A Flash of Color

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Emma lives in a world where the only color they see is in their dreams. She soon finds her world changing all around her, but suddenly it won't stop changing.

Submitted: June 18, 2016

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Submitted: June 18, 2016

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A Flash of Color

Thomas Burke

 

I regret opening my eyes as soon as the light hits them. I am immediately reminded of how dull and lifeless reality is. I force myself up and away from my bed, and start my daily routine. I quickly shower and get dressed and go downstairs and make breakfast. Both my parents are already at work, and I have no siblings, so it’s just me in the mornings. I notice right away that there’s a note on the counter; as I pick it up I can immediately tell that it is my mom’s handwriting.

 

“Emma,

Hope you have a good day at school today. Your father and I won’t be home until late, we have a meeting, don’t forget to do your homework!”

 

I guess it’ll just be me tonight again. My parents are always staying at the office late, not that they have much choice. They’re both executives at a tech company, and it takes up a lot of their time. I don’t get to see them very often, but I don’t mind. I make my breakfast and slowly nibble at it while thinking about my day ahead. Once I’m finished I go outside to walk to school. I’m a sophomore, my birthday late in the year, and we live in the city, so I don’t get to drive. None of my friends live that close to me, so I don’t walk with anyone; most of the time I listen to music.

As I get close to the building that will be my prison for the next 8 hours, I turn off my music and get ready to go inside. As I step into the school, I see one of my friends, Chloe. When I see her, I immediately smile; she’s my best friend, and has been for several years. Whenever I see her, I can almost never stop myself from staring at her hair. It’s black, but when the light hits it just right, I can almost see all the beautiful colors in it.

I don’t have any of my classes with Chloe, which is really disappointing. The only time I get to see her is during lunch. My morning classes always seem to go pretty fast, some of them aren’t actually that boring. The whole time though I’m looking forward to lunch, and seeing my friends.

At last the bell rang for lunch and I quickly left to go through the line. While I go through the line I search for some of my friends. Since I don’t see any I assume they are already at our table. I fill my tray with the school’s bland food and go to join my friends. At lunch I usually sit with Chloe (obviously), Matt, Madison, and Henry. As I walk to the table I can see everyone is sitting at the table like normal with an empty chair for me.

I sit down overhearing the last part of their conversation, “I just don’t ever walk to school in the morning, and I just thought most people do.” Chloe notices me, letting her last sentence drop off, saying, “Hey Emma, how are you?”

I mentally make note to mention that Chloe could walk with me in the morning as I reply, “Bored out of my mind! What are you guys talking about?”

“We were just listening to Chloe complain about how lonely she always is,” Matt answers. He’s the funniest person in our group, but likes to do a lot of complaining himself.

“What do you mean? Why are you lonely?” I directed the question at Chloe, but Madison’s the one who answered.

“Chloe says she’s lonely because she doesn’t walk to school with anyone in the morning. I just think she’s sad that she doesn’t have a date to the dance like I do.” I don’t really see how Madison fits into our group. She’s one of the most popular people at school, but she’s always been with us. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure about Henry either. He never really says anything, but what he does say is usually either a random fact that no one knows, or sarcastic.

“I am not!” Chloe quickly responds, snapping me back to reality. “I don’t even want to go to the dance, they’re always so boring.”

She and I have the same views on the school dances. I honestly don’t understand why anyone goes to them. “Yeah, they really are. I went to one and haven’t gone to another one since. Chloe, if you want you could meet me at my house in the morning and we could walk together. That is if it’s not too far out of your way.” I try to make it sound casual, and not like I’m dying for this to happen, but I’m pretty sure I failed.

“Ooh Emma’s got a thing for Chloe!” Matt’s sense of humor is very dry sometimes. What he doesn’t know is that he’s totally right. I just fake laugh and shove his shoulder jokingly.

I was surprised to see that Chloe didn’t laugh. I never thought that she might have feelings for me too, until just now. Chloe looks pretty serious as she says, “Actually Emma, your house is pretty close to where I walk in the mornings. I think I will meet you in the morning.

