Amber Findlay Sosic 2014

The Basket

 

I don’t know how I got the name Little Red Riding Hood. I do wear a red hood I guess but only because my stupid Grandma insists on me wearing it every time I see her because apparently it looks “cute”. I want to say to her “Grandma, I’m in Year 9 and I’m way old to wear a silly riding hood that’s red.” But I never have the heart. Don’t judge me, I know I’m a coward but I don’t need you telling me I am as well.

Anyway back to what I was saying, I don’t like the name Little Red Riding Hood so please call me by my real name, Laura. A perfectly good name if I say so myself. At least my mum has some sense. I’ve read some of those stories about me. About how innocently I go to my Grandma’s house because she’s sick and I walk into a Big Bad Wolf and he dresses up as my Grandma and tries to eat me but a woodcutter saves my life and there’s something about “what big ears you have” and Happily Ever After.

Well let’s get something straight here, the person who wrote that is a complete fraud. If you’re here to listen to the real story I’m happy to tell you that you’ve got your senses straight. But, sadly, if you want to read the same “and they all lived happily ever after” junk or you don’t want me to ruin the happy little picture of the girl in the red hood who can distinguish a wolf from her grandma then go read some other book because this is one you don’t want to read.

By the way I’m Laura but you may also know me as Little Red Riding Hood whose trip in the woods wasn’t as exciting as you may think. It was full of mystery, frights, skateboards, creepy men and a basket…

 

It was a beautiful morning. It was mid spring and the dandelions are in bloom and infant rabbits are hopping around the garden. I pick up my favorite book ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to read under the weeping willow tree in our back garden. I’ve had Alice since I can remember. I can’t get enough of the room with all the doors and Alice having to paint all the roses red or a disappearing cat. I hold the yellow paged book under my arm and walk in my back garden and sit under the willow tree. The tree is on a hill and if you climb up to the top of the tree you can see the whole town and even the forest. I don’t know what possessed my Grandma to live in the forest, the crazy old coot.

I open the book to the first page. I can smell the antique pages. I try to hear the tick-tock of the rabbit’s pocket watch. I read- “Alice was beginning”…

“Laura!”

I close the book with a snap and see my mum outside beckoning for me to come to her. This happens every time I want to do something relaxing or quiet.

“What is it, mum?” I ask, annoyed.

“Well, Grandma is sick and I want you to go down to her house and deliver her some soup and medicine,” says my mum.

“No way!” I cry.

“Come on Laura, don’t be so selfish,” my mum says in that guilty parent way.

“But I just wanted to sit down and read!” I whine.

My mum looks at the book. ”You’ve read this one thousand times but what happens if Grandma dies because you didn’t deliver the medicine.”

There was no point of arguing any further. My mum had won this time but as they say- ‘You may have won the battle but you haven’t won the war’.

“Oh and before I can forget,” my mum turns around and says.” I want you to wear that red riding hood your grandma got you.”

I groan and go upstairs into my room. I open my closet were I put my clothes and I see the red cloak. I pull it off the hanger and throw it over my shoulders. I stare at myself in the mirror.My long light brown hair just falls past my shoulders. And my brown eyes consume half my face. I give a light sigh then walk back downstairs to meet my mum who is holding a tray of soup and medicine.

 

“Here is the deliveries, sweetie,” say my mum.

I take the tray off my mum and put the can of soup and medicine in a small crochet basket. I start to walk out the door when my mum calls; “Ride your skateboard, it will be a lot quicker.”

“Yeah ok mum,” I reply.

I walk out the door and my skateboard kneels next to the veranda.

“Wear a helmet!” yells my mum from the kitchen before I can think otherwise.

I pick up my helmet which is next to my skateboard and buckle it to my head. I pick up the basket and walk on to the street I live in. Two houses down from me, 6 boys are playing a game of soccer. I recognize them from my class.

“Hey Laura nice cape,” mocks one boy.

I try to ignore him.

