Red All Over

A Flash Fiction Story by Matthew Tansek


          Have you heard the joke?  What’s black, white and red all over?  

 

          I can’t tell you how much I wish it were just the papers.  The promises that such a beautiful smile made to me, little did I know that all of the color and light would be taken from then on.  That a monster’s existence, while potent would come with such a trade off.

          It is red, all over.  Red. All. Over.

 

          “What did you bring us this time?” Jefferson asked, bounding out of the old cabin.  I detested how he was always hungry.

          “It’s in the trunk,” I answered turning off the engine and stepping out of the car.

          “That’s not what I asked,”

          I tossed him the keys in response.  It all just sickened me.

 

          I had hoped for a way to prolong my youthful loves, of poetry, of nature, of music.  My life was once steeped in the transcendental ideals of Emerson and Thoreau. Ah, but sadly a bargain darkly offered to keep my heavenly moment of youth was greedily accepted.  

 

          Abigail’s pale face appeared in the doorway, “Were you followed?” she asked.

          “No,” I replied, my voice sounding as dead as I was.

          “There’s not anywhere left for us to hide, we’ll be burned like the rest if you were followed.”

          “I said I wasn’t.”

          I glared at her and wondered how it was that she seemed as alluring as Scheherazade to me once.  Her grime smeared face held none of the enchantment that it once did.

          “There are torches on the road!” Jefferson hissed, vaulting through the gaping hole that once was a window, “The damn fool has brought them right to us.”

          Despite the white hot fury that flashed on Abigail’s face I felt nothing.  What if they had followed me? If self preservation is truly nature’s first great law as Marvell says, than does this not prove that we are unnatural?

 

          They approached.  I smiled.

 

          From the gathered darkness Jefferson’s great clawed fingers slashed, and the arcing crimson spattered in applause.  But the beast faltered at the thunder of silver bullets, and the sons of Gevaudan proved that the old traditions had not died away.  

 

          The feigned cries of an innocent woman could next be heard, as Abigail plucked heartstrings.  Her pleading cries a mockery of all the sisters and daughters she laid before her and robbed of their rosy cheeks and soft breath.

          The torchbearers debated, and for a moment it seemed that she would slip away again.  But the fairer of the mob stepped forward, in who’s feminine eyes lay the cold coals of a mother’s loss.  And Abigail was no more.

 

          Finally, with the cabin around me ablaze, and the shouts rising to a fevered climax beyond, I calmly turned and strode out the door.  The bard’s words a whisper in my ear.

 

          Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.

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