After hearing that I am far too excited to think about much else. I don’t really pay attention to the rest of the conversation. I hurriedly eat the rest of my food before the bell rings.

Our lunch time ends and I say goodbye to my friends and walk to my next class dreading the rest of the afternoon, and yet looking forward to the next morning. My afternoon classes are all boring, but luckily I don’t get too much homework. I force myself to stay awake through my last couple classes, staying positive

The bell finally rings, and I rush towards home. I can’t wait to get home and take a nap; of course, I’ll have to do my homework first, but oh well. The walk seems to take twice as long on the way home as it usually does in the morning. Eventually I reach my house and walk up the sidewalk toward the door.

Once I get inside, I immediately go up stairs towards my room. I walk past the shut door of my parents’ bedroom, past the bathroom and the guest bedroom, down to the end of the hall, and finally to my room. My room is clean, almost spotless; I can’t stand having a messy room. To the right of the door to my room is a small closet, but it remains unused. My bed sits in the far corner, neatly made. In the opposite corner stands a tall dresser that I keep clothes and extra blankets in. Next to that, the desk that I use for homework. I sit down at my desk and start to work.

After around an hour, I’m finally done with it all. It’s only around 4:30, so I decide I have time to take a nap before my parents get home. I lay down on my bed and close my eyes. After going through school and then doing homework, I am exhausted. It doesn’t take long before my eyes shut and I start slipping into a . . . deep . . . sleep.  

When I open my eyes, I can immediately tell that I’m dreaming, and I’m glad that I am. I realize that I am no longer in my room. I’m standing in a hallway, the air is cold, the floor and walls are pristine. The floor is made of stone, a rich, deep brown, almost bronze. It’s more beautiful than anything I have ever seen. The walls are a dark maroon, the darkest that red can be. I walk down the hallway, towards a doorway at the end. As I step into the room, I immediately gasp. The walls are covered in paintings. Each one I see is more complex and detailed than the last.

As I walk through the room I look at each individual painting, trying to memorize them all. No. I’m trying to memorize the colors. I never want to forget them. They range from bright colors that make you think of a warm spring day, to deep and rich colors of a perfect day in fall. I don’t know which one is my favorite. I move from picture to picture, and finally reach the last one. I go back into the hallway, hoping to see another doorway, another room. Something, anything that would tell me this dream wasn’t over. I see another doorway and head towards it, hoping for another room with paintings, like the last one. I step into the room and all I see is black. The room is dark as pitch and for all I can tell, empty.

My eyes open and I am no longer dreaming, such a disappointment. I force my eyes to stay open and adjust to the stark and boring black and white world that I live in. Of course that is a bit of exaggeration. There’s gray too. Everyone dreams in full colors and we all know what the colors are called, but when we’re awake it’s back to black and white. No one understands why either. There are scientists whose only job is trying to figure it out, but their research has gone nowhere.

I force myself to get up, because I still have had nothing to eat. I look at the clock and it reads 6:30. I’m already awake anyway, the dream long gone. I make my way downstairs, trying to decide what to have for dinner. I look in the fridge and see some leftover spaghetti that we had last night, and decide to have that. I heat it up in the microwave, then sit down in the living room to watch some tv. As I eat I don’t really pay attention to the tv and think about my day at school. And Chloe. Recently I find myself thinking about her a lot more.

Once I finish eating I shut off the tv. My parents should be home soon, they’ll ask me how my day was. They always do. We never really talk about anything else. We don’t really get the opportunity. As I wait for them to come home, I think back to my dream. In this one the colors were brighter and more vivid. I can remember them more clearly. It’s almost like I can see them. Almost. I’m so lost in thought that I don’t notice when my parents walk in the door.

I soon realize that they’re home and they brought supper with them. They ordered chinese food from our favorite restaurant. We ate, watching TV, and not talking. After eating, I told my parents goodnight and went up to my room. I collapse onto my bed, wanting to sleep so that tomorrow will be here sooner. I struggle to sleep and keep my eyes closed. I’m too excited. Finally I drift into sleep, excited for what will happen tomorrow.

