Saturday 21 June 2014

'The Proselyte' by Kelly Creighton

Scarlet, being born on the 13th of the month, was unlucky, according to Mother who told her so at least once a day for as far back as the girl could remember.

She heard how on Mother’s wedding day, as she watched her own reflection, the mirror dived from the wall. A glass fin sliced her, leaving a blood-bubble to narrowly miss the tulle overlay on her boned claret skirt. Mother ignored Scarlet’s declaration that she'd been lucky by picking at her blister. She fixated on the seven barren years before the eighth; seamless symmetry, Scarlet’s conception and her husband’s demise.

Grandmother stopped her tug of the tortoiseshell’s tail to raise her eyes and tell Scarlet that her father dying before she was born gave her the charm, but Mother continued to watch out for money spiders and say that they were far from fortunate. Grandmother scolded Mother, she sang her song about the money man being dead. The lyrics couldn’t have been about Scarlet’s father, for the girl had grown to realise that marrying a man with money would have been a propitious thing and she had inherited Mother’s losing streak after all.

Scarlet went outside to watch the mackerel sky buckle with clouds and the snails emerge from their shelters. When a spider showed his fuzzy face she checked first to make sure he wasn't a money man. Considering a change of faith she took one long pointed fingernail and pinned him down. The rain was coming anyway.

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