“Dying Words”

Goodness, such a lot of blood. All the better to see red, my dear. Oh yes, indeed, little riding hood. Most people think it’s strictly black and white, but we canids see in color. Though not, I suspect, as intensely as you…

Do keep an eye on that axe. Still dripping red. Like rotten tomatoes. Boos will never hurt me. But boo-boos… red as the carpet pulled out from under my feet. Red like insult added to injury, a pretext to laugh and call me names. Red, you see, is mean.

And red doesn’t mean anything. It’s roses by rote. It’s the artificial coloring of generic sweetness. Apple-skin-deep… watery melon… cinna-mint… wild synthetic berry. With a cherry-flavored something on top.

Closer. This weather-beaten person in the lumberjack shirt. I don’t like the looks of him. As red as a deficit — the debt you both think you now owe him. I suppose it’s not your fault. You were raised on princesses, with their poisoned apples… and pricked fingers… and waiting lips. Fated to be laid out. A prime cut. For a too good to be true love.

But our story. You see how different it is. It was me who lay in wait. I’m the one lying here. And my love. Not too good for anything. But big… and bad… and destined to never get… enough of you.

Red, it won’t be…long at all before he’s painting the town without you. You’ll be… marooned. But you can. Closer. Catch him with her. Catch him in the act with his Ruby Scarlet Ginger Cherry Rose. Catch him red-handed. Better to beat Bluebeard to the red rum punch, my dear, than to lay down and take it like a blushing bride.

That axe. Dripping.



© 2009 by Shannon Anthony

“Dying Words” was originally published in Tales From the Moonlit Path.


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