Valerie ran and fell before Lucie’s lifeless body, clutching desperately at shreds of hay. She couln’t bring herself to touch her sister yet.
Lucie was in her finest dress, but the fabric was tattered and barely served to confine her body anymore. Her hair, a formal four-strand braid, plaited so carefully the night before, had loosened into matted strands.
The crown of weeds was still clinging to her hair. Valerie pulled off her own shawl and coverd Lucie. Then she lifted her sister’s hand to her cheek and felt a few shreds of paper in the cool palm, handing her one final secret. They looked like the remains of a note, but the writing was impossible to make out. Valerie shoved the pieces into her pocket.
The hand felt clammy with dew and gummy with clotting blood. She finally gave in to the exhilaration of grief, allowing it to bury her like a blanket of snow, so that everything seemed muffled and far away.
Soon Valerie felt anonymous hands intruding on her within the presence of her dead sister. She could not let go, because she didn’t know whether her sister was gone from the body yet; she was not sure how fast the leaving happened. She had to be pried from the site, her knees stained dusty brown with blood and winter soil, tears streaming down her cheeks.
As she was dragged away, the first snow of the season began to fall.
Winter was early.
This is the story of the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood with a twist. Set in a place called Daggorhorn, the little town has been plagued by The Big Bad Wolf for a long time. The houses are up off the ground so that the wolf can’t get the townspeople and there is a nightly curfew. There must also be a monthly sacrifice to appease the wolf; usually a fattened sheep or chicken is led out to the open and tethered there for the wolf to have. Then it will leave the rest of them alone.
One night, after finding out that it was their families turn to provide the sacrifice, Valerie runs out after the prized sheep, finding it tethered to a post, ready to be eaten. Just as she gets there, she witnesses the sheep being taken by the wolf. Fearing for her life, she runs, but the wolf doesn’t bother with her.
After a day where the men are clearing the fields, and the women handing out water and foods, Valerie meets up with her old time friend, Peter, for whom she is not allowed to see. She realizes that she has been in love with him and has missed her old friend.
But, when a noise, a growl alerts them, making them panic because they are all away from home, somehow in the panic, Lucie becomes separated from everyone.
But, when Claude, who is slightly challeneged finds Lucie, Valerie’s little sister, ripped apart from the wolf, he rings the bell four times. Ringing the bell four times tells the people of the village that there has been a death by the wolf.
“A werewolf is never truly human no matter how it appears. During a normal full moon, a Wolf bite will kill you. But during the days of the blood moon, your very souls are in danger.”
The room chilled.
“For how long, exactly?”
Two nights are left, Valerie thought. Tomorrow will be the final day.
“As I’ve said,” the Reeve interjected authoritatively, smiling, his jowlish cheeks pulling out to either side, “none of this matters. We’re safe now. The Wolf is dead. I killed it myself in it’s lair, the cave at Mount Grimmoor.” The Reeve began to turn, hoping that would be the end of it.
Solomon looked at him as though he were a child. The villagers were unsure which patriarch should receive their allegiance.
“You’ve been deceived by this beast.” Solomon systematically cracked his knuckles. “Right from the start. Most likely, it lured a hungry wolf to the cave and trapped it there for you to find. It fooled you into thinking it lived on Mount Grimmoor so that you wouldn’t loof for it in th most obvious place.”
He paused, letting them understand their own folly.
“The Wolf lives right here. In this village.” He looked at the villagers. “Among you. It is one of you.“
The wolf ends up being someone for whom everyone knows. And, to make matters worse, Valerie is the only one that can “hear” the Wolf when it speaks, making everyone believe that she is a witch. When she hears the Wolf, the Wolf tells her that if she doesn’t come with it, it will kill everyone she knows and loves. Valerie has no choice when she is captured by Solomon and made to be the next sacrifice.
I very much enjoyed this book and the Wolf ends up being someone you might not expect. For this book, I give it Four stars.
I’d give it Five stars, but apparently this isn’t the end of the story? I have to go to a website to find out if this is truly the end of Valerie’s story. What? The ending of the book isn’t the end of the book? Ok, not sure about that, but maybe it’s because it’s a movie thing. Apparently, according to reviews I read of this book, the ending of the book wasn’t made public until after the movie came out.
So, I guess if you want to have the ending of the book in a book format, you’ll have to buy the book that has the ending. I haven’t yet read the “true” ending to the book, so I may have to review my review later. But for now, Four stars are what I’m giving it. However, I do recommend it. It was a good read. I just wish the true ending was “in” the book.
Ok, so I just went to the website and read the “Bonus Chapter”. Who I thought was the Wolf ended up NOT being who I thought it was. I was a bit confused in the bonus chapter but I can’t give anything away, so I can’t tell you. However, it does “end” the story completely, making it actually better.
It SHOULD have been in the book though, not on a separate website. That kind of pisses me off.
Does my rating change? No. It should be a Five, but it’s a Four for that very reason above.