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Read a preview from the short story The Wicked Wolves of Windsor, from the collection The Wicked Wolves of Windsor and other Fairytales
An adult re-telling of Red Riding Hood
“I’m not going to eat you,” said the wolf as he kept pace with the bicycle. “I only want to talk.”
Doireann peddled faster and kept her eyes resolutely ahead. She had passed the Great Oak and was going through the heart of Windsor Forest, the estate that surrounded the castle. The dirt track was the only route from Granny Horn’s home to the village.
She pretended not to see the beast’s red eyes and the tongue as large as her hand, gaping from a mouth full of jagged teeth. He was not a natural beast. Wolves were certainly not a common occurrence in England this late summer of 1918.
“Stay on the path and you’ll be safe,” Granny Horn had told her when she complained. “That’s the rule.”
The advice galled Doireann; at fifteen she found it easy to be annoyed by old people.
If she wanted to keep her weekday job helping the postmistress this was the only way she could go. Biting her lip, the red-headed girl kept her hands death-locked on the handlebars, keeping the tires steady as it rode over the ruts.
“Do what you have to do,” said Doireann to herself, repeating one of her mother’s favorite phrases.
The wolves had started following her in the spring. The beasts always appeared after she passed the Great Oak, ravaged by lightning but still holding a few black branches to the sky.
Mostly it was two or three of the dirty beasts and once as many as five. Sometimes it would be one, like today.
Last summer, one of the wolves had jumped suddenly in front of her tires. Surprised, she hit the brake too hard and almost swerved off the path. As she righted her bicycle, her freckled face red hot with embarrassment and anger, she was greeted by howls of wolfish laughter.
Yes, she had plenty of experience with their dirty tricks.
Today’s companion had a small notch in his right ear and a white mane around his neck. This one’s tongue had always been honeyed, unlike the others who would make nasty comments about the color of her hair or called her Irish mother a witch.
Still, Doireann didn’t trust him. If anything, she suspected he was the worst of the lot.
The girl stood up from the saddle to pump the pedals harder, making the machine sway from side to side. She wished it would transport her over the miles in an instant so she wouldn’t have to listen to his nonsense.
“Doesn’t Herne have some duties for you, you nasty creature,” she said under her panting breath.
“He will in three days, my dear child,” replied the wolf, who had very keen hearing. He saw it as progress that Doireann Horn at long last directly addressed him.
What readers are saying:
“…reads like an old-fashioned book of fairy tales, but with a modern twist. Full of lore and magic…”
“A literary glass of bourbon after a long day.“
“A great collection of unpredictable and fun short stories with whimsical and dark undertones.”
“A dash of magic, and a hint of wicked.”
“Nash has a knack for bringing a new twist to old stories… keeps you on edge guessing…”
“So often stories of magic are about old male magicians. Byrd Nash does not shy away from strong female characters or minorities.”
“Feminist fairytales, timeless stories.”
“…in all of the stories the main character was female and a strong one at that. No damsels in distress here.”
“These tales handle universal truths but include diversity, humor and even a dash of a modern setting. All the magic, none of the archaic.”
— author, K.A. Miltimore
“The Queen’s Favorite… reads like a wonderful legend… A Society of Heartless Women… a horror story by way of Jane Austen’s droll sense of humor.”
— author, Helen Whistberry
What Goodreads reviews are saying:
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