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EC's Little Red Riding Hood Issue, Table Of Contents

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Charles Dickens is quoted as saying that his first love was Little Red Riding Hood. Considering how complicated his personal life eventually became, maybe that should tell us something about him.

Or not.
But one thing is for sure, "Little Red Riding Hood" has always been a wonderfully nasty tale, at least when told by writers and poets with an eye towards the dark, dark woods and the possibilities of wolves.
In this issue, you'll find, death, mystery, mysterious allure, humor, insanity and more than a little blood.
You've been warned. Start reading the posts below. 
And have a lovely holiday.
Darkly yours, Kate Wolford, Editor
PS: EC will return in January with its new publishing style.

PSS: Blogger is being very contrary. Please make sure to look into older posts for all of the works for this issue and for new information on EC, changes coming to the zine and the current giveaway.

Image by Ethel F. Betts

Table of Contents


Red Cape, By Lissa Sloan

Wolf Slayer, By John Wiswell

Red Cape, By Lissa Sloan

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I know what is out there
Out the door
Down the path
Into the wood

There are brambles
And thorns
And a moon-colored rose that only blooms in the dark
With a scent so dizzying you might just forget who you are
Or what you came for


There are ancient trees
Leaning overhead and whispering advice
Advice that would seem sensible
Until you are in too far
And the shadows are so black you cannot see to breathe


And all along the way
There are claws like razors
Teeth like knives
And fur so soft that none of the rest matters


Yes
I know what is out there
How can I send her down that path?
With nothing but my glimmering hope that she will find her way?

And one thing more
This fiery circle of protection I draw around her
Perhaps it is only a red cape
But it can enfold her when my arms cannot
And make her as brave as she is foolish


Will it be enough?
It was for me.

Lissa writes: "When not writing or illustrating, I love to read and garden.  I am half English, half American, and I would love to have my own personal wolf, pref…

Wolf Slayer, By John Wiswell

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hen she knocked a third time, the lumberjack finally got up and answered the door. His pest was a gnarled old lady, half his height and a little greater than his width. He drew away, hand moving to the shut the door, but she moved to block it.

“You didn’t answer my letters,” she said.

“I don’t check the mail often.”



She squinted up at him in a way you could only do if it was your face and not somebody else’s. That relived him, even though there was reproach in her voice.

“Your mailbox was empty.”

He clucked his tongue. “You checked my mailbox?”

“The first time that you didn’t answer the door. I wondered if you’d been home recently. Sometimes lumberjacks spend several days in the woods.”

“I just got back in, and I’m very tired from the trip.”

“Did you read the letters, sir? If it’s a matter of money, I’ll pay you. I can sell my cow.”

He looked away. Her letters were on the end table, opened and stuffed back into their envelopes.

“Madame, I’m very tired. Come back another time.”

“I know your story…

What Big Eyes, By Jude Tulli

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What are we making for dinner, Grandma? When are you going to tell me? You know how I love surprises best at the very moment they turn into presents. How much longer?
You're trying my patience, you know. That's what Mommy says to me all the time, ha ha.
All right, I'm firing up the oven. Hotter? Hotter?
My, my, what kind of roast will this be?
Still hotter?! Something big and juicy, I bet. And it's not even my birthday! I love coming to visit you, Grandma! 
Aww, you feel extra fluffy when I hug you today! What's next?
Eggs! Oh boy, I love cracking open eggs. Watch, Mommy taught me how to do it with just a knife. More? See, I don't even get a bit of shell in there. Watch, Grandma. Watch! Well, that one turned out bad but the next one I'll get it. Master chef, that's me. Watch!
What do we need next? More eggs?! Wow, this is going to be a big turkey! Oh that's right, it's not a turkey, it's a. . .
Ha ha ha ha ha I thought I could trick you into telling…

Red is for Ritual, By Gerri Leen

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The red coat rustles, whispers secrets
as our grandmother passes
Once she was the maiden, then the mother
Now she serves as crone for the last time
She smells of clove and all spice
Apples and balsam
She has bathed in the sacred waters
Her gray hair is tied up with vines
The red leaves of the maple give it color again.


She is beautiful


The wolf sits on his throne, his eyes closed
He sniffs the air, his fingers clench
They feed him grapes and dried venison
Give him drink of herbs and flowers
His eyes dilate as he looks
on her, his mate
He lifts his face to the moon
Howls in the fashion of wolves everywhere
The people, the crone, and I howl back


He is magnificent


I finger my red coat, much brighter than hers
I worked on it for weeks
My blood soaking in where the needle stabbed me
I have never been handy that way
But I was not chosen for my skill
I am the maiden
I have been bathed and perfumed
My dark hair tied up with vines
The red leaves of the maple give it light


I am innocent


I wait the prescribed time, then walk…

Red Grown, By James Tolan

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He doesn’t recognize her without her cloak and blush, though she will not forget
who first treated her like food. His smile, when she takes him to her cottage in the woods,
perhaps he wishes it were tender, hopes she will be a taste of heaven
in the flesh, a spring lamb born to slaughter, but as soon as he paws her ruddy belt
she will carve across his gullet a smile more sincere then roll him from her bed,
his furry carcass, limp and fat as a belly full of undigested grandmother.
James Tolan is author of the chapbooks: Red Walls (Dos Madres Press) and Whiskey and the Rake of Mourning (Deadly Chaps).  He lives in Brooklyn and is an associate professor at the City University of New York.

