There was once a young girl who lived in the forest. She had a mother and a father and a grandmother and, most importantly, a garden full of fresh fruit. She loved gardening because she loved her plants. They grew and grew, up and up, toward the sky, like they really believed if they tried hard enough, one day they could touch the sun.

She loved everything about making red grapes and red tomatoes and red strawberries appear with nothing but water and dirt! Oh God, the dirt! Our young girl loved the dirt and the feeling of it beneath her toes and underneath her fingernails and streaked on her legs and her arms and behind her ears. It made her feel connected to the earth, like the air and the dirt and the wolf and she were all one and the same, just different parts of one grand thing. I think she was happy.

I don’t know much else about how our heroine grew up. I don’t know any of the important parts: I don’t know when or how her parents left or when she stopped being completely present. If you do, please write to me. I’d like to know.

At the beginning of the story I know, she was the ripe, red age of 18. She herself hadn’t changed much — she still woke up every morning underneath a canopy of leaves and watered the plants in her garden and said hello and good morning to the trees and the birds and the bugs and the squirrels and the sky and made herself tea (with a cupful of milk and four sugar cubes) and porridge (with seven spoonfuls of honey) for breakfast.

She still loved the feeling of dirt beneath her feet and underneath her fingernails. She still talked to her parents as if they were there and made weekly trips down to the place she called “grandmother’s house.” Our heroine was mostly the same.

But her body was 18. The red cape she tied around her neck every morning was too short. It had been for a while. The black overalls that used to hang loose on her pre-pubescent body now hugged every curve. Her once baggy white shirt stretched over her tight tummy and ended just above her belly button. She had outgrown her shoes and underwear long ago. Even the neat, braided pigtails her mother taught her how to do years before had gotten harder to maintain; her hair was now longer, darker, messier. Sexier.

And the Wolf was starting to notice.

Our heroine and the Wolf had been partners for many years, as far back as he could remember. He was stuck with her. In every life, in every body he inhabited, she had been there in her little cottage with her mother and her father and a grandmother with a house far away. Sometimes he loses and sometimes he wins and sometimes he eats her and sometimes he gets eaten. But they’ve always been enemies; he could never resist the red grapes and red tomatoes and red strawberries she delivers to her grandmother’s house, and she could never resist the promise of his (usually cooked) flesh.

But this time was different.

The Wolf was wary of the change at first; Little Red, as he called our heroine, had never not been Little. She was always a young brat with expressive and knowing eyes, always smarter than her age let on. She was always soulful and bright, and it infuriated him.

The endings were different, but never the beginnings. She always lived in the cottage with her delicious garden. She was always smart. She always wanted to kill him. He always lurked in the woods, stomach growling until he saw her, until he won or lost.

The Wolf was wary of the change, so he kept away, except to check on her. He saw the mother and the father disappear. He saw the sharpness fade from her eyes. He saw her breasts, her ass, her body grow and grow. He felt himself coming up and up.

The Wolf knew he wanted to fuck her.

The Wolf didn’t know how to do it at first. He just kept watching her, our heroine. He would watch her get up, water her plants and talk to the ground and the trees and the sky. After a while, she would mumble to herself, move erratically. She would scream at the sun for hours. On very bad days, she would kill squirrels and play with the red inside of them.

The Wolf was concerned, but he was pretty sure that this was just an unpleasant variation of their storyline. This time, they would be lovers.