Virginia and the Wolf

An Urban Fairy Tale by Fanni Sütő

Virginia and the Wolf

by Fanni Sütő

Website  –  Death’s Daughter

 

A Snow White – Little Red Riding Hood crossover with a modern twist.

 

Monday

Ms. Virginia Vermilion hated the term “grandmother”. Her black hair reached down to her slender waist. She had sharp grey eyes with just the right amount of subtle wrinkles around them. Her skin might have been a shade too white, but she always claimed it to be an aristocratic trait. She had long red nails and wore short red skirts. In one word she was very “ungrandmotherly”.

She did her best to hide the fact that she had a granddaughter. Children and grandchildren only exist to make you feel older, she would say. The good news was that Scarlett was only a step-granddaughter; Virginia’s womb had never born children. The bad news was that she was sixteen years old and if Virginia didn’t watch out she would soon grow to be the fairest of them all. Her name was Scarlett White and on the day when our story begins she was on her way to see her grandmother, dragging the heavy bags laden with Virginia’s weekly shopping.

Virginia Vermilion was far too busy with witchcraft to waste her time on such mundane things as grocery shopping. Scarlett did it for her and in return, Virginia taught her some minor magic: charms, bindings and petty enchantments. Scarlett’s favourite was food magic and she had a special talent with peculiar ingredients.

When Virginia opened the heavy doors of her mansion, she’d expected to see her step-granddaughter. Instead there stood a handsome, though ragged, young man. Virginia arched one perfect eyebrow.

Wolfgang, my dear, what a surprise! Where is my granddaughter? I hope you didn’t do anything nasty to her!” Then her smile faded. “What do you want?”

Virginia, charming as always.” said the young man, his long fingers toying with the buttons of his dusty coat. “I’ve travelled such a long way to see you. You look as mouth-watering as I remembered.” He flashed a white toothed smile. “You know what it’s about and you can’t escape this time.”

Come on, Wolfie. I’m sure we can find a solution which will please us both. So far we’ve always come up with something. I’m sure I we can come up with something to turn your mind from your petty revenge,” Virginia said with a hint of flirtation in her voice.

Wolfgang’s smile grew even wider but he shook his head. “I don’t think you have anything that could change my mind.”

Well, at least come inside,” Virginia sighed and locked the door behind them.

***

Scarlett was fairly impressed with herself. She managed to charm the grocery bags and so they felt pleasantly light. She’d made real progress. Maybe Virginia would finally be proud of her.

However, when Scarlett arrived at her grandmother’s house, an odd feeling nudged her side. The feeling only grew stronger when nobody answered the door. Scarlett let herself in with her spare key. There was no trace of Virginia, but that didn’t mean anything. She usually ignored Scarlett’s arrival.

What really worried Scarlett was the perfect absence of sound. No splashing from the Jacuzzi in the bathroom, or Tina Turner singing “Simply the Best” from the gym. Not even the reassuring bubbling of the cauldrons from the kitchen.

Scarlett stepped in something sticky and red.

She bit her lips to stifle a cry. When she leaned closer though, she realized that she worried in vain. It wasn’t blood but a broken piece of screaming-red lipstick. Virginia must have pressed it too violently against her mouth. It was so typical, she got aggressive when her make-up wasn’t perfect.

Scarlett crept around the house. She dropped the grocery bags and grabbed a giant leek to serve as a makeshift weapon. The house was as peaceful as a cemetery. Scarlett contemplated going home when she heard something from the second dining room. It was a noise she didn’t expect: the rattle of cutlery and satisfied burps.

Virginia never had guests and Scarlett found it unlikely that a burglar would cook himself a meal. What if he’d killed her grandmother and chopped her up? Scarlett shook her head. She had been reading too much Stephen King lately.

She clutched her battle-leek and burst into the dining room. A startled young man sat at the table, eating a huge portion of beefsteak with mashed potatoes. He dropped his fork and Scarlett noted with satisfaction that she’d managed to give him a good scare. She lowered her makeshift weapon.

What an…. unusual young lady!” the man muttered after recovering from the shock. “You must be Scarlett. You’re as beautiful as your grandmother had said… and resourceful, too.”

First of, she is my step-grandmother. She likes people to be perfectly clear about our family ties, and so do I. Second, Virginia would never call me beautiful; not even if her life depended on it. So tell me who you are and what you are doing here?”

