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Don't Eat Red Snow
WRITTEN BY GAGE
Illustration by
KKC Bauder

Illustration by KKC Bauder


The fire roared into the sky. Crackling and popping infused the savage flames, and melting ash burnt into the ground. A tall pillar of smoke rose slowly into the gray firmament. A woman sat next to the fire in the open field, her long hair flowing in the breeze. She stared into the heart of the fiery inferno, tears slowly cascading down her cheeks.

She did not sob or sniff, she just stood silently with scalding-hot wetness burning her cheeks. The woman heard an animal in the distance; heard it stir nervously, but did not turn away. The woman was wearing her wedding dress, a white garment soaked with big splotches of blood. The woman's name was Penelope, but we will call her Penny. To fully understand her grief and fright, we must go earlier to the story.

White snow was sliding down Penelope Josephson's window pane in 1847. It was the dead of Winter, so she was inside with the warmth. Penelope was a writer, so it suited her to stay inside. Right now, she was writing a horror play - The Rising and Passing of the Werewolf Firefang.

She was very far into it. Penny included all her friends and family in her stories, even if the characters died. They all understood... it was just a story, right? Penny was writing one of the final scenes, where Firefang was hiding in the shadows with his friends: Snarlsnout and Carnageclaw.

The lead character - Penelope herself - was chatting away to her fiancé, Harold - her real fiancé - in a snowy forest, where the trees glistened with ice and the flurries dropped slowly from the sky.


Scene: Snowy Forest.

Props: Horse-drawn carriage stage left.

Characters: Penelope and Harold.

Background: Skinny trees, snowy road.

Penelope
Oh, how lovely it is!
Darling, what say you?

Harold
My eyes have never beheld
such a sight! Shall we ride on?

Penelope nods happily and Harold pulls reins.

Horses trot slowly off stage right and curtains down. Intermission.

Scene: Shadows off in midstage.

Props: None.

Characters: Firefang, Snarlsnout, and Carnageclaw.

Background: Darkness.

Firefang
We will attack soon.

Snarlsnout
What is our formation of attack?

Firefang
You will attack from the right side. Carnageclaw, you will hide on the left in case they escape to the other side. I will take out the horses if they speed up,
which is most likely. Understand?

All nod, and take position.

Carnageclaw
Ready!

Carriage passes slowly by.

Penelope
Oh! Harold!

Snarlsnout snaps his jowels at carriage.

Harold pulls reins and attempts to alert horses. He looks down and sees both horses bloodied and lifeless on ground, Firefang over them with red jaws, growling.

Harold
Off! Penelope this way!

They try to get off other side, but recoil as Carnageclaw pounces at them.

Penelope
We are trapped! Harold,
we have met our doom!

Harold thinks quickly, grabs a scatter gun from the rear, and loads the weapon.

Harold
Die! Beasts of the devil!
Penelope--run!

Penelope hesitates, then runs stage left when Snarlsnout falls dead from a shotgun wound.

Harold
You will not kill me today!

He dispatches CarnageClaw and aims at Firefang. Harold tries to pull the trigger, but Firefang leaps onto carriage and bites his chest.

Firefang
You killed my pack...
now you must die.

Harold
(gasping)
You...talk...?

Harold makes one last attempt to pull the trigger, but misses when Firefang chomps down and Harold stops writhing and goes limp.

Firefang
Now where is that "Penelope?"


Penelope hated to kill off characters, but her family had been so pleased to know she included them in her plays, and the deaths were a key part of the story. "Dear?" said a voice from the kitchen.

"Darling!" Penelope called, and threw herself around her fiancé. "Darling, I am nearing the finale of my play. Soon I will turn it in to the theater and they may bestow us with money. The play is long, so it may feed us for a month!"

It wasn't a lie. They were in need of money, even if Harold worked for minimum wage. They were very fortunate that Penny was a writer. So Harold exclaimed, "Carry on then, dear!" and Penny continued writing. She was finished with it by the next morn. When the story ended, most everyone had died, even Penelope herself, except her best friend Ben. It didn't bother Penelope to write stories filled with blood and gore, but it did bother her to kill off her relatives.

But they understand, she reminded herself. Death is a part of life.

As Penny walked to the theater, she saw Ben, who was in a hurry to the grocery store. "Hello," he mumbled as he shot past her, accidentally bumping into her. All seventy pages of Penny's play flew into the air, slowly settling.

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" apologized Ben as he walked back to help her up. She dusted herself off and went to collect the pages to her play. They were scattered all around, and the second she went to reach for one...

