Saturday, October 10, 2020

What If the Wolf Wasn't Red Riding Hood's Big Bad?

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





 

Excerpt from 
Ruby Hood
A Twistedly True Tale
By Aspen Hite





The minute the group of Otherly Naturals was alone, Ruby Hood, hardly able control her breath spun on her heels as her crimson cloak flapped around her, “What did Kayla do to my grandmother? And where is this daughter of yours?”

Mayor Wolf and his wife exchanged a long meaningful look that spoke volumes.

“Look, there’s no doubt Kayla’s a powerful Lycan, more than we were expecting really. And we won’t deny she has some issues, but it’s not…” The mayor paused, turning to the stairwell, just as his son waltzed through.

“Kay’s secure,” said Kellan to his father, but his eyes lingered on Ruby.

“Thank goodness,” Kassandra exhaled, bringing her hand her to heart in relief.

“Good, then she needs to be held accountable for what she’s done to my Grams and…” Ruby turned to Dylan, “What did you call it? Otherly Natural law?”

“Yes, accountability is the very least she needs. Personally, I think she should be put down like the rabid dog she is, to keep everyone safe, of course,” said Dylan, opening his jacket to display the large knife, he usually had strapped to his leg. A public establishment is not the place to broadcast a lethal weapon in Woodsville.

“Look Hunter,” The mayor growled, “this really isn’t your business.”

“As the Huntsman my Grams called to deal with your mess, I think it is.” Ruby retorted, although she had to admit, the words didn’t feel right.

“And Miss Hood,” The sharpness of the Mayor Wolf’s voice startled Ruby. “Not only am I afraid your anger is misplaced, but it’s clear you misunderstand the enormity of what we’re dealing with here, like I was saying…”

 “Takes powerful magic to spell a Guardian…” Kassandra interrupted.

“Very powerful, indeed,” The mayor nodded and continued, “And quite possibly Kayla might have that kind of power one day, but not at this time.  Whatever has come here, whatever has spelled your Grams to sleep, is something much more powerful and much scarier, than my daughter I’m afraid.”

“Well then, what the hell is it?” Ruby stacked her hands on her hips, but fright crept into the nook and crannies of her mind. If Kayla wasn’t the villain, then who or what was it? And what about her grandmother?

“I have a team working on a few theories, and each one…” the mayor’s voice trailed off as his shoulders stiffened and his eyes widened. He exchanged a look of horror with his family.

The Wolfs mirrored each other, each alert and ready to pounce. Ruby shuddered. They were suddenly menacing and scary. She didn’t want to imagine what they looked like in their beastly form.

“It can’t be…” Kassandra, her voice choked in alarm, adjusted her scarf over her nose, “Jed, tell me I’m wrong…”

“What is that…smell?” Kellan’s eye watered as he tucked his nose into his collar, “Jeez.”

“Damnit,” cursed the mayor, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket to cover his own nose, “You’re not wrong, Kass…damnit,” He said again, his voice was strained with dread, “that odor… it’s unmistakable…putrid…the nose-burning scent of … Unnaturalness…and with it.. unspeakable horrors will follow...”


Sunday, October 4, 2020

What if Red Riding Hood had a Power?


Excerpt from: Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale

By Aspen Hite

In a sudden hurry, Ruby took the steps to the second floor two at a time. Did she move faster than before or was that her imagination? Ruby reached the top and she heard it.

Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack.

There, in the upper level waiting room of the hospital, paced Kassandra Wolf.

Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack.

Maybe it wasn’t just the woman. Maybe it was her urgency. Maybe it was her smooshed-up face or her furrowed brow. Maybe it was her perfect salon blonde hair, even during a crisis. Maybe it was her insane daughter. Or maybe it was simply the noise of her high heels.

Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack.

A blue ball suddenly roared to life in Ruby’s hand. Her eyes ignited and she wanted nothing more than to lunge at the woman before her, pummeling her with powerful orbs, letting all her anger and frustration go.

A tug on her arm her sent her backwards a few steps and brought her back to the here and now.

Dylan’s voice was low and forceful, “Ruby, I get it. But this is a public place, and you have to control yourself. Concentrate. Focus.”

Ruby nodded, listening to the Huntsman. The blue sphere extinguished with a mere thought. She squared her shoulders, smoothed her cloak, and walked into the waiting room.

“Well, Little Miss Hood,” Kassandra greeted, with an overdramatic curtsy, “or should a say, Guardian.”

