(From the Writer’s Digest creative writing prompt It’s My Story and I’ll Pitch if I Want To)
“Mr. Lubo will see you now.”
The teenage girl nods to the receptionist before stepping toward the office door. “It’s what Grandmother would have wanted,” she whispers to herself as she pushes the oak door inward.
The office interior is dark, lit only by a standing lamp in the corner. The girl squints at the figure behind the desk. “Mr. Lubo? I’m Margaret Pyrrha.”
“Yes, I know.” His voice is low and gravelly. “I got your manuscript.”
She feels her heartbeat speed up as a million questions go off in her mind all at once. Did he read it? Was it good enough to publish? She smooths her hands down the front of her maroon shawl, trying to calm the nervous butterflies in her stomach.
Lubo speaks again before she finds her voice. “An interesting story, my dear, but quite primitive.”
“It’s all true. I’m lucky I’m alive!”
“Yes… there was a wolf, you say?”
“Yes, sir. He killed my grandmother and was waiting for me when I arrived to her home.”
Lubo rustles a few pages as he leafs through the manuscript. “So tell me, why should I take on the job of editor for your story when you couldn’t even tell this wolf from your own grandmother?”
Margaret feels the heat rise in her cheeks as she remembers that moment of realization a few years before. “I-I was young,” she stammers. “But…it serves as a cautionary tale.”
“Cautionary? Like that old cliché about wolves in sheep’s clothing? You need a better reason than that. Cautionary tales went out back when your grandmother was a child.” At the girl’s gasp, he chuckles. “Oh, I’m sorry. Still sensitive about her, are we?”
“She was a wonderful woman, and my book has more than just the wolf. It’s full of adventure, family, deceit, and love.” She straightens in the chair. “Besides, it’s an autobiography. Those are always interesting to people.”
“Not in it’s current form, it isn’t,” Mr. Lubo growls.
Margaret feels a chill down her spine, a primal fear reaction to the growl. Her mouth suddenly dry, she licks her lips as she struggles for words. “I….I think…..”
“Oh come, Ms. Pyrrha. With the right edits and the right ending, your book will be one to make mouths water.”
“I…I don’t think that that’s the reaction…”
“It just needs a killer ending.”
“I thought it already had one.”
Lubo chuckles again, sounding more like another growl than any expression of humor. “It almost was, Red. But then that hunter showed up.”
Margaret swallows as she hears a magnetic lock engage on the door, recognition dawning. No one ever called her Red, except for him. She jumps up and rushes toward the door, pulling on the handle. When it doesn’t budge she knocks on the door. “Help! Let me out!”
The chair scrapes on the floor as Lubo stands. The sound of his claws tap on the floor as he walks around the desk. “What’s the matter, Red? Ashamed that you’ve conversed with me twice without knowing the danger?”
She turns to face him, tears on her cheeks as she faces the wolf from her nightmares. “You killed my grandmother.”
He nods, his lips pulling back in a sneer. “Yes. She was quite good.” The light from the lamp glints off his canine teeth. “But nothing like the tender meat of a young girl like you.” He lunges, his jaws silencing her scream.
A couple hours later, the wolf picks his teeth and looks back at the manuscript. “Now that’s a better ending, don’t you think?” he asks the pile of bones on the floor. He chuckles to himself. “Though I suppose now I’ll have to get a ghost writer.”