Friday, March 17, 2017

Spectra - Installment 2

Chapter 1
I read peacefully to the sound of gray. It was overcast, and the sun hid behind plump cumuli. Everything was muted, as if the world was being asphyxiated under a pillow of cloud cover. Muffled buzzing penetrated the glass window as I observed the outside from my favorite perch in the house. It was on the first landing of the L-bent stairs, facing the east. I read there every morning after sleepily pouring myself a cup of Folgers. Usually I would try to get a majority of my reading done while the sunlight was only a faint suggestion on the horizon, as this was the most opportune time of day for a Chromat; nothing was bright enough to be loud, nor was it dark enough to warrant that signature eerie silence. Five A.M. was the sweet spot.
After twenty minutes or so of reading, my mother, furled under four hours of sleep, padded down the staircase in her dressing gown and curlers.
“Good morning, Luca,” she yawned.
“Morning, Ma,” I replied.
“Did you eat yet?” she asked, rounding the corner to the kitchen.
“No, but I will soon, I promise.”
“Please, I don’t want you going hungry at school again,” she called over the sound of clattering coffee mugs. “I’d really rather not have to drop my lunch hour just to run to Cino’s to grab you a hoagie again.”
“I will mom. Once I’m done with this chapter, okay?” I retorted. “And those hoagies are damn good and you know it!”
Mom peeked her head around the corner and studied me for a minute, eyebrows bunched together. She sighed, shook her head, then smiled. “I’ll just make you some eggs.”
I thanked her with a slight tip of my head, and resumed my reading. That morning, I found myself curled up in my nook for much longer than usual. Overcast was a Chromat’s best friend; clouds were the ultimate soundproofing. Being a Chromat in Seattle had it’s perks, so it’s really not surprising that it had the nation’s largest Chromat population. It was estimated to be home to more than 100,000 Chromats in the year 2062, and it probably increased by the thousands in the three years following. Or, at least, that’s what I estimated. I had a penchant for knowledge. Anything I could get my hands on, I tried to decode, decipher, or debunk. My intelligence was probably the reason my mom moved us out to Seattle in the first place.
I was born in Petosky, Michigan, November 13th, 2048. Petosky wasn’t really a “hearing-friendly” community, if you know what I mean, so we decided to move to the Chromat capital of the USA. After my dad died, shortly after my 13th birthday, it wasn’t that hard to pick up and leave. Everything about that place was a constant reminder of what happened. It was nice to start over.
I loved it there, to be completely honest. I went to William Drake High on the eastside of Seattle. I made friends, passed all my classes, and even had a girlfriend of three years. A girlfriend, mind you, that was also a Chromat! Believe me, if you would have told me when I was a boy that I’d meet a girl -a Chromat girl- that loved me as much as I loved her… I probably laugh at you. Like I said, Petosky wasn’t very hip on us colorhearers.
Alice was the single best thing that ever happened to me. I couldn’t tell you how many journals I wasted just doodling her eyes, or writing sappy love poems. I absolutely couldn’t get over her. She was everything I had ever dreamed of and more; romantic, nerdy, sarcastic, and even a little aggressive at times. She did this thing… whenever I’d “forget” my chemistry homework at home, she’d lean over in her desk behind me and whisper in my ear, “I’m going to take you right down into the football stadium, mister, and punt your scrawny ass from the fifty yard line if you don’t turn in your homework tomorrow.” She’d give my lobe a little tug with her teeth, then resume copying the notes from the board. Like, c’mon, how much more perfect can a single person get? Intimidation and sex appeal!
I let my mind wander to her petal pink curls as my eyes uselessly skimmed the over same sentence. It was just getting a bit steamy inside my skull when Mom suddenly appeared at my side, tapping me on the shoulder.
“Hey-yo, space cadet! Your eggs are waiting for you in Nebula Seven.”
“Jesus Christ, Mom. You scared the shit out of me,” I breathed, trying to drain the blood from my cheeks.
“Yeah, I know, and I had fun doing it too. Come eat your eggs, astrodork.”
I quickly finished the remaining sentences of the chapter and dog-eared my page. I paused for a moment, then placed my bookmark in the spine instead, flattening the corner back into place. I had to have more respect for my books than that if I ever wanted to be an author.
At the table, Mom laid out a plate of yellow eggs with green onions in them. Black pepper dotted the top. It looked, smelled, and sounded amazing. The yellow hummed a low, melodic tone, while the little green bits beat out a solid rhythm. The tiny black flakes of pepper provided the perfect measure. I loved my mother’s eggs. I pulled up a chair, gulped down some orange juice, and brandished my fork.
“Are you going out with Alice this weekend?” Mom asked, eyeing me over her own book.
“Yuh,” I blubbered with a mouth full of egg, “probubly tuh thuh cabun.”
“Okay,” she said, taking a sip of her coffee, “Just make sure you say hi to Uncle Garrison for me, okay?”
“Of course,” I said, swallowing, “As always.”
She smiled a crooked smile and returned to her book.
I walked to school that morning. The Seattle weather was perfect, and every color sounded pure. Winter was on the way, and I could smell it in the air.  I walked the pavement. Walls of green sound enveloped me like a parting sea as the grasses created harmonies with one another. I closed my eyes and listened, picking out each blade of grass in the verdant chorus.
Green was my favorite sound - it was neither high, nor low. Green -in it’s purest form- was what put me to sleep every night. My room was painted #99ff99 in css terms: a tint of the most perfect green observable to the human eye -and, to people like me- heard by the human ear. Most Chromats erred on the side of pink or maroon, as tints and shades of red emit the lowest frequencies and are almost indetectable. Black was also common among our kind, as it is, of course, the absence of all color. White, however, we didn’t take kindly too.
But that day… that day the grass was an “onions in Mom’s eggs” green, and I had a feeling it was

going to be absolutely beautiful.


  1. So... Do you know where this is going?

    Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

    So far, I love the writing style and the narrator's voice.... Except when he causally swears at him Mom! :) --- but that's just me being old fashioned. i have a feeling in the 2060s kids will be saying all sorts of other things to their parents.

    1. I'm a pantzer, for sure, but I do know where this is going... for the most part. The very critical things have been plotted.

      Oh, and there's a reason for the swearing, by the way. You'll understand in a few chapters :)