Lady In Red by Louise Mangos

The late autumn streets of the Quartier Popincourt sparkle in the darkness. Laughing carelessly, she walks away from one broken heart to weave her spell on another. Cruel words have spilled from her glossy lips. She leaves him on the steps of the Charonne métro station, discarded like a second thought.

She catches her reflection in a shop window. Taxis, lovers, dancers, bustle along the street as she stops to study her image.

‘Give us a pirouette, ma chérie,’ a voice rings in her head. She opens her coat and spins on the high heels of her patent shoes, her matching crimson skirt throwing rippling folds to the night air.

‘Damn, I look good in red,’ she thinks.

She hugs her coat back to her with one last twirl, and sashays towards the music.

‘Encore un tour pour moi?’ A vagabond’s voice jumps from a doorway as she holds her hand to her thumping chest. One more spin?

‘S’il vous plaît? Quelques centimes?’ He calls. She laughs, wrinkles her nose, shakes her head, and hurries along the pavement, the heels of her red shoes clicking.

A flash of light, and she falls from the curb as swiftly as her smile. The coins she would not give away drop from her eyes. In confusion she stares across the River Styx.

She’s not on the Boulevard Voltaire any more.



Louise’s flash pieces have twice won the Ad Hoc Fiction competition and have been published on Flash Flood and Spelk. One of her short stories was read out on BBC Radio last autumn, and one of her novels was shortlisted in the 2016 Exeter Novel Prize.

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