About Red Tales

Here's an evolving electronic collection of short prose pieces, with a poem contributed occasionally. Brevity guides. Although sometimes a piece will run to 900 words, most pieces are much shorter. Here one may find erotica, flash fiction, brief observations, and modest improvisations. Another rule is that each piece must have something to do with"red"; at least the word has to appear in each piece functionally. . . . All pieces are numbered and titled, so there's a de facto table of contents running down the rail below, under "Labels" (scroll down a bit). Browse for titles that look interesting, if you like. Thank you for stopping by. Look for some red today, tonight.

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

"Flaming June," by Frederick Lord Leighton

Thursday, March 25, 2010

114. Purple

One story has purple coming first from mollusks, an oceanic ink distilled by soft-centered stone-creatures. Once in the hands of humans, purple became grand, staining garments of monarchs, aristocracy, and venerated holy ones.

It came to mean sorrow and penance, too, a mix of martyrs' red-and-blue.

Purple still bleeds into skies, is the color of some eyes according to other eyes. Its etymology owes a syllable or two to a confusion of r's and l's in English, a rippling of purpose on the surface of phonemes.

Look for the nearest purple stain, from grape or dye or something else. What do you think? What do you think of it, purple? Purple. Murmur purple; murmur it in your own language.

Monday, March 22, 2010

113. Book In Your Hands

The book in your hands contains only two pages. Its cover is thick, made of black-lacquered wood.

The image on the cover represents a gray key to a door of a house that no longer stands. You still own the key the cover represents.

On the back, the pattern of a quaint, worn carpet is represented.

You open the book. You look at page two, right side, first. There is a reproduced photograph of your face. Under the photograph appears the word, "You."

On page one, left side, is a color reproduction of a woman's face. It is severe, her face, but not disturbing. The hair, cut short, is a color called "red," but the hair is really a kind of orange. Some of it is brown.

The book was and remains a gift. You close it. You think, "That was not bad, not bad at all. Satisfying, even." It has given you a lot to think about.

Friday, March 12, 2010

112. The Now and the Then

It's the 21st century, and much that was is gone, and much is new.

This floor's made of marble. Mornings, stone is cold, including marble, any century. Bare feet on stone get cold. A mind therefore wants to move the feet it knows best off stone.

. . .You come back into the room--it is a kitchen--wearing faded red slippers. They are simple, a bit of cloth, a bit of hide. It's the 21st century, and slippers are still made, and hides are still taken and tanned.

You fill a container with water, look reflexively through a window to check for anything not right.

Stone floor, cold feet, water, wariness: aspects of the primitive, the civilized, the now and then then.

Copyright 2010 Hans Ostrom

Thursday, March 4, 2010

111. Charlotte's Walk

Charlotte walked on a mood-weird beach, taking it all in: sea-suds on her toes, salt-air in her nose, sounds of surf and engines--echoes, yes, and splash.

Charlotte held her sandals in one hand, touched her hair with the other, felt thin red fabric on her skin; and the breeze.

Charlotte wasn't happy, nor was she not-happy. She was. She felt herself to be. She sensed she was and had a self--and was walking by the sea.

And the breeze.

Charlotte felt almost at ease.