by Mike W
His world is under threat by a man he meets on a bus. Written for the No Dialogue Contest.
| All the colours of his world, the loud ones, the quiet ones, the sweet, sour, and bitter ones....
The song playing through his headphones was orange, bright, bright orange and he smiled. In his head he sang along, a pale yellow wash beneath, painting a new picture.
Standing at the bus stop the vermillion heat of the day pressed in on him, sweating crimson beads. The woman next to him caught his eye. He quickly turned away from the oppressive colour.
The bus arrived, crashing black over the orange song which changed instantly to one of brilliant white. The shock of it disoriented him momentarily until he found himself sitting near the back of the nearly empty bus breathing quickly. A serene lemon established itself insistently, and he gazed out of the window, slowing his breath down to a nice pale blue.
The bus passed silently through a yellow-brown landscape, each building, office, apartment block, park, road, train track indistinguishable from each other.
People of various primary or pastel shades got on and off the bus, none of them he consciously processed. The songs in his ears flicked randomly through the spectrums.
The green man had been on the bus since three stops back. He realised that as soon as the colour started to insinuate itself into his perception. Soon it was the only colour in the world. A deep dark green, almost black.
He switched the music off, it was pointless now.
The green man sat on the other side of the bus from him two seats nearer the front. There were just three other people on the bus now, apart from the driver, but none of them had colour, were just a vague shadowy absence of colour.
Twice he caught the man glance to his right and behind, trying to make it seem like he was looking out the window, but each time a stinging flash of luminous green stabbed his eyes, making him wince.
At the next stop, leaving it until the very last moment, he hurried to the front of the bus and disembarked. He walked quickly away, and as he heard the bus doors hiss closed behind him, a welcoming flood of relieving aquamarine washed over him. But it was only a temporary respite as the oppressive black-green reasserted itself and he knew the green man was following.
He didn't know where he was, was unfamiliar with the area, and any colours he may have recognised were being drowned out by the man walking some distance behind.
He turned a corner and just ahead was a small park, a field of green with a tiny children's play area. A slide, a swing, a climbing frame. Empty of people, empty of colour.
He passed through a wooden gate. Normally the touch of the wood would have given him a frisson of ochre tingling through his fingers but he was almost blind now.
There was no avoiding the green man. He had followed him through the gate, no longer bothering to hide his intentions.
As he sat on the swing, gently rocking, the greenness approached. It drowned out everything, the park, the play equipment, the surrounding houses, the sun, the air, all the colours of his world...
There were painful stabs of different greens, and some purple now too, scarlet even. All of them dark, all of them hurting. He thought maybe they were words, maybe the man was speaking to him. They may have been angry words, soft words, calming, loving, antagonising or kind words. He didn't know. He couldn't tell. None of it made any sense to him. They were just colours, hard painful colours.
With a sudden violent explosion he pushed back, back, flailing, hitting, kicking and finally he made the colours burst and dissipate and disappear.
For a long moment there was nothing, silence, darkness, no colour. He began to walk, away from that place, and the further he moved away the more the colours reformed around him, peaceful, happy colours leaving just a puddle of sludge-green behind where the man had been. Then even that faded to nothing.
He put on a song, a bright song, an orange song, and he smiled.