AN: I do not own Little Red Riding Hood. This is an appropriation of the classic folk tale.

Little Red Riding Hood

Predator and prey – there is no confusing them. It's either hunt or be hunted. It's either kill or be killed. There is no midline between death and life, no midpoint. You cannot outweigh your options. Life or death – continue breathing, or exhale for the last time, your final time. There is no decision to be made, because life is the automatic answer for every creature. The body's first goal is survival and then reproduction. The body will do anything to survive. For instance, clumsy footing footing can lead to your hind legs scrabbling for purchase. It's reaction for your hind legs to act so violently as they claw at the rocks, trying to help you hoist yourself up to where you belong – anything that could possibly prevent falling, injury and/or death. It's instincts, reactions, and the mind has no control over those few microseconds. It's all body, because it would do anything to survive, to live on.

When I sink my sharp teeth into the flesh of my prey, I have those thoughts in my mind. Better them than me I have always said. As I rip apart my meal's skin, I know I'm doing it for the better of me. I know that if I do not feed my hunger, I will equal weakness. I will amount to nothing. I will always be dirt. There is no surviving in this forest I call home when I cannot be willing to do what is necessary for my survival. There are no excuses for me to simply grow a heart.

I was part of a pack and when in a pack, you care only for the members, but you only care so much. You watch your back, for you can never fully trust your companions. Showing decency for them and then walking away from them could very well mean your demise. It has a possibility of being all trickery. Seduction and mind games can lead you to your death. I knew that from experience when I was part of my pack, led by a ruthless alpha male. Anyone who questioned his authority would there by have their throat ripped out. He took no disobedience from any one member of the pack, not even from the alpha femme. If she overstepped her bound, he would instantly put her back in her place, reminding her he was male and she was female. It was a hard life – living in the small pack of five, but it was my life at the same time. I was a part of it, and I never thought twice about it.

However, humans were the cause to my occupation now as a loner. They have no care. They do as they please and nothing stops them. I guess you could call them a pack of their own, seeing how there was always the leading man, the leading woman, the disobedient, the obedient, and then the small time followers. They look out for each other, yet they still turned their backs on each other, living on betrayal.

They are animals, yet the never cease to think they are better because they make things. They make things out of natural resources, my resources. They carry things around, large and small. They put things on their bodies, covering their natural selves. I was never able to understand the ways of man, but I knew and still know that they care for themselves, all coming back to predator and prey. They kill their food, but I've also come to notice they kill also for pleasure.

I saw this with front row seats, and it was done to my own pack. They came silently, but we were still able to hear them. We were resting from a hard day of running, moving on to other territory that the alpha male would have soon called his own. Alarmed, we awoke ourselves and before we knew it, these sounds rang out. It was so loud. It made my ears want to crumble and block out every single sound there was. I had never heard such a thing in my life and I know I never want to hear it again. Right after that sound came, the alpha femme was on the ground, dead, with a circle of blood coating her beautiful white fur. I had never seen such a thing. Nothing touched her so it seemed, and yet she fell straight to the ground as if an invisible force reached into her, took out her soul and squeezed her heart. Another loud sound and another one of the members was down, then another and another, that one killing the alpha male. I heard hoots coming from the men and I knew my survival was at risk. So I fled just before I heard another one of those death invoking sounds rang through the sky and I was glad to find myself still standing.

Better them than me.

So now I have no pack. I have no leader. I have no followers. It is simply me. And I simply roam with an unwavering hatred for all humans. They took it all away from me. I am alone because of them. Where would I be now if I were still part of my pack? Would I be dead because I might have challenged the alpha male? Would I be leader because I had challenged the alpha male and been victorious? Would we still be running?

Now I walk alone, and my pack is dead. I take my hatred out every time I get at a human. Better them than me. I despise them all with no remorse. Their ways of life are insulting to nature. The very sight of them hurts my eyes with their lack of hair, being replaced with pale skin. How they are able to survive is beyond me.

