It was morning in Nothing.
Time chugged on reluctantly with the tick of a sole, chrome wall clock. As the hour hand limply tickled seven, a gentle, hollow glow illuminated the vast, tired sky. A dusty radiance peeked form behind the sea of gray, and then it was 7:01.
Like a shallow sigh, the begrudging shrug of one's shoulders, or a lonely drop of solemn rain, a thin gray blanket made up the lifeless terrain, smearing the seam from land to sky. The gray was oppressive, but weak. It breathed quiet but labored breaths, and was cold, as deep and chilling as fear but sickly tranquil. Nothing pulsated quietly to a unified, flighty rhythm. This dull, maddening heartbeat rang out in eerie stills of ashen silence, reverberating and reechoing into the deep gray. The landscape was untouched. Gray land reflected gray sky in perfect symmetry, and in this thick soup of leaden peace, Nothing was undisturbed. However, almost a chameleon to the naked eye, I have forgotten to relay that one detail did stand out. One sole pinprick of a dwelling sat gently in the gossamer. A home rested quietly upon the unscathed ground, and in this home, the wall clock ticked 7:02.
Me was the first to awaken in his domicile. Dressed in a drab, shapeless garment, he progressed to the dining area of his home and sat to consume a drab, shapeless meal. A frosted window glowed slightly with the meek proclamation of dawn, and the thin gray light drew soft shadows across the small, upturned nose, thin, steely lips, and tired gray eyes of the little boy eating his breakfast.
"Good Morning Brother" Spoke Her.
"Good Morning Sister" Spoke Me.
With a monotonous, mutual glance, they shared the cordial greeting that they exchanged every morning, and each face still sodden with dreamless sleep, continued eating.
The gray of the home and the gray of the unknown were one in a dusty mist, and when breakfast concluded, the pair arose and opened the door of their abode. The outside air was just as stale as the inside air was just as stale as the stagnant gray sky as the two left their home to take their morning walk. Me behind Her, the pair strolled briskly, plagued by an invisible discomfort that kept their young eyes fixated on the gray ground and their small gray shoes marching in line. All was silent. The shades of ground and sky melted into a slipping tide of somber ash. Single file, they set out from the house, making small gray tracks in the settled gray dust. The home was far in the distance when against the thick tide and lulling rhythm of Nothing, Me stopped.
In the deafening silence of meditation, a sudden, new thing had changed about the film of ashen dust on the floor of the world Me knew so well. Me did not know why he had stopped. However, Me was incapable of asking himself this question as he was unable to ponder the thing that lay a foreigner on the ground before him, so a rebel dumb with a feeling that would introduce it's self as bewilderment, Me stood staring as the strong pull of Nothing's heartbeat made him different. Me then made an incredible discovery. In his own skull, warmth was born to world unknown to Me. A heat so strong spread through his being until his body began to feel.
"I feel cold." Me stammered. His voice was buried in curtains of lifeless gray as Me tried to use this new word. Me was cold. The gray ground was thick with unmarred frost, and a perpetual chill spit shivers down his spine. The warmth in his head had melted his heart, and as Me stared down at whatever it was he had noticed, he finally began to wonder. He tried so hard to see or feel whatever had made him stop. As you may know, reader, it is hard to realize the existence of something different than you, and especially difficult when every cell in the making of the gray universe is pushing you to forget the friendly, wild heat in your brain. Mysteriously, when Me relaxed his tensed muscles and released the chilled breath he had been holding, the thing came back. It was a different thing. It radiated a pure light and sense of magic and something Me was not accustomed to, the free and wild hue of ecstasy; a sunny yellow. It looked different than all else in Nothing, not like anything Me had even seen before. In a trance Me reached down and picked it up. It was light, long, smooth, and had a damp coral pink mass on one end and a dark, thick point on the other. Its suave surface held all the mystery and adventure in the world, its slender body a host for the answer to life itself.
It was Something, and printed laterally on it were the letters "P-E-N-C-I-L".
