 
~Aspen Hite

An EXCERPT from
Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale
By Aspen Hite

Ruby was ready. This was her home. With blue power orbs gathered in both of her hands, her cloak tightened around her waist. The Lycan army stood rigid, poised to attack. Mage or not, none of them were going down without a very serious fight.

The Wood flashed. Bolts of light and flames erupted everywhere. Then the wind roared, picking up leaves and blowing debris around, just as Ella, hairy and crazy eyed, entered the fray. She whirled around with golden sphere’s in her hands, lashing out as she saw fit. At last, she bound upon Big Bad 1.  “It’s time to pay you, foolish fiend…AAAAAAHHHH!”

Swept up in the kerfuffle, Ruby charged Big Bad 2. “The first time I hurt you is for my Grams. The second time is for the mess you've brought my Wood.”

“Come on then,” A smirk curved on Big Bad 2's lips as her face contorted. Her teeth grew, longer and sharper, and her fingers sprouted into spikey weapons of wood. Her tall thin frame filled out, growing bark armor, and she turned into a lethal vial Gnarly Tree right before Ruby’s eyes. Her wooden teeth jutted forward, and she screeched. Swiping her spiny fingernails, she slashed at Ruby’s flesh.

The Guardian ducked but faltered. Catching herself, she flung blue spheres from her palms. They fizzled mid-air. Ruby's chest tightened. 

“Tell me, that’s not all you’ve got, Ruby Hood. Otherwise, this might be too easy, Big Bad 2 closed in, “You know, I didn’t like you from the first moment I laid eyes on you and now, I’m going to enjoy killing you. How about death by splinter?” Big Bad 2 held up her wooden stake of an arm. “It’s going to feel so good to plunge this into your soft, delicate body.” 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Battle (part 1)

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...

*** In this excerpt, the names of the villains are replaced with Big Bad 1 and Big Bad 2. It is just a #sneakpeak after all. Happy Reading! 📚📖📚 
~Aspen Hite



An EXCERPT from
Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale
By Aspen Hite

A cold chill started in Ruby’s toes and flooded into every fiber of her being. It couldn’t be. How could this get worse? Was it possible? Wasn’t that the voice of…

            “Because Ruby Hood is going to die tonight. I’m going to kill her.” The voice of Big Bad 1 reverberated though the Wood. Another large gnarly tree morphed into a human figure and sent wooden spikes flying through the air.

Ruby lurched backward as a shard of wood grazed her cheek. Lycan, all around her, howled in pain. Frozen in a ball of emotions: surprise, fear, rage, frustration. She snapped. There was no more time for stalling or pretending or cowering. Now was time for action.

Shaking until she couldn’t control it anymore, Ruby held on. Tension rising, the wolves surrounded. Low growls emanating from them. “Attack,” she whispered to her pack, her allies.

 The four-legged Lycan army lunged, teeth bared, toppling Big Bad 1.

Big Bad 2 only had eyes for Ruby. Atop her in a moment, with a look of pure hunger on her face. Grabbing a tuft of Ruby’s hair, Big Bad 2 yanked and then shoved Ruby to the ground.

She twisted and stumbled, scrambling away as best she could. If she could just get enough space between her and the trees, she could wing some protection orbs in their direction. That might buy her a bit of time. Where in the hells was Ella? The Unnaturalness was upon them.

Big Bad 2 held up her hands. Her fingertips morphed into long spears, and she licked her lips, “I can't wait to stab you repeatedly until your dying breath gurgles in my ear, Ruby Hood.”

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Entering the Battle

 

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...


An EXCERPT from
Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale

By Aspen Hite

The darkest shadows stretched for miles. No moon. Not a spec of light anywhere. Just pitch blackness enveloping the Wood like a worn blanket, filling every corner and every crevice. The air was thin and cold. Sharp.

Ruby walked at the helm of a pack of Lycan, all shifted and ready to fight. Mayor Wolf, a lean, black wolf with tiny tufts of gray around his snout, and Kassandra Wolf, a petite, light, shaggy wolf, flanked Ruby as the pack followed. Their heads all hung low, swinging left to right, as they scanned and sniffed their surroundings.

Taking a deep breath, Ruby tried to feel more confident like them, but fear screamed within her soul. Reaching under her cloak, she caressed the new labradorite crystal that hung around her neck and willed her pulse to calm.

Alert and aware, she listened to the wind. Noise and doubt crept into the corners of her mind, like scurrying beetles, but she pulled her cloak tighter and picked up her pace. They were getting closer.

Blue power orbs tickled at the tips of her fingers, ready to be unleashed. Even though that wasn’t part of the Aarush Mage plan. Ruby had a back up plan of her own, just in case.

The ground shook and a wall erupted, sprouting up in front of them. Ruby stumbled backward. The trees inched toward them, closing in. Blocking even the faintest glimmer of seeable darkness.

A Lycan yelped, then poof he was gone, snatched up by one of the meanest gnarliest trees Ruby had ever seen. Startled, she stifled a scream as a different tree came to life and gobbled up another creature. Right in front of her. Was she next?