Hero Worship, By Alethea Kontis

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To: Mister Jack Woodcutter
From: Miss Sonya Vasili


Dear Mister Woodcutter,
My grandmother bade me pen this letter. She says that when someone saves your life, especially a legend such as yourself, the least you can do is write them a proper thank you note. We also mention you in our prayers to the gods every night. Sorry if that sounds a little creepy, but if it weren't for you, Baba Vasili and I wouldn't have anymore prayers--or anymore nights, for that matter.

"Thank You" doesn't seem a big enough phrase to fit all the meaning I need it to, but as I haven't been able to think of another, more appropriate gesture in the last few weeks, Baba Vasili handed me the quill and parchment, and here I am. Please forgive as well my utter lack of eloquence, as this is a tradition to which I am not yet accustomed.


And lest this silly little note (if it even finds you on your Grand Wanderings) finish without saying: THANK YOU. Thank you, Mister Jack Woodcutter, again and agai…

Untruths About the Desirability of Wolves, By Megan Engelhardt

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People like to think there was something sexy about the wolf.  There wasn't.  It was a wolf and I was nine and wouldn't have known what to do with a sexy wolf anyway. 
The sexiest thing in the woods that day was Grandma, who sometimes still goes dancing with the widower cobbler from the village, now that those elves do all the work.
Even if he was a smoldering pillar of manhood (or wolfhood) how would that have helped? It's not like he seduced us into his stomach.  Not like he batted his eyes and showed some chest and told us how beautiful we were as we crawled into his belly. 
Sexy wolf?  Ridiculous. 
Here's the truth:
He was a wolf, big with big full eyes and big ears and big sharp teeth.  His paws were big enough to knock you senseless with one blow, his appetite and his jaws big enough to swallow you whole.  His stomach was big enough to fit two people. 
Being eaten was fast and it was hot and it was wet and it was over before I even knew what was happening. 
Being pulled out by the woodsman wa…

The Little Red Tarot, By Alexandra Seidel

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The Seven of Wolves Something that awaits beyond a turn in the road, something that you can't quite see yet and therefore something dark.
"Where to, on this twilight road? Most souls you will encounter here, are like dead trees in a wood of dead trees. Why don't you come with me?"
Three of Roads A path that takes you to your destination in a roundabout fashion; a road that ends.
"Come, girl, let me show you where the butterflies are. Leave the flowers for another day."
Ace of Grapes A thing that is full turns empty, a thing that is ripe stains; conquests are not always glorious.
"Sweet as wine! Sweet as pomegranate stains! Sweet as melting warm cake on your tongue; I said I'd show you butterflies, and so I did. Moths is what the butterflies of the moon are called."
The Circling Staircase Inevitability and hidden choices, the places in which we hide our choices to conjure a sense of inevitability; fear.
"I am tired now, want to find sleep in your arms. I am so tired…

The Witch of the Wolfwoods, By Amanda C. Davis

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They sent a girl, a pretty pup.
I wonder if they dared to tell her,
While they filled her basket up,
Who is Granny, what befell her?


Does she know it took full thirty
Men to chain my wolfish wrath?
Ten to hunt me, ten to hurt me,
Ten to drag me down the path?


Cowards: as they fear to kill me
So they fear to let me die.
Now they send me bread to fill me.
I'd rather starve. But I'm still sly.


The chains have loosened from my feet.
This time, they have sent me meat.


Amanda C. Davis enjoys the occasional basket of sweets. Learn more about her and her work at http://www.amandacdavis.com.

Alive in the Wolf's Belly, By Sarah Hans

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eing eaten alive by the wolf was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was also the worst.
The story goes that when he knocked on my front door I was so myopic or senile that I thought he was Jenny, my granddaughter. But my eyesight, and my mind, have never been keener. 

That’s the scandalous truth: I knew all along that I was letting the wolf into my parlor. 

There was a moment, after he knocked, when I shuffled to the door and heard his heavy breathing on the other side, that I remember well: A moment of decision. The porch creaked under his weight. The scent of his musky fur wafted in through the cracked window. I looked through the peephole and saw his huge, black eyes, peering back at me. 

I thought about my life. I thought about the endless afghan I was crocheting, the tea steeping on the stove that I made each day in the hopes of a visit from children or grandchildren who rarely bothered, the loneliness since my husband had died six years before. 

And then I opened the door. 

T…