“LITTLE RED CAP” (PART 1 of 3) by Scott Donnelly #MicroTerrors
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“Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids”™ 2023
Welcome to Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids, where it’s always the spooky season – full of chills, thrills, and spine-tingling spooks! Micro Terrors are family-friendly frights for those ages 8 and up. And while our stories are for younger ears, we are still talking about things that go bump in the night, and some children may not be able to handle what others can. Parental consent is recommended. Now… for tonight’s MICRO TERROR!!!!
STORY: LITTLE RED CAP
“Your grandmother is very sick,” the girl’s mother said to her. The little girl immediately fell into a state of sadness. Her grandmother had been sick a lot lately, but she refused the help of anyone. It’s almost like she wanted her life to expire out there in her little abode in the middle of the woods.
As a recent widow, her grandmother chose a life of isolation. She would get weekly deliveries of food and supplies, but that was the extent of her interaction with people. If it weren’t for the Crane boy making the deliveries, the little girl’s mother wouldn’t have known about the constant sickness her grandmother suffered from.
“The little Crane boy says it’s not going to be much longer for her,” the little girl’s mother said, fighting back her tears. “I’m going into town for a bit to clear my head.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the little girl said. With a kiss on her daughter’s forehead, her mother left.
The little girl stirred in their cottage. She was antsy and worried for her grandmother, even though she had only met her once or twice over the years. And those times were before her grandfather had passed away. The last time she saw her grandmother, she was given a gift by her; a hand woven cape with a hood.
It was bright red to keep away the magic that was said to lurk in the woods.
Of course, the magic was nothing more than tall tales designed to keep children from running off and getting hurt, lost or killed. The little girl always thought that’s why her grandmother chose the woods to isolate herself; she’d be just about guaranteed a life of solitude.
But then again, what about the delivery boy? Little Charley Crane? the little girl thought. He goes in and out of the woods all the time with no problem, paid to deliver food and supplies. The magic can’t be all that bad, if it even exists at all.
The little girl’s uncertainty of the magical and dangerous woods flared.
“Surely if I wear the red cape that Grandmother made me, it will keep the dangers away,” she said to herself. She dug the cape out of an old trunk that sat at the foot of her bed and flung it over herself. Looking in her mothers mirror, she placed the hood gently down over her head and remembered the nickname her grandmother gave her when she first tried on the garment.
“Little Red Cap,” the girl said to herself, smiling in the mirror. “I’m coming to see you, Grandmother.”
Little Red Cap left her family’s cottage, draped in her grandmother’s gift, and ventured into the woods nearby. She took the path that cut through, the same one she assumed Charley Crane used. The scenery was majestic. Bright, colorful flowers covered the ground, the trees were regal and strong and the brightness from the sun still managed to cut through the bushy canopy above.
“It’s so beautiful,” Little Red Cap said to herself as she jubilantly skipped through the woods. She wasn’t sure how deep into the woods her grandmother’s house was, but if the entire journey looked and smelled as sweet as this, it didn’t matter.
Little Red Cap came to a stop, noticing the path she was on split into two different directions. One path was still bright and vivid, but with a soft, undisturbed pathway. In the other direction, the woods seemed a little darker and more grim. The colorful flowers were almost non-existent, and the sunlight couldn’t seem to penetrate the canopy like it did everywhere else. However, the path looked worn and well-traveled. A weekly trek by Charley would have certainly rendered the pathway in that condition.
“Hello, little girl,” a gruff voice spoke from behind her.
Startled, Little Red Cap gasped and turned around. She saw a large wolf standing before her on all fours. It was gray with a black tail. Its eyes were yellow and its mouth was open. A hint of a smile displayed its sharp teeth. To Little Red Cap’s surprise, the wolf then stood up on its hind legs and spoke again.
“Are you lost, little girl? You seem to be at a crossroads.” Little Red Cap gulped. “How—how can you talk?”
The wolf laughed. “I am not your average wolf,” the wolf said. “I am a magical wolf. Surely you’ve heard the stories of magic in these woods.”
Little Red Cap nodded.
“And that’s why you wear red? To keep the magic away?” Little Red Cap nodded.
“That’s an old wives tale,” the wolf laughed again. “You can’t control the magic.
Tell me, little girl, who are you looking for?”
Little Red Cap gulped again. “My grandmother. She is very sick.”
The wolf sniffed the air as if he were taking a deep breath. “Yes,” he said, “she
is very sick. She lives just around the bend.”
The wolf pointed down the grim pathway.
“You know her?” Little Red Cap asked.
“Of course,” the wolf said. “I’ve been keeping an eye on her.”
Little Red Cap wasn’t sure how to respond. The wolf was making her nervous.
“Your grandmother loves these flowers,” the wolf said, pointing to the sea of colorful blooms that surrounded them. “She loves the smell and their beauty. Why don’t you collect her some beautiful flowers and I’ll go make sure your grandmother is awake and ready for your visit.”