The young man shrugged. “She seemed pretty adamant about your charms.” He stood up and stretched out his hand. “My name is Wolfgang B. Grey. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

I’m not sure if the pleasure is mutual, but my name is Scarlett White. Where is Virginia?”

What a fabulous name!” he said, cleaning his mouth with his tie.

For heaven’s sake use these!” Scarlett tossed him some kitchen towels. “Where did Virginia find you, in a cave?”

You’d be surprised… Not just beautiful but clever too…” He got up and wanted to kiss Scarlett’s hand. She pulled away and poked him with the leek.

Flattery and flirting won’t get you far with me. I’m not Virginia. So I ask you again, where is she and what are you doing here?”

Wohoo, what a feisty little lass. Virginia had to go on an urgent business trip and she wanted you to look after her house for a week. But since you are a minor, she wanted you to have adult supervision. So she asked me to be here and prevent you from doing silly things: drunken parties and the like.”

Like I do that kind of thing often…” said Scarlett coldly. “It sounds pretty fishy to me. Okay, I will stay but only because I want to find out what’s going on here. But rest assured, I’ll keep my eye on you.”

And your leek…” Wolfgang pointed at the weapon Scarlett was still aiming at him.

And my leek, yes.”

Scarlett drew a deep breath and went up to her room. She hated her step-grandmother’s machinations; leaving without a word, forcing her to spend time with a weirdo. She dialled Virginia’s number but the voice mail cooed in her ear that at the moment Virginia Vermillion was otherwise engaged. The odd feeling nudging Scarlett’s side ever since she entered the house grew stronger. She called her parents, hoping they would want her to come home. Unfortunately, they depended heavily on Virginia’s financial support, so they said Scarlett should do whatever was told.

Tuesday

Scarlett woke up to the sweet smell of white hot chocolate. Wolfgang was kneeling next to her bed and holding a mug under her nose.

Good Morning, Sunshine.” He smiled. “I’m afraid that I might have given you the wrong impression yesterday. I’m trying to make up for it.”

By creeping into my room and staring into my face while I’m asleep?” Scarlett pulled the blanket to her nose. “Place it on the nightstand and back off.” Wolfgang did as he was told and sat down on the chair in the corner. The hot chocolate was really good, so Scarlett let Wolfgang stay.

It just hurts that Virginia has never told you about me. We go way back,” he started

Don’t go into any details about your long history, I can imagine it well enough. I don’t want to hear about my step-grandmother’s adventurous love life.”

Mmm, it’s pretty eventful. But if you want to have an interesting love life yourself, I know just the right guy…” His sentence was interrupted by a bang.

What was that?” he asked, his voice trembling.

What did it sound like, moron? It was a gun shot. We have an awful lot of hares this year damaging the vegetable patches. Luckily our hard-working hunter takes care of them.” Scarlett looked up at Wolfgang who became very pale as if all the colours had run away from him.

Are you okay?”

Not really… I feel a bit sick. Maybe I’ve eaten too much. There’s a hunter, did you say? Why didn’t Virginia mention this?”

Yes, there is… Why should she have? It’s not part of the local sightseeing tour… Are you sure you’re all right?”

I think I’ll lie down a bit. Would you very nice and help me to my bedroom?” he grinned tiredly.

All right, I’m getting tired of your babbling anyway. But I warn you, if you try any monkey business… I took self-defence classes at the local girls’ club. One wrong move and I’ll kick you so hard that… your leek will grow inwards.”

Wolfgang looked at her for a long second, then burst out laughing.

No monkey business, I promise,” he said trippung as he got up from the chair.

Oh my, you’re really not all right. Come on, let me help you,” said Scarlett and they staggered out of the room arm in arm.

Wednesday

Tell me, Scarlett, why don’t you like me?” Wolfgang asked sadly during Wednesday’s lunch. “Women usually cannot resist me longer than half an hour. It’s already been two days and you don’t seem to care. For example, your grandmother… every time she sees me…”

Stop it! Don’t even start!” snapped Scarlett. “You’re just not my type. The “I’m a dangerous guy with a tender and loving heart” routine drives me crazy. That’s exactly why I read Goethe instead of cheesy YA novels about vampires and werewolves.

What’s your problem with werewolves?” asked Wolfgang, poking at a green pea on his plate.

Nothing, I just don’t care. It’s not like they exist.”

