The Moon, The Heart, and The Hood
Once long ago, Red Riding Hood was walking through the woods. Only back then, her hood was white, not red. Her pale cloak seemed to glow against the night sky, as if it was conversing with the stars.
She stopped in a clearing to rest. She put down her large wicker basket. Its contents were covered with a checkered cloth. Riding Hood heard some rustling, and The Wolf emerged from the other side of the clearing. The wolf’s black fur made her almost invisible in the darkness. Her yellow teeth and eyes, though, shone bright. Her maw dripped with want. The Wolf growled, and the sound spoke to her of hunger, strength, and aloneness.
Riding Hood pulled back the cloth on her basket. She lifted the moon from inside. The moon was full and bright. Riding Hood threw the moon to The Wolf. It was light as a balloon and floated through the air. Ears flat, The Wolf caught the moon in her paws, taking care not to rend it with her claws. Then she tossed it back to Riding Hood.
Back and forth went the moon between them, its halo of light undisturbed.
The Huntsman came upon them in the clearing. Axe in hand, he watched their game. Longing overcame him. He snatched the moon from its gentle arc and held it, staring at its hypnotic glow. Then he threw the moon to Riding Hood. She then sent it through the air to The Wolf. The Huntsman didn’t like that and again stole the moon from its flight.
The Huntsman bit the moon, leaving only a crescent behind. Then he released the moon, letting it drift upwards into the sky where it stuck, far above them.
Riding Hood lay her white cloak down in the grass. She took The Wolf’s paw in her hand and laid her down on the cloak. Skin and fur joined together under the moon and stars. In her desire, Riding Hood let out an animal howl.
The Huntsman saw red. He took his axe and hacked The Wolf to pieces. The Wolf’s blood stained the cloak a deep red.
From the dismembered body of her lover, Riding Hood took The Wolf’s heart. She placed the heart in her basket and covered it with the checkered cloth. She wrapped herself in her bloody cloak. She pulled the hood over her head to hide her wet cheeks.
The Huntsman pleaded for understanding, for her to stay. She walked close to him, her chin drawn low, her face masked by the hood. Riding Hood took the axe from the Huntsman, and she killed him. His blood stained her cloak deeper still.
Red Riding Hood hid the axe within the folds of her blood black cloak and continued her journey through the woods.
Amanda Rodriguez is a queer, first generation Cuban-American and an environmental activist living in Weaverville, North Carolina. She holds an MFA from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her work can be found in Germ Magazine, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Mud Season Review, and Stoneboat Literary Journal. Fun fact: While living in Kyoto, Japan, her house was attacked by monkeys. They perched on the roof and in the treetops raining down heavy, half-eaten melons.