Rated R: Contains Adult Themes. And Lots of Red
by Amal El-Mohtar
There is fire in his wrists, fire in his walk, fire beneath his fingernails. He is red, redder than rowan berries, for rowan doesn’t bleed as cranberries do, and it is cranberries that he gathers and stews and crushes, cranberries in which he steeps his skin.
It is not white, he says, that is pure. It is not black. It is red, because it moves, it changes, and it keeps itself always. It is not static as fossilized wood, not delicate as new-fallen snow. When red seeks to be its truest self, it is in motion. It fears no change.
He has shrugged at Paracelsus, at Tarot cards, at accusations of devilry. Red is his religion. He squeezes berry juice onto his eyelids, swallows it nine times a day. He wants the redness to spill from him like a scent, that sleeping creatures might dream in garnet tones.
About the Author
Amal El-Mohtar is the Nebula-nominated author of The Honey Month, a collection of very short fiction and poetry written to the taste of 28 different kinds of honey. Her work has recently appeared in Uncanny magazine and in Lightspeed magazine’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction special issue. She’s 1/4 of DOWN AND SAFE, a new podcast discussing iconic British science fiction program Blake’s 7, along with Scott Lynch, Liz Myles, and Michael D. Thomas. She also reviews books for NPR, Tor.com, and Lightspeed, edits Goblin Fruit, and presently divides her time and heart between Ottawa and Glasgow.
About the Narrator
Marguerite Croft lives by the ocean just south of San Francisco. She has read stories for Podcastle and Escape Pod, and provided the audio narration for Tim Pratt’s The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl. She makes regular appearances on the Point Mystic podcast where she is also a story developer and script editor.