Cover of Russian edition of Red the Fiend (2003)
After 200-plus pages of abuse from his Grandmother and neglect from his Mother, the transformation of Red the boy into Red the Fiend is finally complete:
Red is plunged into misery when it occurs to him that photographs of Grandma, taken when she was young, show clearly that she looked then almost exactly the way Mother looks now.
The corpse of a rabid dog, shot by a cop on the corner of the Cities Service station, looks to Red so remarkably peaceful that even the shining flies clustered and buzzing on his bloody head cannot dispel the sense of calm surrounding him, the stillness, the repose, the hush.
On a photograph of Grandma standing beneath a tree, smiling yet severe in a fur coat and cloche, red, in careful letters, writes DIRTY OLD CUNT. He props the photograph against the sugar bowl on the kitchen table, and goes in to sit on the couch, to wait quietly for Grandma and Mother. Ecstatic, he feels the world on the edge of obliteration.
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