Special thanks go to Mylilblackpen for beta reading this story and turning it into something I actually liked rather than something I wrote down as quickly as it came into my head.

Slowly she placed a bare foot on the ground. The grass tickled her toes. Another foot. And another. She proceeded through the meadow towards the forest behind it. The moon shone bright in the sky, painting the scene around her in strange, silver colours. A small breeze made her long blond hair stir.

On the edge of the forest, she regretted leaving the meadow. The leaves, fallen from the trees as summer was ending, weren't as soft beneath her feet as the long grass, but it was not the softness she craved. No matter how silent she crept forward, the leaves would crunch under her feet, making it impossible to go unnoticed. Yet she placed her feet as carefully as possible, reducing the sound to a minimum.

The cold wind tugged at her blue-checked dress but she did not give it much notice. Her gaze never left her feet, and she held out her arms to keep her balance, as if she was walking on a thin cord attached between two towers.

All too soon, she reached a small stream. Pleased by the sound of the water, that concealed the sound of the crusting leaves, she followed its course.

After a while, she reached a fallen trunk, placed over the stream like a bridge, and she turned left. Never looking up from her feet, her arms still swinging to keep her balance, she crossed the stream.

Yet halfway the timber, she stopped dead on her track. Her arms fluttered and fell to her sides as the bushes on the other bank of the stream rustled. She wasn't afraid though, she didn't even look away from her feet.

After what seemed an hour, the leaves were slowly pushed aside, revealing a huge creature. The light of the moon was reflected in its dark eyes. Its snout and head came into view, not long before revealing the rest of its body. A huge wolf with a hungry look in its eyes appeared; though you could not truly call it a wolf. It seemed to walk on two legs rather than on four and ragged clothes were covering parts of its body.

The girl did not back away. Instead, she slowly raised her eyes to meet the wolf's stare.

"You can't bite me yet, daddy. I'm still a child," her faint voice said, disturbing the sudden silence.

The wolf kept staring into her eyes for about a minute. A small grunt of dissatisfaction ruffled through its body before it turned around and leaped back into the darkened forest.

The girl turned around too, placing her bare feet one by one on the leaves, making her way back home. The full moon shone bright on her blond hair. Maybe a year or two from now, the light of the full moon would shine on thick brown fur. Once she was old enough to handle it, her father would pass the curse down to her. What she didn't understand was, was it really such a curse?

(November 2012)