Howl: A Red Riding Hood Story is a project I began a little over a year ago. It is sort of a sequel to the Little Red Riding Hood tale, but re-imagined. Red is quite different, as is her grandmother, and pretty much everyone else. But anyway, I am currently writing Chapter Eight of the story, which takes place between two worlds. If you like this opening and want to check out Chapters One through Seven, hop on over to my other blog, howlingcomet.wordpress.com.
Prologue: The Time Has Come
The Young Queen sniffed importantly and nodded at her servants to draw back the curtains. Her hair, the color of rich, dark chocolate, was done up in an elaborate series of braided knots, the better to hold up her crown, with just a few loose curls hanging about her face and neck.
The crown itself was something to behold. Forged from solid gold and worked into a meticulous wreath of briars and wildflowers like the ones found in the wood which surrounded her kingdom. It had been her last gift from her father. The flowers were set with rubies, and from beneath the crown flowed a veil of crimson silk which fell all the way down her back to the floor. Her gown was crimson as well, the bodice laced up with black ribbons and accented in diamonds from the mines in a neighboring kingdom.
Dusk was upon them. The pinkish sunlight glinted off her gilded headpiece and the ruby eyes of her guards’ helms, which were shaped like wolves’ heads.
She approached the large window, her green eyes peering up into the sky. The Old Queen had said it would happen soon, but that had been almost a week ago. The Young Queen’s patience was running dry. The servants seemed to shrink away into the shadows of the throne room, probably fearing an outburst such as the one they had witnessed the previous evening. Everyone in the castle was well aware of the Young Queen’s fiery temper. They sometimes whispered that the veil she wore was meant to hide her demon’s horns, but these words were never uttered except in the most secluded nooks and crannies, lest the queen herself find out about it.
Purple clouds dotted the horizon, and an orange and pink blaze had set the tiled rooftops alight in the village below her castle. A few locals wandered the narrow streets, pushing carts home from the market or begging for bread and coins. The faint echo of bawdy music came from the open windows of The Mounted Stag, the only pub in town.
The queen sneered at the heavens. A gibbous moon taunted her, partially hidden behind a cloud. She was just about to fling the heavy red velvet curtains shut once more when the clouds moved, causing the Young Queen’s breath to hitch in her chest and she gasped.
Yes. There it was, the faintest glimmer of silvery white. It looked like crystallized fire was suspended just below the moon, trapped there in space and time although she knew it was actually moving faster than anyone could imagine.
She couldn’t take her eyes off it, it was so beautiful. The queen stood there, mesmerized by the comet until the sun disappeared behind the pine trees and the candles were being lit behind her in the throne room.
For nearly an hour she said nothing as she tracked every minute change in the sky.
Then, she began to laugh.