Red

She’s been knocking on his door for a good minute now with no response. He sounded so excited on the phone it worried her. When he finally lets her in she barely recognizes him.
“What is it that you wanted to show me?” she doesn’t need to wait for an answer; it’s all around her and she’s terrified by it. The usually grey walls are now painted all different colors, the white furniture splattered with it, even the floors are wet with paint, “Oh my god, John, what have you done?”
“Isn’t it amazing?” He’s also covered in paint.
“Where did you even get these colors? No one is supposed to sell these—”
“I made them! If you add nearly anything to the white stuff they sell you can make these gorgeous colors!”
“Why are you acting so strangely?” she can’t understand his frantic behavior, the smile that won’t leave his face, “Why are you so happy about colors? We’ve lived our whole lives without them—”
“That’s exactly why! I didn’t know they were so beautiful…hell I don’t think I ever knew the true definition of beauty until I started mixing these colors.”
“You have to repaint these walls.”
“Why? Doesn’t looking at them now make you feel…free?”
“It makes me nervous…it makes me fear for your safety. This is not something the leaders would condone.”
“I’m tired of what they condone! I’m tired of the boring, empty world we live in.”
“Stop it, John. Look, I’ll help you get rid of all this.”
“I’m not getting rid of it, Lauren,” He takes a slip of paper out of his pocket, “Have you ever heard of a poem?”
“They were something the savages of the past used to write, useless thrown together rhymes—”
“They weren’t useless. They were used to express emotions and I find they make me feel everything we’ve been told is wrong and I like it.”
“There should be no books with such writing in them!”
“Not everything was burned in the purging, my grandfather left these behind because he felt emotion was something we should never let go of, and I’m starting to think he was right.”
“John, you’re acting crazy! I don’t want to have to contact the leaders—”
“I’m sure they already know. You can’t do something like this and not have anyone notice.”
She stares at him in disbelief. To not fear being caught by the leaders, what kind of crazy things must be in those books of his.
“Anyway. I wrote you something.” He’s got the biggest smile on his face she’s ever seen.
“What is it?”
“Come on, sit down.”
She cautiously walks into his living room, avoiding the little puddles of paint and just stands next to an armchair, “I don’t want to get color on me.”
He nods, “Alright so…I felt strange reading all those poems, especially the ones about love. We were taught to find someone to have children with, someone ideal that would be a good match for viable children…but in these poems there were only mentions of an attraction to someones soul, their essence…”
“John, love is an outdated concept, one that has no place. An archaic, illogical ideal.”
“But it doesn’t have to be logical! That’s what’s so freeing and wonderful about it!”
She looks at him in disdain, “You’re becoming something I am not sure I like.”
“Well, what made you like me before?”
“You have good facial features that would mesh well with my own—”
“No, no, look deeper than that. Here, listen;” he looks down at the little slip of paper in his hands, “‘she is stronger than anyone I have ever met, her words are like music to me, when we are alone no one else exists’. It’s really crappy, but I’m still getting used to being…creative. It’s exhilarating!”
Her chest is tight. Something about how he’s looking at her is giving her a strange feeling. She suddenly wants to smile, his excited recitation of his writing making her feel excited as well.
“Do you like it?”
“I think I actually do.”
He grabs her hand and leads her into his kitchen, “This color is my favorite of all!”
There are patches of bright red paint all over the walls in the kitchen.
“It’s so vibrant, so beautiful. So intense.”
She feels something in her stir but her fear pushes it down, “John, we can’t leave your house like this. What happens if someone sees? Colors like these are not meant for us, they lead to barbaric behavior—”
He grabs her and kisses her, not the kind of kiss she is used to, not the kind of kiss they’ve shared in the past, this one feels different. She’s taken over by a feelings she’s not familiar with, a feeling that only intensifies when he moves a hand up her shirt to cup her breast.
He kisses her neck and moves down to her chest.
“What are you doing?” she doesn’t try to stop him from taking her nipple into his mouth. Why has she never felt this good before? They’ve coupled many times in the past, but this, this is the best she’s felt doing anything.
He looks up at her, still smiling, “A little barbaric behavior is a good thing, Lauren.”
*
She wakes up in Johns bed, he’s already left for work. She stares at the ceiling for a long time thinking about what they did last night. She’s never felt that good. Since birth they are taught to throw creativity away. They are taught in school that sex is only for having children, there is one way to do it, it should only be done when the woman is ovulating, but last night they did it for fun. And it was almost more than she could handle.
There’s a little slip of paper on the nightstand with something written on it; just Johns name with a little heart beside it. She smiles and gets out of bed to get dressed.
The television is on in the living room and she can hear a news anchor talking about something.
“A Mr. John Grimes has commit suicide today after being called in for questioning by the leaders—”
She must have heard wrong. On the TV is a man with thinning hair holding a stack of papers in his hands as he continues to speak, “His boss said there was nothing they could do to stop him, ‘he simply jumped’ was the only words anyone could get out of his coworkers…”
She drops onto the couch and stares at the screen. They show a reporter on the scene, he’s talking but she’s not listening anymore. Behind the reporter she can see Johns body on the pavement, his blood pooling around his lifeless body.
He wouldn’t have done this, not after finding the beauty in creative expression. She looks at the kitchen before looking back at the screen. He loved red the most, it gave him such a wonderful, passionate feeling. Now it’s making her sad, all that red coming out of him, all that life being drained from him. Her cheeks are wet with tears.
She will paint over his walls. She will hide his books. She will make it so no one can say one bad thing about him. He didn’t know how to keep his new passion hidden but she will. She will paint her basement red and keep his things there.
She goes back into the room and grabs the little slip of paper, tucks it into her bra and gets ready to clean up his home.

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3 responses to “Red

  1. Beautifully written! I love stories like these. Have you ever read Anthem by Ayn Rand? You might enjoy it. I love the way you write, you should enter my writing contest. Have a good one!

    • Thank you! I actually haven’t read Anthem but I’ll check it out. I would love to enter your writing contest, I’ll check out your blog and see if I can do that 🙂

      • Anthem is GREAT. It’s also very short, so it’s a quick read. I think I wrote a review for it on my blog.

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