Over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing additional excerpts from the novella Hood & Fae, the first of my new urban fantasy series Daughters of Little Red Riding Hood. Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords or Google Play.
With a light tap, I pushed open the door to the bedroom. Cold air hit my face, raising goose pimples. The scent of lemons and wet dog fur was strong, but Granny Rose didn’t have a dog. She said she couldn’t keep pets out here because of the coyotes.
She lay on her bed, on top of the neatly tucked bedspread. She wore a velour tracksuit and a headscarf over curlers. The real TV, a flatscreen, was in here, and blared at a volume suited to the hard-of-hearing. Reruns of Bewitched. Her face tilted away from me. Her body was so still, a chill chased my vertebrae. It made me think of Mom, eternally sleeping.
I approached slowly. My feet sank in the plush carpet.
The bedroom had been decorated more recently than the living room/kitchenette. Mauve and powder blue and lemon yellow daffodils covered everything. Kittens and kitschy quotes, embroidered by various goddaughters and framed ornately, fought for space on the walls. The most elaborate featured a Bible quote: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7. An air conditioner roared in one window even though it hadn’t been particularly hot today.
She still did not move, or turn to look at me.
I edged around the bed so that I stood before her. Finally her watery blue eyes moved to meet mine. A smile dimpled her wrinkled jowls.
“Hello, dear. I didn’t hear you come in.”
“I put the pies in the kitchen.”
“For the bake sale?”
“Of course, dear. Of course.”
“Are you okay, Granny Rose?”
“I love this episode,” she remarked. Her eyes strayed back to the TV. “Darrin sprains his ankle and Samantha gives him magic powers.” She gestured dismissively. “He gives them back at the end.”
“All those sit-coms returned everything to the status-quo by the end of each episode,” I said, but my heart wasn’t in it. Everything looked so normal and felt so wrong.
Granny Rose never calls me “dear,” she calls me “dumbkof.” Also, why didn’t she ask (demand) to inspect the pies? Or offer a sharp tongued critique of my cooking? Or grill me about whether I used real sugar or some of that fake modern stuff she was convinced caused cancer in mice?
When I looked at her I saw a second image flickering over her body, not quite visibly. I started to sweat. I slipped off my red jacket. She looked normal. I slipped my jacket back on, and the flicker started again.
“You can’t ever have the status quo back,” she said. Her lip curled, showing yellowed teeth. “Once you have tasted true magic, you can never go back to what you were before.”
She met my eyes again, and hers gleamed like a predator’s in the dark.
“Granny, why do your eyes look whacked?”
WARNING: This novel is only appropriate for older teens and adults, because it contains #$%*&@ words. Spelled out for real, though. Even that one that starts with “F.” Yeah, it’s in there, in a couple places. Also, “dumbkof,” but that’s in another language, so it won’t bother you.