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The Color of Blood


Fiona Black

Copyright Fiona Black 2011
Published by Secret Fire Press

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Marlena stumbled on the buckled sidewalk in the dark. Stubbed her toe against the inside of her boot. One more place on her body that hurt. The humid wind chilled her. She hugged herself. Realized she’d left her coat . . . somewhere. Back at the house? She wasn’t even wearing her street clothes.

She took inventory: sleeveless gray on black zip-front latex mini-dress, bare legs. On New Year’s Eve. Marks on her wrists from the cuffs and—

She expanded her focus a little. The houses all looked the same—big front yards full of St. Augustine and dandelions. Vaguely ranch style one-stories. Shuttered windows for eyes. All of it sepia-toned in the night. A black and white movie.

Half a block behind her, the party roared on. People hung out on the driveway, their hands in their pockets or wrapped around the necks of their beers. A couple of them hunkered in the middle of the street lighting Roman candles. Someone—Debbie?—laughed. The balls shot up, burst into spark and smoke against the dome of clouds overhead.

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