Red watched Mrs Rabbit head towards the castle. She didn’t know what her mother was so worried about. She’d been to Granny’s before, and she’d done just fine going to the market by herself.
Suddenly her basket was snatched out of her hands.
“What have we got here?” a big pig said.
“No!” Red cried, “They’re for my Granny.”
“Mmmm, cupcakes,” said another pig, who looked like he could eat the whole basket in a single gulp.
Red tried to get the basket back, but they held it over her head, and tossed it to each other, singing:
Bunny in the middle,
You’re too little.
Here you go. Psych!
Bunny in the middle.
Red jumped as high as she could, but the boys were just too big. She was trying very hard not to cry when she saw Ebony walk right up to the big boys. Red knew Ebony from school.
“Rusty! Hamish! Give that back this instant!” Ebony said, wagging her finger at the boys. “Sorry about my brothers,” she said to Red, making sure that everything in the basket was alright.
“That’s okay,” she said. She didn’t really mean it, but she knew it was the right thing to say, and Ebony had always been nice to her at school.
“Are you going into woods?” asked the big pig called Rusty, “Alone?”
“All by yourself?” added Hamish.
Red just nodded, holding her basket tight with both hands. She didn’t like the way Hamish was looking at it.
“You’d better be careful,” said Rusty, “Little girls get eaten all the time.”
“Yeah,” continued Hamish. “by things with claws.”
“And bloody paws.”
“You can’t scare me,” said Red, trying very hard to be brave.
“Leave her alone!” Ebony said as her brothers burst out laughing, “This kind of behavior is why Mom kicked you out!”
“Oh yeah?” taunted Rusty, “Why did she kick you out then?”
“Because I’m unlucky enough to be related to YOU,” Ebony said, and stuck her tongue out at him.
“Are you coming or not?” the pig with the cart of bricks shouted from down the road.
“Coming Uncle,” Ebony called. She turned to Red as she pushed her brothers away, “Sorry again,” she said, “they’re mean.”
Red turned back to the woods, glad the pigs had finally left her alone. With the trees towering over her, she thought the woods looked darker than normal. She hesitated. All of a sudden she wasn’t feeling very brave.
“Don’t be silly,” she scolded herself. “Granny needs me.” And even though she was still a bit scared, she entered the woods.