a rotten-green roadflare


Senior Member
Ralph remembered how Atropos had slashed Rosalie’s balloon-string after the dog had licked his hand, and his hatred for this strutting, leering, complacently insane creature suddenly exploded in his head like a rotten-green roadflare.
Source: Insomnia by Stephen King

What is the literal meaning of rotten-green roadflare? Is rotten green a shade of green? Are road flares really green?

A flare, also sometimes called a fusee, is a type of pyrotechnic that produces a brilliant light or intense heat without an explosion. Flares are used for signalling, illumination, or defensive countermeasures in civilian and military applications.
Source: Wikipedia.

Thank you.
Last edited:
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't think "rotten green" is an established color term; you just have to imagine it as being the shade of green that something rotten might have. "A putrid green road flare" might be an equivalent, with the understanding that it is the green (not the flare) that is "putrid." Flares aren't green to my knowledge, but since this is talking place inside someone's head I guess it can be any color King wants it to be.
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