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Color of Blood

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Only idiots claim that blood is just red. Gail's known better for years. Blood is her destiny, apparently—a legacy handed down over seventeen generations since her great-fucking-great grandmother decided to have unprotected sex with a warlock. The Power is in the Pope bloodline.

She only has to look in the mirror and see the blue veins carrying deoxygenated blood back to her lungs and heart against the paleness of her skin. She can't afford to get a tan now, not after the 'accident'. The scars—the ones nobody can see thanks to her carefully constructed glamour—are too sensitive to expose to sunlight. That's the reason for the clothes two sizes too big: the XL unisex shirts, the men's blue jeans that puddle around her ankles. Not that she's trying to hide the deformities nobody can see.

Her cousin busted her lower lip, trying to escape at the truck stop last night, even though he's too weak to walk the short distance to the bathroom, much less take off on his own. When she does glance up at the mirror above the sink, she sees the scab—a dirty brownish slit—dividing her lip in half. The skin around it is angry red with swelling; by tomorrow, it'll have faded to a molted purple-black thanks to tiny blood vessels broken by Chase's fist. 'Abused girlfriend', the people they'll encounter will think and look carefully the other way. All the better to avoid everyone. The only person who could possibly understand what she does…is doing is a guy almost a thousand miles behind her.

Gail touches her lip and thinks that maybe a bruise would be too much, draw too much of the wrong kind of attention. There is a flicker of fire across her eyeballs, and then they go as black as the spaces between stars. This, she decides as she wills the swelling away, is the color of her blood.