Girl, you’re a tough nut to crack,” Wolfgang sighed.

Thursday

It was three in the afternoon. Wolfgang was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper, feet propped on the kitchen table. He almost spilled the contents of his mug on his white shirt when Scarlett burst into the room.

She was in a foul mood. She leaned on the table, her nose just inches from Wolfgang’s face. He pulled back afraid that she would start to breathe fire at any moment.

Scarlett, stop staring at me like this. You’re scary!”

I’ve had enough of your games. Look, Wolfgang, where is Virginia? She doesn’t just disappear for days. I’ve been thinking about this all night long. It just doesn’t make sense”

I’ve told you, she’s gone.” He folded the newspaper, carefully avoiding her eyes.

Gone where?”

Just gone.”

I warn you, if I find out that you had a hand in this…”

I understand that you’re worried about Virgina, but…”

It’s not that. I know she’s very capable of fending for herself. At least I hope. I just hate feeling stupid.”

I might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but do you think I’d be stupid enough to hang around if I were in the wrong?” He sounded honest.

Scarlett shrugged.

Scarlett, this hunter… is he good at his job?

I’ve told you: our hunter is world-class. If you’re so interested, you can see for yourself. We’ll have the regular Thursday check-up very soon.

You never mentioned that!” said Wolfgang, panic rising in his voice.

You’re withholding information, I’m withholding information. Equality!”

Darn you, women… always making a man’s life complicated!”

Who is your complaining anti-feminist friend, Scarly dear?” asked a sweet voice from behind them.

I’m not anti-feminist! I adore and respect women, but Scarlett was withholding vital information.” He turned round to see a smiling ebony-haired girl, wearing khaki overalls and black boots.

And who might you be, wonderful apparition?” said Wolfgang, forgetful of his earlier worries.

Wolfgang, this is Diana, my good friend and our official hunter. Diana, this weird guy is Wolfgang, some shady relation of my step-grandmother.”

Enchanté,” said Wolfgang kissing Diana’s hand. “Wait, Scarlett what did you just say? I must have misunderstood. How could this wonderful young lady be a ruthless hunter?”

Gender stereotypes.” Diana shook her head and looked Wolfgang up and down. “He’s quite charming though, isn’t he, Scarlett?”

Scarlett drew a deep breath. “It’s great that you’re here, Diana. Maybe you’re more responsive to his flirting than I am… I’m getting really tired of this. Why don’t the two of you sit down, drink a bit of wine and get to know each other better? I’ll go down to the basement and continue my experiments. That’s the good thing about not having Virginia here…

Oh yeah, where is the lady of the house?” Diana said, looking around. “By this time, she usually appears and hollers at me not to leave muddy footprints on her precious carpets.”

That’s what I’d like to know, but your “charming man” isn’t being very helpful. Maybe you can reason with him.”

Maybe I can,” Diana said and batted her eyelashes at Wolfgang.

Saturday

Wolfgang exploded into Scarlett’s room at 5.30 in the morning.

Scarlett, you’ve done wonders to me!” he shouted in her ear. His breath smelled of sangria.

Wolfgang, how many times do I need to tell you not to barge in my room uninvited? What happened? Is the house on fire or what?”

I’m so sorry. I couldn’t sleep the whole night and I just couldn’t bear it anymore. I had to share it with somebody.” He sat down at the edge of Scarlett’s bed and put his head on his hands dreamily.

Don’t you have friends?” Scarlett asked yawning.

Scarlett, you are my friend!” Wolfgang said, his voice full of despair. “I’m in love! Diana is so wonderful! And she accepted my lunch invitation for tomorrow, that is… today!”

You see, that’s why I don’t dabble in love. It’s a creepy thing that makes you break into other people’s bedrooms and scream in their ears. I’m happy you found somebody to respond to the call of your testosterone. Now get out of here and let me sleep. I’m very grumpy if I don’t rest enough. I was working on some food magic until late yesterday…”

Grumpier than usual? Scary!” Wolfgang hiccupped. Scarlett shot an irritated look at Wolfgang who scurried out of the room.“I’m really sorry. Sweet dreams, Scarlett!”

Sunday

Why are you so tense?” Diana asked Wolfgang after they’d finished their romantic lunch. Scarlett wandered in to get something from the cupboard, but lingered when the conversation took an interesting turn.