So now I spot a girl who is wandering in the forest full of dangers, clad in a vibrant red cloak. The hood is up, concealing her face though by her form and height, I can only assume she is of young age. What a foolish little girl. I see her stop several times to frolic in the shadows of the canopy and to have a smile cross her lips. Hadn't her mother ever told her never to dwell? She's holding a basket in her hand and I can only guess as to what is in it, though to my own amusement, I suspect she is heading somewhere, but where?

Tempted, I step out of the shadows casually, holding not one hint of devious thought. As I step in front of the little girl, she stops suddenly, her eyes glinting with slight fear and I smile kindly, trying to ease her nerves.

"Where are you going, little girl?" I ask with a sweet voice, nodding with my gentle smile.

I can sense her hesitance, but she is obviously naive. Such ignorance is not bliss in this case. "I am going to see my grandmother and carry a cake and a little pot of butter to her from my mother," she finally says, her sweet voice ringing in my ears.

"Does she live far?" I ask.

"Oh, yes she does," she says, her voice calming as her hesitance wanes. I can't stop my fur from bristling with anticipation. "It is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village."

"I see," I say to her with a nod of approval. "Well, to be the kind gentle-wolf I am, I will go visit her as well." Looking down the path she is traveling, I know that she is taking the long way to such a house, yet I say nothing, for the longer she takes, the better. "Let us have a race," I say with my counterfeit smile. "You go that way, and I will go this way and we will see who reaches your sweet grandmother first." I am not surprised to see that she complies with an eager look on her face.

At this, I leave her and dash down the path I've chosen. I love to run. The feeling of the wind brushing against my fur, tingling and tickling my skin is more than enough to give me a high. It's a feeling I cherish. I loved it even more in the past when I was able to run with my pack. We would be silent through our running, but we all seemed to be linked, holding an equal amount of excitement and enjoyment. It was simple, the way we lived, the way we ran.

I miss them.

I did not take me long before I saw myself at the door of the girl's house. Lifting my paw, I knock on the door, waiting to hear the elderly woman's voice. "Who is there?" she calls with her sickly voice through the door.

"It is I, your granddaughter, Little Red Riding Hood," I say softly in the best imitation of the girl's voice I can make. "My mother has sent me to give you a cake and a little pot of butter. Please let me in, grandmother." The old woman tells me to enter and I do.

Before the woman had a chance to even take in a breath to scream, I was on her, my teeth sinking into her throat – quieting her. There is a lumberjack near by and I do not need his troubles. I eat her whole and I put on her cloths and I wiggle my way into bed, awaiting the little girl. Only a few moments have passed and already I hear her footsteps coming up toward the door. I can't stop the mischievous smile from crossing my wolf lips.

And then a knock.

"Who is there?" I call, mimicking the deceased woman's voice as best I can. Seconds are passing and I hear nothing. I hope with every shred of faith I have that she didn't run off, for my imitation cannot be the best in the world. However, her scent is still strong.

"It is I, your granddaughter, Little Red Riding Hood. My mother has sent me to give you a cake and a little pot of butter." As the woman had instructed me, I tell Little Red Riding Hood to enter, and she does.

"Please, just place the basket on that end table over there and climb into bed with me. Comfort your grandmother," I say to her, hugging the blanket close to my face so that she cannot see my true identity. And I watch her place the basket where I instructed and she removes her red cloak, soon walking over to the bed, lifting the blanket and climbing in bed with me.

I smile at her wickedly.

"Grandmother, what big arms you have!" she exclaims. My smile broadens.

"All the better to hug you with, my dear!" I say to her right back, not missing a beat.

"Grandmother, what big legs you have!"

"All the better to run with, my child."

"Grandmother, what big ears you have!" she says, pointing to my ears as if they were some insect on the wall, shrieking in fright.

"All the better to hear with, my child!"

"Grandmother, what big eyes you have!"

"All the better to see with, my child."

"Grandmother!" she cries as I smile large, showing my teeth, my fangs. "What big teeth you have!"

"All the better to eat you up with!" I growl, and before she can scream, I gobble her up.

Better her than me.