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All Poetry & Nothing But

Little Red Coat
by Utahna Faith
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Comrade Chicky spotted Little Red Coat at the train station. A thin, pale
child, beautiful and delicate, she walked up the station steps carefully,
one foot perfectly in front the other. Comrade Chicky could smell her
translucent flesh from across the platform. He could imagine his teeth
breaking through it. He could feel something so very rare.

He approached her, not stopping to think for one moment of his own slouchy,
gaunt figure, the thick glasses and squinting eyes his students made fun of.
He fingered the wrapped candy in his pocket. He'd been saving it for the
perfect moment.

Little Red Coat looked at Chicky with surprise and, Chicky thought, some
disdain. But no fear. She answered that, yes, she had tried candy once, and
she liked it. His hand slid from his pocket and he offered the piece. She
looked at it for a moment, then at Chicky. Back at the candy. She took it,
and slipped it into her own pocket. She looked away.

It was time. Chicky's heart raced. But he had to do it. He explained to
Little Red Coat that he had a secret candy shack nearby, just into the
woods. That the outside looked like a regular old shack, but that inside it
was filled with every type of candy, even all the kinds from the West. She
looked at him again, her face as impassive as the bare tundra stretching out
from the village and the woods. Would you like to see it, he asked her.
Okay, she said. He instructed her to count to ten slowly and then follow
him. Okay, she said. He walked away, thinking of her delicate fruit flesh,
the blood pulsing underneath, thinking of her small, breakable body. She
followed. At the edge of the woods he turned back and walked with her. He
felt he should make a bit of conversation, but he couldn't think of a single
thing to say.

When they reached the shack he opened the door and gestured. She went in
before him. He locked the door quickly, even before she turned to him,
having seen the dirty, ramshackle cottage distinctly lacking in candy or
anything else of interest to a child. Her large eyes looked even wider, her
milky face even more pale. To his surprise he saw not fear but rage. She
growled at him. The child growled!

Comrade Chicky backed against the door, then slid along the wall toward a
greasy workbench. His hand groped for the sharpened axe. He felt its heavy
handle under his palm, and grasped it in one hand. He was tumescent for the
first time in ages, and trembling. He rushed at Little Red Coat, the axe
over his head, the other arm out to catch her thin shoulder through the red
wool of her coat.

Little Red Coat ballet-stepped to the side at the last split second,
grabbing Comrade Chicky's outstretched arm as high as she could reach and
pulling him with all her little weight and might toward and past her. He
fell onto the dirt floor, knocking his head against a rusted anvil that lay
at the foot of a filthy mattress. Little Red Coat ran at him, grabbing the
axe from his limp hand. She would have seen her father chop wood; perhaps
had even tried it herself on occasion. She hoisted the axe high, losing her
balance for a moment but quickly regaining it, then brought the weapon down,
with the help of adrenaline and gravity and fortune, onto Comrade Chicky's

Comrade Chicky looked at Little Red Coat, seeing blood spurt in his field of
vision. She was backing away, then standing perfectly still against the door
of the shack, the axe dropped before her. Looking at him. Chicky felt
himself fading. Dizzying. Not really any pain, but a rapid draining of all
resources. Loss of tumescence. His anger flashed and he tried to shout an
obscenity at Little Red Coat, but he could only produce a guttural gurgle
that sprayed frothy blood.

Little Red Coat kept her eyes on Chicky as she slid one hand into her pocket
and pulled out the candy. She watched him as she unwrapped the treat,
sniffed it, and placed it carefully in her mouth. Then she turned her back
on him, turned the oversized key in the oversized lock and swung open the
heavy wood door. She looked back once, then shut the door.

Comrade Chicky could not see Little Red Coat run across the snow, her prints
trailing, her fur hat flying from her head and trailing behind her by satin
ribbons, her fur-topped boots a black blur over white snow under red wool.
Comrade Chicky saw red. Then he saw nothing. Ever again.


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