"A pencil," whispered Me to the thick gray world, "What is a pencil?" Me wondered, using the fantastic new thing he had realized his brain was now capable of. His whole being now felt awake and alive and breathing the thick air, and this realization of life itself was enough to make Me happy. The knowledge that amongst the particles of gray dust and under the lifeless gray sky, oxygen was being forced through Me's body and blood was pumping and he was very much alive was exciting and new. His brain was moving and building and thinking and his skin was feeling and it was all so wonderful that Me had to try very hard to focus on the first obstacle ever to face this new wonderfully unstoppable force singing the beauty of life: finding out what a "pencil" was.
Me ran his young, live fingers over the pencil gently, and the warm, fleshy tips danced gracefully up and down the Something's shining skin. At the pointed tip, the dark spot that protruded left a trail of silky black on Me's pale finger, and Me was entrance. Gripping the piece gingerly in his bony fingers, Me ran it's tip on his pastel white forearm. A shy, shaky trail of thickly dark silver followed the tip like a magical shadow, and without hesitating to question where the birthplace of this brilliant thought had been, Me realized that he could write. Me squatted on the gray ground, the healthy stretch of his joints sang freedom of Nothing's lifeless melody. In the stillness, Me carved crude forms that came from his wildest dreams, one after another. The letters were bent in pain, stretched and rotten and sour, but each was a work of art. When nine stood proudly next to one another in a line, Me read the word out loud in a joyous cry, a dictum of rebellion to Nothing's conformity.
"Beautiful" Me whispered, and the gray world heard him and cried out in pain. The world tried to fight the nine letters that sat delicately in the gray dust. A wave of endless power, a wall of the deafening silence, a scream of shallow gray erupted against Me's fragile form, hunched over on the thin ground. But, it was already too late. "Beautiful" was moving. The letters faded into the earth and from them, a crack; a single crevice not a dream wide shattered the power of Nothing. Across eons ad eons of dusty gray, a niche had penetrated. Me, stunned, watched with open eyes as a small green spindly thing emerged. It seemed wet and soft and fragile and it rose off the ground in a destined spiral, as if stitching up an immense, invisible wound. The thing stopped growing not even at Me's ankle, but it was enough. It was a stem, Me realized, and it was a soft, new green, the hue of a baby's giggle. From this stem, budded a bud, and from that bud, in an eruption of electrical supernova, bloomed a yellow flower. A daffodil, me realized again. Me realized that he was getting very good at realizing things, but this thought was put to rest upon a glance at his creation. The flower was perfectly formed, alive and free. It shone like a beacon, a yellow shimmering star against the gray sky. It was beautiful.
"How did you do that?" The most innocently sweet voice sang. Me turned his head to see that Her had been observing his magic trick, and distress suddenly introduced itself to his new soul.
"Are you okay," Mw whispered, ashamed, "I'm sorry Her."
"No," Her responded in a whisper louder than Nothing's howl, "I think that was wonderful."
Me saw that a healthy stain of pink had crept across her cheeks and her grey eyes had turned a deep, golden brown. She had changed too, he realized for a fourth time, and Me had changed with her. And as you probably know, reader, when two people are different together, it's not so hard to be different anymore. Me took his hand; the power invested in the pencil burning his fingers, and placed the graphite tip on his pant leg. In more confident strokes, he spelled out four letters, wispy as smoke but real as the remnants of fire, and from the spot he had written, a deep, sky blue bled like the water of a thousand oceans across his clothes. Her smiled, and then laughed a shrill, beautiful laugh, unlike any other sound ever heard in Nothing. Me rushed over to her and kneeled at her feet. On her formless garment, me wrote "pink", and the pant turned the sweetest sunset fuchsia. With laughter, color returned to Me's ivory cheeks, and the special, wholesome breath of hope gently warmed their flushed skin. Me took Her by the hand, and brought her forearm into his chest. Against the might and crippled screams of Nothing's waning power, Me wrote seven letters on Her's pasty skin, and as Nothing groaned and warped, the letters disappeared and a beautiful peachy beige ran up and down her body until she was consumed in fawn. From the roots of her hair, a shiny golden hazelnut dripped, and her thin, dusty lips swelled to a delicate ruby.
