“… as the red mist slowly dissipated, everyone in that room moved towards the Shogun’s room, and his body was rested against the wall, where his crimes were written out in blood. And in his hands, the Shogun’s head laid, cleanly cut from his neck.”
Silence swept across the tavern as the old man finished his story, a claim he had witnessed the mythical Lady Crimson, a killer that has slain hundreds of evildoers across the lands. There were many claims of encountering her but all of them had the same cliches: a red mist that filled the air and some evildoer losing his life. Theatrics were added to spice up the stories in some recounts and her legend continued to grow among patrons of the taverns across the kingdom.
“Hah! Another fake story, folks!” a shout from the corner of the tavern broke the silence as the man who made the declaration paused to take a chug. The foam around his mouth formed a bubbly mustache as he continued: “Those stories are a goddamn lie! No one would be as swift or as clean as I am at decapitating criminals!”
It was as though those words provoked her, a soft thud could be heard before red mist started to fill the room. The mist was thick, as if curtains had been drawn before your every eyes. Suddenly, a volley of screams filled the air, followed by soft footsteps. As the mist dissipated, everyone stood frozen, their jaws almost dropping to the creaking wood of the tavern’s floor.
In the middle of the room, there laid two bodies, with blood splattered over their bodies as if someone was using their blood as paint and their corpses as their canvases. Their heads cleanly cut off and placed within their palms. But the most horrifying sight were not the bodies but three words written in blood that sent chills down everybody’s spines.
Thoughts: This was part of a story I thought up a long time back, possibly around 2 years ago when I got inspired to write after a friend on Facebook drew an artwork that featured a young woman that was dressed in a red robe and wore an oni mask that covered her face.
This was an extension of that story I always wanted to write for her, set in a tavern. An idea I wanted to play around with was having a swordsman challenge her, and get obsessed over her, chasing her around near hideouts of evil gangs, etc so he could one day challenge her to a sword fight (but maybe that can woven in as a ‘part 2’?). Still, glad I finally am done writing it for now, as a short story form.
And may Chihiro live in my story, known to the world now as Lady Crimson. Thanks, Russell Ng!