Her feet carried her slowly, unwillingly, down the forest path. A hush had fallen, and the gentle clatter of branches and the quiet squeak of the fresh snow under her boots were the only sounds she could hear. The wolf was pacing her out at the edges of sight, no more than a grey whisper among the grey trees. It wouldn’t come any closer, not yet, but she could feel it waiting.
She pulled the crimson cloak closer around her against a cold she barely felt. It had been a gift from her grandmother, a token of an affection that now made her skin crawl. Under the sun, the cloak flamed, impossible to miss. Here, under the trees at the last tail of dusk, it faded to the color of old blood, melting into the dark as if it belonged there. The obscurity was strangely comforting.