Rose woke up to a sharp pain in her right arm. She looked down to see a long gash across her upper arm, dripping hot, red blood. Rose shuddered, wondering how it got there. It could have been the wolf, she remembered, but the cut was too clean, like a knife had left it there. With shaking hands she tore some material from her cloak and wrapped it around her wound, wincing.
Rose couldn't recall anything the night before, after the wolf attack of course. She remembered the creature bounding off into the woods, but not after it opened a wide cut on her other arm. She looked down at her arm now and saw that the wound was already beginning to heal; it had stopped bleeding and no longer looked as if it could become infected. Rose flexed her arm, and realised that it no longer hurt in any way. Puzzled, she stood up, dusting herself off, and realised that she was closer to her grandma's house than she was last night. Still confused, she continued down the path towards the little cottage in the woods.
It took Rose only minutes to get there, and what she saw shocked her out of her thoughts. Grandma's house stood alone in a clearing, smoke puffing methodically from the chimney. Everything seemed to be in order; the rosebushes freshly pruned, the grass trimmed to perfection. The only thing that seemed out of place was the large, wooden door; it had been kicked in. Rose took off running towards the house, dropping her basket. Inside she found something that would haunt her for the rest of her life. On the ground, just in front of the fire, lay a pile of clothes, unmistakably Rose's grandmothers. Along the walls were claw marks, not unlike those of a wolf. Black fur littered the ground, also very wolf-like. Rose's stomach churned, and she almost vomited when she saw the torn, bloody remains of her grandmother.
Rose screamed, unable to tear her eyes away from the bloody wreckage that was once her grandmother. When she finally looked away she ran, faster than she had ever run before, back through the forest. She ran for as long as she could, until she could barely breath and her legs felt like jelly. But she kept going, slower but still with as much purpose. When she arrived at the village she almost collapsed with exhaustion, but managed to find the local huntsman. He was leaning against one of the buildings, deep in conversation with the butcher.
"Look, Charles," he was saying, "I don't see why you can't buy wild squirrel. It's perfectly good-"
He broke off as he saw Rose.
"Rose!" he said in surprise. "What happened!"
"Wolf," she panted. "Ate...Grandma...attacked...me..."
By this time many people had gathered around to see what all the commotion was.
"A wolf!" the huntsman - Edmund - exclaimed, grabbing the axe that lay beside him. Rose flinched despite herself.
"Yes," Rose said, regaining her composure. "I was attacked on my way to my Grandma's house in the woods, and when I got to her house today I found her remains on the ground and saw a wolf's claw marks on the walls!"
The gathering crowd gasped collectively as Edmund stood up straight, axe in hand.
"Listen up everyone!" he cried. "I know it's getting late, but let us gather a hunting party. We're going to kill the wolf!"
The crowd cheered, but all Rose could do was stand, stunned, as Edmund walked into the sunset, followed by a dozen other hunters.