She Who Cried Wolf

Agent: Little Red

Sometimes agents got bored. And Little Red was very bored. She swung her legs as she sat hunched onto a low tree branch, looking over the endless hills that surrounded Miral Village.

Her distinctive crimson cloak and bright red lips were notorious in the cities – she was one of the top agents after all. But what was a top agent like her doing out in the countryside in a tiny rural village that couldn't even recognize all her red? Of all the places the agency had to transfer her, why out in the further part of the country?

The gentle mountain breeze rustled her bronze locks and irritated her all the more. A Fabled Agent, let alone the best of them, shouldn't have been assigned to peaceful place. She was a combatant; an enforcer. She needed excitement and fighting, blood and thrill.

Little Red looked down into the rolling, hilly meadows, filled with lazy grazing sheep. She wished a wolf would come devour them. At least then she'd have something to do.

A wolf. That was exactly it.

The first time Little Red cried wolf, it was in the late afternoon, right after she had gotten the idea into her head. The thrill of excitement, bloomed by the feeling of doing something she shouldn't, spurred her on.

Little Red pasted on a distressed expression, tightened her velvet cloak around her shoulders and pulled up her hood so she looked impeccably like a frightened little girl. After making a mess of her basket, which would have once been used to store weapons for enforcement – not that Little Red needed weapons to fight –, Little Red ran down into Miral Village's centre, yelling at the top of her voice in a distraught thrall.

"A wolf! A wolf! There's a wolf out to get the sheep in the meadows!"

The villagers were immediately taking action before Little Red had gotten very far into the village. These people were foolish, trusting folk who didn't know what kind of person Little Red really was or what she had done before coming here. They picked up their shovels and pitchforks as if the threat of a wolf was a common one faced.

The villagers all ran up to the meadows in a rush and Little Red tried not to giggle as she followed behind them.

"Where's the wolf?" One of the older villager muttered when reached the grazing fields.

All there was to see was endless grassy lands with slow moving sheep, happily munching away at the greenery.

"There ain't any wolf here." Another said. "The sheep's all fine and chipper."

"But the new missy was all forlorn." A young mother told them. They all turned towards Little Red, who was red in the face from trying to hold in all her laughter. Their shocked expressions were hilarious. But of course, soon their shock morphed into frowns and glares. Not that that was any less fun. Little Red was not a girl who was intimidated easily. She had a Fable at hand and blood staining her name.

However after the incident, the villagers started to look at Little Red a little more distrustfully. They would give her strange looks as she passed and whisper among themselves.

Good, Little Red thought as she strolled down the village lane. People were noticing her more, recognising her red. They still weren't curious enough to try and find out where she was from or what she did before. They did not know she was Little Red or what her real name was. They were still so foolish.

The second time she cried wolf, it was barely past the first light of dawn when the stark morning light was a glare that lit up the summer grass and the sleepy shepherds herded the fluffy sheep down into the meadows. Little Red was up before them all. She was always awake in the very early hours of the morning before light even reached the lands. It was a habit from working in the big cities where crime spread during the dark hours.

There was a patch of grass where a few lambs strayed, sitting beyond the scope of the dozing shepherds. Little Red clambered down the hills to sit in a hidden alcove near them. When they were far enough from the herd, she cried out with all her might.

"Wolf! Goodness, a wolf has strayed into the meadow!"

The herding shepherds could not see Little Red where she had hidden herself and the way the hills dropped made part of the meadow out of view. The straggling lambs were spotted by the shepherds and while they could see no wolf, there was plenty of potential that the sloping hills were hiding it. They panicked just as Little Red had anticipated and she grinned to herself as she heard them scuttled back to the village and get help.

Soon a mob of villagers arrived, pitchforks and shovels at the ready. Little Red peeked over the alcove to see them running her way, all looking ready for a fight they would not have. How glorious it was to see such vicious expression of peaceful people.

