Born of the Earth

Terpsichore dyes her hair red, cherry candy red, the color of revolutionaries and failed geniuses. A royal color, she tells herself, and a warning of danger.

They do not notice.

If they see her at all, it is as a blob of unreal hair moving down the streets. Typical. Even in this she is typical. You can change everything but yourself, her father used to say, but he never changed anything so the advice, now that she is older, is suspect.

She is red to the wrists, rust red, the color of failed revolutions and successful murders. They do not notice. Overworked, underfunded, more concerned with traffic stops than closing cases. They leave Tisiphone alone, new name, new hair, new face, new hobbies. The money she uses to pay the barista is red, dull red; a woman’s unsmiling face glowers up from the note.

The door closes behind her, the little bell at the top chiming. Alexander Hammil blinks, makes change, apologizes. “That woman,” he says, “I’ve seen her before.”