Flash Fiction: Scarlet

Flash fiction is genre characterized by having a compressed story of 1000 words approx.

Scarlet

 (A flash fiction story)

 I was sick and tired of the sound of the TV  in a noisy trance, it would go from noise to words and from words to chaos. Or was it my brain doing that? – I shouldn’t have taken all those pills at once –

I couldn’t tell if it was late at night or early in the morning, it was dark anyway. It was always dark here. I guess that happens to you when you live in a place of perpetual darkness; In Alaska during winter one cannot tell the difference.

I was feeling a thick iron taste in my mouth, not sure if it was blood or just the rancid taste of my guts, I can’t remember when I ate last; all I remember is drinking and laughing. Pills I also remember some pills, but not who gave them to me. Was it a man in a dark trench coat? Or was it that woman with the black leather pants? It didn’t matter as I was sure I would never see them again, no one stays in this land for long. They all pass and go, especially during winter.

My room is a mess, well the hotel room I’ve been staying in for the last month or two. And there is an acerbic smell of vodka left over for days. How long have I been out? A day? Two? I try to get up, but the room is spinning so I take my time and I half walk half crawl to the bathroom and I get into the bath. As I sit there immersed in the hot water, looking at my wet white skin, I start remembering, just like flashes of someone else’s live; I remember a dusty old bar, nothing trendy like the ones back home in L.A and a woman with black leather pants. She was all over me, seducing me with her luscious red lips; she had long, sleek black hair and a soft voice which invited you to do naughty things. I remember her long pale fingers, slowly sliding over my arms all the way to my neck. I remember her finger pressing against my collar bone as her lips approached the corner of my mine. She didn’t kiss me, neither did I. But she stayed there sniffing my skin, while I placed my right hand on her hips and brought her closer to me. She was cold, but then this is Alaska, during winter. Everyone is cold even indoors. I could feel my own pulse, blood rushing through my veins to every part of my body; her eyes sparkled like the eyes of a wolf just before attacking it’s pray.

Next thing I remember she was giving me a glass of vodka and some scarlet liquid that looked like strawberry syrup which burned my through inside out and made the room change colour and direction. And some pills, I remember having some shiny black pills on my hand and taking more than one in one go.  What happens next is a bit of a mystery as all I recall is the TV glaring at me and the preposterous noise it made, digging into my ears like hot daggers. I can’t even remember her name.

I had been in Alaska for a month or two it’s easy to lose days in this darkness, I was conducting some studies about global warming and its impact on the ice levels around Alaska; the team had been able to collect data from different points by using digital cameras set to stand the inclement weather, but now some samples were to be extracted and some animal observation was also required so we came in bunches of four and stayed a few weeks at the time. This place can take you straight into insanity if you aren’t careful.

As I sit in the bath unable to move I notice I have a tiny set of dots on the right-hand side of my neck; I can feel them but I don’t have the energy to get up and see them in the mirror, so I stay there caressing them in circular motion, looking blank at the steam coming out of the hot bath water. I can’t remember it being there nor can I remember being bitten by anything. I can taste that metallic flavour in my mouth again and I find it hard to swallow. Suddenly it seems like my guts ache in hunger. – How long have I been gone for?

I get out of the bath. I ache like crazy yet I feel stronger, so I get ready with as many layers of clothing the weather requires. Socks, Long Johns, jeans, vest, shirt, jumper, jacket, scarf. I look like a fucking polar bear! I can’t wait to get back to hot L.A. although somehow I know when I get there, the heat it’s going to be hard to bear; the human body is that way, always trying to cope, and never satisfied with the elements.

I get some coffee, no sugar, milk as I do every morning (although am still unsure if its morning or night) but as I try to swallow it I feel an overcoming repulsion that makes me sick. My stomach aches in hunger yet I cannot face a drop of coffee. What’s wrong with me? I get more images from last night swirling in my brain, pain, pleasure, lust… death? And suddenly I realize what I crave. Liquid, scarlet, warm blood. That is what I crave.

The door knocks, and as I open the heavy wooden door I found her, standing there with her black leather skirt. She smiles with the same malevolent yet irresistible face I remember. – Are you ready? She says, and although I am not sure what she means, I say – yes.

Liquid, scarlet, warm blood is what I crave.

Jihane Rodriguez

*All rights reserved 2011

Illustration by Julietnys Rodriguez all Rights Reserved 2012

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