When the got to the hidden meadow, they found no wolf but a flock of fidgety lambs and a girl giggling her heart out.

"You, Missy, are a liar." An old woman rattled out in a thick accent. Little Red crinkled her nose. She really didn't like straightforward folk. "Don't you going crying out wolf when there ain't any. Think this is all fun and games?"

Little Red had enough sense to hold her tongue because there were times when talking back meant she'd have gotten it cut off. But these villagers didn't scare her and there was no danger to her life. So she answered very obnoxiously:

"Yes, of course."

After that, the villagers stopped talking to her. They were no more curious than before but they looked at her with distain and branded her a liar. Little Red didn't mind. Her red was becoming more and more prominent and she was gaining herself fame, even if it was notoriety. It was, of course, still not nearly enough. She was feared and revered back in the big name cities and Little Red wanted something more like that.

She grinned at the villagers as they passed, even when they gave her disparaging looks. Little Red wouldn't stop until she got what she wanted. She skipped down the village lane, humming a friendly tune. Maybe next time she could get the huntsman to come and join the fray. Or the meddlesome granny who lived in the old cottage down the woods. Those two were currently the most notorious in the village and she would want to see red with jealousy when she becomes the most well-known.

The third time she cried wolf, no one came.

"Wolf! Wolf! There's a wolf chasing the sheep." A distressed voice cried from over hills.

The villagers continued toiling away their day despite her desperate pleas. They had no interesting in making a fool out of themselves to a city girl who appeared out of nowhere and thought she could make fun of everyone.

"Must be that red cloaked missy again." One of the farmers grumbled.

"Leave her be." The baker's wife told the villagers. "Liars will always be liars. Leave her be and she'll get bored eventually. Don't know why she even came here. Doesn't ever work and only plays in the meadows. Says she's waiting for work to arrive but one's not gotta wait for it, they gotta make it."

They all nodded their heads in agreements, continuing to do as they would in their usual days. A villager's life was full of work. They had no time for tomfoolery.

However as evening began to set, the girl in the red hood with the bright red lips didn't return to the village. Miral was a small place and everyone knew one another, even a young girl with a wide grin who had only been there a month. So they began to worry when this girl did not return, long after her cries for help had faded.

Soon a troubled shepherd came running into the village, looking much the same as the red hooded girl had the first time she cried wolf.

"What's wrong?" They asked him when he was near.

"The sheep." He said, looking despaired. "The sheep have been eaten. There is only blood and bone left in the field. It must have been a wolf."

"A wolf!" One of the villagers exclaimed. "Could it be that Missy was telling the truth?"

"It must be." Another said, gripping his shovel. "Let us hurry to the meadow. Calls the huntsman."

When they reached the grazing fields, it was awash with blood. Bits of wool and snaps of bone littered the grass, which was no longer green. The whole seen of carnage was painted red.

"Where is the Missy?" The huntsman asked. The girl was nowhere in sight.

"She ain't anywhere." They said after they looked all over. There was only bone and blood in all they could see. Of all a hundred sheep that wallowed in the meadow, none were spared. Not lamb nor ram.

"Was she eaten?" Someone asked. They gasped in horror. They hadn't believed the girl for they knew she was a liar but the villagers of Miral were no so foul-hearted to have let a little girl be eaten by a wolf of her own. They were all shocked and terrified.

"We must look further. Maybe we will find her."

In the fair distance, under the brush of the wood, a red furred wolf watched the villagers. It grinned with all its teeth, dripping with sheep's blood. The frantic expressions filled it with glee and it felt stated at last; the satisfaction no amount of devouring could bring.

Slowly it began to morph, the red of its fur diluting into bronze and curled into locks of hair. Claws became nails and the body shifted into milky skin. When she was finally human once more, she grabbed the red hooded cloak from where it lay at the tree roots and draped it over herself. She grinned like a wolf and licked the blood off her lips. Everything was finally red.

"Wolf." She whispered. That was her Fable.