The Colour Red

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


On an empty street outside a rundown restaurant, Victoria waits for her date to arrive. As the night unfolds it becomes clear that everything is not what it seems

Submitted: December 13, 2017

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Submitted: December 13, 2017

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“Am I at the right place?” was the first thought that went through Victoria’s head as she glimpsed down at her watch.  8:07, he was late. She repressed her frustration by pacing around. Although she pretended that tardiness didn’t bother her, it was one of her greatest pet peeves. The brunette didn’t feel safe waiting outside alone; she’d never been in this part of town before and for good reason. Most of the streetlights were broken and the only people around were a group of teenage boys smoking cigarettes on the other side of the street.

 

The boys murmured amongst themselves in a whispered, hushed conversation. Were they talking about her? She didn’t want to look at them, but she felt all their eyes staring at her. She was done waiting outside; Victoria went into the restaurant alone. If her date was going to be late, he’d have to meet her inside.

 

The interior of the restaurant wasn’t much better than the dilapidated streets around it. The whole room was almost dark, and dreary shadows flickered across the room.  Victoria had heard of mood lighting, but this was absolutely ridiculous. The only sources of light in the whole establishment were the neon signs hanging above the bar and a single, dull yellow, flickering lamp near the bathrooms.

 

As Victoria scanned the room she was glad to see there were at least a few people sitting by the bar, if it was mostly empty she would’ve cut her losses and left. She rolled her hazel eyes as she looked at her watch again; 8:11.

 

“If he doesn’t get here before 8:15 I’m leaving.”  She thought to herself as she took a seat at the bar, the hard, wooden stool digging into her soft skin.

 

“Can I get you anything, little lady?” The burley barman asked, his voice was rough like gravel. He examined her from top to bottom but made no move to get closer.  A thick and musty air hung around the bar.

 

“No thanks, I’m just waiting for someone.” Victoria's sweet voice broke the sullen silence, but she tried to avoid eye contact; she was beginning to regret waiting. She nervously pulled out her phone, there were no new messages but she wanted to look busy so that no one would try making conversation with her. Her thumb instinctively went to the dating app and clicked on it. His profile was still open:

 

Ken, 26.

Hobbies: writing poetry, playing guitar, cooking.

Likes: Romantic movies, puppies.

Dislikes: Violence, Donald Trump.

 

She gazed at his profile picture. He wasn’t the most handsome man she’d seen, but at least he dressed nicely and his blonde hair was neatly combed.

 

They’d been texting for over a week before Victoria had agreed to go on a date with him. Initially, she thought Ken was trying too hard to seem like the hopeless romantic type, but his messages were always so charming and thoughtful that she decided to give him a try. So far he’d blown his chance monumentally, he’d picked a terrible restaurant and he was now 14 minutes late.

 

The brunette stuffed her phone back into her handbag, avoiding scratching it on any sharp objects inside.  As she got up to leave she saw someone coming through restaurant’s narrow entrance. His hair was messy, and he wore jeans and a t-shirt, but Victoria recognised him.

 

“Victoria, right?” He confidently said with as he approached her.

 

“Ken?” She replied her mouth drawn into a tight straight line, she was about to lay into him for being late when he held out a bouquet of red roses.

 

“These are for you.” He tried to give a charming smile but his teeth were a little too crooked to pull it off. Victoria accepted the flowers nonetheless.

 

“You’re late, but luckily for you red is my favourite colour...so I’ll forgive you.” She gave a cheeky smile. He seemed a little different to his profile, both in appearance and character, but Victoria was determined to have a good time.

 

“Thank you,” He said with a half bow, “Shall we sit down?”

 

“Sure,” The brunette started walking towards the tables but Ken gestured towards the bar. She had just assumed that a date would include dining but maybe he just wanted drinks? She followed him to the bar and sat down.

 

“Sorry I was late, I had to…” Ken stopped himself, “Make a stop on the way here. Can I get you a drink?” He quickly changed the subject.

 

“Sure, I’ll just have a glass of red wine.” His date nodded.

 

“Just wine? Don’t you want something stronger? It’s the weekend.” He teased, but Victoria's eyes darkened, she didn’t like getting bossed around.

 

“Just wine, thanks.”

 

Ken conceded and ordered a glass of wine for her and a coke and rum for himself. He could see she was uncomfortable so he tried to make conversation:

 

“So do you go on many dates?”

 

“Yeah,” She tried to make herself animated so he wouldn’t feel awkward, “They’ve never resulted in any long-term relationships, but I’ve had fun.”

 

“I see, well I’ve had some pretty fun dates too.” He chuckled a little bit as if he was telling himself an inside joke. Victoria always prided herself on her ability to read people but she was struggling to get a gauge on Ken. It was clear he had secrets, but she was afraid of knowing too much. Some secrets are best left hidden.  The less she knew the better.

 

“I need to go powder my nose.” She blurted out and got up in one swift movement, leaving her date alone at the bar.

 

The bathroom was exactly what she expected; rundown, dirty and in complete disrepair. She carefully avoided bits of broken tiles and mysterious puddles to reach the mirror above the sink. The brunette gazed at her own reflection,

 

“What am I doing here?”  She whispered to herself wide-eyed. She felt a coldness running down her cheeks as she reached into her handbag and pulled out a tube of red lipstick. A touch up wasn’t necessary, but she shakily ran the lipstick across her full lips. “You’re being ridiculous,” She told herself, “You don’t need to be afraid.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, as she opened her eyes she made herself smile. Something about Ken didn’t feel right, but her instincts had been wrong in the past. A lock of her long straight hair was sticking up so she brushed it down with her slender fingers before leaving the bathroom.

 

Ken was still waiting for her by the bar when she got back:

 

“I ordered another glass of wine for you.” He winked as he slid it towards her.

