It is winter and the land is frozen. The great tower rises like a stalagmite of ice from the cold earth. At the top, Rapunzel lies, freezing and emaciated, watching the last ember flicker and die in the hearth. A wisp of smoke rises, freezes and falls to the floor with a shattering sigh. Rapunzel drags herself into the hearth and curls up amongst the ashes and wraps her matted hair around her tiny frame. She licks a finger, trails it in the ash and then puts it to her frozen lips. If there had ever been any hope of her leaving the tower, her frail bones would no longer allow it.
A lone wolf howls in the distance. Rapunzel sees in her mind’s eye, the wolf and a small figure move through the icy forest like shadows. She closes her eyes and waits. Death lurks in the corner and she bids him politely to stay away, at least for a little while longer.
Little Red is lucky, for the Wolf has eaten well today. His stomach gurgles under the weight of the woodcutter and his family. She walks close beside him, his warmth keeping the chill from her bones. His fur billows across her translucent white skin and she sinks her hands into the warmth, twisting his fur around her slender fingers.
‘What soft fur you have.’
‘All the better to keep you warm, my sweet,’ he leans into the girl. ‘You can climb up on my back if you like.’
‘I know that you want to eat me, Wolf. I can see it in your wicked eyes.’
‘I am a wild beast,’ his lolling tongue drips saliva into the snow. ‘I cannot go against my nature.’ He can taste her sweet, girl scent in the air.
‘But I can offer you more,’ she whispers into his ear.
The wolf is cunning; he can wait. He sees the girl as pure and innocent, but he also sees that she has a fire burning in her eyes. He sees that she is white and pure on the outside, but inside she is all red and swirling hot blood. He can hear her heart beating faster as she slides up onto his back and grips him tight between her thighs.
Rapunzel remembers how the Little Red’s white skin looked against her own. How she made promises with every touch. They had killed the sorceress together and feasted on her flesh, and that of every prince that came to their rescue. But then the cold curse crept across the land, and they were left alone; the last execration of the sorceress for peeling the flesh from her bones. She remembers Little Red’s promise to return, their last sweet kiss and the last time their flesh had touched. They were conquerors. They were both warm and plump then.
Rapunzel opens her eyes and looks at the piles of bones around her, then closes her eyes and searches for her rescuers. Snow begins to burn in her heart as she whispers her lover’s name, ‘Little Red.’ The sound leaves her lips and floats on the icy air. Shadows come and go. Death creeps from his corner.
‘Where are we going, little girl?’ asks the wolf.
‘We go to my captive love,’ says Little Red.
The wolf knows nothing of love but thinks, now this sweet young thing is a tasty bite for me. But you must be sly, and you can have them both.
They reach the tower and Little Red climbs the plaited hair that hangs from the window.
‘I have come Rapunzel, and I have brought us food.’
She turns and watches the wolf as he waits eagerly on the ground, drooling, and wide eyed. Beckoning him to climb, she heaves on the plait and he grips onto it with his sharp teeth. He scrambles up the tower walls towards her.
He enters the window of the cold chamber; his fur damp with sweat and his eyes wild and glowing a fierce yellow, like tiny suns. He sees the pile of bones and the frail girl in the hearth – a tasty morsel before his main course. He is the hunter and they are his prey. He pads gently towards the girls, sniffing the air.
Little Red removes her shawl and pinafore; her white flesh gleams white like the moon. She is not scared of the wolf. She crouches beside her lover and strokes her hair. The girl whispers and cajoles and speaks of a red warmth that is above all others. His head is filled with seductive promises. His loins ache and his tongue lolls, as he smells their scent.
‘Sweet wolf, come lie with us and keep us warm.’
The wolf prowls around them.
‘Come, lick her and heal her.’
Little Red strokes the wolf tenderly as his tongue travels all over Rapunzel’s body, gently kissing the life back into her flesh. Rapunzel and Little Red wrap themselves around his warm, fleshy body and their hands and paws entwine as they seduce the wolf on a bed of bones, dirt and ashes.