The sound of the woman's condescending voice, sent Ruby into a rage. Suddenly an angry tidal wave swelled within and she felt her control slipping,  “Your daughter will pay for what’s she’s done...”

“Silly girl, Kayla had nothing to do with your Grams…well mostly not, but you see…” The woman interrupted.

“I was talking,” Ruby seethed. Something took over; something she could not control. Her voice deepened and menacing words spewed out. “Kayla will pay for what she did, not just to my Grams, but also to my friend Lily.”

“Who?” The rivets in Kassandra’s forehead deepened.

 “Ladies, let’s take a step back,” Dylan’s voice was tight, like it pained him to speak, “There’s a lot to discuss, and I think we all know this isn’t the place.”

 “I don’t often agree with a Hunter, but when I do, he’s right,” Mayor Wolf waltzed in, the lapels of his trench flapping behind him.  “Besides, Ruby, your mother is coming.”

Sunday, September 27, 2020

What if Red Riding Hood Was the Hero All Along?


Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale

By Aspen Hite

“You are a Guardian,” Grams said, taking a step closer. “So am I. So was your father.”

Ruby stood firm, resisting the urge to retreat, “That sounds insane, Grams.”

“The Hood Family is part of a magical culture, known as Otherly Naturals. It spans throughout the world, but it’s underground and we keep it that way on purpose. Sometimes, we don’t even tell our own kin.”

“Like magic?” Ruby whispered as her mind bounced in a million different directions, flooded with thoughts of mystical animals and castles and fairy tales. Then her vision darkened and Kellan, Kayla and the Wolf showdown at Homecoming flashed. “The Wolf family?”

“Yes, they are also Otherly Naturals, in fact there are many other forms of Otherly Naturals,” Grams paused. “In fact, there are two general sides, and they are natural enemies. The protectors, like use, and the beasts, like…”

“Like the Wolfs?” Ruby finished the sentence. Deep within her, she knew the answer. Then why did she feel so safe with Kellan?

“Well yes, technically, but it’s not that simple here, Ruby. Our Woodsville Wood is a bit different. Sort of a special circumstance. Eventually everything will come to light, and we’ll be able to tell, but for now there is something here. Something dark and dangerous.”

“Grams, how can I help?”

“Time is of the essence,” Grams’ watery eyes darted around, “Again darling, I never wanted this for you, but the Wood needs a Guardian. Now. Right this second. And you’re the only one, Ruby, the only one who can save me and our Wood.”

 “Whoa…but…but…Grams…I can’t. I don’t know anything about being a Guardian or Otherly Naturals and you…you’re really good at…” she stuttered as her chest heaved. Sweat pooled in her armpits. If Grams was great at this and Kayla got to her, what chance did Ruby have? “And I know nothing…”

“Breathe, Ruby,” Grams said and calm surrounded them. For a moment, “Mayor Wolf will help you…”

“Mayor Wolf! He’s our enemy? And his daughter just…”

“Like I said, Woodsville is not like other Woods.  And the Wolfs have the same goals of keeping Woodsville safe as we do. I assure you we’ve been allies for a long time. Work with him, he’ll guide you, but follow your intuition. Once the Guardianship passes, you will know things, your instincts will heighten, listen to the Wood. It is your ultimate guide.”

“The Hunters?” Ruby held up her arm to block the rays of light shining through the fog. It was getting very warm. “What about them?”

“Listen to the Wood. Save us. Please Ruby. Promise me...” Grams' voice faded away.

“GRAMS! Don’t go!” Ruby cried, “I’m coming!”


Sunday, September 20, 2020

New Twist on Iconic Fairy Tale Scene



Ruby Hood, A Twistedly True Tale
by Aspen Hite


“No, no fuss, dearie. Just come. Sit with grandma for a bit,” Grams coughed again.

Dearie? Ruby stepped into the bedroom and took a closer look at the woman nestled in bed. A chill ran up her spine. Whatever lay in bed wasn’t her Grams at all, but Ruby inched closer. “Grams … your eyes are larger than usual today.”

“All the better to see you.”

“And your ears, they're bigger, too.”

“All the better to hear you.”

“Your teeth, Grams, are they pointy?” Ruby leaned in for a better look, mesmerized. What was happening here?

“All the better to EAT you,” Grams menaced.

