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Today is Monday March 28th and we are now in our last week of CHROMOPHOBIA TOC promotion. We will, of course, continue to promote and show off the book over the next several months, but our daily assault is coming to its end. In April, we will begin revealing more production art for the hardcover release, as well as take a look at the introduction from editor Sara Tantlinger. We should, very soon, have physical ARCs in our hands!
You can pre-order this special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.
Burn the Witch (Red)
By Lillah Lawson
The rain from the night before still saturates the forest; brown leaves, deadened but damp, give a muted crunch under her feet as she runs down the path. Off, some short distance away, is a burning pyre—she can smell the smoke, acrid but pleasant, stinging her nostrils, filling her lungs with muted gray. It’s pitch-black in the forest, but she can see well. Up ahead, over the looming, dark trees, she can almost make out the tendrils of smoke as they billow upward from the roaring fire.
The fire they have made is for her.
As she runs, her inky black hair whipping behind her, her dark blue cloak having fallen down to her bare shoulders long ago, she smiles a little. It is a wolfish smile, all teeth. Red lips curl over those teeth, which are pointed and straight. Her lips are so red that one might wonder if it was lipstick or blood.
Her feet are clad in little ballet flats, satiny and black, and they are now soaked from running through the wet forest. Caked with mud, and a little bit of blood, too. She has forgotten her wolf-skin boots. The gray fur that lines her hood is also damp, brushing up against her shoulders as she runs. She has picked up her pace, ignoring the burning tightness in her legs and the hot fullness of her lungs—she has caught his scent, and she will not let go until she’s tracked and caught him.
It’s almost imperceptible, his scent, over the smell of the burning trees that make up the funeral pyre. But she can smell him. It is a cloaked, hidden away smell, and were it not for her heightened skills, he might’ve gone unnoticed beneath the lingering stench of the villagers, with all their hate and judgment, and that incensed desire to see her burn, and the smoke, and the wine, and the heady scent of apples that permeates through the forest. But she is special—she has trained for this, has learned how to stalk her prey, and her olfactory does not fail.
She smiles that blood red, toothy grin again, stopping for a moment to catch her breath. She should hurry, she knows, but she relishes this. The hunt, the waiting. It’s glorious bliss, the anticipation. When she meets someone unawares, they are almost always immediately disarmed.
She always catches her man.
Lillah Lawson’s “Burn the Witch (Red)” is another CHROMOPHOBIA entry that gives off some strong EC Comics vibes. Always a good thing in our book! And the short is wonderfully vibrant, and one that really leans into the use of color as motif. Hard to resist a marriage of romance, folk horror, and creature feature (don’t resist).
Lillah Lawson has been actively writing and publishing for several year now, and she and her work are a welcome addition to CHROMOPHOBIA‘s staggering table of contents. You can learn more about Lillah Lawson and her work HERE.
Want to read the previous CHROMOPHOBIA showcases? Click a title:
Pre-order the special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.
Check out part four of editor Sara Tantlinger’s CHROMOPHOBIA roundtable HERE.