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Red had always been told to stay out of the forest. She'd always stuck to that rule. Though her grandmother lived right in the middle, in a little old cottage surrounded by the trees, Red had never strayed off the beaten path. But she didn't want to stick to rules forever. She was nineteen, she was a grown woman now. She didn't need rules to keep her in check any more. So it was that she set off once more on her monthly visit to her grandmother. She was dressed in her normal gothic attire, with a red hood covering her long black hair, and carried the usual medicine and hamper, as always.

She knew it was wrong. She knew she shouldn't do it. But Red didn't care. For too long she'd lived by the rules of others. She wanted some fun and to see what was out there. So she left the path. Right there in the middle of the woods, she turned away from the track and entered the unknown.

It didn't take long before she realised she was lost. There was nobody around to help, no signs to mark where she'd come from. Nothing but the same view of trees all around her. She sat down on a large tree stump and wondered what to do. She'd left her phone at home, she had no way of contacting anyone. There was nothing she could do.

"Excuse me, but I couldn't help noticing you there alone. Are you lost?" The voice seemed to come from nowhere. Red looked around and noticed a beautiful girl, no older than Red herself, standing some distance away in the trees. The girl was the polar opposite of Red. Short, spiky blonde hair with a warm, open face. She wore dark heels with black leggings and a short 60's style blue patterned dress. Very indie stereotype, Red thought. She walked across and sat down on the stump next to Red.
"Sorry if I startled you, you just seem like you might be lost."
Despite having had the immortal lesson drummed in to her from an early age - don't talk to strangers - Red felt oddly at ease. This girl didn't seem like a bad sort, she looked around the same age as Red and seemed pretty friendly, if a little forward. "Don't worry about it," she said. "I, um, I was just on the path and I stepped off it for a moment. I'm sure I'll be able to find my way back."
"Are you certain? The woods are pretty big and the path's not that easy to find. I can help if you want."
Red was still a little unsure, though. She knew what her parents had always told her, and though she was now an adult she was still uneasy about placing her trust in a complete stranger. On the other hand, she was lost, and she didn't know where the path was. Maybe this girl could help her.
"Okay, maybe I am lost. Do you know where to go from here?"
The girl smiled, and stood up. She looked down at Red and said, "It depends where you want to go."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, there are different paths, you see. The main path takes you to the town, or deeper into the woods. The other paths… well, who knows where they lead?"
Maybe it was just her imagination, but Red felt that the last part of the sentence was a little sinister. Maybe it was just the words, or maybe it was the way the mystery girl had said it. But Red suddenly felt a chill in the air. She looked around nervously and gave a small shiver, something not lost on the newcomer.
"Something wrong?"
"No, nothing." Red wasn't going to reveal her fears to a complete stranger. "What's your name, by the way?"
"I should have mentioned that from the start, really, shouldn't I? It's Luna. You?"
"I'm Scarlett, but all my friends just call me Red."
"Red, huh? Nice name." Luna smiled at this, then grabbed Red's hand. "How about we make a deal? You seem like a nice enough girl, Red. Where is it you want to go?"
Red was suspicious, but she shrugged it off. "I was heading to my grandmother's house."
"Oh, you mean the little cottage on the main path? I know where that is, I can get you there in about ten minutes, tops."
"Really? What's this deal then?"
Luna smiled again, a secret smile that seemed to deny her friendly exterior. "I can get you to where you want to go. But first, I want you to do something for me. Just one little thing."
"And what's that?"
The smile became wider. "A kiss. That's all. Just a kiss."
Red stood up and began to walk away. "Forget it!" she called over her shoulder. "Who the hell do you think you are? I can find my own bloody way, thank you very much."
Luna watched her walk away. "You'll never find the path without my help! I'll still be here when you decide to take me up on my little offer. Don't worry, it won't be as bad as it seems."
Red stopped dead in her tracks. She knew that she wouldn't be able to find her way back. She'd seen films like this, a bunch of students trapped in the woods, walking around in circles until they went mad with fear. She knew she had no choice. "Do you seriously know where the path is?"
"Of course. I wouldn't say I did if I didn't, now, would I?"
"Well, I don't know. I don't know you. God, I don't even know what the hell I'm doing here!" Red walked back to the stump and sat back down, with her head in her hands. "Why did I have to leave the stupid bloody path, anyway? I should have just done what I was told to. But no, I had to leave the path, and now I've got some psycho lesbian blackmailing me for a stupid fucking kiss!"
Luna had been listening to Red's rant in silence. Now she spoke up. "It's just one kiss, is that so hard? I promise you. I'll take you to the path and I'll leave you completely alone. Alright?"
Red was in turmoil. She had to make a choice. After all, it was only a kiss. What harm could it do? "God, I can't believe I'm doing this. Alright. One kiss. That's it."
Luna smiled again, that same, strange smile that seemed to suggest a hint of darkness about her. "Trust me. It'll be enough."

