Clouds of dark blue fog swirled around me as I emerged deeper into the Dark Forest. I felt like a new person. My entire life, people knew me as Cerise Hood, daughter of Red Riding Hood. But that’s half the truth. My father’s the Big Bad Wolf, though it was a secret I had to hide. Yes, I said “had” to. I was done hiding.
Running through the woods, I felt free as a bolt of lightning. I didn’t worry about people seeing me run with wolf-like speed. I didn't worry if my hood slipped and people saw my ears -the one physical trait that shows off my big bad heritage. I felt beyond free. I felt carefree.
Tree branches blurred past until I stepped into an open clearing. Dragon-fireflies zipped gracefully through the air, their lights reflected in a still lake that stretched into the distance. At peace with the world around me, I stared at my reflection in the water. The new “me” looked back. My, how fierce my hair was. My, how sharp my teeth were. With pride, I pulled back my long, red hood. My, how big bad my ears were. "It’s okay for everyone to know." I spun around and raced back to Ever After High.
From the edge of the Dark Forest, I heard friendly chatter coming from the castleteria. This was wicked perfect. I walked through the castleteria doors. All the noise instantly disappeared. All eyes turned to me. I never pulled my hood back up, and most were seeing my ears for the first time. Scanning the room, I saw my best friends forever after. Madeline Hatter, the ever-happy daughter of the Mad Hatter, and Raven Queen, daughter of the Evil Queen, who broke from her destiny and inspired me to listen to my true heart. I looked at them and smiled, "It’s time to step out of the shadows. My dad’s the Big Bad Wolf! From now on, call me Cerise Wolf, because I’m rewriting my story!"
Nothing. No reaction. People just stared. Then... CLAP... CLAP... CLAP... Raven stood up... CLAP..! CLAP..! Maddie joined her... CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! Cedar Wood and Ashlynn Ella stood, too! CLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP! Then everyone cheered! Everyone, from Briar Beauty to Blondie Lockes... even Apple White, the fairest daughter of Snow White! Apple embraces her destiny. While she’s the fairest inside and out, I never hexpected her to give me a huge, accepting hug, "Cerise, you never had anything to worry about. Whether you’re following your mother’s legacy or your father’s, I’m just happy you know where your story is going."
Everyone gathered around me to congratulate me. Briar commented on my new big, bad look, "It’s royally ferocious!" Blondie asked for a hexclusive interview for her MirrorCast, “Embracing who you really are is just right!” Raven ran up to me, "Cerise, this is amazing! See, you can change your destiny!"
I felt on top of the world. This was the start of a new chapter, I wondered why I was worried all this time. And then, over the intercom... "CERISE HOOD... TO HEADMASTER GRIMM’S OFFICE RIGHT NOW!!!" All eyes were on me again. Raven whispered, "We’re here for you."
The walk felt longer than usual. Headmaster Grimm has dedicated his life to the rules of destiny -In order for a fairytale to exist, you must relive your parent’s story." For the longest time, my destiny was to be the next Red Riding Hood. But now that people know who my father is, shouldn't I be able to follow his destiny? I steeled my nerves as his office door opened with a CREEEEEAK.
Sitting behind the massive desk, Headmaster Grimm furrowed his eyebrows, "Have a seat." I did as he asked, and saw mom and dad. They didn’t look at me. In fact, they seemed to be frozen. Dad clenched his teeth in a silent growl. Mom looked down at her feet, as tears dropped from the depths of her hood.
The headmaster coldly looked to my parents, "Let’s start with you two. Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf are ENEMIES." Headmaster Grimm slammed his fist on his desk. "You two know the consequences." The headmaster’s large magic mirror started glowing with powerful magic.
My parents looked at me with despair in their eyes. As they began glowing, I realized what was happening, "Mom! Dad!" The legends were true! When fairytales break from destiny, they vanish, along with their story. I turned to Headmaster Grimm, "Don't do this! This was my choice!" but it was too late. In a bright FLASH my parents were no longer there.
Headmaster Grimm turned his cold stare to me, "I warned you all. Choice is dangerous. Your parents made a choice. You made a choice. And now... well..."
I looked at my hands. Rather, I looked through my hands. Was I... No! "But… I don’t understand. Raven didn’t disappear when she broke from her destiny."
Headmaster Grimm slightly smirked, "Ms. Queen’s final choice has yet to be decided. You will be an example for her and anyone else who dares to rewrite their stories. Goodbye, Ms. Hood. Or should I say, goodbye Ms. Wolf?" His lip snarled as he spit out his final words, "I hope it was worth it."
My hands faded to an outline. I opened my mouth, but no words came out. The world shook... And shook... still shaking... wait, someone was shaking me. My eyes flew open. I was in the forest. My hands were whole again. A wide-eyed Raven held me by my shoulders, "Cerise! You’re up!"
My head felt foggy, "Raven! What happened?"
Maddie popped out from behind Raven grinning widely, "You fell into some Nightmare Fog. Good thing I was collecting gremlin root for a new tea recipe. Otherwise you might still be in your dream."
My head began to clear. Things started making sense. Nightmare Fog traps you inside your greatest fear. Mine was what would happen if anyone discovered my family secret. But was it a dream? It just felt so real.
Then I looked into Raven’s kind eyes. She’s known my secret for a while, and nothing’s happened. Are the legends a lie? Can I dare to hope? I remembered the happy part of my dream. The way everyone spellebrated when I revealed my family secret. I looked at Raven, who was brave enough to flip the script and discover her own Happily Ever After. I looked at Maddie, who always supported Raven’s decision.
It was time to stop hiding from the people who cared about me. Most of all, it was time to stop hiding from myself. Sharing a knowing smile with Raven and Maddie, I felt maybe it was time to finally let another friend know my secret.