This story at Fictionpress.
Also included this week:
Secret Life: Chapter ten. Sci-fi horror. "He is afraid. Afraid that he knows why he is here."
A Story Across Years
Chapter six: Ten Colors for Marilyn
Red: It's the blood she sees spilling out of her parents as he picks her up and walks away, and the spaghetti dinner their heads are resting in. It's the hair of the man who tried to rape her when she was twelve, who her protector made her murder after he'd been cut half to death already. It's the frosting on the cookies which her mother made with the special family recipe, and which she'll never have again. Red is the color of change, but even more, it is that color which signifies things lost, which can never be regained.
White: The color of his mask, carved from wood and painted like a skull, the only thing she could look at as he carried her away, saying that it would be alright. Her parents' china, which she never saw again after that day. The clothes she favored, especially after a good wash, when all the grime had gone away, and they were out of the dryer, fresh and warm and comforting. White is death to some, and purity to others, but for Marilyn, it is security, and the memory and promise of it. It's all she needs to feel safe.
Silver: Knives are silver, no doubt about it, and more than a few of the scars on her body are from when she didn't move fast enough during sparring in her older years, when he started using a knife, too. It's the needle she uses to stitch him up after he's removed the bullets, and it's the cover of the medical book she's studied often before but rereads twice in one sitting after she learns that she's going to be removing them from him next time. It's the color of lessons, and hard-earned knowledge, and often tied to red things.
Green: She has received many puzzle boxes from him, often with prizes inside, but occasionally with the threat of undesired consequences if she does not solve it within the time given to her. She was given a garden, and the plants were so difficult to grow at first, but though he did not help her in any way except to give her the right books, she persevered, and succeeded. For some, green is death and resurrection, and to them resurrection was never an easy affair. But it was possible, and to Marilyn green is the solution contained within the problem.
Yellow: The copper jackets of bullets. Shining, gleaming gold. The covers of the crime stories she would read, and so forevermore an association with crime and criminals. The sun, hanging high above her in the sky. It was power and self-determinacy, but in the hunk of orpiment sitting on her dresser since she was eleven, that which the alchemists of old sought in vain to turn into gold, it also represented false promises of such. Yellow was a promise of something great, but it was also a warning, because those promises could be false. Duality, contradictions, so many opposing things.
Black: The darkness of a room in which she had been locked away, the lights turned off. She did bad things, like any child, but he wouldn't beat her just because she had failed. It meant "bad choices" to her, but never something to fear. An opportunity to do better, because nobody could start off perfect and make no mistakes. The darkness just let her know that she had made a bad decision. Black was close to blue, and that made perfect sense, but ultimately, black was the color of consequences, tied to yellow, like a bumblebee and its sting.
Purple: Bruises, before anything else at all. But when she thinks of the bruises, she doesn't think of those few beatings after she did something so completely stupid and endangering to herself that it was impossible to blame him for what he would do, to make sure she never risked hurting herself like that again. When she thinks of purple, she thinks of bruises, but when she thinks of bruises, she thinks of the ones she's garnered in sparring practices. It isn't just learning or experience, but being better than she was before. It is painful but entirely worth it.
Orange: Oranges, of course, and tangerines, and even carrots. Pumpkins and carving the Jack-O-Lantern with him as Halloween drew near, although only hard (and foolhardy) souls dared to walk out in that part of the city on a normal night, let alone on Halloween. The sunset as she sat on his lap in the summer, watching from a chair on their rooftop as it sank beneath the horizon. The warmth of a warm fire on an exceptionally cold night. It is, put simply, the little pleasures in life, which require nothing more than the ability to sit back and enjoy.
Brown: It is the dirt upon which she sits, as she gazes at his gravestone, and traces his name with her finger. It was the sign that it was finally time to harvest the seeds from the sunflowers in her garden, the seeds which he once loved so much, and which she placed gently beside the stone. It was in the withered leaves which fell soon before his death, but she would not let herself think anything of, convinced that he would survive this. Before, she had never thought much of brown, but now it represents reality, cold and unyielding.
Blue: His knives were silver and his mask was white, his hair was brown, and his guns were black, but the eyes of the man who killed her parents and took her away, who she would soon after call "Father," were blue, and so were the frames of his coke-bottle glasses. It's the woad of the Celts in the stories he tells her so often, and when he finally let her drink alcohol, the wine was so dark blue that it looked almost black to her, but in the end, it was his wine, and blue is her Father's color.