Luna leant forward and slipped her hands into Red's open palms. She moved her head just a little closer to Red,  her lips barely open and slightly pouting. Her mouth lightly brushed Red's lower lip, just a touch. The kiss was tender, soft and gentle, nothing like Red had expected. She tried to pull away but found that she couldn't. Luna's kiss was like a drug that she couldn't break free from, an addiction that slowly sucked her in until she lost herself in the feeling of euphoria. She was completely lost in the passion, an intense pleasure in the forbidden joys she was experiencing. Red had never thought she could feel like this before, least of all with another girl. It scared her, but at the same time, she was loving it. After what seemed like an age, yet still too soon, Luna pulled away and looked into Red's eyes, smiling that smile again and holding her hands tightly. Red closed her eyes, wanting to relive the moment that had ended too quickly and feel the memory of that joy. Luna moved her lips close to Red's ear and whispered, "It doesn't have to end. Not yet."
Red smiled, matching Luna's smile, and opened her eyes. "What do you mean?" she whispered.
"There's much more that I can show you. All you have to do is say the word. And I can teach you everything you want to know. I can make you feel so much more than this. All you need to do, is say yes."
Red looked into Luna's eyes and nodded, just once. "Yes." A whisper. Still holding Red's hands, Luna drew them down to her breast, and slowly pulled the unresisting girl to the ground. Around them, the afternoon sun gradually began to fade.

Silence. When Red finally opened her eyes, she noticed an eerie silence, all around her. She looked around, but the dark was all-enveloping. Red remembered something, a fleeting memory from the day that seemed to fade as quickly as it had come to her. She tried to recall. She could remember a feeling, just a feeling of love and intense passion that had pervaded the entire afternoon. Her first and only love. She could remember fully now. She'd learned so much during the day, all other thoughts had been forgotten as she remembered the events of that perfect time. She'd never imagined in her wildest dreams (and they had been quite wild) that she would ever love another girl, nor that she would ever have that experience with a girl. Her first time. And it had been perfect.

As Red slowly recalled the memories from earlier, she began to realise something else, something important. Her grandmother! She had visited her grandmother in the forest cottage every month, on the same day, at the same time, for years. Ever since she was a little girl. It was night now, the forest was pitch black and the only light around was from a torch that Red's mother had always made her carry. It was a precaution if she ever got lost and couldn't get home before dark. Red checked the batteries and turned it on. It worked, thank God. She looked around and found she was alone, back on the path. Luna had kept her word then. The strange blonde girl had gone, vanished completely, but not before taking Red back to the path. Just as she'd said she would. Looking at the route ahead of her, she noticed a light through the trees. It had to be her grandmother's cottage. Red set off at a run towards the light, knowing that her family would be worrying. She wasn't far away from the cottage itself. Soon, she would be there.

Red reached the cottage in just a couple of minutes. But when she knocked on the door, there was no answer. Strange, she thought. And there was something else too. Red's grandmother never left lights on in the house. She would always turn them off when leaving a room, to save on electricity bills. So why were so many lights turned on? Red started to worry. She took out the spare key from it's hiding place in the flowerpot near the gate, and unlocked the front door. She wasn't prepared for the sight that met her as she entered the building.

