The Death of Red Riding Hood

Something Blue

“So…” Jessica Daniels started as she and her friends approached Cassandra Percy, who was examining the apples that her brothers were plucking from the trees. “I heard that you and your family are behind on this year’s big harvest.” She sneered, and twirled the drawstring of the pretty red cape that she wore nearly every day.
Cassandra eyed the other girl warily and nodded in conformation.

“Well, you’d better hurry up or ‘someone’ will be spending her days staring at apples instead of dancing at the Fall Festival. My father will make sure of it. After all, if your family doesn’t produce anything than my father will go out of business and that won’t end well for either you or your little family.” Jessica snarled and tipped over a basket as she walked away with her friends.

Cassandra quickly bent down and began picking up the apples that had fallen out of the basket and examined them for bruises. She noticed that none of the men in the orchard had even attempted to protect her from Jessica and her groups hostility, like they usually do, and she felt a small pang of realization that they probably noticed the vicious girls ‘new assets’, and no longer thought to distance themselves from her, or the other way around.

Such loyalty, Cassandra thought
Despite the silent betrayal she dutifully continued to check the apples for bruises and worms, as the day progressed. Finally after what seemed like hours of working under the hot sun and having bugs bounce off of her feet, the dinner bell clanged and they all grabbed their apple baskets and headed up to the barn.

After placing her two baskets in the apple loft, Cassandra felt as though her spirit had deflated. The Fall Festival was two days from today and only a small part of the orchard had been harvested. It looked as though she wouldn’t be going to the festival this year either.

“Well…what’s another year?” she murmured to herself as she retreated to her room. “I’ll be here forever anyway.”

“Cassandra?” she heard a faint voice call “Is that you dear?”

“Yes, Grandmother” she sighed softly “It’s…me.”

“Come to my room child.”

The tired girl entered her grandmother’s room and sat by the old woman’s bed. “Yes grandmother? Do you need some water or—

The old lady let out a bellow of laughter, “Child I may be frail but if I ever want some water, I’ll get it myself.”

Cassandra smiled, “Of course grandmother.”

“The Fall Festival is two days hence,” she began, then paused to wet her lips “Have you decided what to wear?”

This time, it was Cassandra’s turn to laugh, “Wear? I can’t even go!”

“Nonsense, you have missed every Fall Festival harvesting those apples! One less apple checker won’t slow the progress anymore than it already has. Now, about what you’ll wear. I have a dress and I’ve always wanted your mother to wear to the Fall Festival, when she was a child but she never had the chance…” she broke off as she recalled her late daughter “Anyway. I want you to wear it. It’s not exactly gorgeous but assuming that you don’t have any good dresses--” She eased out of bed and made her way over to her oak dresser and pulled out a large box.

“Oh thank you so much Grandmother!” Cassandra cried and threw her arms around the tiny old lady. “That dress belonged to you, Grandmother, I haven’t laid eyes on it but I know that it’s gorgeous because it’s a gift from you!” she said gratefully

“You are indeed a sweet child.” She sighed happily and presented her granddaughter with the box.
Cassandra gasped it awe at the beautiful blue dress that entranced her eyes. It was a long flowing dress with matching blue silk sleeves and a simple but extraordinary diamond necklace.

“Grandmother,” she breathed, but just as she was about to thank her, the tiny woman began to cough violently.

Cassandra dropped the dress on the bed and flew downstairs to where everyone was eating, calling “Don’t worry I’ll get Uncle Thomas!”
Uncle Thomas the family doctor and Cassandra returned to find Grandmother sitting on the bed stroking the blue silk dress, while her breath came out in short painful bursts.

“Cassandra,” she said weakly and held out the dress, and necklace which Cassandra took. “You wear this dress, you hear? You go that Festival, wear this dress and show that little beast Jessica that you don’t care about her snippy little attitude and her filthy rich father.” Then she shut her eyes and shuddered painfully

“Its best that you leave for the moment, don’t worry, Grandmother will be fine.” Uncle Thomas reassured the worried girl.
Grandmother died of old age, the day before the festival.