The other boys snidely chuckle by his side.

The boy kicks the ball at me.

“Hey Little Red Riding Hood,” crows the boy.” Pass back the ball.”

“Okay,” I say in sweetest voice I can muster up.

And I spiff the ball as hard I can at the boy and it hits him directly in the nose. The boy swears very loudly and starts crying. I cup my hand around my mouth to try and stop laughing. The other boys swarm around him like a pack of wasps. As I skate past, I look behind and see blood flowing from the boy’s nose.

 

I whiz past the library, then the shopping center, the town hall and the last street of houses until I end up at the edge of the forest. I remember when I was 9 and I had to go my Grandma’s house by myself. But my Grandma promised me a prize if I reached her house. There was (and still is) a track but still for a 9 year old going in a dark forest is scary and a little overwhelming. And guess what my prize was….the stupid red riding cloak.

 

I slowly ride my board in the forest. You don’t want to go fast because there are rocks and massive tree trunks everywhere. At medium or so speed I glide through the forest. I see a doe eating grass with her fawn and sparrows flying from tree to tree. I get so distracted myskateboard crashes into a rock and I fall off. The basket flies out of my grasp lands on the ground somewhere.

“Ouch!” I yelp as I land on the ground.

I check if there is any damage to my board but there seems to be none. I brush the dirt off my hands on to the cloak. I’m about to stand up when I hear a crack of a twig behind me. I quickly turn my head around to see what’s there but there is nothing. I see the basket and pick it up. Nothings on the ground so nothing fell out of the basket, so I don’t bother looking.

 

I pick up my board and continue to ride to my Grandma’s house and head deeper in to the forest. 

 

At first, I don’t notice the sun fading and the decrease of forest animals and everything getting darker and darker and darker. Soon I need a drink of water and realize I didn’t bring any. I look around and become conscious that I’m in the heart of the forest. The sun hardly can get through the thick trees and the only animals are some black crows cawing. I begin to let my imagination get the better of me and I snap back into reality. “I’m half way there now and I’m not leaving because it’s dark and a little bit scary,” I think to myself and I continue on.

“You know, little girls shouldn’t be walking around woods,” says a voice. “Because if they hurt themselves, no one can hear them scream.”

I spin around and see a man. He has messy black hair, a fur scarf, a long black coat, sly eyes and a grin that gave me shivers down my spine.

“I also know that little girls shouldn’t talk to strangers,” I say trying keep a strong voice.

He walks over to me.

“Smart girl,” he says as he puts his hand out. “The names B.B. Wolf.”

I shake his hand politely.

“And you must be Little Miss Crimson Cape,” he jokes, but sounded more like an insult.

“Actually it’s a riding hood,” I answer dryly.

“Sorry then Little Miss Red Riding Hood, he apologizes sarcastically more than sincerely. “So what are you doing in the forest on a day like this?”

“I’m on personal business,” I say trying to get away from this wolf character but he’s persistent.

“Are you having a picnic with your imaginary friends?” Wolf jokes cruelly as he points at the basket.

“No,” I insist, embarrassed. “My grandma is sick and I’m going to visit her.”

“So what’s in the basket?” asks wolf curiously.

“Some soup and medicine for my grandma,” I answer, sourly.

“Would you like me to hold the basket for you while you ride along?” inquires Wolf.

“No thank you, I’m certain I can manage,” I answer at once.

“But I insist,” says Wolf determined.

“No thank you,” I say, frustrated.

“Fine,” gives up Wolf, even though he gave up a got a feeling he is going to come back stronger.

I curtly nod and get on my board.

“Does your grandma live out of town?” asks Wolf.

“No she lives in the forest, now good day,” I say, frustratingly.

“Good day Little Miss Red Riding Hood and I’d watch out if I were you, red can be easily spotted,” said Wolf, darkly.

I ride off before he can say anymore.

“What a creep,” I think to myself. It was weird how much he wanted to help me though. I shake my head, “Why do I always see the worst in people,” I think. “Maybe he just wanted to help me out.”

