This week’s speculative flash story was inspired by Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #137. I kept going back to the photo and meaning to write, but it wasn’t until today that I had time to pen this piece. Let me know what you think of this tiny tale.
Grandpa tells the seasons by the bristles.
“See how brittle that one is?” he points up to the top of a brushy, brushy tree, but all I see are the same grey strands of bark. Grandpa says the fall is coming, but the foggy forest feels the same as always to me.
“Tell me another story, Grandpa.” We wind our way through the Artsy Woods. It’s grandpa’s favorite place to walk because he says it reminds him of why he voted in favor of elimination.
“In the fall, the trees exploded with color, the skyline was a different painting each year. Rich red, like when your heart beats fast and bold yellows like when you see lots of smiles. These colors and more filled the bristles of all the trees.”
“What would happen to the colors, Grandpa?”
“Well, they’d fall, of course, and we’d pile them up and sometimes jump in them for fun.
“They sound so harmless, Grandpa. Why’d we have to eliminate them?”
Grandpa takes my hand and squeezes it. “Come now. You already know the answer to that one. The colors were a curse. To live equally, all of our chromatic differences had to be eliminated.”
“But where did the colors go?
He laughs then and hoists me up on his shoulders. “They didn’t go anywhere. They just got all mixed together and mixed together, until now, there’s no distinction between any of them.”
“And the brushy, brushy trees?”
Don’t you worry, Grandson. They’ll never be full of those cursed colors again. We’ve rid ourselves of their rainbows for good.”
I close my eyes, rest my head on grandpa’s cap, afraid to tell him how much I wish they’d return.