"Analise" Her spoke slowly, afraid.
"That's you, now." Me whispered.
"Your are Something." Me sang softly.
It was true. Analise was now Something, more specifically someone. In all capitals, the word "Jonah" was introduced peacefully to Me's wrist. Like ripples in a stagnant pool, the letters sunk gently, one by one, into Me's being. Astonished, a wall of sweet almond stained his flesh. Analise smiled in wonder as a boy grew before her, thin gray eyes turned to a glassy blue, and lifeless hair was lit afire with the most beautiful baby orange. Jonah was now Something as well. And it was beautiful and special to be different now, and Jonah could hear his own pulse beating to the rhythm of his own being inside himself. Life was now sacred. Life was now alive in their newly born souls. Jonah took the pencil and in the still, gray air wrote "free". It was an adventure, a mystery, but in front of the pair the letters formed in the stale gray and started to rise.
Nothing was losing. It was bleeding sour gray blood and ashen tears fell from its face and it wailed stronger than any other scream before. The pulse of Nothing quickened, and rose in intensity, and Jonah and Analise were forced to cover their ears. "Free" started to slow its ascent and faded in the last wild rants of Nothing. The oppression of the gray was now a force, and the rhythm of Nothing drowned out Jonah's new heart beat. "Free" was fading quickly. It bent and moved in acute pain, being whipped by the gray sky. The strong black letters turned translucent to the shallow, leaden light, and Nothing was winning. The gray turned to a vacuum, a massive spinning vortex that pulled at Analise's hair and picked at Jonah's clothing. "Free" was waning. "Free" was losing.
"Let us be!" Jonah shouted, and his scream was eaten by the gray world.
"Let us be Something!"
"Free" flickered dangerously in the gray storm. Jonah's eyes had turned to slits, warm blood trailed down his shins, punctured by flying stones. His blue pants were fading back to gray. Jonah suddenly realized he was crying. The wetness on his new cheeks was scary, and caused him to weep more vehemently. Nothing cackled an evil scream and began healing its wounds. Jonah fell to the ground, and tasting the grit of gray dust, wrote ten letters in the ground. "Everything" rose up to meet "Free" in the typhoon, and Nothing could now die. And it did.
A blinding silence met the war torn scene as the gray world finally passed on. "Free" disappeared into the gray sky, triumphant, as Jonah wiped crimson blood from his legs and arms and Analise arose from the ground. In a beautiful flash, the gray turned to white, a pure white of innocence, and Something started descending from this whiteness. They danced a waltz of elegant triumph, twisting and rising and subsequently dipping closer to the gray ground. With each snowflake, the white of the sky thinned and lessened softly, and Jonah and Analise grew lost in their silent beauty. The first flake fell softly in Jonah's cupped fingers. It was perfect and different, and slowly began to melt into a drop of cold liquid glass. Jonah took Analise's hand and they rose. With arms outstretched they ran and danced in the surreal snowfall. A boy and a girl flew throughout the shimmering dream on the lacy wings. They ran like children, for they were children, practically newborns. Their tender senses were alive for the first time to the gentle breath of the world, hearing their own heart beat in their ears and feeling the ice playfully sting their skin. They ran like airplanes, birds, butterflies, and angels through the falling sky, their arms extended as to grasp every corner of the world that now belonged to their every fantasy, toes barely skimming the wet ground. With each flake the earth seeped to a hue of pale green. As the white in the sky lessened, the most brilliant blue sang electrically from beneath. And from the growing hilltops and sinking valleys, the song of life was born as if by magic. The rush of water and whistle of leaves in the wind and new rhythm of life were complementing one another in perfect harmony, for the world new it was now free. The world knew it was now alive. From far away, from peaks still to be explored and oceans growing freely in ecstasy, a blue pair of pants and a pink pair of pants could be seen turning circles around one another, their possessors rising and falling and laughing and breathing life into their bodies, for this was their world now. They were Something.