Soon I forget about Wolf and continue riding. Soon I’m out of the heart of the forest. I see the sun again which blares my eyes for a few minutes. When my eyes got used to the light again I see sparrows instead of crows. I smile and look at the sky. It looks like it’s the afternoon around one ‘o’ clock. I endure on riding. “Not far now,” I think happily.

Finally, I get to my grandma’s house. It’s more of a cottage than a house. It has three rooms in total. A kitchen which includes an oven, a microwave, a sink, a cupboard to put plates and cooking utensils, another cupboard for food, a bench to make food and a small table to eat at. A bathroom with a bath, a shower, a toilet and a sink with a vanity. And grandma’s bedroom which has a double bed and a bedside table and walk in wardrobe for her clothes. Her house smells like mothballs and op shops and has quilts and knitting materials everywhere.

I take off my helmet and shake my head. My hair is all messy but I don’t really care. I lay down my skateboard next to the front door with my helmet. I close my eyes and breathe in. Holding the basket and wearing my red riding hood I knock on my grandma’s door.

“Hello grandma, it’s Laura!” I cry out.

No answer.

I knock again “Grandma it’s your granddaughter, Laura!” I yell.

Still no answer. “She’s probably sleeping,” I think.

I push on the door and it opens. I close the door and walk into the kitchen then open the door into grandma’s room.

I see her lying in her bed, sleeping. She had rolled onto the right side of her bed. I walk to the left of her so I’m facing her back.

“Grandma,” I say softly.

She doesn’t stir.

“Grandma,” I say louder and give a bit of a shake.

She still doesn’t stir.

“Grandma!” I yell shaking her hard.

Still no answer.

I pull her to her left and scream. No wonder she wasn’t answering, she was dead. But I scream because there is a slit going across her throat and blood dripping from it. I look where she was lying and there is a pool of blood where her throat was. I gasp for air as I’m chocking from crying from fright.

“Well, well, well Little Miss Red Riding Hood.”

I turn around to see Wolf standing where the door closes, cleaning blood off the blade of a knife with his black coat.

I feel contort with fear and every single muscle in my body tremble. I can’t even manage to make myself talk.

“You were right, you shouldn’t talk to strangers,” he smiles menacingly at the blade.

I somehow manage to control myself enough to say.

“W-what ha-have you do-done to mu-my gra-grand-grandma,” I stutter in fear.

Wolf walks up to me and kneels so where face to face.

“Well your gran-gran didn’t give me the in-for-ma-tion I wanted so she had to go to sleep perm-ant-ly,” said Wolf in an extremely patronizing voice.

And thrash and destroy everything in my path. Instead, I punched Wolf so fiercely in the nose he doubled over onto the floor. I tried to run but grabbed onto my arm.

“You’re not going anywhere you little brat!” threatened Wolf.

He had a knife and I had a red riding hood so I stayed where I was. Wolf stood up and blood poured from his nose.

“Give me the basket!” said Wolf sternly.

“Wait what!?” I asked.

“Don’t lie to me!” yelled Wolf, he edged his knife near my throat. “What do you know about their whereabouts!?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I cry.

“Just give me the basket!” yells Wolf, the knife pressed against my throat.

I raise my hand to give Wolf the basket when the door comes down with a crash. A man with dark brown hair and a torn travelling cloak kicks Wolf to the ground.

“You are not getting that basket, Wolf!” says the man, his foot crushing down on Wolf’s face.

I sit down on my grandma’s old bed and wish that I was still sitting under the willow tree reading about Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.

 

The man makes a quick phone call on my grandma’s home phone and around five minutes later seven men come inside and take Wolf away without even say a word. In the whole five minutes Wolf didn’t do or say anything. The men also took my late grandma.

“I know this won’t help, but would you like a cup of tea?” asked the man, kindly.

I nod. He goes away and brews a cup of tea. When finished he hands me the tea.

