FimFiction Link - Short ID: 427120/red
Published: Dec '18
'Red' is a ten thousand and five hundred word shortfic. Roseluck works as a prostitute during the nights, when she encounters one very special patron.
Those who read my reviews know that I'm fairly consciously avoiding clopfics. I have no issue with them, but I don't really find them appealing. This, however, is something else.
From the extremely evocative prose to the small subtleties in the words, this tale is simply haunting. The very beginning already shows this off in full force. There is sex, of course, but it's neither pretty and more importantly, it's absolutely not intimate. I never would have thought something like this can be shown this well in text, but here we are. The author manages to portray both Roseluck's inner coldness, but also show how excited she seems from the outside. Because we know how she really feels, how this whole thing is just a well-memorized script for her, the scene doesn't really come off as hot. It depicts sex between two consenting adults, without any cheap shocks like rape, but it still feels almost repulsing. A very important part of this is the author's choice of where to put introspection: When the 'action' picks up and one would expect the story to focus on the motions, we instead get a glimpse into how "Red" actively refines her script and what Rose's childhood was like through her mother's words. It works as both exposition and as a way to show how detached she is from the whole thing.
And, just when I thought things would plateau here, comes the scene with Big Mac. The differences are immediate and obvious. Though, it is spelled out how different she feels, my favorite difference between this scene and the previous is the memory that surfaces in her mind. While with the first client she thought about a kind memory to distract herself from the experience, this time only bad ones pop in her head to contrast how nice she feels in that moment. I'm not sure if "subtle" is really the word I'd use, but "bloody well done" definitely is. Seeing the facade crumble as Mac completely disarms her with his kindness was incredibly sweet as well, only to be yanked away at the last moment. The reader feels her disappointment and hurt. This emotional suckerpunch perfectly sets up the ending, which hits with the weight of a freight train.
The inner struggle between her two personalities is also very nice. It's not some evil voice in her head, both personalities are merely trying to cope with a hard existence. It's depicting trauma without screaming "LOOK I'M TRAUMATIZED."
Overall: 10/10 This story made me shiver two times. Once at the end of the second chapter and one more time at the last line of the third one. In ten thousand short words the author depicted the fall, the lowest point, and the redemption of a believably tragic character in a masterful way. Even if you find clop off-putting, I can still wholeheartedly recommend this fic.