The space continued to close around them. This was it, Ruby shuddered at the thought of the trees chomping on her bones. The small group backed into one another. Wolves growled, hackles raised, ready to go down fighting if it came down to that.  Ruby hands tingled. Would her power orbs even make a dent?

Suddenly, snippets of light broke through the space between the branches. The trees squealed and withdrew several inches. Ruby took a deep breath, happy for any reprieve. The light grew and grew, until it shone brightly.

Bringing her hand up to block the blinding light coming at her, she couldn’t see, but she could hear. Trees thumped, grunted, groaned, and screamed. The light disappeared and the darkness blanketed them again, but the trees were gone. So were the walls around them.

Ruby’s eyes adjusted, as the Lycan pack spread out, sniffing up a storm. There sitting in the middle of the Wood, far from its normal spot in the clearing, was Ruby’s cabin. Broken, battered and dilapidated. Ruby opened her mouth to speak, but the cabin belched out its windows and exploded. BOOM.

They all stared, speechless, there was nothing left but tree limbs and broken glass. Had the cabin just saved them?

The mayor yipped at her as the rest of the pack filed in behind him. There was no time to worry about the cabin. The path was clear now. Ruby fell in line with her army and together they continued through the Wood, toward the river. 



Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Bit of Sweetness Before Battle

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...



An EXCERPT from
Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale

By Aspen Hite

“What about your mom, Lily and her dad? Are you sure they aren’t going to ask questions while you’re gone?”

“They shouldn’t. They’re immersed in an Aarush Mage time-loop dream state in the kitchen. They’re having a great time sipping hot chocolate and playing board games. They have no idea what is happening outside of that room,” Ruby didn’t like it, but there wasn’t much of any of this she liked, “It’s supposed to keep them safe and out of harm’s way.”

“Well then, you need something to keep you safe and out of harm’s way.” A smile skirted Kellan’s lips and there was a lightness to his voice Ruby hadn’t heard in a while.

“Oh yeah?” Her dark eyes danced. He was so cute when he was being sweet.

“Yeah,” He pulled a tiny bag velvet bag out of his pocket and rested it in her palm. “It’s for you.”

Ruby bit her lower lip to hide her smile and untied the bag. Her eyes widened as she took in the beauty before her. He had taken the labradorite crystal she’d given to him and turned it into a pendant. Her eyes welled with emotion as it dangled before her, “Oh Kel, this is perfect I love it.”

“I’m glad,” He leaned his cane against a chair and steadied himself as he helped Ruby with the necklace, “It kept me safe when I was poisoned, and you gave it to me. I hope me giving it to you now will keep you safe.”

“Thank you.” A tear escaped and streamed down her cheek. Ruby wasn’t sure if it was a sweet tear from the gift or a tear of terror about what she knew came next. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Hard and quick. Then she nuzzled her head into his neck as more and more tears escaped.

“Rue?”

“I’m scared, Kellan,” She rested against him, wishing this feeling of safety would last forever.

“It’ll be okay.” Kellan pulled her tighter.

“I hope so.” 


Sunday, April 11, 2021

How Do You Disguise A Deranged Mage?

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...


An EXCERPT from
Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale

By Aspen Hite


Speechless, Ruby grappled in the depth of her vast vocabulary for words to respond to the incident before her but found none.

            “Astral projection.” Mayor Wolf said, running his hand through his hair for the millionth time that evening, “How did we miss that?”

“Jeddy, we know now, and the monstrosity is gone,” Kassandra’s words were sharp as an icepick, but the hand she placed on his shoulder was gentle.

“For now, love. For now,” He placed a hand atop hers. A frown found his forehead and then his mouth. He covered nose, “Good lords, what in the heavens is that?”

“Oh my,” Kassandra turned green as her eyes widened in foul horror. She pulled her hoodie over the bottom half of her face.

“Wha…” Before Ruby could finish, she could smell it too. It wasn’t a Lycan thing. What on Earth was it? “What is happening??”

“Upstairs. Everyone. Now,” Mayor Wolf held the door.

Kassandra hurried along the underground metal corridor. Ruby and the mayor raced along behind her.

As the trio jetted off the lift onto the main floor, they all stopped, frozen in intrigue, as their mouths dropped.

There she stood, in the center of the parlor. A Lycanified deranged Aarush Mage. Wide-eyed and hairy, Ella clapped and maybe tried to smile. “AH…good…got rid of astral problem. Now time for the plan.”

“Plan?” The mayor sniffed, “What is that smell?”

“What do you mean?” Ella shook her head sniffed herself, then puffed her shoulders, “It’s my disguise. You smell me?”

“We can,” Kassandra’s eyes watered, “Can they?”

“LOOK like a Lycan, but SMELL like an Unnatural.” She said.

"Why can I smell you?" Ruby cried. 

"Ah...maybe I overdid it, just a bit," The Mage said as a terrifying yet satisfied cringe. “Now sisters will definitely not smell, and we can attack.”