“My name is Hunter,” said Hunter. “And I guess you’re wondering about the basket.”

I nod and look at the basket. Hunter stands up and picks up the basket then sits back down and lays it on his lap.

“This is your basket correct?” asks Hunter.

“Yes,” I answer, quietly.

“There was a plan about to take place that involved you, your grandma, three men and a basket,” said Hunter.

I look at Hunter curiously, slightly tilting my head.

“Your late grandma was never sick,” admits Hunter. “Your grandma was a very brave woman and I can see that some of it rubbed off on you.”

“My grandma, brave!” I say, shocked.

“Today your grandma called your mother that she was sick,” said Hunter, twiddling his thumbs. “But she lied, she also said she wanted you to deliver the medicine in your little basket, subtly.”

“Do you remember when you fell off your skateboard?” asked Hunter.

“Yes,” I answer.

“You dropped your basket and I swapped it,” said Hunter, simply.

“What!?”

“You see, if any of the… let’s say ‘the bad guys’ suspect anyone had the information, they would never suspect a girl with red riding cloak,” explained Hunter.

“Was Wolf a bad guy?” I ask.

“Yes, let us get to Mr. Wolf,” agreed Hunter. “Wolf was on our side and a skilled man and no one would suspect he’s a double agent, except me.”

“Today proves Wolf was a double agent and trying to get the information for the bad guys,” confessed Hunter. “He knew of our plans to give the information to your grandma and tried to intercept.”

“So that why he was trying to talk to me,” I realized.

“Yes, and that’s why we couldn’t tell you anything,” answered Hunter. “Wolf would have gotten the information out of you, if you knew.”

“Was my grandma an agent?” I ask.

“A retired one but one of the only people we could trust,” sighed Hunter.

“So how did Wolf know it was me with the information,” I ask.

“He didn’t, but asked everyone that came by and waited for them to say the one thing that gave you away,” revealed Hunter, looking me in the eyes.

“What?” I queried.

“Grandma,” stated Hunter, darkly.

“The word was ‘grandma’ “, I confirmed.

“Wolf knew that your grandma only had one granddaughter and he also knew that your grandma lived in the forest,” noted Hunter. “Wolf knows shortcuts through the forest and, I suspect, he arrived at the house fifteen minutes before you.”

“Wolf most defiantly threatened your grandma for the information but, knowing her, she didn’t tell so he killed her,” informed Hunter.

“So why were you there?” I question.

“I replaced the basket, as I said, but I have never trusted B.B. Wolf,” countered Hunter. “He was too sinister and bloodthirsty so I followed you,” admitted Hunter. “And when you finally go to the house, my conscious was telling me something bad was going to happen.”

“I heard you scream so I snuck inside and listened in the conversation between Wolf and you,” revealed Hunter.

“Then you saved my life and I’m very thankful,” I say, quietly.

“I should have saved your grandma as well,” apologized Hunter, but he said it more to himself than me.

“Am I allowed to know what is in the basket?” I ask, cautiously.

“After everything you have been through, you have the right to know,” approved Hunter.

Hunter opened the basket and inside it was a piece of paper. On it had an address.

“Can I know what this is,” I query.

“It is the whereabouts of three brothers named Hamlet Pig, Harley Pig and Hoover Pig who we call the Three Pigs,” confirmed Hunter.

“What’s so important about the Three Pigs addresses?” I ask, waiting for an answer.

“They make weapons and if fall into the wrong hands things could get severe,” answers Hunter, seriously.

I nod and make sense of it all.

“Now you have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone this information and what happened today," insisted Hunter.

“How do I explain my grandma’s death,” I pointed out.                          

“Say she had a heart attack, we will sort it out,” responded Hunter. “You promise?”

“I promise,” I vowed.

 

 

 

I rode home and told my mum grandma had a heart attack. She was crying for days but then she said she would stay strong for me. The funeral was the saddest part. My mum made me wear my red riding hood but I didn’t mind.