a Second Clue

“How is red working for you, Jacquie?”

“Uhm… well?” I answer. For some reason I experience a sudden flowering of satisfaction, a nameless euphoria that I cannot explain. Why? Because I used proper grammar. Huh.

“Good,” the phone answers. “Just don’t trust red fully.”

“What does that mean?” I ask. Almost immediately I ask a second question, but am cut off by the phone-man’s reply. “And who are-”

“Red hurts sometimes, does it not?” Even in my confused state, I know this man makes little sense. He’s obviously worse off than I am. “Look at your finger, Jacquie.”

I glance down at the small cut, burning an angry red line across my finger. True, it stung a little, but it isn’t anything unbearable. Just a little cut.

“Let that be a lesson to you: even your favourite things can hurt you.”

A quick click, and then that same insect-like buzzing sound replaces the man’s voice.

Looking behind me at the Red Brick Café, the feeling of safety it gave me before is absent. Now the dull red bricks of the façade are menacing, frightening. There is nothing quaint or cheerful about the small coffee shop; it’s all replaced with a sense of mistrust.

I scream a shrill shriek as a body bumps me, sending my phone clattering to the ground. Firm hands grab my shoulders, and my gaze is drawn automatically to the face looking down at me.

“I’m so sorry, miss,” he stutters.

My mouth hangs agape, and an image of some white and orange and red fish flashes into my mind. Another clue?

Releasing my from his strong, yet gentle, grip, the man bends at the knees to retrieve my phone. From this kneeling position he hands it up to me, smiling.

I smile back.

The End

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