No one noticed the girl decked in white, balancing on the ridge. Her camouflage of light did not show in the conformity of darkness.
My life began in pain and so I thought would end in pain. It took me not long to learn that the worst pain was the pain that no one could see. The pain that hid away for only me to see, that never broke the smile imprinted on my face, that only shook me when I was in my own little cage. The pain that never lightened. My pain, my life.
No one noticed me as I walked. No one would ever notice me. I was the girl covered in a white robe, the colour of forbidden loss. If something's taken away and never comes back you start to forget it until it's only a myth. Or not even that. We have been told to forget, to never reminisce on what once all that was. We have been told that to remember will bring pain to more than ourselves. That is why people have forgotten about the colour white and only black and grey exist in this tortured world. People have learnt to believe that white never was, so if people see white they ignore it. That is why they ignored me; it is also why my life was filled with pain.
I had seen white my whole life and I had known what it was. I dared to question it, why it was once all that was possible and how it was left to rot in eternity. I've never understood how I feel the pain, but I can always feel it inside of me, building, waiting for me to shed it into the light. But I know that when I do I will bring it upon the people of the world and more than I will suffer. I see white wherever I go and with every new speck I see a new speck of pain fills into my body. Many years ago white would blind me. My eyes would shutter and fill with unbreakable tears; the pain would flow down into me. I eventually learnt to eye the pain and only small twinges would break my eyes.
That is why I walked unnoticed throughout the plethora of people dressed in black. I had always been able to live with the pain, until now. The last burst of pain had left me gasping for breath and I had lain, half dreaming for three days, feeling the pain coarse through my already broken bones. When I woke from my tortuous dreams I knew that I could not go on. Although my heart told me to live it out, I knew that living would only make it worse.
As I walked I looked for the light amongst the dark, the pain amongst the weak. I found my sanction easily. The cliff that I stepped on had a deep drop that fell into the dark water. I knew no one would see me fall, nor would anyone ever realize. I knew no one, no one knew me. It was best that way, no pain to bring on someone else.
I stepped out onto the ridge and without looking down I waited. I waited for the moment when I knew that I could finally give up. I stood feeling the gusts blow into my hooded face, the smell of sea rising to my nose.
"Things don't have to end in pain," a broad voice came from behind me. It wouldn't be for me. I gathered my courage, starting to release my grip on earth and let gravity control me.
"Things don't always end in pain."
I turned at this, just a slight twist of the head. A boy of about my seventeen years stood eyeing the ridge. He wore a robe like mine, but the colours that I saw surprised my widened eyes. They stood out bright amongst the darkness, blinding my eyes, forcing me to blink. But it was more than his attire that made me blink. It was his hair, his white hair. It fell into me, dragging through my eyes and piercing into my pain.
"You see it then, most people don't," he spoke with emotion that no person should be capable of.
"See what?" I questioned, though the answer already was passing through my head.
"The colours, they're bright aren't they?" He did a little twirl, spreading the colours throughout the air.
I remained silent, questioning this person who placed himself so vividly before me.
"C'mon step down from there now."
I looked down at the dark abyss of black depths, swirling into the vast ocean. And I stepped. My feet followed the command until I was standing before the boy, so close I could feel the breath from his face.
"Good, it's no use dying you know, it only means they win."
"The government, the people who trap us in this hellhole." He started walking, "Are you coming?"
I followed him slowly, precariously taking each step.
We walked through the mass of people, dodging their unsuspecting eyes.
"What's your name then?" He asked, breaking the silence.
I nodded, then remembering he couldn't see me "Yes."
"I'm Exodus," he spoke loudly though no one turned to wonder on the voice. How could something that doesn't exist speak?
"My friends'll be happy to see you," he continued.
"Yeah there's six of us, you make us uneven seven."
"I don't make you anything," I said defiantly.
He stopped and turned, staring into my cowled face. His eyes went hard, his body went rigid. Then he shrugged, "Whatever you want."
We continued walking in silence, his light mood ridden with my simple statement. I watched his steps as he paced. He walked with a softness, his feet lightly bouncing over the ground, tracing each step on the unmarked path.
I hadn't noticed the crowds of people decline, until I noticed that no scuffle of feet were present, only the light steps of two individuals.
"In here," he stopped and produced a large gold key, whose surface had once held a gleam of a thousand treasures. A loud grating sound erupted as the door swung open on its rusted hinges. A small light came to my eyes as I entered the unknown. As I stepped over the threshold my pain shattered through my body. My eyes burst and behind my closed lids, colours danced, forming into indiscernible pictures. I felt the pain move to my heart stabbing me blindly. I waited, slowly anticipating the release from my cage. I don't know how long I stayed like that, colours dancing, pain blinding but slowly I regained my grip on reality and slowly I came to hear the muttered voices of those around me.
They were confusing at first but quickly I began to hear words which confused me more. Door, red, no, white, Aleaya, ridge, darkness, blue, shh. I felt eyes on me and sluggishly I heaved my lids from my eyes. Around me lay six chairs all padded in soft cushion, a seventh one under me. A fire raged in the hearth, blazing with life, throwing shadows into the corners. On a table placed a glass with an unknown liquid. Around me sat colours of kinds I hadn't known existed, so many colours, so many short bursts of pain in my head.
"Aleaya," Exodus was beside me holding my outstretched hand. I pulled back quickly, shocked by the touch of another being. I could not remember the last time I have felt another's touch.
