Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Colour Thief

He shuffles out of the nest, squeezing past the thick clusters of cold flakes. Outside, everything is white. The grass, normally a stunning shade of green is unrecognisable against the backdrop of the snow covered buildings, the sky itself a pale grey. He thinks perhaps the whole world has been muted, as though someone has stolen the colour. Perhaps they have. He looks down and realises that this is not so; the red of his chest is still vibrant, a red smear on a blank canvas.

He begins to sing, but unease and hunger force him to stop. Diving towards the sky, he sees nothing but the all encompassing colourless backdrop. It disorientates him and he turns, flitting downwards again towards the nearest patch of colour. Grass! At last! He lands, his feet clutching at the earth beneath him. The grass here grows only in small patches. It was not like this before. Pecking at the scarce green earth, it is frozen solid. The rest is white.

And then he sees where all the colours have gotten to.

In the centre of the square there is a large white-covered pine tree with swathes of rich gold and green coiling around it, entwining with the branches. They look like giant worms, but they move with the bitter wind, and, with closer inspection he notices that they are made of something shiny. Not edible.

The next colour he sees is red, green, yellow and blue. Oh my! They have so many colours. He flits from place to place, inspecting, admiring, but no; there is no grass, no food. The surrounding hedges have a similar colourful corruption, and flashing lights blind him as he passes the windows.

Stopping atop a white-coloured fence, he looks around with a feeling of justified upset. There are many people milling, also seemingly mesmerised by the brilliant lights. They’re bathed in colour, too; dressed in fine clothing of every single shade he can imagine, and some he can’t. It pains him, a little, to see it; he so wishes they would stop stealing all of the colours. His stomach rumbles. Where can he find some grass untouched by their filthy colour-thieving human hands? Some berries?

As if by magic, that’s when he sees her. She’s windswept, the blowing gale stealing her soft tones almost to the point of muting her sound, but he flits closer to hear her. She sings so beautifully that his feet almost lose their hold on the branch, and he returns her song, his own melody far more monotonous and forlorn. She tilts her head, and he is hers.

Her nest is warm, and looking around he notices the colours she has managed to save. There are green leaves, brown twigs, blue berries, red berries, green fruit and her breast is vibrant and beautiful. She shares her colours with him and in thanks his voice throws out as striking a song he has ever sung, their duet continuing colourfully well into the night.

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