The Wolfless Woods

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and low-fantasy. All dangerous acts including acts of insanity, depicted or implied, should not be attempted.

Noémie Leroux, POV, an 18 year old girl known within her small village for always wearing her favourite red cloak.
Odette Leroux, Noémie's elderly grandmother. Bedridden.
Odile, a silver-furred puppy Noémie brought home as a child. Now grown. Bonded closely to Noémie.


I woke up this morning to the sun on my face, Odile sleeping at my feet taking up half the bed. By the position of the sun through my window I guessed it would be about 6 in the morning. I sat up, listening to the birds chirp in the nearby trees, to scratch Odile behind their huge ears. My mom was in the kitchen, I could see her through the crack in my door, baking a large blueberry pie; her lacy apron casting it’s unique shadows across the floorboards.

Grandma Odette had contacted us last night. Her usual courier was away on family business and she needed another shipment of food. She thought it would be a perfect opportunity to see her granddaughter as, while she is able to get up to get herself food, can no longer make the long trip through the woods to see us.

I’m looking forward to it; it’s been so long since I’ve seen Grandma.

She used to tell stories of a solitary wolf lurking in the trees, and how getting lost off the beaten path and mauled by wild animals was a common occurrence when she was a child. For some reason the attacks stopped when I was a child. The solitary body of a large wolf, dead of natural causes, was found just off the main path; and just like that the generations of wolf attacks were no more.

I make sure to pet Odile as I get out of bed. she stretch and follow me out of bed to the kitchen.

The first thing Odile does is try and stick their face into the pie on the counter. “No! Down!” Mom grabs the pie and holds the large dish over her head. Odile puts both paws on mother’s shoulders, nose in the air. Standing on her hind legs like that she’s almost taller than mom.

It’s hard to thing this is the same small puppy I brought home one afternoon. she in a shallow gutter by the wood’s entrance and were were so small and frail. I fed them milk and bread and made them a small place to sleep in my room. she grew so quickly, it was absurd. she’s larger than any other dog I’ve seen. She’s been by my side ever since, walking with me in the village, scaring off odd men if I’m out at night. One time she brought us a small deer, dragging it through the wooded area behind our house, tail wagging when I praised her to mother and fathers horror.

I love her. She’s the best.

“Odile! Down!” I say sternly and Odile pushes back off mom and back onto the floor, almost sending mom sprawling. I take the bowl of leftover blueberry filling and place it in the ground for her. She shoves her face into the purple jam and eats greedily.

“That damn...” mother pauses, “ We should have trained it better, wouldn’t have let you keep it if I had known. I’m shocked no one’s been mauled yet...”

I take an apple out of the bowl on the table, “Hell, I know mom you say that every morning. She’s gone a whole 12 hours without food you know! She’s a growing girl.”

“Gracious, I hope not.” she wipes her hands with a tea towel before throwing in in the sink. “I’ve baked the pie, you need to pack your basket before heading out. Try not to make it too heavy and please, the pie goes on top.”

We both laugh. I throw the remaining half of my apple to Odile to keep her busy and grab the large wicker basket. -----

It’s neatly 7 by the time I finished packing the basket, the apple only held Odile off for so long. The basket didn’t have much in the end, bread, wine, a small bag of cookies, and mom’s pie placed carefully on top.

Before leaving I stopped by the butcher’s to buy some meat. Some steaks and I ask, offering to pay, for any scraps they can give me, gesturing to Odile tied up outside who has been banned for life from the butcher’s shop. The butcher grabbed me two large pieces of meat, one beef the other venison, that he grossly mis-cut to the point, he says, was unsellable. He said I didn’t need to pay but I was insistent and payed him 5 half-pieces.

I sit on a nearby bench and put the paper wrapped steaks very carefully in the basket (not crushing the pie or bread) and toss one of the ruined hunks to Odile who devours them quickly and violently. I watch her eat from where I’m sitting, watching her eat is fascinating and terrifying. When she’s done with the first piece I throw her the second. This will be enough to last her the day, at least until she begins begging for table scraps.

