Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Crimson (328 words)

Every woman in Evanston over the age of twelve owned a red dress.

No one talked about it.

No one talked about the red dye on their mother’s hands either, bought in bricks or beaten out of Bloodroot. The stains clung to fingers and arms for weeks at a time as they dyed and redyed and redyed again.

No one talked about their aunts sneaking off into the woods to hang great sheets of precious cloth off the branches to dry, or their sisters hauling it in again, bright crimson, and whipped to gentleness in the constant island wind.

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A List of Things that Scare Me in the Dark

1. When I was very small, I feared the Witch at the Window. I don’t know why. I suppose she was a climber, green fingers hanging on the sill outside, and her long nose pressed to the glass. There was no tree out my window, and she never came tapping, just a silent thing peering in. We kept the shades drawn at night, to keep the car lights out, and all our sleeping in, but sometimes the corner pulled away at the bottom. I never looked, already knowing she filled the peeking space.

2. It took me a long time to learn not to watch horror films before bed. It took longer to learn not to watch them at all.

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