Rising from the bed, the old woman's face contorted as her teeth lengthened and sharpened. Thick, shaggy gray fur sprouted from her body until it was skin. Grams arched her back and bent over onto all fours.

A large gray wolf stood in front of Ruby. Its mouth curved into a snarl.

Ruby swallowed hard as her eyes widened in horror. Creeping her way toward the door, to a way out, she felt behind her with her fingertips, looking for a weapon, an answer, assistance, anything to help her.

The wolf bared its teeth, let out a low guttural growl and lunged. Right at Ruby.

Instinct and panic took over. Ruby’s hands flew up to cover her face, when a bluish, whirling light flashed around her. Time stopped for the quickest second and the room remained still. Shocked and shaken, Ruby peeked out through the tiny slits between her fingers.

Huddled in the corner was a girl—not a wolf and not her grandmother, but a girl.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

24 Hour Writing Contest: The Tetrad

Fall writing contest by WritersWeekly. One prompt, less than 875 words, 24 hrs. 

The Tetrad

By Aspen Hite

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, she’d stood in front of this cabin by the lake for the first time. She’d been terrified, even though she’d known it was right where she was supposed to be.

It had been a bright sunny day, and she’d squinted at the dark yellow leaves blowing into the broken windows. The cabin had been a disgrace. It’d stunk like old and mildew, but she’d entered anyway. The others were already there when she’d arrived.

Thanks to her translucent white skin and weird pink eyes, she’d never attended school and found herself completely socially inept. Yet, on that day, she’d huddled on the freezing floor of that abandoned hunting shack, surrounded by the girls she'd only recently met.

The loud mean one, had leaned forward and spat, "Truth or Dare?!"

Startled, she’d flinched, but the pretty girl with the long brown braid had swatted the mean one away. “Be nice, Fire. This is her introduction, remember yours?”

The mean one scoffed.

The braided girl turned back to her, “I’m Earth, you’ve met Fire. This is Air.”

“Hi! Welcome!” A small creature waved as her voice squeaked warmth.

“Now, please have a cookie,” Earth pulled out a plate and took off the tin foil, “We have a lot to talk about.”

A century ago, in this cabin, she’d learned she was an Elemental. From that moment on she would be a representative of one of the four major elements. Water.

In the beginning of time, the elements found balance either by raw battle or peaceful co-existence. But when humans arrived, everything changed. And as they grew in sheer numbers, the balance became more and more unbalanced. So for more than a millennia a tetrad of women, always women, meets every Fall Equinox to decide the fate of Earth. After all, her survival is paramount to the existence of all else. And if humans endanger that, Earth must be reset. Every year, this is the decision of the tetrad.

Each tetrad serves for a century, then passes the reins to the next generation. Today was the last meeting, the last Equinox, for this tetrad. The last time this group of women would decide the fate of Earth.

Brought back to the present, Water walked up the cabin steps. She was the last to arrive, as usual. Before she pushed the door open, the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls and coffee wafted through the air. She smiled upon entry. Their cabin really was a lovely peaceful place, and they’d fixed it up quite nicely over the years.

The air in the room was an odd mixture of relief and anxiousness. For they all had different feelings about the outcome of their last meeting.

“Well, well, Water…it’s about time.” Fire spat, still loud and confrontational, “Don’t you just live in the lake below?”

“Oh hush,” Air chimed, ever the peacekeeper. “It’s our last meeting.”

Water, able to hold her own, dashed Fire with a few wet droplets letting her sizzle for a minute.

“Hey!” Fire spat.

“Ladies?” Earth questioned with a raised eyebrow.

Silence hung in the air until they burst into laughter and all hugged in greeting.  

With a smile, Earth called the room to order. “We have a lot to discuss, and less than 12 hours to make our decision. Sit, please. We have snacks.”

The ladies sat for hours, discussing the current strain on Earth now that billions of humans lived on her, yet not enough of them truly respected her. Was there still time for them to change? For without them, the four elements could live in uninterrupted peace. Total harmony.

Fire, never really a fan of the human race, was a constant voice for destruction, “They are self-centered little fleas. Let me burn them to the ground.”

Air, a constant advocate, always spoke on their behalf, “There are good ones. They will bring about positive change. Have faith.”

Earth, always on the fence, had a difficult time deciding. She was the one who took the brunt of the abuse and a reset would be most painful for her, but she waited to hear Water’s plea before speaking.

