No one knew how it started, but Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t the same. Her family described her as the most ungracious child. She did not help out around the house, she scattered her belongings everywhere, she fought with her mother and she no longer saw her friends. She stopped going to school and slept all day instead. One day she traded in her red riding hood for one in black, the only trace of her old self the red ballet flats she wore. She then left home and moved into her grandma’s old house in the forest which had been vacant for years since the woman’s death.

Little Black Riding Hood had a different kind of dis-ease to her grandma, a dis-ease that couldn’t be seen or understood by those around her. She kept the door locked and the curtains drawn and eventually everyone left Little Black to her lonesome self, as she seemed to wish. But Little Black just grew more and more unhappy. She drowned out her days with music. She began to crank up the volume and hurl the heaviest cushions she could find at the floor. That is when she received a knock at the door. She peaked through a gap in her mildewing floral curtains and saw a woman at her doorstep.

“May I come in?” asked the woman. “I’m only here to help; I look after the residents of this forest.”

Little Black decided to open the door this time and she let the woman into her house. The woman’s footsteps were as gentle as a butterfly and it was soon clear that this was no ordinary woman: this was a fairy.

“I’m just so angry,” Little Black said.

Instead of telling Little Black to stop, however, the fairy told her to keep playing the music if it helped her. They then proceeded to talk about their tastes in music, and to Little Black’s surprise, they were into the same bands.

“I went through a dark time when I was younger,” shared the fairy. She continued to share little snippets of her own world with Little Black, snippets that Little Black stored in her memory like her grandmother preserved fruits.

One day the fairy found Little Black curled up on the ground in agony. It was that time of the month. How Little Black hated the colour red! She wished she could banish it from her life! The fairy returned with some painkillers. She had truly seen Little Black at her worst and knew her like no other person did. Instead of forcing Little Black to sit up, she let Little Black resign to the floor, as her body wanted, and covered her with blankets.

A whimsical friendship grew between Little Black and the fairy. Little Black adored her new friend; she was the only person Little Black would let in. She loved the way her friend would sit on the floor with her like they were equals; even though she could fly she would come down to Little Black’s level. She loved her friend’s playful sense of humour which broke through the heavy clouds and made Little Black laugh a genuine, hearty laugh. And while Little Black didn’t like being touched by people, she never shied away from this fairy’s affection which was like a kiss from heaven. The fairy became her big sister, her rock and her happy ending; Little Black didn’t know what she’d done to deserve such a god-sent.

Little Black ended up moving back to town, but she quickly grew even blacker than she was when she left. She stopped eating, she stopped speaking and then one day she disappeared altogether. Some say the fairy was actually a cunning wolf in disguise who bewitched Little Black first, then swallowed her whole. Whatever happened to Little Black Riding Hood, the lumberjacks swear her spirit forever haunts the forest and her music can still be heard from her grandmother’s empty house.