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Tuesday June 28, 2022

Significant Insignificance

brick red lipstick

How much would you do for something that doesn’t matter? An invalid question, everything matters, even the things that don’t. Especially the things that don’t. I wipe my blood streaked hands on my cargo shorts as I stare into the little boutique window. A life that once was. A past forgotten. A flash of Brick red. Insignificant. Vibrant. The faded but visible Estee Lauder logo on the little body of the insignificant tube of lipstick taunts me. My favorite. I watch it. A part of a past long forgotten. Something tangible beyond the bullet loops and the cacophony of this new existence. A small case of beauty. Meaning held only to those who savor it, understand it. It is insignificant to those who don’t.

How much am I willing to do for something that doesn’t matter? Easy, nothing. But that little flash of brick red, within a sea of coppery red, it is not for nothing. It is everything. I stare into the store again. The bright flashes of yellow eyes and smell of decay confirm my previous fears. It was too good to be true anyway. As I turn around, I catch a glimpse at myself. My eyes puffy and red from sleepless weeks. The cuts and bruises pockmarking my face. My eyes. A tear glistened at their corner. A husband, from years past, came into mind. A child lost to exertion. The husband lost to a bite, and then a bullet.

“Your eyes are so soulful, blue, with flecks of gold. You are my sunset, my warrior into the darkness. My ocean on the dusk”
The tear at the corner of my eye flowed down. There were no longer any flecks of gold in these eyes. The blue was not of an ocean, it was an empty nothingness, the calm before a storm. He was damn right though, a warrior into the darkness I am. Especially when it seems that the sun won’t rise. My eyes gazed further downward. Finally resting on my lips. Chapped and dry, the color of rust. Oxidizing what was once beautiful steel. Another memory threatened to chip away at what little strength I had left.

“The red brick”
“What?”
“Your lipstick, it brings them out”
“Them?”
“Your oceans upon dusk”

My resolution. Now chipped away and eaten. Turned into something else. Turned. My teary eyes returned into a glare. The calm was gone. And the storm was about to begin. I hold the gun and click in the ammo. More than one head would have to burst if my premonitions are right. The shuffling starts inside, as if reading my intentions. I sheathe my eyes, blue becoming green, and the darkness suddenly visible. 5 in a corner, 4 in another aisle, 12 in total. I checked my bullets. There shouldn’t be a problem. I check to make sure my knife is still in my satchel and push open the door.
The shuffling stops.

But that little flash of brick red, within a sea of coppery red, it is not for nothing. It is everything. I stare into the store again. The bright flashes of yellow eyes and smell of decay confirm my previous fears.

I stare angrily into the room, willing a move to be made. A low keening howl starts up from behind one of the shelves. The howl grows in intensity. The first one steps into view, it takes a second for its head to become red mist and another two for the body to become a pile of nothingness on the floor. 1 becomes 2. 2 becomes 4. 4 becomes 8. 8 becomes 16. 16? I think rapidly. There were only 12. The piles of ashes on the floor grow as the bullets start to thin.

A harsh breath wheezes from behind me. I turn in horror as a decayed wrist grabs my own. The wrist severs as soon as the knife makes contact with it. I stare at it. It howls. I level the rifle and catch a glimpse into its dead eyes. Black. The infinite void from whence they came. It didn’t matter anymore. The dusk had been over for a while. It was now night. It became ever obvious in the milliseconds of unwavering gaze to thousand eye stares. Whose was whose? It didn’t matter. I fire.

It didn’t matter. A slice of paradise for infinite decay. Insignificant. A little microcosm of happiness, bright red, within a sea of black. Unending, unyielding night. It was too good for this world. The red, color of life. Surrounded by death. The prick of a rose within utter despair.
I took off the visor. My blue eyes naked in the dark. I stared into the black night. I scream, overshooting their howls.

Their decaying ears barely pick up the vibration. They shuffle towards me, intent on getting blood. I will not let them. As they draw near, I slash and stab frantically with my knife. Laughing. I take off the head of one with the butt of my gun. They come close, I knock them back. They touch me, but then lose the ability. As the pile of ash grew, my blood soaked cargo shorts were now tinted black with the dust and decay.

The last one comes towards me, I make sure to stare unwaveringly into its eyes before turning it back into ash. I stare at the red. Brick red. So close. I walk towards it, reaching out. Suddenly I wince. I stare down. Coppery red, so different from the brick red, flows down my leg. I distinctly make out a molar and a canine, still stuck within the flesh. I laugh. There’s nothing more to be done. I pull my revolver out of my holster and put a bullet in the chamber.

As I lift my chin up to rest the muzzle under the crook of my neck, brick red catches my eye. I stare at the lipstick, blue eyes, no longer flecked with gold and slowly reach out and grab it. Then, I screw open the tube and look at the bright red. Brick red. I shuffle over to a broken piece of glass. I stare at my face, pockmarked and damaged…and I smile.

Slowly, reverently I apply the brick red. I catch my own gaze in the dirty glass. There are gold flecks shining in the oceans upon dusk. I replant the muzzle. Making sure my last sight is those gold flecks. How much would you do for something insignificant? The answer is easy. Nothing. But for some brick red and golden flecks in a sea of relentless night? I’ll do anything. Gradually, the brick red turns into copper red as the world turns to night once again.

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