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Once upon a time…
Little Red Riding Hood snorted another line of coke.
Sucking hard from her nose, she closed hes eyes raising her head to the sky, waiting for a sudden blow from the drug that never came.
No way. They sold her shit again.
She would talk to Samir all right, this was really the last time: he couldn’t always give her bad stuff. Couldn’t he? After all – she reflected, while wiping the thin trace of blood dripping from her nose with her elbow sleeve – she would have accepted any crap he would have given hem, at this point. By crawling if necessary: addiction was a bad beast.
Now that she recharged, it was time to go.
The appointed place was not too far from her position, an alley in the neighborhood ironically located behind her house (if you could call that rat-infested cesspool in which she lived). The degradation of the neighborhood did not really affected her in any way: after all she was part of it. Violent drug addicts or wandering alcoholics, thugs or rapist: no one frightened her, not even the police. At times though, in the reflection of shadows, a stale, watered-down memory of stories and fables resurfaced. Beautiful princesses and valiant princes who came to save them; evil wolves and defenseless girls; and baleful monsters, ugly demons and dispotic tyrants punctually killed by heroes, wizards and kings: and all these figures came to life thanks to the lips of his mother, made alive with shadows cast on an old wall …
But she was no longer a child, there were no evil princes or wolves, and her mother had long since rotted in some mass grave. No prince had come to save her, and the only demon she knew was the one she had inside. The only thing that scared her, in the present, was not being able to pay for another dose.
“You took your time”
The man had covered his face with a hat and handkerchief, his hollow voice hiding any attempt at camouflage. As if he cared
“I was busy, let’s not waste any more time. Do you have the cakes? ”
“Of course. Bring them to Grandma intact and we will pay you the agreed amount. Get caught, steal or lose them, and we’ll come for you. Simple as that”
“Give me the goods”
The girl pulled back the red hood of her sweatshirt and quickly checked the contents of the bag: a dozen anti-personnel mines, perfect as they were deadly in their rounded shape, harmless only in appearance.
She whistled out of surprise:
“Good stuff. Don’t worry, it’s in good hands, just give me the rest of the money after delivery ”
“Don’t worry, we’re cool. Now get away quickly before anyone gets curious. If you’ll be a good girl, I’m sure we’ll meet again … “
She wanted to lie to herself believing that she was going to quit this shitty life with the money she’ll earn. That she’ll invest in a good business, ditch drugs completely, marry an handsome man and ride with him on a white horse to the end of life: all bullshit. What she’ll really do is to get another dose, vomit right next to her bed and think about suicide when she wakes up. She would repeat this routine until the next job… Well, at least it’s better than giving blowjobs to men more desperate than me, she observed cynically.
Lost in these thoughts, she realized how far away she was from her house, having almost reached the exit gates of the city. In theory it was possible to leave only if officialy authorized, but the duty guards never said no to a good ol’ bribe, and the secondary exit viaducts were open to anyone with a heart as big as their wallet.
She began to wear her personal mask, pulling it out from the crumpled backpack she carried behind her back: the two filter tubes were so heavy that they sometimes forced her to rest her head while the thick, darkened lenses obscured her view (at least inside the city: outside things would be different). As the guard approached she simply showed her odd star-shaped tattoo and they simply let her pass. The navigated path of corruption had already worked its gears, and her employer was on time on making it work.
She took a small secondary tunnel that slipped directly into the rock, leaning on all fours to continue, and followed the directions that she had been given: 1 kilometer straight, 600 meters uphill and then ….
It was not an easy journey. The crawling position in which she advanced hurt her back, the solitude as heavy as the narrow space in which she moved. But after hours that seemed to never end, after passing numerous crossroads, air-filtering tunnels and so on, she was finally out.
The black sun, with its dazzling shadows, greeted her into a desolate world.
Horrendous trees with twisted shapes pointed towards the sky clustered in a forest ahead, while to the right she could only see desolate, crumbling ruins of concrete and glass coming from a distant past. Not a single form of life could be seen: and that was good.
Well. Time to go, being as discreet and quiet as possible to survive the day. The first I arrive, the sooner I leave this place behind – she thought, quickening her pace.
It was never nice to go into the outside world. Sure, it sucked down there, but at least you could somehow live. Out here … you could feel that something was wrong. That it would have burned your skin if you had exposed it even for a moment. Whispering strange words in the wind, never leaving you alone, a dread feeling of having someone behind waiting, watching…
It was in these places that the stories of monsters and evil wolves became real, coming to take bad children with them into the shadows. And she had been very, very bad …
Wait, was that… a noise? A rustling of leaves … No, just her imagination. But pulling out the knife wouldn’t hurt.
By the sixth hour of walking, and the fifth in the middle of the forest, her nerves were on the edge, making her paranoid on every movement, every shadow. In about four hours she would be at her destination: this was not the time to stop.
She continues a little longer, determined not to deviate from her path. And here it is again, another noise! This time of broken branches: was it possible that someone was following her? She quickened her pace directly into a wild run, abandoning any semblance of stealth: just a little more, almost there!
And then she saw him.
Nothing but a shadow, terrible and imposing; the Wolf had come to get her.
She kept running, even after the terrible bang, her blood dripping from a hole in her chest; and as she fell, just before she lost consciousness, she could only see its fangs – how big they were! -and its eyes, what big eyes it had … just like in mother’s fairy tales …
Samir took off his wolf mask, placing the hunting rifle in the holster behind his shoulders.
Poor, naive girl. He was lucky that she talked too much when in withdrawal
He recovered her purse with the money, and took some time checking the girl’s body, finding nothing of value. Just an old Fairy Tale’s children book… Trash- he thought as he tossed it away.
He raised the little red hood over her face and began to move away from the scene, leaving bloody footprints behind him.
Not all fairy tales had a happy ending