A heavy wind blew the papers down the road, to a vendor selling a supposed "magic potion." He was failing miserably, and hadn't sold a one. All the people knew he was phony, so he shattered a bottle of the potion against the floor and marched away as the liquid spread over the concrete.

All of the pages flew to the potion and dipped into it. Penelope swore in anger as the pages became wet and crinkly. The moist papers were still readable, but she wasn't sure the theater would accept it in such a condition. She hurried away to the theater and presented them with the play.

"I apologize for the condition," she said, handing it to a man. "We will accept it," he said with a sigh. He jerked it away rudely and handed it to another man. "We will have to read it and publish it. If we like it we'll put it as a play and cast it. If we like it, it should be on stage in... about a couple of months."

The man turned away and walked over to the man he gave the play to. They started sifting through it, then one mouthed, "Is it good?" The other shook his head and told him to rid the theater of it.

"Wait!" Penny shouted abruptly. "Don't!" The two men walked over to her and raised their eyebrows. "You can leave now," said one. "We're done here," said the other. Penny shook her head sadly. "Please accept my play..."

"No," one man said. "It's just not good enough."

"But I worked so hard - it's so long! - and I really think you would like it - please, oh please - !"

One man lowered his head in thought. He did that for a long time, then came back up. "Okay," he said. "We'll read it. But no guarantees." Penny jumped for joy, but did not leave. "I... um, was hoping... I would get paid... ?" she said unsurely.

The man chuckled and shook his head. "When the play goes on stage you'll get a slice of the funds. Right now you're lucky we're reading it." Penny thought about saying "But my fiancé and I are poor" but it wouldn't help. These men were done.

She exited the studio and told her soon-to-be husband about it. He assured her all was okay and sent her to bed. Deep in sleep, a dream - no... a nightmare - yes, yes, a nightmare - approached her, and a heavy fear fell upon her soul. In a trance of innermost fright and terror, she tossed and turned in her small bed, trying to escape the horrid dream that filled her head.

Her papers flew onto the fake potion...

No, it wasn't fake...

Yes, it was. Such a silly thought... a real potion...

But it was real... wasn't it... ?

The papers rested in the odd substance...

A piece of the shattered glass stated 'Guaranteed to work'...

But it was a lie...

No...

What was the potion supposed to do... if it was real... ?

The glass said, 'Bring inanimate objects to life'...

So... if it did work... it would make the play into real life... ?

Yes...

Yes...

Penny woke up in a cold sweat. She looked around her room, scared to death. She stumbled into the kitchen and called, "Harold? Harold?" No answer. Penny began to panic until... Penny realized Harold had left for work. His occupation started early in the morn.

She sank into a chair, shaking violently. She thought this experience had been eerily alike to the first part of her story. Waking up alone after a nightmare... no one home... uh-oh. That nightmare - no. It was just a dream...

* * *

Penny relaxed gradually and just did nothing all day. She went over the play in her head. The second scene...


Scene: House

Penny stage left.

Penny
Hello? Where is everybody?

House creaks, Penny recoils in fright.

Penny goes outside and looks around. Bloodied bodies lay scattered out in the snow, making splotches of red snow on the ground.

Penny
(screaming)
AAh! Harold! Help!

Harold rushes into door, locks it, pushes a shelf in front of it, and nails windows shut.

Harold
Stay back.

Harold cocks gun and gets in front of Penelope.

Penny
(whispering)
What's out there? Harold?

Harold
(urgently)
I was walking today and I met a man on the street. "Lo!" says he, very excitedly. "Fear the end." I had been curious at the man and what he meant. "Yes?" said I. The man shook violently. "Talking...wolves. Ate...my family. Fear them." I had not believed him until a wolf pounced into the street and began to devour a poor soul. Luckily, I was close to home, and here I am now.

Penny
But Harold. That's not possi--

Harold
(shouting)
I don't care what's possible!

Penny silences and scratching claws at the door.

Harold aims and shifts slightly. Door breaks down and wolf rushes in. Harold pumps trigger and wolf kneels over, dead.

Harold
Penny! Stay safe!

Penny and Harold rush out of house to find a safer place. Curtains.


The thought of it made Penny's spine shiver.

She calmed down and went to window to catch some fresh air. She threw open the shutters and sash and stuck her head outside, inhaling deep breaths. She gazed out across the road into the snowy ground. Penny looked at a snowy pile on the road. Something seemed to be lifting it up.

Penny was so bored she slowly trudged out onto the road. She looked at the small pile and rubbed away the thick snow. Then...

A face was beneath the shallow ice, staring blankly up. The hand of the person broke out of the ice, which pushed up the snow. Red blood slowly spread over the ice and snow, making it slushy. She screamed, and in pure terror looked over her shoulder.

A wolf was licking the bloody snow 200 yards away. It slowly raised its head and looked at her. Then it came running.

A cold hand grabbed her by the shoulder. She saw Harold dragging her into the house. He bolted the windows and slammed the door shut and barricaded it. He cocked the gun he got out of the chest and protected her. Penny asked, "Wha - what's out th-there?" She was almost afraid to.

Then Harold explained, "When I was walking today I saw a man. "Lo!“ says he...

Penny was shocked. It was just like her play.

Harold shot the lone wolf that broke into the house. Then... the next scene acted out.

Penny was dragged to a church by Harold, just like the next scene. They hid behind a pew, anxiously waiting. Penny was terrified of what happened next...


Wolf barges in door, and runs to Harold and Penny. Harold shoots once, then wolf yelps and licks its wounded leg. Harold curses under his breath, and needs to reload. Wolf rages, and goes after the two. Penny and Harold run up to the tower, and hide behind church bells. Wolf follows, and corners them.

Harold
My gun is jammed!

Penny
Harold--watch out!

Wolf slowly approaches and inflicts a bite wound upon Harold. Harold shrieks, and bashes the butt of the gun on the wolf's head. Wolf dies, and Penny faints for seeing such violence. She falls off the tower, and Harold grabs her hand.

Harold
No!

Penny
Ohhhh.

Harold tries to pull Penny up but his grip loosens when another wolf comes up to the tower. Penny tumbles down to the hungry wolves waiting below while Harold gets bitten. Harold kills the wolf, and looks down below to see his wife falling.


Scratch.

Scratch scratch.

A howl echoed through the church.

The door busted open and a wolf madly dashed in. Just as Penny had fearfully predicted, Harold unloaded one round into the animal, and it started nursing its wound. Next thing she knew, Penny was stumbling up the spiraling staircase, Harold dragging her all the way.

They arrived at the top, and Harold yelled, "My gun is jammed!" The wolf took its time approaching. Until its skull caved in from the blow Harold had so violently put upon it. Penny knew this was the part she would pass out, so she opened her eyes wide and held her breath.

Don't faint.

Don't faint.

Look away from the -

Penny gagged at the gruesome sight. Blood slowly oozed from the creature's mouth, and it's head was distorted with a slight slope where the brain was.

I can control myself.

I can help if I faint or not.

But blackness ate at the corners of Penny's eyes, and she felt quite dizzy. At last the disturbing image was far away, and all Penny could see was blackness. She felt herself fall backwards, and a hand tugging at her wrist. But the fingers slipped from her hand, she felt a cold whoosh of air around her, Penny heard barking and howling, and she felt a terrible pain in her back as she smacked onto the ground.

The height Penny had fallen was not fatal by any means - but the wolves surrounding her were. In fact - just like her play - FireFang, CarnageClaw, SnarlSnout and the ill-fated TerrorTail were all closing in on her, ready to eat.

Of course, Penny did not know this. All Penny saw was blackness. But her mind told her the next part of the play.


Harold
No!

Harold fires and kills TerrorTail with a single round.

Harold
Hmm, my gun is no longer jammed...

FireFang, CarnageClaw, and SnarlSnout all run away, and begin to hunt for a different meal. Harold exits church and takes Penny to another place.

Penny wakes up in a different place. She is in a storm shelter with the doors locked and Harold beside her.

Harold
You have awakened!

Penny
(woozily)
Where are we?

Harold relaxes and runs his hands through Penny's hair.

Harold
The officials announced they will be bombing the area. To rid us of these wolves. So, to stay safe, they advised us to hide in a storm shelter. So the wolves will be killed--and not us.

Penny
Oh, Harold. I'm so scared!

The ground shakes, and Penny yelps.

Penny
When is the bombing over?

Harold
In about an hour.

Lights down.


Penny woke up.

As expected, she was indeed underground.

"You have awakened!" Harold greeted.

The ground started to shake. "Are they - they're not - " Penny stammered. "Are they bombing the place?"

Harold raised his eyebrows in astonisment. "How did you know?"

"Oh - um - the ground was shaking."

Penny did not ask when it would stop. She didn't have to ask. She just waited. For a long time. And finally, she knew what would happen next.


FireFang, SnarlSnout, and CarnageClaw emerge from a storm shelter.

