Finished up this piece of my collection “Medieval Stories, Modern Problems.”
A crowd of about 50 people gathered outside a cottage deep in the woods. It was grandmother’s house, and this day, it was the site of serious protest. The group shouted angry words and made threats as they called for justice. It was a chaotic scene to say the least but fortunately there was someone there to cover the event for those of us unable or unwilling to participate.
Kourtney Keurig was there with a cameraman to report on the mayhem.
With her long blond hair carefully brushed to one side and her gleaming eyes ready to enchant the viewers with her depth of empathy and charm, she checked with her cameraman, Rob, before beginning. He gave her a thumbs up and she began.
“This is Kourtney Keurig here with Channel 4 news coming to you live from Grandmother’s house which is the scene of a loud and passionate protest. These once quiet woods are now filled with calls for justice and retribution. The air is thick with anger. When once it smelled of baking cookies, today it carries the scent of vengeance.
“As most already know, this is the scene of a fantastic tale of a granddaughter killing the wolf she claims ate her grandmother then hacking the elderly woman from the belly of that wolf. While most heralded the girl as brave in the face of danger, others say there is a very different truth behind the story we first heard.
“We were told that as the girl was carrying wine and cake to her sick grandmother, apparently in an effort to help her feel better, a greedy wolf greeted the girl. She then told the wolf that she was on her way to visit her sick grandmother.
“The tale continues to say that the wolf rushed to the grandmother’s home and ate her then pulled on granny’s clothes and waited for Red. When the girl arrived, the wolf ate her as well.
“How are they alive today do you wonder? Well a woodsman happened by and claims he heard the snoring from a sleeping wolf and let himself into the home and then cut open the wolf to pull the girl and her grandmother free before stuffing the wolf full of stones, killing the animal.
“But that isn’t all. The woodsman admits he skinned the wolf and made off with his hide. Now, a few are questioning some of the details of this story and making some pretty strong accusations, which begs the question, was this a story of innocent victims beating their attacker, or was the wolf set up?”
Back in a bright and cheerful studio, a middle aged man and woman sat with blue coffee mugs printed with “Channel 4” in white lettering. The mugs in fact contained no beverage whatsoever but were merely there in case viewers forgot which channel they were watching.
The man had dark hair with streaks of distinguishing grey down the sides and a prominent chin. His suit was blue and his tie was red over his white shirt.
The male newscaster asked in a deep but cheerful voice, “What is the feeling of the crowd down there, Kourtney?”
“Well, Gary, they are certainly hostile, I can say that,” the chipper field reporter answered. “They do not sympathize with the grandmother or even the girl for that matter; as far as I can tell.”
Next, the female newscaster spoke up; her warm smile melting any heart that saw it and her dyed blond hair and face lifts gave her a perpetually youthful appearance and hopeful feeling.
“What about the huntsman?” She wondered, “I would imagine they were upset with him as well?”
“Oh yes, Janet, you’re spot on there,” Kourtney continued. “They are none to pleased with him at all.”
“Is he there as well?” Janet added.
“Not at the moment. Word on the street is that he fled into the woods, what with the recent backlash against him when the story of Red and her encounter with the wolf got around. No one has reported seeing him for a couple of days now.”
“Is the woodsman being investigated for anything right now?” Gary wondered.
“I have no word that law enforcement is currently investigating the woodsman after the incident but many are pressuring them to look into what they are calling a murder.”
“That’s quite a charge there, Kourtney, how do people expect such a charge to stick?”
“Why don’t we ask them, Gary?” With that, the camera turned slightly and standing near the field reporter was a young woman with her hair pulled back and round glasses dominating her face. In one hand she held a sign that read, ‘Protect Wolves, Not Whores.’
“It seems you are among those not convinced that Red is a hero in this situation, is that fair to say?” Kourtney wondered.
“To say the least! This is actually pretty simple, Red and her grandmother are alive and it is the wolf who is dead. After being tortured to death. Are we really to believe that the wolf swallowed the girl and her grandmother whole? Just to be cut out of the wolf? Doesn’t that seem suspicious?”
“Maybe so but there is no evidence that the wolf was just murdered. After all, how did the wolf end up in the cottage to begin with?”
“Of course there is evidence if you look at this, not as a story of heroism by the humans but one of deceit and manipulation. Why on earth was Red going to her grandmother’s house with alcohol in the first place? A minor with wine? That raises a red flag immediately. And when we looked at the social media pages of the Huntsman, which he has now taken down, we find that he has a long history of trophy hunting. He enjoys killing beautiful and innocent creatures for his own amusement and to brag to friends. It doesn’t take much to see that this is about him setting up this poor innocent creature.”
“I see what you’re saying,” Kourtney acknowledged, “But how did the girl and grandmother get involved?”
“Well, isn’t it obvious?” The woman postulated. “Red and this Huntsman must have a thing going on and Red was used as bait to lure the wolf to his doom. It’s the oldest trick in the book! She no doubt seduced her victim for her beau, and then the hunter murdered the wolf!”
“Well, that is quite an accusation, but I suppose it is possible this all was part of a plan. What are you hoping your protest outside the grandmother’s house will accomplish?”
“Justice! We want justice for not only this wolf, but for all the other poor creatures that are murdered every year in the name of sport or whatever other sick justifications people make.”
“What type of justice do you mean?”
“We want a national ban on all hunting and we want any perpetrators of these crimes to be held accountable by law. We want to see this huntsman and any others who murder these animals to be locked up behind bars where they belong. That’s the only justice we will accept.”
“Well, Gary,” Kourtney added, “You heard it. These protesters want justice for the wolf.”
“Well then, thank you for that in field reporting,” said Gary as he turned to his co-host. “It sounds like there are some very angry people down there.”
“It sure does, Gary,” Janet agreed, “But it isn’t surprising. People love animals after all. I know I sure do love my dogs.” She smiled widely with no hint of intelligence behind her glowing face.
“Of course you do, Janet. We’ll be back with more news after this word from our sponsors.”
The news feed cut to a commercial.