• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 04
Image by

The Red Engine

I stand up to the mirror and I face my demons.

Feeling the warm wax of my mother's kiss under my fingertips, I slowly twist the base and watch the bullet unravel, as if plucked backwards from time.

To me, this was my mother's lipstick shade. A trail of DNA, evidence smeared down the barrel.

In those days, they had to pick and choose. They averted their eyes to the chemicals and numbers. The only numbers they focused on were the shade. Or so she told me.

Now, of course, we have nothing but numbers.

The coding of it, the digitisation of the wardrobes, our choices. Garments had become our doctors, our confidantes, our everything. It tracked us and became us. It melded into our skin. Our bodies had segmented, turned into a paint-by-numbers that only clothes could fill.

But I still use the lipstick. The number of degrees between me and this small tube oddly makes me feel more attuned to it. The clumsiness of the red wax tripping over my cupid's bow, painting outside the edges. The comfort it gives me.

It makes me think of my ancestors, using this outdated technology. The delight of the click as its analogue switch, the joy of twisting our wrists to open it like casting a magic spell.

Time travel does exist.

The red engine is my time portal.