“You know, at the moment, they aren’t bothering me, too much, except for that nasty plastic they leave around everywhere. And those ice caps…if they melt…” Water shrugged and leaned back, “This is our last go round, ladies, so I say let’s give them another year. We’re old and tired. Maybe the upcoming generation can see a solution we can’t.”

“Or maybe, they’ll be so angry, they’ll burn everything to the ground,” Fire rubbed her hands together in excitement.

“Oh I’m not going to lie, I’m going to teach them a lesson or two before hurricane season ends, ‘cause frankly that plastic really does piss me off,” Water insisted, “But for now, I say we leave destruction to humans and the next tetrad.”

“I’m content with that decision, as well.” Earth smiled, getting up to refill coffee cups. She had another year. For now.

With a nod, Water moved on to her favorite topic: fish.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Adding Sensory Details: The Storm


Image by Edward Lich from Pixabay

Can you feel the storm? 

...the weather shifted dramatically. The white clouds turned a dark grayish purple, sending the sun into hiding. The soft breeze sharpened into a cold pinprick pelting Ruby’s skin. Branches swayed, snapping in all directions. The thunder rumbled; Ruby steadied herself as the ground shook with the sky. Several bolts of lightning shot out of the heavens and cracked atop trees all around them.

Ruby screamed and reached for Grams.

“Oh my, Ruby! We need to get to shelter.” Grams, quite spry for 80, took off for the cabin. “Hurry.”

The thunder mumbled and groaned while lightning charged the air, just as the sky opened up. Big cold drops fell atop Ruby and Grams. They ran even faster.

When they entered the clearing, the storm continued to wage war in the stormy sky above. Ruby and Grams were soaked from head to toe, but that didn't stop them. They raced up the steps, two at a time, desperate to be dry and safe.

“Get in here, you two,” Grams shouted as she passed the two men waiting on the porch. “Don’t just stand there and get struck by lightning.”


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Writing 'the KISS'


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


Writing 'the KISS'

The FIRST kiss! I'm editing today and I realize my kiss scene is a bit of a flop...😂

So I did what all good writers do, I googled it! 😉

Once I found my way to wikiHow: How to Describe a Kiss, I knew I was in the right place. I had the basics. It was the actual kiss part that needed work. After a bit of practice, I am pleased with the current version (original available at the bottom). 💏💋💏

New KISS Scene

Ruby didn’t know what to do or say. At first, she hesitated, but then she stopped thinking. Giving his hand a soft squeeze, she leaned in to rest her lips on his cheek for moment. Just a quick gentle peck. Her hand slipped from his and she leaned back, more breathless than she expected.

Kellan turned. Taking her chin in his hands, he scanned every inch of her face, and gently brought her gaze to his. “Ruby, I want to kiss you. Not just right now, but I have...for a while now…you’re so…"

“Shhh, no argument here,” Ruby tried to breathe. Everything sounded muffled under the pounding in her chest, “I think you should follow your instincts.”

“I was afraid you were going to say that,” he teased and pulled her closer, “My god, you are breathtaking.”

With an exhale, Ruby closed her eyes. When their lips met, she went gooey all over, sending her entire being into sensory overdrive. It didn’t matter that his 5 o’clock shadow prickled her cheeks, his lips were soft and gentle. His touch was strong and warm. Plus, he smelled faintly of the Wood after a good storm. With little thought, she slid one hand to his chest while the other found the nape of his neck.

He wrapped his arms around her, drawing her deeper into the moment. His lips parted, but he froze. Rigid. Still.

Then Ruby did, too. Someone was here. Again.

The two pulled apart and jumped to their feet. With a swift tuck of his arm, Kellan guided Ruby behind him, out of harm’s way.

Hey, readers and writers...any constructive feedback? Leave a comment or email me at aspenhitewiter@gmail.com

Regards,

~Aspen Hite


***Original for comparison

Letting go of her hand, Kellan turned her and reached up to cup her chin in his hands. His eyes scanned every inch of her face, “I want to kiss you. I’ve wanted to for a long time…”

“I think you should,” Ruby whispered. Her own words muffled by the pounding of her heart.

Their lips met. It was soft and tender. Then Kellan tensed. Ruby did too. Someone was here. Again. Her eyes flashed as Kellan jumped to his feet, tucking Ruby was behind him, out of harm’s way.




What If the Wolf Wasn't Red Riding Hood's Big Bad?

This retelling of a classic fairy tale takes a completely different path over the river and through the Wood...   Excerpt from  Ruby Hood , ...