Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
Seeing Red By Jane Ayres
Seeing Red by Jane Ayres
Poppies. Fields of poppies.
The train hurtles through the Kent countryside and the woman stares fixedly at the view from the window.
Nothing but red. Fields of red. Passing in a blur, like a dream. A scarlet dream.
Her eyes begin to mist over again. Red mist.
It wasn’t your fault, the voice insisted.
No-one would believe that. No-one did.
She blinks, but not quickly enough to prevent a salty tear splashing onto the bloodstained page of the book that lays open in her lap. It doesn’t matter. She can’t concentrate any more, although she makes a pretence at it. Her fellow passengers don’t notice, beguiled and bewitched by those screens and keyboards. Everyone’s beloved companion. Are friends electric? No, they are digital.
Mentally, she retraces her steps, trying to figure it out, trying to locate that intangible moment when everything changed. Because knowledge, they say, is power. The new mantra. A universal truth. She feels it now, like a malignant cancer in her stomach, eating her from the inside out.
I saw you. I saw you both.
It was what she had always feared, what every lover fears. An image that would never be erased from her memory, shattering the glass. Allowing you to escape.
My twin. Such weird girls are we. Two became one became two. Dislocation.
Poison seeping into her bloodstream, the battery acid corroding everything it touched. Her course of action was instinctive, immediate, final.
“People do all kinds of things for love,” they told her afterwards, clearing up the mess. The crimson, bloody mess.
But by then it was too late - or perfect timing, depending on your point of view.
She looks up at the ticket inspector, fumbles in her bag. For a moment, she has completely forgotten where she is going. She has been wrapped in a cocoon for fifteen years, for the protection of others, and it is hard to embrace freedom again. Then she remembers.
No us any more. It will be I forever more.
I fought you all these years, she convinces herself. But we are friends now. Me and you. You and I. After all, we share the same home.
The voice that haunts us, always there, even when hiding behind a veil of denial.
The splintering of she, he, I, me.
So I will never be alone or forgotten.
What if she sees red again?
I’ll take care of you.
It is the start of a new journey. As the train arrives at it’s destination she is surprised to discover they have both been expected. Perhaps it is safe to smile again.
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