There is something I should tell you…”

I hope you’re not married. If you are, I’m going to kick your shapely butt.”

You find it shapely?” Wolfgang’s face lit up for a moment, but then he sunk back into melancholy. “No, I’m not married, don’t worry. Yeah, I think we’ll need Scarlett too.” He stood up, then sat down. Then stood up again and started looking for some mugs in the cupboard.” I think the best thing would be to sit down here in the dining room with some nice hot chocolate.”

You scare me…” Diana said, giving Scarlett an angry look. Scarlett had nicked Diana’s gun and was now cleaning it with an innocent look.

It’s nothing to be scared about. Hopefully it’s also nothing to be shot about.” This was aimed at Scarlett.

We’ll see about that,” Scarlett said.

Wolfgang took a deep breath and he repeated a Tibetan mantra a few times.

Okay Ladies, I have a confession to make and I really hope you’ll still talk to me afterwards…”

I’m home!” called Virginia’s happy voice from the hall. Scarlett almost dropped her mug. Wolfgang sighed. Few seconds later the woman herself stood in the kitchen door. “Well, well, what a little group we have here: the Wolf, the Hunter and the Red Girl, the stuff of fairy tales! And everybody is alive and well!”

Virginia, you’re back!” Scarlett gasped.

Of course, I’m back. I just went for my annual sojourn at the beauty farm! I’ve had a rejuvenating treatment.”

You do look younger! Next time you come back, you’ll be wearing nappies and chewing on a cuddly toy,” noted Scarlett “And your mouth… why do you have such big lips, Virginia?

Just a little botox, never you mind that. Tell me, did he manage to seduce you?”

Wolfgang’s face was as red as Dorothy’s magic shoes.

What’s this all about?” asked Scarlett and Diana.

Virginia basically offered Scarlett – her life and/or her chastity, what you will – to save her own skin,” Wolfgang started to explain. “We have old, unsettled business and I came to sort it out once and for all. But I can’t resist a good challenge and sadly, Virginia knows that.

He almost devoured me! This beast of a man!” shrieked Virginia.

And you threw me to him to save yourself!” said Scarlett, suddenly aiming the gun at Virginia.

But you were a clever girl, you and your virtue both survived! Well done you! Put that thing down,” she said and the gun flew away from Scarlett’s hand. Virginia smiled then took a fruit from the bowl.

You deserve to be eaten, but I fear my stomach isn’t that strong enough,” Wolfgang said. He tried to catch Diana’s eyes, but she refused to look at him.

Good, everybody’s happy then,” said Virginia gleefully. “Scarlett, where did you get this apple from? It tastes funny. I told you to only buy organic stuff! But you never listen to me, you silly girl, I bet it is genetically…” the apple dropped from her hand and rolled under the wash basin. Virginia fell on the floor and lay there, motionless in the dull blossom of her new found youth.

Scarlett was as pale as snow. “That must have been one of my experiments… Anaesthetic apples! How on earth did they get here?

I was cleaning and found them in the other kitchen,” Wolfgang said in a small voice. “I just wanted to be a good housemate.”

Scarlett shook her head with a sigh. Wolfgang looked like a little boy dreading punishment, Diana was staring at the kitchen wall and Virginia was lying on the floor. Her skirt had ridden up on her thigh and let her suspenders show. Scarlett pulled off the tablecloth and covered up her step-grandmothers immoral legs.

Well, that’s got sorted out,” Scarlett said after a long minute of silence. She and Wolfgang took Virginia down to the basement and lay her in one of her tanning beds. “She’ll be at peace here, can’t do any more harm to anyone. We just need to make sure nobody kisses her.” Scarlett said and closed the top of the tanning bed on the slumbering Virginia.

All’s well that ends well,” Wolfgang murmured.

We’re far from the end,” Scarlett said, poking Wolfgang with the gun. “Don’t think I’m finished with you. You’ll need to work very hard to earn my trust again.”

I’ll do anything and everything you want, just don’t make my leek grow inwards. I have a lady in my life now…” Wolfgang said.

Scarlett managed to retain her composure for about two seconds then she burst out laughing. Less anxious for his life, Wolfgang joined her.

Should I understand what the two of you are talking about?” Diana asked.

No, it’s better if you don’t. It’s an inside joke.” Wolfgang laughed and they all lived happily ever after. Except for Virginia, of course.

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