Blood was spattered on the walls. The floor was completely covered in gore, with puddles of blood everywhere. As Red walked around, she saw the same sight in the other rooms. Even upstairs, the sight was the same. The bathroom, the bedroom, even in the main kitchen. Visible on the furniture, draped over tables and chairs, were pieces of flesh, organs and lumps of meat. Red couldn't take it any more. She stumbled outside to get some fresh air, but barely made it. As she ran out of the back door in the kitchen, she tripped on a lumpy mass that had been left strewn across the ground. She looked closer. It was her grandmother, the corpse ripped apart and the organs removed with a sharp knife. Lumps of flesh had been gouged out of the body's arms and blood covered the remains so that they were just barely recognisable as Red's grandmother. It was too much for Red. She ran to the well behind the house and vomited into the bucket that stood on top of the well cover. She kept vomiting until there was nothing left, until she was bringing up the acid in her stomach. Her throat hurt and she had nowhere to go but home. She didn't have her phone, she couldn't call for help. The cable for the landline inside the house had been cut. There was no way of contacting anybody. Red was completely alone.

She ran through the woods. She didn't care about staying on the path anymore. She'd dropped her torch back at the house, but by now her eyes had adapted to the dark. She still couldn't see much, but she could see just enough for her to avoid any major obstacles. Nevertheless, by the time she saw a light through the trees, like a campfire, Red was already bruised and scratched all over. She decided to head for the light. There had to be someone there who could help, someone with a phone perhaps, or who knew a way out of the forest. She moved into a clearing with an open fire in the middle. Red had no idea of the shock that she was about to receive.

Luna was there. Sitting alone by the fire, with her back to Red, she hadn't noticed the bruised and bloody girl walking slowly towards her from behind. Red didn't know what to say, what to do. The passion from hours before was all but forgotten, replaced by an insatiable curiosity and suspicion regarding Luna's presence here. As Red moved closer to her she could see crimson spots on the bright blue dress the girl was wearing. She moved around, to stand between Luna and the fire.
"Why are you still here?"
If Luna was alarmed by Red's presence, she hid it well. "So, you found me. Well done. Perhaps we can play again. I'm sure you enjoyed the -  games - we played today, right?"
"Where did you go when you left me?" Red wasn't interested in idle chatter. She wanted answers. And she wanted them now.
"Cutting right to the chase. You weren't so abrupt this afternoon. I enjoyed it more then. You're no fun now." Luna stifled a yawn and turned her back to Red and the fire, staring into the darkness.
"There's blood on your dress, Luna. I want to know. Where did you go?"
Luna waited for a few seconds, then turned back to look at Red, straight in the eyes. "Did you enjoy the little gift I left you?"
Red felt like tearing Luna's arms from their sockets. She felt like ripping Luna limb from limb and spitting in her face, she wanted to destroy the girl who had made her feel love for the first time, for what the bitch had done. "Who are you? Why did you kill my grandmother? What was she to you? Just give me a straight fucking answer! Tell me now, or I swear I'll murder you right here, you fucking whore!" As she screamed at Luna, Red grabbed her by the shoulders and dragged her to her feet, shaking her with every word. All the while, Luna just stared blankly ahead, as if nothing Red did to her could possibly matter.
"It's no use now, Red. What's done is done. I know you took the knife. I know you want to use it. Go ahead. It doesn't matter now."
Red had gone back to the house after she'd been sick. It had taken every ounce of strength to force herself to go back in there, but she had. She'd taken a long kitchen knife for protection, since she had no idea what was waiting for her in the darkness. It was tucked into her belt, over the skirt. The strength it had taken to go back into that slaughterhouse was nothing compared to the restraint she now had to focus on to stop her from stabbing Luna to death.
"I'm not like you. I'm nothing like you!"
"Say what you like, Red. I know you. You're like me. You always will be. And I know you want to rip me apart and throw the bits into the fire, so just do it. It won't make things better. But it's a start." Luna spoke calmly, as though what she had done had no effect on her whatsoever. It was a testament to her strength of character that she could look Red in the eye and still say those words. She knew she was facing death. And she didn't care.

It didn't take long for Red to finish the job. She couldn't hold back the rage any longer. By the end of it, Luna was nothing but a pile of limbs and organs piled up next to the fire. Just like Red's grandmother. Red threw the bits into the fire, then curled up and wept.