Little Red Cap nodded and the wolf smiled. He winked and then dropped back onto all fours, galloping down the gloomy pathway.
Little Red Cap was on edge after actually speaking to a wolf. But even though the wolf gave off a daunting vibe, he seemed true in his intentions.
“I should not judge by his menacing appearance,” Little Red Cap told herself as she started to pick a bouquet of the gorgeous flowers that surrounded her. When she had enough — a perfect dozen — she crept down the dark pathway and around the bend that the wolf said would be there. And as she turned the corner, there it was; her grandmother’s house.
It was a small cottage, similar to the one she and her mother lived in. Smoke twisted up from a brick chimney stack, giving the air a warm, campfire-like essence. A chill blew through the woods, making Little Red Cap pull her cape around the front of her body as she approached the cottage.
She knocked on the front door and awaited her grandmother, or even the wolf, to answer. He did come to check on her, afterall. But after a few moments, there wasn’t an answer. She knocked again.
“Grandmother? Are you okay? It’s me—” she paused briefly, and then with a smile, said, “It’s Little Red Cap.”
But her smile quickly faded away when still no one answered the door. Now worried for her grandmother’s well-being, Little Red Cap turned the knob and pushed the door open.
The house was dead quiet aside from the crackling flames in the fireplace. Candles were lit and sporadically scattered around the dwelling. Little Red Cap moved through, cautiously and quietly, trying not to wake her grandmother if she were asleep. She sat the bouquet of flowers down on a table and then turned to the bedroom.
In the bedroom, candles surrounded the bed where her grandmother was asleep and completely covered by a mound of wool blankets.
“Grandmother?” Little Red Cap said, approaching the side of the bed. She placed her hand on the mound of blankets, surprised by how large her
grandmother felt underneath them; she was thin and frail the last time she’d seen her.
“My,” Little Red Cap whimpered, “you have grown strong.”
A sound emerged from the blankets, a soft, eerie hiss of laughter.
Little Red Cap ran her fingers along the blankets. “Your arms, they are so big.” “The better to hug you with,” a hissing whisper spoke from underneath the sheets.
This was all wrong. This wasn’t her grandmother. Little Red Cap backed away from the bed and the sheets were ripped off like a magician opening his cape to reveal his ultimate trick. The wolf crawled out of the bed. He grinned as he inched toward Little Red Cap with his sharp claws dangling outward and his bloody teeth on full display.
Little Red Cap was shaking uncontrollably. She was trapped, focused on the blood dripping from the wolf’s sharp teeth. “Your—teeth,” she managed to stutter, “They—they’re—”
“They’re coming to eat you next!” the wolf growled, lunging forward and gobbling up Little Red Cap in a chorus of screams.
The screams of a little girl caught the ear of a hunter in the woods. He stopped where he was and listened, keeping his rifle poised and ready for use. Screams in the woods weren’t uncommon — so many have gone missing here — but this one chilled him. He knew something was very wrong.
The hunter stalked through the woods in the direction of the scream. It only lasted for a brief moment before it was silenced, and that made the hunter more wary.
Any scream that brief and savage can’t possibly have a happy ending, the hunter thought. He continued through the woods until he came to the split in the path. One way was bright and inviting, the other was dark and haunting.
He noticed a trail of flower petals leading down the more forbidding path, and then recalled the scream of the little girl. The pieces of the puzzle fell into place, and the hunter let his rifle lead the way down the shadowy trail.
As he rounded the bend, he saw a small cottage where gray, wispy smoke twirled up from the chimney. The front door of the cottage was wide open.
“Hello?” the hunter called out. As he started to walk towards the cottage with his weapon out in front of him, he was stopped by a gruff voice from behind him.
“No one is home,” the voice taunted.
The hunter turned around quickly to see a gray wolf standing on its hind legs. It used a red, hooded cape as a napkin, wiping away blood from around its mouth.
The hunter raised his gun and fired. The shot echoed through the woods, and the wolf dropped down onto all fours, charging the hunter. Another blast hit the wolf in the shoulder, but it didn’t stop him. It kept coming, only now more enraged. The hunter fired a third shot, hitting the wolf in the leg. Another shot hit him in the chest. The wolf finally started to weaken, but it was too late. It pounced on the hunter, dug its teeth in, and bit off his head in one bite.
The hunter was able to pull the trigger one final time before his body fell to the ground, motionless. The blast of the rifle severed one of the wolf’s paws, and it landed next to the headless hunter. The wolf then staggered backward, succumbed to its many wounds, and fell dead in the dirt.
We’ll continue our story… next time!
Thank you for listening to Micro Terrors!!! Join us each Saturday for another scary story! For more fun, visit our website at MicroTerrors.com where we also have spooky games you can print out and play — like wicked word searches, mysterious mazes, and more! MicroTerrors.com is also where you can find us on your favorite social media and even send in your own scary story for us to tell! Plus, you’ll learn more about our author, Scott Donnelly, who has other horrors for both young and old! I hope you’ll join me again soon for Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids!