One day, as I was walking through the forest, I came across a wolf. He looked out of place, and, strangely, nothing about him made me feel scared.
"Where are you going, wolf?" I asked of him. The wolf shook his head sorrowfully without giving me a glance.
"Nowhere." The wolf looked tired and beaten, with matted, dull fur. I wondered why he hung his head and dragged his feet so.
"Are you alright?" I asked.
"Why do you question me? I am but an old wolf, noticed by no one anymore." He turned to go, but I felt as if he had a story worth telling.
"I would still like to know if you're okay," I said, stopping him in his tracks.
"Do you know who I am?" The wolf asked with a hint of malice. "I am called Big and Bad!"
"Why?" I didn't see any bad in him and he wasn't very big.
"Because I hunt and steal, I kill and I plunder! I am a dangerous monster, not one to be reckoned with," The wolf snarled with a sudden fire in his eyes that sent a chill down my spine. "I am the Big Bad Wolf!
"But I wasn't always," He drew back with remorse after he saw my fear. "I had a family, once upon a time."
"Where are they now?" I asked softly.
"Gone. All gone." The wolf said, "Except for one, my son, Cory. But alas," he said with a tear in his eye, "I shall never see him again."
I knelt beside him as he began to tell this story. . .
Once upon a time, when I was young, I had a family. We lived peacefully in a faraway forest where the sun always shines, and there's never a cloud in the sky.
But one day, when we were playing at a river nearby, dark clouds rolled in, and suddenly, an enormous flood of water came crashing down the river. A wave crashed over me and dragged me under, then everything went black. The river swept us all away, and I never saw our home again.
When I came to, I was on the edge of the same river, but the land looked so different. There were rolling hills instead of large forests and a quiet stream instead of a roaring river. I looked up and down for my family, but I didn't find anyone but my youngest son, Cory.
When I found him, he was weak from trying to stay afloat in the swirling river, it made my heart break. At that moment, I knew that no matter what, I would never let anything happen to him. He was the last of my family, and I was going to protect him at all costs.
During those next few months, we explored this new land and found that we weren't the only inhabitants. We met many different creatures, but most shied away from us. They seemed to be scared of our sharp teeth and our large presence. I told Cory not to mind and buried my worries.
We took long walks up the roads, across the fields, and through the meadows. Every day, without fail, we would walk. We slowly healed from our experience and found peace and contentment.
But one day, Cory disappeared. I waited, thinking he just wanted to be alone for a while, but as the hours passed by, I began to worry. Even though some of the creatures had started warming up to us, we still had made many more enemies than friends during those months.
My worry eventually got the best of me and I began searching. I called for him but he didn't answer. I looked high and low for him. But no Cory. Hours melted into days, days into months.
I was devastated. I felt as if my heart had been ripped from my chest and replaced with a heavy stone. A heavy hard stone. Eventually, there was nowhere else for me to go, nothing else for me to do. The only one I had left was gone. It was over. I was alone.
I began to loathe everything and everyone, and eventually, life itself. All the trust I had earned was destroyed. My friends became my enemies, and my enemy became my nemesis. Said enemy being a hog.
He was mean-tempered and nasty and wanted nothing to do with us. He thought it was better for the world if I didn't exist. But as long as Cory and I didn't bother him, I thought it would be fine. It wasn't.
One night, months later, I heard a long, plaintive howl. I knew at once that it was my little Cory!
I ran toward the sound, and lo and behold, there stood a house made of straw. But this was the hog's house. The hog had kidnapped Cory!
I heard Cory howl once again, a piercing, agonizing howl.
"Don't worry, Cory!" I called, "I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow this house down to save you!" And that's what I did. I huffed and I puffed, and I blew the house down.
But the straw was very dusty, and for a moment, I couldn't see anything. When the haze had cleared, I saw an enormous hog running off, carrying a large basket. My little pup was in there! But the hog was too far to catch up.
I trailed him to another house. This one was made of sticks. I repeated my words to let Cory know I was there, then I huffed and I puffed and I blew that house down too. But the sticks fell on top of me, and when I finally got out, I saw two hogs running off with the large basket.
So I trailed them to a great big house, made of very strong brick. For the last time, I recited my heroic words, then commenced to blow the house down. I huffed and I puffed. But it stood fast. So I blew again, with all my might! But it wouldn't fall like the straw or the sticks. . .
The wolf looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Now I am cursed to go about my days, howling to the moon for my lost son. I only know that one day, we will frolic through the fields, and romp through the meadows, once again."
Then the wolf turned and continued walking down the path, into the sunset.
And every once and a while, I hear him howling, for the family he lost, and every once and a while, a wolf answers back.