by Leslie Loo
A world where pink is considered ugly and grey is beautiful. (for the WWC contest)
In other worlds, pink is a symbolism for beauty and compassion, femininity and fun. But in this world, pink symbolizes ugliness, shame, lacking and indifference. Each individual is represented with a color. If you represent the color pink, there will be much woe coming your way. The lighter the shade of pink, the worse. It is best to represent the darkest shade of pink, even if it has to be red.
In other worlds, grey is a symbolism for neutralism and lack of emotion, Lifelessness and boredom. But here, grey represents excitement and love, positivity and kindness. If you represent grey, many fortunes will come your way. The darker the color, the better. Even if it has to be black.
Any color you represent, you must wear it at all times, whether it would be a t-shirt, a jacket, a pair of pants, a pair of shoes, or even a hat. If you are caught not wearing your color, you will be severely punished.
Now, to determine what your color is, you are assigned to one after birth. Your doctor will tell your parents your color. If it is pink, even the lightest of pinks, you will be a huge disappointment to your family. People will treat you poorly or just try to avoid you. You will struggle with education and find it hard to find a job. But if it is grey, even the darkest of greys, you will be a huge joy to your parents. You will succeed in life. You will have an abundance of friends. You will have the best job in the world. If it is any other color, it won't be as important as the two main ones.
If you wish to change your color (which is probably pink), you must go to great lengths to change it. We will not tell you what these "great lengths" are. You must figure them out yourself. Your family and friends will not help you.
Pembe Sherman couldn't believe that her representation was pink. The lightest shade! Where has she gone wrong? What did she do to deserve this punishment? She tried her best in school but failed every time. She tried to make friends, but everyone ignored her. She tried to make her family happy, but everyone hated each other. What could she do to make this right?
Her name meant "pink and beautiful", but she was the opposite. She had drab hair with a bad outfit: a pink stained shirt and black ripped jeans. And no, they were not manufactured that way.
One day, she went to school that morning and heard an announcement of a new student. She was the only pink person, while everyone was a different color. but there was one color that was not represented at the school.
"Good morning, students!" Principal Yolene Alcius said as she entered the classroom. "We have a new student. He came all the way from Greece. Everyone, meet Glaucus Vlahos!"
Some of the girls gawked at him as he entered. He was a hunk, alright. He had biceps and his skin tone was bronze. He was definitely a Greek Adonis. He wore a dark grey tank top (yes, you can wear that to school) and black sweatpants.
Pembe wanted to see this guy as just another student. But she couldn't. He was flawless! There was no way she could catch herself interacting with someone like that. He was like a movie star, and she was like...well, you get the point.
He sat in front of her, not at all noticing her presence.
It looked like Pembe had the privilege to stare at the back of his head. That full head of black hair.
Pembe snapped out of it and went back to her work. Even though she wasn't smart enough for school, she tried her best to catch up. She had dreamed to attend college, but no pink has ever succeeded in that. Not even her own parents.
"Hey, can I borrow a pencil?" Glaucus asked, turning to briefly face Pembe.
"You-you don't have one of your own?" Pembe asked.
After digging into her pouch and handing him a pencil, he responded with, "Thanks, babe."
Pembe had never been called "babe" before. Heck, she had never been called any pet names before. But the way he called her "babe" seemed more playful than affectionate.
Pembe shuffled her supplies in her locker. While doing so, she heard a few gasps and sighs from her classmates. She turned to notice Glaucus entering the hall. As much as she wanted to turn away, she couldn't help but gawk with everyone else.
"Don't even think about it," Lime who represented green said to Pembe. "He wouldn't go for people like you. Pinks and greys don't match. Remember that." Lime flipped her hair as she walked by.
Pembe slumped her shoulders. Lime was right. But after Lime left, Pembe noticed that while Glaucus strode through the halls, she caught his eye.
Glaucus looked around the school. Everyone seemed to be gawking at him. Well, everyone except for the girl in pink. She was the only one that stood alone. Glaucus never understood why people of various colors had to be treated in different ways. All of these labels. It didn't make sense. Everyone was human after all.
Although the girl wasn't well put together, there was something about her. No, he didn't have a crush on her, but the only thing he wanted was help her. At his old school, almost everyone represented grey, except for a few greens and blues mixed in. All students seemed to get along well. Sure, there were cliques, light greys and dark greys together, but for the most part, everyone got along. Why couldn't it be the case in this school? Why must everyone isolate others?
As Pembe walked home, she heard a noise.
"Psst," it said.
Pembe scanned her surroundings, startled.
"Over here," a voice whispered.
She turned to her right to see someone in a grey hoodie wearing sunglasses. The person motioned to her.
Cautiously, she approached him.
The person removed his glasses, revealing a pair of beautiful, yet familiar eyes. It was Glaucus.
"C-can I help you?"
"Maybe not," he said, keeping his voice low. "But I can help you."
"Me?" Pembe put a hand over her chest.
"Yes. Let me show you." He grabbed her hand and pulled her to a shed. He opened the door to let her in.
The shed was pitch black and the two could no longer see each other. Pembe was not sure whether to trust Glaucus or not. Of course he was a beauty, but he could be a dangerous beauty.
"What are we doing here?" Pembe asked.
"Just keep your voice low, okay? I am going to tell you what I have not told anyone. But keep this between us. My father is the founder of this town, and he makes all of these rules of how people should look at themselves based on their color. According to the world's website, you must go through 'great lengths' to change your color. I can help you do that."
Pembe swallowed. "But why did he make pink to be the ugly color?"
Glaucus shrugged. "I don't know."
"Can I ask him?"
"It will be difficult to contact him."
"Well, since you're his son, can you get to him?"
"I can try. But let me warn you, my father is not one to change his mind."
"So, you said you would help me. How? What are the challenges I need to accomplish?"
"Well first you need to..."
Pembe nodded with every task that he has given her, but with every task mentioned, she couldn't help but sigh.
"I don't think I can do all of these...or any of these."
"Of course you can." He inched closer. "And I will help you."
"But won't you get in trouble? It says on the website that no one can help you."
"My father won't have to know."
A sudden thought occurred to Pembe. "Wait, why are you doing this?"
"Because I think that it's unfair for individuals to be treated poorly simply because of their color representation."
"Do you tell your father this?"
"Yeah, but he wouldn't listen to me. So, do you want my help or not?"
Pembe thought for a moment. "I don't know. This seems dangerous."
"It is. But whatever happens, I will make sure you are safe. I promise."
Pembe couldn't help but feel warmth in her heart. She thought that Glaucus was just going to be this jerk that would ignore her just like everyone else. But he ended up being the opposite. He seemed to symbolize kindness well.
"Okay, I'll do it. Just as long as you keep your promise to keep me safe."
Glaucus nodded. "I will."
Prompt: Color Pink ▼