Dragonhearts - Page 1

She's skipping through the woods as if she doesn't have a care in the world . . . because she doesn't. She's young, healthy, happy and loved; seven years old and absolutely certain that she has a guardian angel watching over her, protecting her from all harm.

She couldn't have been more wrong if she tried.

The basket she's carrying is almost too big for her, and it's made all the more unwieldy from being filled to the brim with treats for her beloved grandmother. Her grandmother isn't feeling well, the “Winter's chill” in her lungs this year has persisted well past the Spring thaw; within a month she'll be dead from it, but the little girl doesn't know that.

Not consciously.

Consciously she just knows that it's important for her to wear the bright red cap her grandmother made for her even though it's bright to the point of ostentatious and the girl doesn't really care for it. She just knows the sight of her wearing it will make her grandmother smile, and that's all she needs to know. That's what she tells herself.

She's wrong about that too.

For a start, she needs to know that unfriendly eyes are watching her as she skips through the woods in her red cap. She also needs to know that she's skipped herself into a story that she might have never heard . . . but I have. It's not really a common story yet, but in time it will be. It'll grow and change over the years like a wild vine strangling a tree, but no matter how often the well-intentioned try to prune it, it'll never really have a happy ending. No matter how many woodsmen you add, you'll always be able to hear the tragedy lurking in the background, because no matter how many smiles you tack on to the ending, this story always ends in death.


Almost on cue, she notices the wolf.

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