We’re all running.
The thing chasing us is running too. But no one else seems to notice that. It makes me wonder, is it running from something just like we’re running from it? No one thinks of these things but me. I’m strange, that’s one of the few things we can all agree on.
Anyway, we’re running. I look over my shoulder, my long skirt tangling around my legs, and I laugh. It seems so absurd, right then, that we’re all running from such a beautiful thing. It glitters, like the shards of a great stained-glass window, throwing light on the shells of homes. It’s like a god of color, and I can’t make out its form beneath the light. I know it has wings, that the people taken up in the color are never seen again, but I don’t care. I stop, and smile. The water laps at my legs in ever-quicker ripples as the thing gets closer. I spread my arms.
“Hey! Here I am! You’re beautiful!”
“Mara!” someone screams.
I glare over my shoulder, furious at being pulled away from that beautiful thing. “Go away!”
“Are you blind?! It’s a Rainbow Serpent! Run away!” It’s Kevin. He’s always loved me, even though I’m strange. Everyone else thinks he’s strange for loving me, but I like it sometimes.
I sigh. “But I’m so close… it’s so pretty….”
Kevin splashes up to me and grabs my arm. I feel his fingers, cold and hard through my thin shirt, and wish he hadn’t come back for me.
“Kevin…” I whisper.
The color-god comes closer, and I can hear the sound it makes, like the wailing of the wind, so beautiful. I tug against Kevin’s grip, because I’m determined to get to the thing this time, and not even he will stop me.
“Mara! Stop being a fool!” He wraps his arms around me and slings me over his shoulder, taking off at a run.
I stiffen, then let myself go limp and blink at the color-god through the tears that suddenly fill my eyes. I know I can’t escape from Kevin. He’s too big, too strong, and he loves me too. Sometimes I wonder if I love him back or not. Right now, I don’t think I do. I reach out for the thing as he carries me, splashing in the water, through the hulking ruins, and under that vast grey sky. The thing is the only color out here, a thousand times brighter than my faded red skirt and Kevin’s crimson sash. I long for it, but I won’t have it yet. Maybe I should be glad for that. But I want it so much.
We will meet someday, the color-god and I. Of that I am sure. But for now, I let Kevin carry me.