Up close,
she thought about how his hairline made an ‘M’ shape on his larger-than-ideal forehead. He was too young to be losing hair, and it made her think about stupid stuff like genetics and whether their kids would lose their hair that early on. Whether her contrastingly small forehead would mean that they’d create the perfect-sized forehead-ed children. Whether they would grow into their teen years, become conscious of their looks and start to recognise that they were a result of them.

She ran her finger down the bridge of his nose, careful to trace it out as it was, close to the bone, to solidify in her mind, his sculpture. She was cautious of how the rest of her fingers fell on his face, making sure only the pointer sensed the warmth of him. Over the peaks of his eyebrow, his chin and then outlining his face. Never even coming close to acknowledging his lips. That would be weird. That would make it real.

With his eyes closed though, she knew she was granted permission to decipher what made them so pink. It reminded her of an old friend, who’d once told her it was tradition in their culture to wipe babies’ lips with a red cloth. It would stain them pink, make them more beautiful. She thought about how his mother probably didn’t do that, yet he was beautiful. It relayed in her mind the hues of blossoming flowers and the embodiment of love that the Perth sky would paint every dawn. As his mouth parted gently, she felt he knew his lips were on her mind.

The sight of them made her ponder, how even his most mundane actions, so inconsequential, reminded her of home. A slight sigh and it would be as though mimicking a soft breeze, embedded in tunes of Swades and igniting nostalgia within.

Inching infusion of blush, overtaking the outer-most cartilage of his ears and seeping into his cheeks, it confirmed to her that her gaze was more stinging, more apparent than she ought it to be. She felt a voice tug at her own, and with sudden shamelessness, she planted a kiss on his neck. Caught up at the pure sight of him, she had no control over her true instincts, like flinching at the heat of a fire.

Gentle, her lips pressed onto his cold and risen skin. He exhaled at this, and it was louder than his sigh. She raised her eyes to meet his. A deep-sea blue... how cliché.

In that very moment, with a single swift movement, she placed her hand and pressed down on the highest, most prominent, point of his Adam’s apple. Releasing her other side, she forced her entire weight onto her hand around his throat, whilst reaching the other one into the elastic of her waistband.

A short metal instrument, spear-shaped, she jabbed it into his neck. Months in confinement had given her enough time to think about weapons and to shave down the handle of a spoon, sharpening it; tying threads she’d pull out her smock, over the mouth of the spoon, for grip. 

Red is a piece of flash fiction that attempts to shock the reader and have them go “I can never read it like I did the first time”. It employs poetic prose to situate the audience in the protagonist’s mindset and colour to hint at, and bind the past, present and future.

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