Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
- TITLE: Blush
By Helen Paynter
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The pink paper creases in my hands. I wrote this diary entry ten years ago. How things change.
Man, is this the MILLENNIUM or what?
I woke up this morning and the world was pink. Yup, everything pink. Not like it’s a total surprise or anything. There’s been the odd rosé wash over the last few days, flickering on and off while they tested it, I guess. But today – bam – pink everywhere. Every shade of it – cherry, wine, blush, coral, strawberry – it’s like living in a lipstick factory. So cool.
And it’s so QUIET! That old smelly couple downstairs – the ones that always sound like they are smashing crockery on each others’ heads - man, even they were quiet. And the traffic. Just a soft hum this morning. Like I’m listening through a veil. No horns. No sirens. Just the gentle hum of love.
In history we learnt about the Vietnam War protests. How they used to put flowers into the rifle butts of the soldiers. They called it the summer of love. Didn’t stop the war, though.
They interviewed the president on TV tonight. He said the global government was aiming to stop all violent crime. He said people won’t fight each other if they all see the world the same way. Neat point. Cuz that’s what starts wars – people having different points of view. He quoted the Bible a lot, too. Said we’d all been changed in the twinkling of an eye. Something about beating swords into ploughshares – I didn’t quite get that. But there was a really funny bit – he said they’d ushered in the new golden age only it was pink.
I phoned Bri. I’m like, ‘Bri, you’re a cool guy. How’d ya do it?’ Cuz he’s been working on this for, like, forever. He goes, ‘Well, it’s to do with the molecular instability at the string level…’ I’m like, ‘YAWN.’ Whatever, it’s totally cool. Our scientists ROCK.
The new, pink age. Bring it on.
The paper trembles in my hand, sweat leaving crimson stains where my fingers have traced the ridiculous optimism in each line. Like the cherries, roses and wine; like everything from which it is derived; pink has become rancid, rotten and sour.
My mind scratches for the memory of another colour. Tangerines, coal, a rainbow. But they are pencil sketches in my reason; not the technicoloured tone-poems my heart craves.
The silence smothers me like a fog. Oh, for the song of a child; the clatter of a broken plate. The pink wash has damped us all; has lessened us to silent spectres. We drift through our lives, passion muffled; initiative quashed; vivacity stifled.
There is no crime, of course. There is no energy, no enthusiasm. It is safe to walk the streets, but we stay at home. It is safe for our children to play outside, but there are so few children to play!
And one by one, like ripe cherries dropping from the tree, we fall. Today it is my turn.
Three years ago, the government declared the pink wash experiment a failure. A team of scientists was tasked with the reversal of the molecular interference which caused it. After six months of lethargic work, they announced their success. Exhaustive testing had confirmed that the world was no longer pink in a million sickening shades.
But ten billion pairs of eyes insisted it still was. Ten billion brains, fed nothing but cherryade for ten years, gagged at the possibility of a menu. And within ten billion heads, the world was still pink.
And one by one, the spoiled cherries drop from the tree. Today it is my turn.
The gun gleams a dull, metallic clover. I raise its mouth to mine. There is passion in its kiss. I blush.
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