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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Red Flecks

Story by Louise Jackson (Read author interview) December 15, 2003

She was an artist and she loved the colours in his eyes. Mahogany brown with tiny speckles of red that only became visible when she was millimetres away from him. She kept her own eyes open while they kissed so she could see the red flecks clearly. Stipples of passion, glints of love.

He was wary at first, asked her repeatedly if there was something wrong. She said no, no, and told him about the red flecks. He said he hadn’t known they were there.

Photographs didn’t capture them no matter how far in she focused. Neither did the best video camera she could afford to buy. No one else saw them, those beautiful sparks, not even he, when he peered in the mirror. She asked her mother, his father, her friends, his friends, but everyone said there were no red flecks. After a while he said he doubted they were ever there at all.

She thought she might be seeing things and went to the optician. Her eyesight was perfect. She went to her doctor, said she thought she might have a brain tumour. The scans showed she was in excellent health. Everything worked as it should and so she came to the conclusion that the red flecks must only appear for her. And, if they only appeared for her, it followed that they were only meant for her.

It took her two hours and a steady hand to remove his eyes. She was careful not to damage any part of them, in particular the colours. When she had them out she held the left one up to her own eyes, closer than she could ever get when his face was in the way.

She looked and looked into that left eye. Then she held up the right eye. The mahogany was still there, but no red flecks. They had gone. So she mixed up the reds from her tubes of paint—scarlet, vermillion, crimson, cherry, carmine—took up her finest brush and dotted them back on again. For everyone to see.

About the Author

Louise Jackson writes fiction and poetry, and is a submissions prereader for Cadenza. She lives in England with her two children and their genius pet hamster, Harry.

This story appeared in Issue Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Two
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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Next Date to Join: January 1!

On September 1, SmokeLong launched a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop is happening right now on our dedicated workshop site. If you choose to join us, you will work in a small group of around 10-12 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft in a community.