FOREVER SCARLET • by Oonah V Joslin

These were days of freedom from fusty classrooms and chalk-dust sunbeams with a winter slant. They were days of first sunshine, spring shirts, cherry blossom and the down hill race on rickety wheels, clickety-clack-clacking like typewriter keys inventing an old story; Patch running at their back and the ink-blue ribbon steaming out from Scarlet’s braided hair, her new skirt flapping like a parasol of pink grapefruit and satsuma swirls; her squeals tangerine with delight thrilling the black tarmac path as they careered down at impossible speeds from the flat topped hill. Their mother would be cross that she’d been ‘tom-boying’ in that skirt. And then the twig, pencil-thin, held out a cold finger and SNAP.

Dillon got up laughing, brushed himself down and regarded the splintered bogie with awe. Brendan sat howling and Patch ran up wagging his tail and licked out gravel from his injured knee.

Scarlet lay on the ground some way away. She didn’t move. The boys arriving to help her up saw the crimson ooze beneath her head. Dillon dipped his finger in and looked at the sickly ink as if he might write her name across the sky. But he didn’t know how to write her name yet. He didn’t remember screaming. Then adults came, bundled them off; sent for help.

“Scar,” is but a syllable on these near-silent keys and blank screen. That scar that had never after left Dillon’s mind. “Not your fault,” they’d said. But he’d built the contraption with his own hands and he it was who’d set it on its way. “Let,” letting, blood letting, lettering… Forever, Scarlet, written in his mind, in letters of blood. And this was the one thing about which Dillon could never write. Scarlet coloured his life. Only tears flowed from that vision — no words.

Oonah V Joslin is Managing Editor at Every Day Poets.  Credits include 3 Micro Horror prizes, an honorable mention in The binnacles Shorts Poetry comp 2009, Inclusion in several anthologies, A Man of Few Words, The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 and 2009 and Toe Tags.  Read her at Static Movement, The Shine Journal, A View From Here, The Ranfurly Review 10FLASH Quarterly and many other places. Other work including her Novella, A Genie in a Jam, can be found at Bewildering Stories. The list is updated in The Vaults at Parallel Oonahverse and on her Facebook.  Oonah’s ambition is to have a book published.

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