I’m not sure why I remember her that way, dressed in red, but I do. She’s wearing a big dress, the fancy folds of material cascading around her, held aloft by some cage of hoops and petticoats. She looks like something out of a film, her hair swept away from her face, her neck bare above a low heart-shaped bodice. The swell of her breasts makes my eyes water. I want to lay my cheek against her skin, press my lips into the dip of her collarbone.
I’m not sure why I remember her that way. I can’t imagine I ever saw her in such a thing. The first time I saw her she was nearly naked. The pulse of the bass from the speakers overhead, the lights and smoke making the stage look like it was on fire. She stood still and smoldering above the crowd. Her brown hair fell over her shoulders, her lips glistened and pouted, her eyelids were low and thick with mascara.
That should be the red I remember. The red that painted her like a demon. I squinted through the smoke and heat at her and could see the pretty lace on her bra and panties flirting with all of us, touching her the way we wanted to. She barely moved, just let us look at her, want her. And we did.
That should be the red I remember.
That or the smear of blood across her lips. Her tongue quickly licking it away from her white teeth. Those teeth bared, brown eyes fierce, angry and guilty, blood on her hands and the sleeve of her jacket.
“Lila,” I had said but she didn’t turn.
The streetlamp glowed above us, buzzed with energy and clicked with the smacks and pops of bugs that tried to get inside.
She had killed Joey. I knew she’d done it. I knew she’d have to pay for it. I knew what had started it.
I said, “Lila,” softer the second time.
She didn’t turn.
“That’s not my name,” she said finally.
I heard the gravel crackle behind us. Drift was coming. He would find her wearing Joey’s blood. He would want to kill her.
In this life she is a stripper, the jealous older sister of my wife. All of us are demons, but she more than the rest, standing over the only one who knew us who didn’t know what we were. But that’s not how I remember her. I remember her in a long red dress, smiling as if she has a secret, luring me across a crowded room with those deep brown eyes.
I remember her from a long time ago. I suddenly remember her.
“Eliza,” I said.
She turned, hands still red, lips still red, eyes still brown.
Then he killed her.
Red: Prompt from 30×30, clip from Seduction of an Innocent