CarnageClaw
Thank heaven we found that shelter!

SnarlSnout
Now what, Master?

FireFang
(FireFang sniffs the air.)
We will kill the survivors. For what they have done to us. We will find them. We will eat them. We will rule the earth.


Penny did not have to think of the rest.

So she just laid her head down on Harold's lap and enjoyed what she had while she had it.

* * *

They lived well for the next few days. Everyone believed the wolves were dead - but Penny knew otherwise. She would warn them that a few wolves had survived, but they insisted there was no way they could've lived.

But the day one of the final scenes acted out, Penny was terrified. It was the scene where Harold died, and Penny desperately asked Harold not to go on the Winter carriage ride. But he took her along, seeming to ignore her. It was like she could not stop the play.

Penny hugged him closely the whole ride. Then she heard growling. Then, the carriage rocked to one side, and a wolf started snapping at them. Harold tried to speed up, but the horses were dead. Then they scrambled out the other side, but jerked back as a wolf came running that way.

Harold loaded the shotgun and killed one of the wolves. "Die! Beasts of the devil! Penelope - run!"

Penelope refused with tears in her eyes. "You'll die!" she screamed. Harold's eyes locked with hers.

"I love you. Go."

Penelope bolted from the carriage and hid behind a bush. She heard another gunshot, and then Harold screaming after being bitten. "You can talk?" she heard Harold say after the wolf said he would kill him. Then, more screaming.

Silence.

"Now where is that Penelope?"

Penelope ran for her life, not looking back for the creature named FireFang. She sprinted to the nearest shelter - the theater she had turned her play into. Slamming the door behind her, she hid behind a counter. Then -

Penny figured out a way to change the play - so she lived.

She heard a smashing against the door so she quickly searched for her play and found it in the trash can.

“They said they would read it! Jerks!” thought Penny as she snatched it. She tore off the scene where she died and shuddered when the door banged again. FireFang was coming. She found a typewriter in the corner and started typing quickly. Only two words needed to be said.


Penny lives.


She ripped the paper out and stapled the play and paper together. Suddenly, the door snapped in two and splinters of wood flew everywhere. FireFang rushed in and opened his jaws, revealing two rows of jagged, gory teeth. His fur clotted with gore, FireFang burrowed his teeth deep into the fleshy part of Penny's leg.

Penny screamed.

FireFang ripped a chunk out of Penny's leg. She went hysterical, and nearly broke his jaw with a savage kick. Facing the pain, Penny shot past FireFang and to the road. She grabbed the peddler selling the potion and yelled, "Where's the potion?"

Thoroughly shocked, he choked, "Right here."

She bashed it open on the sidewalk and got the play. FireFang was now pouncing at her. His teeth almost merged with her skin until...

A droplet of potion stained the new play.

Penny felt a cold object glide into her back and out her front, but felt no pain. She was invincible. FireFang went right through her, and turned around - confused - to bite her again. He went right through her again. "I changed the play," she threatened.

"But you still die."

Just then, Ben, the only one who survived in the play, appeared with a gun in hand. A boom sounded, and FireFang was no more.

* * *

And that truly is The Rising and Passing of the Werewolf FireFang.

So Penny stands by the fire now, blood spattered on her dress, and wishing she'd never written a play. She stared into the heart of the fire, weeping silently. A creature was still stirring in the distance, and if you really looked at the shadows it was hiding in, you'd say it looked just like a werewolf.

But werewolves aren't real.

Penny did not mind if it was a werewolf, she would not care if she would die. She had nothing to live for. And whether the creature in the shadows killed her or not is for you to decide, for I am ending my research of Penny here.

I know if Penny lived or died that day, but I am not telling you. It does not matter to me. It should not matter to you. If she died, her misery is over. If she lived, she cheated death once more.

So you will just have to finish this story for yourself, as I am of no mind of telling you it. Some things are better left unknown. And this, I believe, is one of them.

The fire roared into the sky.

The End


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Gage About the Author: Gage

Gage is a talented 15-year-old author from Florida who began writing for Phoophie Tales at the age of 12. In his free time, he enjoys acting, video games, reading and writing stories. What inspires Gage is reading other great horror stories and wanting to make his own to inspire others.



about the illustrator, kkc bauder

About the Artist:

KKC is a second generation artist from Texas. She was raised on abstract expressionism and loves playing with line, color and motion to create free-form paintings that can be interpretated in many different ways. Her work is inspired by Music and Literature. You can visit her art shop at: Cool Unique Original Art | apparel & gifts



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