When she’s done, chewing on a large bone that was in one of the pieces, I stand up and gesture her to follow which she does, bone in mouth.

The Journey


Wind blows through the trees at the entrance of the forest, unkempt flower beds surround the trees in hues of purple and soft pinks. Odile sniffs around a signpost before following me into the woods. Grandma’s house is due east at the first crossroads and straight ahead from there.

While it was hot in the village the tree’s shade is cool, a great relief. I’ve walked about a short distance when Odile’s head perks up, staring towards a patch of rustling foliage.


I’m not worried, there have been no animal attacks in years, after all. Odile, who doesn’t know that, returns to my side, staying close and low to the ground. A golden brown head breaks through the bushes, it’s wide brown eyes looking out way.

It’s a deer, lithe and majestic, a smaller version of itself stumbles out behind it. I crouch down and place on arm around the neck of my companion and Odile, thankfully, sits down beside me.

The larger deer stares at the two of us cautiously, frozen supernaturally still, then with a kick of it’s legs hopps off into the brush on the other side of that path, it’s baby following close behind.

I keep one arm on Odile as I watch the taller form disappear fully into trees beyond. I stand up and pat Odile’s head. She’s gotten better with wild animals.

“Good girl.”

The deer’s appearance felt like a good sign of things to come.



Odile ignores me and continues sniffing the dirt path ahead of me and making huffing noises. She’s a great dog, but alas she doesn’t speak English.

“Grandma prefers you to wear slippers in her house, right? She said last year that hers were old and ratty. Did anyone buy her a new pair? Do you know?”

Odile is a dog.

“I think there’s a shoe maker at the next intersection to the south, lets take a detour.

Odile is still a dog.


I found the shoe shop, first crossroads, south. The outside was shabby form the elements but very ornate in design. The dull with age pink paint chipping on the sides, the metal sign out front depicted a pair of dress shoes with the name ‘Adélard Cobbler’ engraved around the outside. A small sign was placed next to the green door read ‘open’.

I pushed open the front door, and hearing the jingle, a man stepped out from a bead curtain leading to the back. He had a beard and similar coloured moustache, carefully jelled to a stylish point.

“Welcome, young lady, what can i get you this fine morning?”

“Uh, I was going to my grandmother’s house and she needed a new pair of slippers.”

“Slippers? Not a problem. One moment please.”

The man disappeared behind the curtain again before reappearing with a large box.

“I sewed several pairs just last night. I have dog slippers too but I doubt they’ll fit your friend over there. I can however sew them a custom pair.”

I turn to look at Odile who’s shoving their snout into the opening of all the shoes on display. The offer is tempting, but I can imaging the fuss and chaos of trying to put them on her.

“I appreciate the offer, but I have to pass. Just the slippers, please.”

The man nods and smiles, taking several pairs out from the box. Three specific ones catch my eye.

A shockingly intricate pair of beads and gems made of a new invention called “plastic”. Green, red and purple and catches the light in a magnificent way like I’ve never seen before. Picking them up they’re fairly heavy.

A pair the same dusty pink as the outside of the shop, also highly decorated, with lace twisted with a precise complexity making the image of a small bird upon the front. If it wasn’t for the details upon the toe they would be a normal pair of slippers. They’re very soft to the touch.

And a pair in a simple purple and green, but the covering fabric has been quilted in several small geometric shapes. No quilted patch bears the same design and between the pieces is a this strip of even more lace.

All three pairs are stunning in their own right.

“The three you’re looking at will all cost the same at 1 and a half pieces” the shopkeeper says “but, I’d be willing to give you the three of them for only 3 pieces.”

“Ah, that’s quite a discount.”

It’s more than enough with what I’m carrying in my purse. I pretend to think for a second before agreeing.

The shopkeeper helps me tuck the three pairs of slippers under the pie. I gather Odile from her shoe based adventure and we head on our way, thanking the shopkeeper as we leave.

to be continued...