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Brenda Anderson's fiction has appeared in various places, including Flash Fiction Online and Daily Science Fiction. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia, and tweets irregularly @CinnamonShops.

I bleed. The "scientific studies" have finished now, and my captors allow visitors to crowd round my cage. They stare. Their shocked, rapt faces and hushed conversations tell me what I already know. This color is new to them, never before seen. The color of my blood. The color of love.
At least it is, where I come from.
When we approach the female of our species, our blood begins to seep from a tiny opening in the front of our bodies. This blood flow, visible to everyone but an actual message to the beloved one, increases the excitement we feel when we move closer together. Aava had responded to my glances, and was staring at my display of blood. I could tell that it excited her. We are built like this. The thin display of blood flows down, then soaks back into the body at the lower fold of flesh, which our elders describe as "love's end." My blood would have stopped seeping if we'd mated, later. Aava, my beloved, had already responded by reaching out to touch my blood when...
The humanoids captured us. In the struggle, Aava went limp. They prodded her. When she didn't move, they left her on the ground. I knew then that she'd died. They transported me back to their planet and incarcerated me here. They sell tickets. Above all, art students flock to see me.
I bleed.
They watch.
My body can do nothing else. I remain in that instant: my love flows, endlessly. At "love's end" it soaks back inside my body, but its constant cycling--while not physically draining --leaves me exposed, ashamed. We will never mate, Aava and I.
They make futile attempts to describe the color of my blood. With the scientists gone, they bring in poets, documentary-makers, even linguists. They all struggle to find words. One actually said, "It's halfway between sin and silver." The others turned to him. I cannot read their facial expressions, but some screwed up their faces, while others opened their mouths, yet no words came out. "What's sin got to do with it?" one asked. "Look," the specialist replied. "We all agree the color is dark. But it's quite unlike black, or brown. This new color feels dark, grimy. You know what I mean. It makes us feel uncomfortable. Yet it also flashes silver, which is bright. It's all wrong. Our vocabulary can't cope with this combination. We don't describe things this way. Colors are colors, but this one induces a feeling of grime. So I chose a non-color word. And, you know," he lowers his voice. "'Sin and silver.' Sounds good together, right?"
I love Aava. I bleed for her.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Author Comments

I usually write whimsy, but then this idea came along--and with it, the opportunity to invent a new color. (I always wanted to do that, too).

- Brenda Joyce Anderson
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