This color of skin

“Run!” she cried. “Run!” Gunshots. 

She woke up in a cold sweat, shivering. 

“Hey honey.” 

“Hey dad.”

“You look tired.”

“Yeah. I had a nightmare again.”

“The same one?”

“Yeah.” She trembled involuntarily. “Where’s mom?”

“Still sleeping. So is your brother.”

She looked out the window. The sky was a lovely mauve, the lavender of the trees swaying in the morning breeze. The forlorn mountains glistened, the tops shaded with lilac. She loved the calm shades of purple that greeted her eyes.

Everything was monochrome. 

Rainbowland was driven into factionalism. The hierarchy consisted of the higher class, or the Intelligentsia, and the lower class, the Segregationists. 

The Intelligentsia had developed to such an extent that they no longer paid heed to dogmatic matters and bigotry. They were beyond human boundaries, physical and emotional. The Segregationists, on the other hand, were so weighed down by their ancient thought processes that they absolutely refused to welcome development and subsequently, a better life. They were of the opinion that the Intelligentsia was leaving ancestral culture and tradition by accepting the discovered and unknown. For the Segregationists, life was far too fast-paced and so they clung onto their beliefs and led  jealous, forever judging, forever discriminatory lives. 

The world was divided into 7 sovereign regions; Redland, Orangeland, Yellowland, Greeneland, Blueland, Purpleland and Rainbowland. Rainbowland was situated in the middle of the other regions. In every region resided people of a particular color, except for Rainbowland. In Rainbowland, people of every color lived in relative harmony, except for the underlying tension of the hierarchies and the prejudices of the Segregationists. 

Her father was an agriculturist. He had a fairly good income from the crop and had a fair contingent of people working under him. He was under the impression that excessive modernism in farming, or using too much machinery wasn’t the right way to do it; he believed in the old principles of tending to the crops to make sure each and every single one of them flourished. He was getting old, so he got others to do it for him.

Her mother worked as a commercial pilot. She was used to going all over the world, providing services for the shipments of big companies. 

Both of her parents earned a lot of money, but her father was getting bored of the monotonous life. As a young man out for career prospects, her father had travelled to Rainbowland. He’d gotten the job of a financial advisor. It was rather dull, but it granted him financial stability. But his job wasn’t the only thing that occupied him; Rainbowland was full of wonders for the young man from Purpleland. People from all over the world had made Rainbowland their home. There were people of all the colors of a rainbow! He had gotten accustomed to seeing the Greenes next door in his small apartment, the Oranges on the floor below, the Red postmaster; life was colorful and exciting! When he was younger, Rainbowland wasn’t as plagued with division as it was presently. 

He’d lived there for the better part of a decade. Then he met her mother, they got married and had children. They felt that the changing social climate wasn’t suited for their children to grow up in, so they moved back to Purpleland. Her mother’s job was unpredictable, and she wasn’t around very often. When she was, they made the best of it. 

They made a happy family. 

But the father was getting tired of the monotonous, everlastingly purple life. He wanted his kids to experience some of that exuberance and excitement that he once had. He wanted his kids to know the land of their birth and be proud of it. After all, the social situation had become slightly more stable with the new leader. 

And so they moved back. It was difficult for her to adjust initially, but she soon felt the liveliness of everything around her. Things were constantly changing, and she was observant. She began to observe things she hadn’t observed before. The hostile looks her family received from passers-by. The not-so-subtle pointing from her classmates. The news about persecution. The comments from pedestrians of other colors, lighter colors. The Segregationists were establishing their powers, and she felt it. 

“Let’s go to the theater!” her brother screamed. “I wanna see a movie!”

“Okay, okay, calm down,” her father laughed. “We’ll go.”

“Yay!” the siblings yelled. 

They eagerly anticipated the movie showing the whole day. Then, in the evening, they had a pleasant surprise. 

“Hi mommy!” her little brother jumped into their mother’s arms. Her mother hugged him tight as their father romped from the kitchen at the sound of the door opening. They kissed; their love was as strong as ever. 

She came out of her room and saw her mother standing at the doorway and ran to her. “You didn’t say you were coming, mom!” 

“Well, I’m here,” she chuckled. 

They went to the theater as one jolly family. Since it was just a block away, they decided to stroll over. The siblings pranced ahead while the parents walked behind, hand in hand. 

Suddenly, she saw a shadow dancing on the wall next to them. It was queer to see shadows in this part of the street, but she stared at it, fascinated. It danced in her eyes. 

They reached the theater. There was a remake of the Shakespeare play, King Lear. The acting was magnificent, and the tragic music added to the mood. She walked out of the theater feeling subdued. She wondered how words could affect relationships so harshly, empty and desolate words.

She saw the shadow in the periphery again. Then she heard a sound, the sound of a gun being drawn and filled with bullets. “Put your heads down!” she screamed. “Run!” Her instincts kicked in. Her brother was with her, he immediately crouched. But it was too late. 

She felt the wetness on her brother’s jacket. She felt a sharp pain in her heart, the breath was sucked from her body. Blackness edged into her vision.

“Breathe in, breathe out. No, it’s not real. It can’t be.” It was becoming hard to see. “Breathe in”. She couldn’t. Pain. Darkness. Oh, how she longed for the pounding in her heart and brain to stop. “It can’t be.” Red lights. Flashing lights. Sirens. She fainted.

Pain enveloped her. She felt a hole in her heart. She wondered why she didn’t notice it more clearly, the cloaked discrimination. The injustice cut her deeply. “What did my little brother do?” she wondered. “All he did was have a darker skin color, courtesy of his genes.” Her thoughts wandered as a solitary tear trickled down her cheek. “Everything happens by chance, doesn’t it? It was by chance that we went to the theater that day. We just wanted to have some fun. Is that illegal?” She took in a deep breath. “Is it illegal for me to be alive?” Her heart started to beat painfully against her chest. “Why were we born with this color of skin? Why couldn’t we have been given the benefit of chance?”

She woke up in a cold sweat. How cruel those nightmares were! How lucky she was that they were still nightmares and not reality. How grateful she felt that humanity still existed, an enigma, something abstract, but very real. 

Hello my dudes. This is something I wrote on a whim. It’s not exactly subtle, but eh.


30 thoughts on “This color of skin

  1. Well, wow! I love this setting you painted:

    “She looked out the window. The sky was a lovely mauve, the lavender of the trees swaying in the morning breeze. The forlorn mountains glistened, the tops shaded with lilac. She loved the calm shades of purple that greeted her eyes.

    Everything was monochrome. “

    Liked by 2 people

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