Smear of Red

Copper Rose perforates the edges of the page while writing unusual stories from the heart of Wisconsin. Her story “Buried in a Book” first appeared in FlashPoint: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Flash Fiction Anthology 2018. Her work has appeared in Night Garden JournalSpillwordsSoft CartelWho Writes Short Shorts and other online webzines. Her story, “Blizzard” is forthcoming in Vortex: The Inner Circle Writer’s Group Literary Anthology 2018.  She also understands there really is something about pie.


Smear of Red

Vic sipped his coffee and checked his reflection in the mirror as he prepared to begin the interview.

“So, what’s the story with you then?”

Ruby was sitting on the opposite side of Vic’s desk, her gaze shifting quickly past his sagging left ear to the hand holding his coffee cup.

“Today? We had a live one. Spirit wouldn’t leave and we had to call in St. Michael’s Warriors, pretty much the whole army. And the net.”

Vic couldn’t control his left eyebrow as it rose up to meet his hairline. “The net?”

“The net they use to tighten down the light, locking in the entity. This one’s name was Oriatl. One of the meanest I’ve seen. Wouldn’t answer. Dodged the light from every angle. Usually, if we can get one shot of light into ‘em, they start to turn toward it. But sheesh, this one was a host jumper. Ended up in my assistant, Faye when he vacated the original intended. We really needed him to want to go into the light. That’s always best. But he jumped ship and the OI felt better immediately—migraine gone, just like that. Faye, however, didn’t get off so easy, Oriatl left some gouges on her spleen.”

“Her spleen?”

“Yeah, that must’ve been all he could grab onto, which was his mistake. Spleens are slippery. They got the net around Faye, secured the perimeter, and tried to reel him in, but turns out Oriatl was more like a spleen than we realized.”

“Really?” Vic raised his cup to take a drink, and Ruby glimpsed a smear of red along the bottom of the cup.

Ruby sat up straighter. “Say, can I see that mirror you were looking in when I first got here?”

“What?”

“The mirror.”

“What mirror?”

Vic flung the mirror and it shattered at Ruby’s feet.

Ruby yelled, at the top of her lungs, “St. Michael! Bring the net!”

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