Little Read Riding Hood

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Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grim, and Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

Disclaimer: the read in the title is intentional.

Safie waited impatiently in the hallway. It was long, intimidating, and had a photograph of a well-dressed woman – the name on the plaque said “Dame Kirwin”. She was pretty, but her hair was greasy and it seemed she had matted it down with water. But she powdered her face and applied lipstick anyway. Also, she didn’t look as if she smelt very good. The door burst open and a flustered woman burst out. She pushed past Safie and grasped the pearl necklace around her throat.
Clerval came out after her, his hands in his hair and she noticed that one of his shoes was stepped on.
“Oh dear,” he said, “did you see where she went?”
“Um, I think right.”
“Heavens! That was Miss Kirwin.”
“Her?” asked Safie gesturing towards the portrait.
“Yes. I think I’ll take that down now.”
Safie followed him into his study which had been stormed with electric light. She laid her draft on his battered desk, took a seat in one of his dead armchairs, and pulled up her feet.
“Thank you. Would you like tea?”
“No, but Justine said you might help me with something.”
“Yes dear,” he put on his spectacles and peered up at her.
“See, something odd has happened to me.”
She put her feet down in a more sophisticated manner and folded her hands. How on earth were you supposed to tell someone you were part wolf because a canine had fallen in love with you and had been terribly hungry at the same time?
“Promise you won’t laugh.”
He seemed close to laughter already.
“Fine.”                     
“I was in Hyde Park, and I got devoured by a wolf, I know it sounds strange, but that’s how it is.”
His face began turning red, and it seemed like he was having trouble breathing.
“Right…”
“Okay,” she sighed, “I’ll tell you what happened.”
 
Safie stayed there for two hours and fifty-seven minutes explaining. Clerval seemed unperturbed – as though what she was telling him was perfectly daily news. But now it was nearly ten in the evening, and she should really have been getting home when the chandelier fell from the ceiling onto the table.
“Crikey!” cried Safie.
One of the candle holders had hit Clerval’s head and he seemed unconscious enough. Safie rushed out of the room towards flat 789 and knocked frantically at the door. Miss Kirwin, come living out of the painting, opened the door and glared at her.
“Hello, girl.”
“Quick! My publisher’s just had his brain incinerated (actually, he’s just unconscious, but you know) I need a telephone!”
“I’m sorry, I live simply and I don’t believe in telephones.” She tried closing the door in her face, but Safie put in her hat.
“Honestly, I need you.”
“Very well, but I’ll have you pay me later.” Miss Kriwin left the door open far enough for Safie to squeeze herself in. The room was blindingly pink and flower arrangements were scattered in different places – including the bed.
“The telephone’s behind the roses, top left.”
Safie picked it off the shelf, careful not to upset any singular items.
“I know you,” said Miss Kriwin twirling about to face her.
“I don’t think I know you, though.”
“Yes – of course you do, you just don’t remember me (that’s really sad since I’m actually part of the official flower arranging organization in London , the O.F.O.A.L.– in fact, I’m the vice-president) but never mind that, I met you on  Thursday at Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland!”
“Right – were you wearing a plain pea-green gown?”
“Exactly.”
A faint moan came from down the hallway.
“Oh dear! We’ve forgotten about Clerval!” said Safie.
“That brat is your publisher?!” exclaimed Miss Kirwin.
“Um, yes, I supposed that’s one way of referring to him. I should go see if he’s not going to die.”
Miss Kirwin was unmoved.
“Well, I’m not going to help you.”

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