I wake up, disappointed that I didn’t have another dream. I hope it’s not a bad omen for the day to come. I go through my morning routine, only way faster. I’m super excited to get to walk to school with Chloe. I’m all ready, I just have to eat breakfast. I grab the first thing I see when I open the pantry, and quickly snarf it down.

I’m ready several minutes earlier than usual, but head outside anyway. The weather is always nice this time of the year. I find a bench outside close to the house and sit down to wait for Chloe. I don’t have to wait for too long to see her walking down the sidewalk towards me. As she approaches I stand up and gather my things for school. Once she reaches where I’m standing we both say hi and start to walk towards school. At first we didn’t say much and I was a little disappointed, but then Chloe started talking about one of the projects she was working on in her art class.

I was thrilled, and immediately dove into conversation with her. We both talked, and laughed a lot. As we were walking I couldn’t help but stare at many things, and I couldn’t think of why. First it was the flower stand, normally I don’t find flowers that attractive, but these were beautiful, ranging from deep reds, to light pinks. The further we walked the more I realized that I was in love with Chloe. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t focus on Chloe’s face, there were so many other things that were distracting me for some weird reason.

After the flowers it was the river that we walked by. The sunlight lit up the water to a brilliant clear blue. There were fish swimming, all in different colors, along the bottom. Next it was the grass and trees in the park. The grass was the darkest green I’ve ever imagined. The trees were a rich brown, their leaves a light and beautiful green. Some of the trees have apples growing on them. Their bright, shiny red contrasted with the green of the trees, making a wonderful combination.

I kept noticing odd little things like that the whole time we walked. I have no clue why they attracted my attention so much. They were all things I saw everyday on my walk to school. Before I knew it we were at the school. As my conversation with Chloe drew to an end, I said goodbye before heading to my first class for the day.

The day goes by quickly, I am constantly noticing little things, just like earlier in the morning. At lunch I’m excited to see Chloe again. Whenever I saw her in the halls today, she seemed to act strangely. I put it aside as just being exhausted with school, I mean who isn’t? When I saw her I couldn’t help myself, but stare at her hair, and her eyes. I don’t know what, but there was something different there. Something beautiful.

As I sit at my usual table, I notice that Chloe isn’t there yet. Normally I’m the last one there because my teacher always lets us out late. I ask my friends where Chloe is. There’s an awkward silence before anyone answers. Then Madison says, “I’m sorry Emma. You’re my best friend and I hate to have to tell you this . . . but Chloe found out. She didn’t take it very well either.”

I suddenly got a sickening feeling in my gut. I was confused. What had Chloe found out? Why wasn’t she eating with us? I had to know, I managed to form the question, “What do you mean? What did Chloe find out about?”

Madison was my best friend besides Chloe and the first person to find out that I liked Chloe. She told some other people, but I made her promise to never tell Chloe. I guess she didn’t do the same with the people she told. Her reply was quiet, like she felt guilty. “She found out that you like her. I’m not the one who told her. I could never do that to you. I’m really sorry. She doesn’t feel the same way. She thought that if she just stopped talking to you then . . .” Madison kept talking, but I didn’t listen. As she spoke I suddenly knew what had been so different today. I had been seeing in color without realizing it.

I felt a small surge of joy, thinking I was done with black and white. But my joy didn’t last. As I took in all the colors I noticed that they were all slowly fading. Darkening. Going back to the way it was before. My heart couldn’t take it any more. I could almost feel it shattering inside my chest. I was devastated, Chloe doesn’t love me back, and now I can’t see in color because of that. Tears start to fall down my face, no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop them. I don’t like to cry, and almost never do. The tears, just won’t stop. As I look around almost all of the colors are completely gone. I can tell that my friends feel pity towards me, which is something I can’t stand. Seeing the looks on their faces allows me to stop the tears. I don’t say anything, I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

I eat my lunch and leave without saying anything. As I walk out of the lunchroom I notice Chloe sitting at a table, she glances at me and then looks away. She’s avoiding eye contact with me. I think about calling out to her to talk, but decide that I shouldn’t or I might start to cry again. I manage to get through the day without anymore tears. I can’t help but notice how dull everything is now. At the end of the day I walk home, by myself. I get home, greet my parents, eat dinner, shower. Everything that I normally do, just with slightly less energy. With less emotion, less effort.

