Girl in Red
I fixed her. I made her better, painted her pretty silk skin in red with my favorite silver brush. I drew her a necklace of garnets, dark red drops gleaming against her throat. I posed her on her bed, sunset paint against white-grey-blue patterned canvas.
She is my gift to you. I position her limbs, fingers splayed daintily, pale eyes staring past me into the distance. A rose spirals open in her hands, its yellow-orange-mauve contrasting with sharp reds and blacks, palest peach skin and light cool tones in the background. I paint silver into her skin. A thin thread of ink runs from the corner of her left eye, corrupting the image. I leave it; I want art, not perfection.
I sign my canvas, as I have always done, in the same paint. Sweeping curves, flourishes. Of course I use a pseudonym. Artists must maintain their mystery. Just in time, too, as I hear your sirens calling in the distance.
You're almost here. It's time to get your gift. It's time for me to go.
One by one, the officers file into the bedroom, grim mouths slashing through their faces. The last one in, a detective, sees the body on the bed and curses.
The girl's throat is mangled by multiple shallow, jagged cuts. A yellow, withered rose was pressed into her hands, thick thorns embedded in her palms. A tear had dragged mascara down one side of her face.
On one white wall, fingerpainted in rapidly congealing blood, are the words "help me."