For a moment he looked offended, then he smoothed out his placid complexion and smiled. "You'll get used to it, are you okay?"
I nodded, though not sure that I was.
"Well then I think you should meet the others. He motioned with his hand and people stepped out of the shadows.
He pointed at them as he spoke, pausing between each name, "Dai, Jaap, Tiedeus, Kie and Blue." They seemed around seventeen or eighteen which made me happy but their hair shocked me. Each person had hair of a colour I didn't understand. I noticed Blue more than the others, the only girl in a colony of men. But it was more than her gender which made me stare. Her straight hair was split in a multitude of colours, standing out bright in the already bright room. I waited for the pain from the colours but none surrounded me. I felt nothing. She smiled at me when she saw my gaze and I managed a weak smile back.
"You like it?" She shook her head and her hair splayed into a halo of colours. I nodded, impressed with the colours that presented no pain. My expression must have been frivolous as a high laugh came from her. A laugh so beautiful and melodic it sang with light.
"How you feeling?" A boy with ruffled hair stood beside me, leaning easily on the chair.
"Fine" I said, trying to remember who this ruffle-haired boy was.
He read my mind, "I'm Tiedeus," he extended his hand and quickly I reached out and grasped his hand, it was warm.
"Who are you?" I directed this at Exodus, still beside me.
"Umm... Do you want me to say their names again, I can go slower."
"No, no," I shook my head, "who are you?" I motioned to them all, spreading my arms across them.
"We're people," questioning plagued his voice, forcing me to explain.
"You wear weird colours, you talk to random people, you're, you're different."
"Were not any different from other people we're the lucky ones, we can see the colours and so can you."
His last statement sent another burst of pain through my bones. It was plain to me that I could see the colours but the revelation from another made it seem so much more real, alive.
I didn't notice anyone leave, one second they were there, another there was only the dancing fire and the boy lazing in the chair.
"More pain?" Asked Exodus, leaning forward.
I nodded slowly, counting each shake of my head.
"It will end."
"How? White is everywhere, I can't just ignore it," my voice came out strong and fast, spreading into the air.
"We can teach you to ignore it, Aleaya, we have all gone through this, we have all felt the pain and we have all learnt to resist it."
He words resounded in my head, repeating over and over. His words sounded too good, too bright, too hopeful. I rushed out, pushing myself from the chair, heading to the only door. He didn't stop me. The last thing I noticed from that room was the fire sparking in the hearth. Leaping from the wood like lightning, falling back quickly into the ash.
I ran down the dark hall, seeing flashes of colour surrounded by white.
"Uoff," I collided with an array of coloured hair. I hurried to pick myself up and felt strong arms around me.
"Aleaya, what's wrong?"
"Blue, I can't, I can't," and then the tears were cascading down my face, falling into my hair. And Blue was there, arms supporting me as I let the water flow from my cracked eyes. When my tears ceased I talked, voicing my words into her.
"I can't take this, the colours, the warmth, the happiness, it's just too much," my words rambled, dropping into the next.
"Don't worry, I was like this to but you have to trust us." Trust, I had never trusted anyone, ever. How could you trust someone who was always dark and now I had to trust someone who was always light.
"I, I need... time to think," as I spoke I wished I were home in my small block of house, enclosed by the darkness of black and grey.
"Well, do you want to go home?"
"I'll take you there."
"No, I'd rather go alone."
An understanding look crossed her face and when she spoke, she spoke with softness, "Of course, do you remember how to get back here."
In my mind I retraced the steps I had passed earlier, the corners, edges, every shadow of black, every light of grey. "Yes, I remember."
Blue took my hand and led me to the door.
"Goodbye Aleaya, I hope you make the right decision," she turned the knob and the door swung to reveal a dawn of coming dark.
"Goodbye," I stepped the threshold and didn't turn to see the door close out the light. I paced the streets every shape seeming darker, every downturned face seeming sadder. The shadows threw further into the corners, casting the world a permanent penumbra. I walked quickly, head down, though no one could see through my white robe.
The lock clicked at my small home and I entered the welcoming sanction. A table stood abandoned near the door, its only purpose to inhabit my empty home.
I lay in my bed, feeling the cool sheets flow over my warm skin. The day flashed through my mind, throwing colours and sounds past my closed eyes.
Door, I stepped off the ridge and into his home. Red. Red, my mind flicked and a thought came into my mind, red, a colour. I went back to the chairs and I realised, red, the chairs were red. No. Why did I do it? More colours flashed into my mind, each one with a name. White. The pain of forbidden loss. Yellow, the fire. Aleaya. A name given to an abandoned baby at birth. Green, Dai's hair. Ridge. The way out. Orange, the photo on the wall. Darkness, the life of the world. Purple, a splotch on the robe. Blue. A halo of coloured hair. Blue, the liquid in the glass. Blue, the dark abyss. Blue. Shh. My eyes flung open and I jumped from the bed. Slamming down the hallway, swinging my white robe onto my bare arms.
Outside the world was alive. Colours seeped into my eyes, bringing light into my life. No more did the darkness live in my world. Every colour was surrounded by white but no pain entered my heart. I walked quickly, shoving through the plethora of dark people. I came to the ridge were I had stood, not long ago, meaning to end the pain.
No one noticed the girl decked in white, balancing on the ridge. Her camouflage of light did not show in the conformity of darkness. Except I noticed. I walked to the same spot where Exodus had stood and heard my voice slip through my mouth.
"Things don't have to end in pain."