Finally it’s late enough that I think I will be able to sleep. I lie in my bed, and within a short time, the tears start falling again. This time I don’t fight them, I let them flow, I know that if I don’t that they’ll just come back tomorrow and I’d have to deal with them then. At last I can cry no more and I slip, deep into sleep.

My eyes open, everything dark and gray. I try to go back to sleep since my alarm hasn’t gone off yet, and that’s when I realize, I haven’t woken up. At least, not actually. This is a dream. If it’s a dream it should be in color, like all of our dreams are, but it isn’t. I look around and realize that I’m in the museum type building from my dream a couple nights ago. I walk down the hallway, towards the room that I know is going to be there. I hope deep inside that the paintings are filled with color. If they aren’t I don’t know what I’ll do.

I reach the doorway and immediately my broken heart drops in my chest. The paintings are all the same, I can remember gazing at them, but they no longer hold any color. My knees feel weak, I collapse onto the floor. The cold and colorless floor. I don’t know how I’ll be able to live. Before the world in black and white was normal, it was fine. Now I’ve seen it in color and I don’t think I can go on without even my dreams in color.

Suddenly I am no longer on the cold floor, but in my bed. My eyes only see blurred black and white as I’m crying again. As I weep I hear my alarm. I hit the button to shut off the monotone buzzing. I force myself out of bed and walk like a zombie to the shower.

I let the warm water comfort me as it flows down my face. My tears soon stop and I know what I must do. I strengthen my will and find that focusing on moving on and not my feelings is surprisingly easy. I step out of the shower, dry off, and get dressed. I write a note for later and leave it on my dresser, then quickly go downstairs for breakfast.

I decide on a healthy breakfast of fruits. I have some banana, kiwi, and a couple slices of apple. I look at the clock and it’s time to go. I head outside and start walking towards school. My head is surprisingly clear, I am slightly sad when I notice the lack of colors, but I push on, not dwelling on it. Before long I’m at the river. I can’t help but stop.

I look down at the water from the bridge and think about how beautiful it had been the day before. I step towards the edge and look down at the fish. I’m filled with joy when I see a flash of color in one, but I can’t think of its name. I can’t think of any of the colors’ names. The flash was just that, a flash. It’s gone now. I continue to look down at the water, this time not ending the dwelling. Then without thinking any more, I step off the edge of the bridge. The wind rushes in my ears. It takes much longer than I thought it would, but it still doesn’t take long. I meet the surface of the river face first, I feel the wet of the water, and then nothing.







 

Epilogue

 

I felt bad after Emma died. I know it’s my fault she did it, but I haven’t been able to accept that yet. After the funeral Emma’s parents invited me and several others over to their house. During the party I found myself slowly drifting away. My drifting soon takes me to Emma’s room. I don’t know why I’m here. The room looks like it hasn’t been touched. Her parents probably haven’t been able to get over their grief. I look at her dresser and see a note, I can’t stop myself from picking it up. I can tell that it was written by Emma. She had been my best friend, but then when I heard that she wanted to be more than friends, I didn’t know how to react. I freaked out. I know I shouldn’t have, I should’ve known better. Thinking back now, I regret the way that I reacted. I miss Emma, more than I ever thought I would. There’s an ache in my heart, and I just hope that she was able to forgive me.

After staring at the letters written on the note, for who knows how long, I finally realize what they say. I finally see them put together, forming one sentence. Most likely the last thing that Emma ever wrote, and the last thing I ever wanted to find:

 

“I will never forgive you Chloe”

 


© Copyright 2017 Thomas Burke. All rights reserved.