She is born screaming.
Her mother smiles, exhausted, and calls her Scarlett for the color on her cheeks. It is her grandmother who gives her the cape, knitted with shaking hands; it is her father who bestows her the nickname Little Red, grinning indulgently at her from across the fire. She has the run of the house, cape billowing behind her like wings, laughter always thick on her tongue; she listens carefully, but well. She knows better than to talk to strangers in the forest. She is a good daughter.
The wolf stalks her, and she hardens. The wolf eats her grandmother, and she hardens. The huntsman saves her, cuts her free, and Scarlett watches the old woman she loves so well beat him with a nearby walking stick, furious beyond the telling of it that they didn’t just let her go.
She hardens. She grows up. She is not little anymore, though she will always be Red. She was born screaming. There are worse things in the forest than wolves.
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