Scarlet Shadows

This is a story I did thanks to a writing prompt I found on tumblr. It's a bit creepy, which is not my usual style. I'd love to get feedback on how I can improve. Thanks!

           She swiped her finger through the dregs of the dead embers. A thin layer of black clung to the pale skin. Carefully, she coated her eyelids in ashes, blurring them into the soot that already dusted her haggard face. Going down the chimney had not been her most glamorous entrance.

            The body seemed to watch her, although its eyes no longer worked. It sat propped against a pastel wall, head lolling to one side. Deep crimson blood splattered the once-yellow daisies of the wallpaper. This used to be a man of middle age. He had a family, a dull but well-paying job, and coffee. Now he had a .45 bullet in his skull. Poor bastard never saw it coming.

            She paused in her application of the “makeup” to survey the grim scene of her own creation. A faint grin crossed her lips.

            “Do you like this look?” she asked the corpse, thick accent seeping into the words. The sound of her own voice was almost surprising; it had been maybe two weeks since she had spoken last. Some of her higher-ups thought she never spoke at all. Skyggen, they called her. The Shadow. She didn’t mind the nickname very much. It was nice to have a name to go by, a simple word for her targets to whisper fearfully into the darkness before their demise.

            “Ashes are the only way to really get the right shade,” she continued. “That’s what all the real artists say.”

            The man stared blankly at a bland section of the wall behind her. The very air seemed to hold its breath.

            “Are you listening to me?” she asked, crouching in front of him, elbows resting on her knees. “Your wife might be interested in this. Or your daughter.”

            There was no response, of course. The girl chuckled, a harsh noise which grated in the silent room. “None of them ever listen to me.”

            She quieted, watching the gently trickling blood stain the man’s graying hair. It reminded her of a leaky faucet. She reached out, catching a few scarlet drops. They practically rolled off her fingers, trailing thick streaks of color. Fascination clouded her dark eyes.

            Soon she was adding a bit more warpaint to her features. She reveled in the crimson bands that now circled her cheeks, and for a moment wondered why no one else did this.

            Because they’d end up in an asylum, her mind reminded her. That was true enough. They’d stuck her in one for a while. Not for long, though. The doctors and nurses were quick, but never quite quick enough. “Run, run, as fast as you can,” she whispered, savoring the memory. Their voices had been like little mice, squeaking and whimpering. There had been so much lovely red blood…

            The girl patted the corpse on the head and stood up. Taking some more of the blood, she traced the word skyggen in shaky capitals on the wall. A calling card, the one she usually left. Killers were nothing without their calling cards. It made things more exciting. Then, she grabbed her gun from the floor and vaulted out the window, leaving the ominous scene behind her.

            The faint smile never left her lips.

            A scream split the air as she stood on the narrow sidewalk, taking in a breath of moonlight.

            The grin widened.

The End

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