 

“Oh, I don’t know if I should.” She pulled her head back slightly as if trying to distance herself.

 

“Come on, just drink it.” Ken pleaded, “It’s just wine.”

 

Victoria stared at him but he kept looking down at the glass of wine.

 

“Alright, fine.” She conceded and swiped the glass of the counter. With one quick swig, the glass was empty.

 

“Alright!” Ken cheered her on, “Would you like another?”

 

Victoria grinned, all the fear and trepidation that had been clinging to her the entire night let go.

 

“I have a better idea; let’s go back to my place.”

 

“Seriously?” Her date couldn’t hide his excitement, “That’s a fantastic idea.”

 

“Oh, wait.” Victoria’s confidence was subsiding again, “I-I don’t think it’s a good idea, my place is a mess and…”

 

“Nonsense! Don’t let a little mess stop you from having fun.” Ken was quite insistent; he got up off his barstool and helped Victoria off of hers. Victoria fought off her doubts again as she took him by the hand.

 

“You’re right, I’ll call a cab.”  Her smile widened a bit more as she felt herself falling into an emotionless joy.

 

“No need, my car is parked out back.” Ken proudly remarked as they walked together hand in hand.

 

The parking lot was completely empty save for a red hatchback parked on the far end of the lot. Victoria was completely alone with Ken in the darkness of the inner city. Would anyone hear screaming from here? Would they even come and help if they did? She stopped walking as she thought about these questions.  She grabbed her handbag tighter before she slowly began to open it.

 

“Victoria? Are you coming?” Ken tugged at her hand.

 

“Yes,” She snapped out of her almost trance-like state and let him lead her to the only car in the lot. “You have a nice car.” She tried to downplay her reservations.  It was too quiet here.  Too dark.  You could hardly see any colour at all in the dull night.

 

“Thanks,” Ken replied, “You’ll have to give me directions to your house.”

 

Victoria nodded as they both got in; there was no turning back now. She wearily put on her seatbelt, but Ken hadn’t even started the car up. All he did was lock the doors before stopping to stare at her.

 

"What?” The brunette asked with a look of bemusement as she stared him down.

 

“Sorry,” Ken blinked and put the keys in the ignition, “You’re just really beautiful.”

 

He started up the car and soon they were off; away from the parking lot and the seedy restaurant. Victoria directed him as they got out of the decrepit inner city and onto the main road. With every street light, they passed she could see Ken’s expression for a brief moment. He had a content grin on his face. Soon the city was behind them and they approached the suburbs.

 

“There it is on the left.” Victoria pointed to a moderately sized white house with a small yard in the front. Ken pulled up and turned off his engine.

 

“You live here alone?” He asked as he unlocked the car doors.

 

“Yes, why?” The brunette unbuckled her seatbelt. The hair on the back of her neck stood up as he asked the question. 

 

“No reason, just wondering.” He brushed her off as they both got out.  She willed herself to calm down, she was going to just have fun tonight.  Nothing would stop her.  The neighborhood was quiet, only the crickets dared to disturb the peace but even they seemed more reserved tonight. 

 

“This is your last chance.” A voice echoed in Victoria’s head, “Tell him to leave before something happens that you’ll regret.” She ignored the voices and unlocked her front door. 

 

“You know, I’m kind of surprised you let me come home with you tonight,” Ken admitted, Victoria responded with a single word:

 

“Why?”

 

“Well, the whole night you seemed kind of scared… of me in a way.” It felt strange for Ken to say it out loud.

 

“Scared of you?” The brunette giggled as she opened the front door and let him in, “I wasn’t scared of you…” She slammed the door behind them; the entire frame shook at the impact.

 

“I was scared of myself.”

 

“What do mean by…” Ken stopped mid-sentence as he found himself looking at a lounge covered in bloodstains.  There even seemed to be an occasional chunk of flesh scattered across the wall.

 

“I told you my house was a mess, but you said I shouldn’t let a little mess stop me from having fun.” Victoria voice suddenly sounded a lot more menacing, he turned around to find her holding a folding knife.  Her eyes were wide as she soaked in the terrified expression of the man before her.

 

“I’m sorry, Ken, you seemed really nice and I tried to get away from you, but I can’t help myself.”Her voice was sweet, but her mouth was stretched into an uncomfortably large grin.

 

Ken’s body was in complete shock, his mind desperately tried to find a rational explanation as he stood motionless. The woman before him, who he thought was beautiful, was now a hideous monster.  Her eyes were so wide that they were becoming bloodshot. Her mouth was no longer is a grin, but slightly open while she panted in anticipation. 

 

With a swift movement, Victoria took a step closer and plunged the knife deep into his gut. Ken felt the sharpness digging into his organs, but he was so helpless that didn’t know how to react. His knees grew weak as blood escaped from the wound at a frightful rate.He collapsed on the ground as he looked at the knife in his stomach and then back at the beautiful woman who had put it there. She was standing over him, her one hand gently cupping his face as she used her other to slowly remove the knife. 

 

He couldn't breathe as he watched her smother her hand in his blood.  She didn't break eye contact the entire time he pleadingly looked at her for mercy.

 

“Shhhh,” she whispered as she plunged the knife into his lungs.  She thrust it up and out, then pushed her hand against her chest.  Contentedly she watched the blood drip through her fingers. 

 

Ken let out screams of agony as soon as he could breathe again, but it was of no avail.  No one could hear him.  All he could do was watch helplessly as his blood became another stain on the carpet.

 

“W-why would you this?” He asked as he felt the life escaping from his body. Victoria looked back with at him with wild, unremorseful eyes and then she looked down at the pool of blood forming around him. She grinned from ear to ear and let out a childlike, gleeful laugh.

 

“Because red is my favourite colour.”


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