When the search party came across the cottage they only had to take a single glimpse through the open front door to see the carnage that had taken place. Soon the police were undertaking a massive manhunt, searching for the missing girl and the brutal murderer. When rescuers came across the clearing with the fire still burning brightly in the early hours of the morning, they found a young woman in goth dress covered in blood, laughing hysterically in front of the flames. Beside her was a head, just a head with short, spiky blonde hair. The police arrived on the scene almost instantly. As the girl was led towards the waiting police car, nobody noticed a girl in a bright blue vintage dress, black leggings, and high heels, smiling and staring into the flames.
I haven't posted anything on this site in a very long time. I started posting excerpts of a series of stories a while back and ended up giving up when I got writer's block. So here's a new short story, which I personally think is much better than my other works, to whet your appetites :D. I'm sure the more astute among you will realise the significance of the name 'Luna'... Anyway, hope you all like it :)

Grimm Tales Part 2 - Hansel and Gretel: [link]
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hyaenid Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2010
Here (what, two weeks later? I blame finals.) from the mental health thread on the Escapist

Anyways, I thought the story as a whole wasn't bad. I'm curious about the overarching plot, now, too.

The biggest issue I have with your writing is that everything happens really quickly -- it's like you're in such a hurry to get to the sexy/bloody bits you don't have the time or energy to put some love into the connective tissue. There's just not enough there to make the story effective. It also doesn't help that your characters don't really feel like people; Red does stuff, but there's no real insight into who she is, what she likes and dislikes, her view on the world, etc. Even in a short piece like this, her personality should shine through.

Take this first part, for example --

[quote]She knew it was wrong. She knew she shouldn't do it. But Red didn't care. For too long she'd lived by the rules of others. She wanted some fun and to see what was out there. So she left the path. Right there in the middle of the woods, she turned away from the track and entered the unknown.[/quote]

How did she feel? Was she excited? Nervous? Downright scared? Did she imagine being scolded by her mother and father, or did she blithely skip off the path without a care in the world? What other rules does she follow? Did she think it was, like, A MORTAL SIIIIN wrong, or just kind of a dumb, unsafe thing to do? What motivated her to wander off, anyways? Had she ever been curious about the rest of the forest before? How long did she plan to explore? Was there something in specific that she wanted to check out, or was she just feeling super rebellious that day? Does she like visiting her grandma, or does she kind of resent having to do it? If it's the latter, does she feel bad for resenting her?

Obviously I'm just throwing shit out there right now, but I think this would be a lot better if, in general, you added more colour.

Now, for a couple of specifics -- okay, so, this is more a personal thing, but I'm violently allergic to sex being equated with romantic love. Is she majorly crushing on Luna solely because of the mind-blowing sex, or because Luna has a cute laugh and her idea of pillowtalk is making terrible puns? Also, I'm a little confused as to why Red didn't remember anything at first.

"It was a testament to her strength of character that she could look Red in the eye and still say those words. She knew she was facing death. And she didn't care." I think you should cut that. Leave Luna as a cipher. Also, from the ending, I'm guessing that a) she didn't really die, and b) she knew Red wasn't able to kill her, in which case, is it really strength of character to not be super upset about something that won't permanently destroy you? (And now that I've read the comments, I doubly think you should delete this.)

I kind of wish you'd described her clothes instead of just using the catch-all term "gothic" -- swirly romantigoth? Fishnets, miniskirt, and puppystompers? Wearing a Cthulhu tee? Help me out, here.

FOUR SQUAJILLION WORDS LATER, anyways, I also liked stuff. I guess saying I liked the plot is a bit silly, since it's based off of Little Red Riding Hood, but thanks to reading the comment threads, I thought using Luna to tie her into the whole was clever. The description of Luna was cute (also, her name is Luna, as in the moon, as in werewolves? Hee!), and the description of Grandma's house was sufficiently gory. I like that you left Luna's real motivations secret and her lack of response to Red's anger, and the ending was pretty good. I enjoyed it.
Trivun Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2010
First of all THANK YOU!!!!! You're the first person who has actually read this story and understood the meaning behind Luna's name. I thought it was a wasted pun for a while... (plus, I just really love the name Luna...). That's seriously made my day, thank you very much :D.