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Cave

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...


An EXCERPT from
Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale

By Aspen Hite 

Before she could see, she could feel. Hard. Wet. Cold. Letting her fingertips stretch out and walk in every direction, she got her bearings. There was the drip, drip, drip of water nearby. And the deep dampness in her bones.  Ruby’s eyes fluttered open, but not a shred of light snuck from any crevice. She must be close to the river, probably tucked into the bluffs. Was it her imagination or was the cave closing in around her? Never a good idea to linger too long, not in the depths of the bluffs. Not in Woodsville.

Rolling over, she hefted herself up, using the sodden surface surrounding her. How did she get here? Why was she here? Her hand clutched her neck, as memories unscrambled themselves.

The Wolf mansion. The mayor. Running. The Mage. Ella had appeared and sent electric shocky sparks right at her. Ruby’s hand dropped to her chest; her breath welled up.  It was all too much.

“Ruby? Is that you?” a whisper slithered through the suffocating silence. “Please help me…”

She cocked her head and listened. Was someone calling her?

Ruby, please Ruby. Ruuuubbbyyy, are you there?

A trap? Maybe. Other options? None. With a reluctant shrug, she followed the hiss of her name. Using the rocks as a guide, she crept along with care. To the side of her, there was an empty darkness as deafening stillness closed the void behind her. Ruby pushed away the fear simmering in her soul and focused on the whispers.

Ruby, can you hear me? Follow the words.

Was the voice getting louder? Stronger? Closer?

Please hurry…Ruby…hear me. Come for me.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Betrayal

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...


An EXCERPT from
Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale

By Aspen Hite

Ruby paced the plain gray room two stories under the mayoral mansion. Small. Quiet. Still. But enough room to walk in a circle and think. The mayor had taken a team to check out the damage to the Wood. Ruby had stayed back with Kassandra to keep an eye on Dylan. That had been two hours ago. At this point, the only thing shuffling through Ruby’s mind was horror after horror.

Then she had him right across from her, on the other side of the one-way mirror, like something out of a cop drama. She balled her fists and stilled as a glare etched itself upon her lips. Folding her arms across her chest, she stared. Him. Not at all like the Dylan Ruby had come to trust and rely on.

Sitting at the rectangular metal table, he looked relaxed and comfortable, as if he was waiting on a friend to grab a bite.  There was another little difference about him, an air of confidence. Something he usually lacked. 

“Aren’t you going to come in here and talk to me, Ruby Hood? I know you can see me,” He called. "Come on, in."

Catching his own reflection in the mirror, he ran a hand through his longish hair. Then his easy-going grin went rogue, and spite sneered across his face. “Or are you going to cow-tow to the Beasts, just like your traitor granny.”

Fury singed through Ruby and she took a step toward the door, only to be stopped by a tight grip on her shoulder.

“He’s taunting you. Stay calm,” Kassandra Wolf said, eyeing Ruby “But it would be better for you to talk to him, instead of waiting for Jed to return.”

“I know and I’ll deal with him,” Ruby said, forcing herself to take a deep breath, “He is my responsibility.”

She walked into the interrogation room and sat down on a steel chair across from him. With her hands folded in her lap, she sat still and tried to reach him telepathically. Dylan? Are you there?

Nothing. She narrowed her eyes and smiled, “How are they treating you here, Dylan?”

“That’s rich, Ruby Hood. How do you think these Beasts are treating me? They beat me. They starve me.”

She raised a suspicious eyebrow, “Well you hide it well. There’s not a single scratch or mark on you.”

“What can I say? I’m resilient?”

“From bruising and broken bones? That’s magical, right there, Dylan. So tell me, how did you become so well versed in magic?  Is your witch friend helping you?”

His lips thinned into a terse line, and his words came out in a hiss, “I guess we’ll just have to see, won’t we Ruby Hood?”

A deluge of thoughts raced through Ruby's mind. More than anything, she wanted to lunge across the table and strangle him, encircling her slim fingers around his arrogant neck. However, several deep breaths curtailed her feelings, and she forced a smile, willing the right words to come to her.

A knock on the door interrupted them. Kassandra poked her head through, “Miss Hood. We need you.”

“And they do, Ruby, they need you to try and save them, but you can’t. You won’t be able to. You’re weak and inexperienced,” Dylan jeered, as Ruby pushed her chair back and walked to the door, “the Unnaturalness is coming for you, Ruby Hood, and it’s going to destroy you, your Grams and all those you love. The Wood was just the first step. I’m so glad me and my dad chose the right side. THEY’RE COMING FOR YOU, RUBY HOOD.”

His horrid words and cackle of laughter tore at her, clawing at her mind, like a feral animal as she ascended from the dungeons to the main level of the mansion. When the elevator doors opened, Ruby took a breath and braced for whatever awaited her on this floor.

The Battle (part 2)

A retelling of a classic fairy tale that takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood... Missing The Battle (part 1...