Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5.31.11 Red – a super drabble of 1000 words

[Note: a super drabble consists of 10 drabbles together resulting in 1000 words. I thought it would be fun to do a little something different for the last day of drabble month]

Red. Red is the colour of danger, warning, and trouble. It is the colour of the disunited, of the insubordinate, of the rebellious. It is the colour of havoc, chaos, destruction. Red is the colour of the commoners, the colour that sets apart the elite from the trash, the glorified from the weak. Red is the colour of suffering, of pain, of torture. It is the colour of labor, of toil, and of agony. Red is the colour of those who are hated, forgotten, and abused. Red is the colour we shun, the colour we hate, the colour we kill.

Stupid and naïve as children are, we know the consequences for our actions. We know the danger of tree climbing and running. Of digging and riding. And fighting. Ha! We even know the danger of gardening; curse those dreaded thorn weeds! We have learned that even the smallest cut, the tiniest prick, can result so frighteningly in the colour of the commoners. And the anger that it would bring from every adult was enough to crush every bit of creativity that swelled in our infant minds. We would be locked up alone to contemplate our soiled clothing and damaged skin.

But my dear nursemaid (whom I loved, despite the rules against it) was always there to clean me up, to wash away the colour. She would mend my clothes and fix my hair and present me to my enraged parents. And they would smile cold uncaring smiles, perfect examples of what society wanted me to be. As I grew, through the maturity of age and failure, I learned that the only way to avoid such childish mistakes was to do only respectable adult-like tasks like sitting and walking. No more running, no more playing. But that was before the revolution.

Oh, revolution. Stupid revolution. So much worse than the insignificant naivety of children. Worse even than the most efficient underground organized crime. Revolution was the worst in the world. Revolution used weapons, it challenged the practice of our perfect society, it sought to topple the principles on which our very own feet rested. Strangely enough, no one tried to stop it at first. I suppose they thought the young citizens, the ones just now mature (the ones like me) would rise up and squash it. But we didn’t. No, we did the most reckless, foolish thing imaginable. We joined it.

It was dark when I left. I could hardly breathe. My heart was beating so fast it felt as though it was suffocating my lungs. But I escaped that cold colourless house with the impassive parents and heartless edicts. I was free; I had escaped that adolescent repression. My amazement only grew when, after my acceptance into the ranks of the insurrectionists, I was shown the instruments of retaliation. Never in my life could I have imagined all the glorious colours. Brown, green, blue, and the most beautiful colour they called yellow. It was amazing and I couldn’t stop looking.

That was the thing that the others had not counted on. They had never seen the mystifying and incredible number of colours. They had, like all good citizens, cut colour out of their minds. But when they scraped away that colour, they destroyed what colour meant. Colour meant living. Colour meant seeing. And we embraced it. We, with our newly opened eyes, saw the glory in sensations that colour gave us. Green made me smile, blue made me shiver, and yellow (oh magnificent yellow) made me warm from the inside out. Colour gave us minds which gave us rebellious ideas.

Revolution, however joyous it may seem at first, is truly an agonizing and painful choice in life. I saw so much death those first few months, so much devastation and heartbroken pain. And I saw red. Real red. Not just the trivial red that I had seen as I child when I scraped my knee. I saw pools of red by broken bodies, cuts of red so deep they looked like they would never end, burns of red so sickening I closed my eyes and wept. It was the first colour that frightened me. So I tried to avoid it.

I could not avoid it forever. After one horrendous battle, I found a child. There was red streaking his chest and flowing down his cheek. He was crying. His mother was dead. As I wrapped him in my arms that colour transferred to me. It was the first time I had touched real red. I couldn’t pull myself away. It melted me, burned me, broke me. I felt for the first time the sensation of red: anger and passion and love. I learned the meaning of the colour, even as it covered me. And that was how they found me.

I woke in a room of blinding white. The walls were white; the floor was white, the ceiling, the counters, the cabinets, the instruments. The brown and green and red of my clothes were the only exception to the spotless room. A man entered. A colourless man, with colourless hair and colourless coat. He told me I had seen too much; I would have to die. He held a dripping needle in his hand.
Oh, to die in colour, to rest my body forever in a bed of downy yellow. But no, the last I would ever see was white.

White. White is the colour of silence, isolation, and emptiness. It is the colour of the cruel, of the joyless, of the barren. It is the colour of seclusion, oppression, futility. White is the colour of the privileged, the colour that sets apart the elite from the trash, the glorified from the weak. White is the colour that chokes passion, vision, and enthusiasm. It is the colour that kills creativity and smoothers the ideas of the thoughtful. It is the colour that is colourless. The colour that kills colour.
They used white to oppress us. They used white to exterminate.


  1. wow! this is really good, bekah! i love how you begin with red and end with white-nice contrast. And how effectively you captured a society in 1000 words.

  2. WOW!!! Bekah, this is REALLY, REALLY good!!!!!!! I LOVE it!!!!!!! Great job!

  3. Wow, Bek. This is really good. Your phrasing ("real red") was excellent. Your parenthetical statements were perfect. Good job.

  4. Oh my goodness Bekah!! this is amazing!! You are so superb at this.. and this was beautifully written. you have such talent!!!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.