Also, thanks for the feedback. It's times like this I wish I had a premium subscription purely so I could have the 'Critique' option on my work. Anyway, I have to say I agree with most of your points, in hindsight.

I'll probably leave the unedited version up for quite a while though. My reasoning being that I don't have much time on my hands at the moment, with coursework and revision and other projects. I'll try and make a few changes and edits to the original piece on my PC when I get a chance, though. About your pacing concerns, it's not the first time someone has mentioned that to me. Trouble was, when I wrote it I felt like a had a limit (which was of course completely unfounded) and so I was rushing to try and get the main bits in as early as I could. When I wrote Hansel and Gretel last month, I realised I wasn't working to a limit after all and I could pace it much better.

Regarding Red, that's another flaw I plan to remedy. The original idea was that things like her reason for leaving the path, and stuff like that, would be exposed in later stories, since I didn't want to give much away too early. Plus, I thought it would add to the atmosphere if we didn't know everything about her at first. The descriptions were originally much more detailed, but then someone complained that by describing the character loads the story seemed more like 'soft porn' so I cut out much of Red's description. These are all things I plan to change when I come to edit it.

Regarding the whole 'sex = love' thing, I guess I should flesh it out a little more. Luna is meant to be a succubus, a type of seductive demon, which explains her and Red's actions here and becomes very important in the wider plot. Red does later fall in love with her properly, but at this point it's mainly down the whole succubus thing. Trouble is, it's not very clear at this point, so it makes it more confusing. Again, something I need to change later. That also explains, by the way, why she didn't die. The idea about the demon race in the wider plot is that only certain items and weapons can hurt them. So a kitchen knife won't be much use.

About the stuff you liked, I'm glad someone finally guessed the meaningful name :). The description of the house was one source of complaint for some people back on the Escapist, as they thought it wasn't gory enough. They reckoned I was trying too hard to be Stephen King, and failing (even though I've never read any Stephen King... :(). I do think the ending is much stronger than the rest though, so that's somewhat reassuring :D.
hyaenid Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2010
That was longer than I thought it was, sorry. Also, uh, pretend I didn't fail at the formatting, yeah?
001648 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2010
hey its me from escapist!!!
this is a awesome story, i usually hate reading but this was different.
Trivun Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2010
Thanks, glad you enjoyed reading it :D
myyrrhn Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2010
reminds me of that game - The Path :thumbsup:
loved the way how you could tell something was wrong with luna but you weren't sure? at first i thought luna was going to get the kiss then hack red to pieces (or any other bloody murder) and deposit whats left on the path, yer know the "i-keep-my-promises-but-violently-twist-them"
enjoyed reading this
and i would like to know what luna is; is she a demon? ghost? somesort of vampire?

Trivun Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2010
I was actually planning to reveal what she is in a later story, I'm working on an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel now, then two stories based on Alice in Wonderland. They all tie in together as part of a larger story, so eventually the diligent reader will find everything out. However, if you look up different kinds of demon on Wikipedia you should eventually find out what she is (not saying here simply because I don't know if you can do spoiler tags or anything, so apologies for that). A clue though is that the type of demon she is normally go for the opposite sex, as it were...

Anyway, glad you liked it, and thanks for the feedback :D
myyrrhn Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2010
a succubus? er, one of those-greek-goddess-worshipping-looney-women (sorry, can't remember what their called ^^;), me?? :iconexcitedplz:

welcome :icongropeplz:
Trivun Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2010
She's a succubus, yeah. The idea around Luna is that as a demon, she basically feeds on chaos and so on, so she manipulates people and causes trouble because of that. But as a succubus she also feeds on lust, so that leads to everything that happens between her and Red. Then, I was planning to have Luna come back sometime after the Alice in Wonderland stories that I'll be writing soon, and have her meet up with Red again. That changes the entire dynamic of the group of characters I'll have written in by then...
aprilmarie4203 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2010
I like this a lot......good work :)
Trivun Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2010
Glad you liked it, and thanks for the fave and the watch as well :D
aprilmarie4203 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2010
of course luv
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