Everyone in the fur-trapping village of Emerson, Canada always knew Renee as the little girl who would always wear red. Red dresses, red furs, and a red ribbon in her rich brown locks adorned her. She was the only child of the richest fur trapper in Emerson. For this, Renee was carefully educated and trained to be a proper lady. Being a rich girl amongst a sea of lower and middle class families, she was a rebel.
"Hey Renee! Watch out!"
A ball flew at Renee with the speed of a fox. She backed up and caught it effortlessly. Renee's mother saw her and immediately hyperventilated.
"Renee," she said, "put that piece of filth down and come here! You need to look at least somewhat decent for the guests tonight."
Renee scowled, but put the ball down and followed her mother. Just as she did so, a mob of angered people came rounding the corner of the street following, Cress, the son of the poorest family in the village. He sprinted through the street, a loaf of bread clutched in his right hand. Cries of "Get him!" and "Curse that boy!" rang through the streets. What the mob didn't notice was that the boy they were chasing was heading right towards Renee. With a thump! boy ran straight into Renee.
"I'm sorry, Miss!" he muttered quickly, and he was on his way again with the mob right on his heels.
Renee stood looking out of the window of her bedroom lost in the many thoughts that crowded her mind. Her little dog, Mops, sat silently in her lap.
"There's no way of catchin' that little devil now," a voice said from the street. Renee immediately looked down to see four people from the mob that attempted to catch Cress.
"That boy went straight up to the Hills. There's no way he's ever gonna come back down from there alive."
"And good riddance if he does. He was nothing but a trouble maker in these parts, disturbing the peace!"
The group turned the corner of the street, their voices faded with the cold wind in the air. Renee brought her hand up to pet Mops, but found nothing sitting on her lap.
"Mops?" Renee looked around her room, the red ribbon in her hair glistened in the dim light. A little tale floated just outside her door. "Mops! Come back!"
Renee chased after the little tail that was the back end of her dog. Mops skipped right through the front door when it was opened by one of the maids. Renee skipped right along behind her calling for her to stop. Mops finally came to a stop in an eerie clearing just outside of the village. Rennee picked Mops up and cuddled the little furball that she was. Only then did she look at her surroundings.
"Oh, Mops! What were you thinking? You brought straight into the Hills!" Renee held her dog even tighter. "We are never going to get out of her alive."
Grotesque trees created haunting shadows in the pathless land that was the Hills. Snow had already coated the ground in a blanket of cold white silk and was starting to fall harder. Rennee searched the area trying to find the path she had taken to get to her current location, but the snow had already covered up her tracks.
"Mops, what are we going to do? We're lost." Renee put her face in Mops' fur trying to stay warm. When she pulled her head back up, Renee saw a little glow of light in the distance. She followed the soft glow until she found a cave with a warm fire burning ravenously inside. Renee quickly sat down to take in the heat of the flames.
"What are you doing here?!"
Renee spun around to see Cress at the entrance, a suspicious expression coated his face. His hands were full of wood broken off from nearby trees. He walked over to the other side of the fire and sat down keeping his eyes on Renee the whole time.
"Did they send you here?" he jerked his head toward the village.
"N-no. I got lost when I was chasing my dog," Renee turned her head, avoiding Cress' lime green eyes. Her red ribbon reflected the glow of the fire.
"Okay. I'll believe you for now." He threw the wood in his the wood in his hands into the fire.
"Why did you steal the bread?" Renee spit out the words before she could stop herself. She put her hand over her mouth and shut her eyes in embarassment.
"What would you have done if your family was starving, and you were the only one who could walk around and obtain it. I had no choice."
Renee took her hand off her mouth, and looked up at Cress.
"But that doesn't mean you should steal. It is a sin."
"Is it a sin to watch your family starve to death? I couldn't handle it."
"You have a point," Renee looked closer at Cress, "But you could have asked for help."
"The rest of the village looks down on me as a son of the devil. There is no way that I could even get a crumb when I am the scapegoat of every mishap in the village." He stared into the fire. A piece of his black hair drifted over one of his eyes. Cress pulled if back behind one of his ears.
"I don't believe that you're a thief," Renee whispered. For awhile the two sat in silence staring into the flames of the fire. Only when they heard footsteps outside of the cave did they look up.
"You! What are you doing with my daughter?!" Renee noticed her father leading a group of fellow villagers, all of them holding torches that reflected in sharp detail the anger on their faces.
"What? He didn't take me, Father!" Renee stood up. Her red ribbon glistening in the new light of the torches. "I merely found this cave when I was chasing after Mops."
Renee's father paid no attention to her and immediately grasped Cress by his ragged shirt.
"You rat!" her father growled, "You shall be brought back to the village and sentenced to hanging immediately!"
With that, Renee's father dragged Cress out of the cave and back to the village. The rest of the mob and Renee followed.
"Cress Bates of Emerson, Canada, has been found guilty of theft and kidnapping. His punishment is to be hanged by the neck until dead."
Cress was thrust forward, his head pushed through the noose of the rope. He looked out at the crowd that had gathered to watch his execution. Their faces were painted with expressions of enjoyment and the hunger of watching someone die for their supposed wrong-doings.
All of them were happy except for Renee. She looked straight at Cress with watery brown eyes set to let forth an ocean of salty tears. Then, she did the unimaginable.
"Stop!" she yelled. Renee ran up to the stage set for the show of Cress' execution. "You can't kill him! He's innocent!"
"How do you know?!" someone from the crowd responded.
"Get down from there, Renee!" her parents called.
"No! I will not get down," Renee planted her feet on the wood, "Not until you listen to me! He's never done anything wrong. You just never give him a chance to be normal."
"Renee, please get down from there," her parents tried beckoning her again.
"I shall do nothing of the sort," Renee turned to look at Cress. His face filled with fear and wonder for what Renne was doing. "He didn't kidnap me. Let him go free. He's-"
Before Renee could say anything else, two strong hands grabbed her waist, and pulled her off the stage. Just as she was pulled off Cress smiled at her and said, "Thank you."
When Renee was released, she ran through the crowd away from what was to become a horrific scene of death. Cress was dropped immediately after Renee's fleeting departure. The noose tightened around his neck. Renee turned back once, eyes filled with tears. Her white ribbon glistened in the soft glow of the innocent sun.