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Shades Of Grey- A Short Story

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Introduction

Shades Of Grey All was black. He had seen his last light, like the last ray of sunshine leaving the earth at dusk on the evening of the apocalypse. There was no hope of a bright moon coming to him out of the darkness, or stars showing themselves, eager to be wished upon. No hope of tomorrow's dawn to bring a rebellious flicker of light to his heart. . . . We are all logs on a wide river, being swept along in life, Watched. Some of us are big logs, destined to knock into others, to change the courses of other people's lives for better or for worse through powerful decisions. Many of us are smaller logs, who drift along, our lives being changed indirectly by the bigger logs we never meet. We only change the courses of the smaller logs, through our brief encounters with them as we roll forever forwards. All these logs are affected by their personal route through the river, and no two routes are identical. Some meet rocks that stop them for a while, before they change their course. Others meet little resistance on their path, but the undercurrent that finally sinks them. Some logs sink early. Some duck under for a few seconds, so the Watcher may think they have been sunk, but to his surprise and delight, they bob back to the surface with all the defiance and tactlessness natural to humans. The news hit Timmy like a particularly heavy steamroller, but it hit his father harder. The doctor used lots of words that he didn't understand. Those he did know were almost as hard to contemplate. Shocked, he sat there. For what seemed like hours, his normally active mind drifted in and out of the conversation, sluggish with an overload of information, and thinking about logs on a river. With his conscious mind, he heard Doctor Stephenson say "irreversible" and "permanent" and pulled himself out of the morass of his thoughts and back into the real world, in time to catch his father with tears in his eyes. ...read more.

Middle

More drops joined it; they seeped into one another and egged each other on, down the windowpane and into the grass, there to be eaten by the sun-baked ground. He slid himself out of bed and hurried through the kitchen to the barn, his bare feet slapping the terracotta tiles. Their draft horse, Kevin, was awake and afraid. The goats, Ginger and Paprika, were also nervous, walking around their enclosure aimlessly. He let them out, and led them into Kevin's space, closing the door carefully behind him. He then sat with all three animals, comforting them, stroking the horse whilst the goats settled in the straw. He sensed the animals react to his comforting hands and his warm words, and he watched their shoulders move with each breath, and marvelled at the life they breathed in, the way their bodies rippled with energy. Like the water pouring on the ceiling was washing it all away, the colour began to seep out of everything. Tim found the floor as everything darkened, and made sure there was nothing he could hurt himself on. Within a minute, all around him was grey. His Ginger, aptly named, was grey, and the straw she slept on a lighter grey. The barn cat sleeping on the top of the wall opposite was black and a light grey. He looked at the dressing gown he still wore, and saw that it was not white with blue pinstripes, as it had been the night before, but a light grey and a slightly darker grey. Tim felt as though he was looking at an old photograph. Everything was in black and white, as if all colour had been removed from the world. He sat there for a few minutes, marvelling at the sight around him, before he grew aware of a new darkness in the grey. The cat was no longer light grey with black, but a dark grey with black, as if now the light was also seeping from the photograph. ...read more.

Conclusion

Together, they sat near the salad plot for tea. The rain cleared up, and they lit a campfire on the grass there, and cooked sausages and baked beans over it. They dug out some marshmallows from last year, and laughed when mice had nibbled at them. They toasted bread on the flame, and talked about life, about colour. His dad named colours that they could see, so that one-day, the colours could be described to him. The green of the grass, the maple-brown of eggs, they each found colours in every subtle shade and gave them names. And they laughed about other things. They laughed about Mr Sharnier's pony with a fiery temper, and how he could not control it. They laughed about the Bringham child, who had fallen into a cowpat in her bad luck. They laughed about the time the chickens had escaped, and they had to round them all up again with the help of a sheepdog from down the road. As the sun turned orange over the horizon and disappeared, and the sky was blue and the clouds were pink, as the chickens clucked contentedly in their roost and the fire was fed by more and more wood, a thrill came over Timmy as he realised that his father and he were past that log in the river. It no longer held a power over them. They knew that he could somehow cope. He felt his spirit rising to meet whatever life threw at them, and he knew that the Watcher was willing him on. Suddenly, the sky turned grey and the fire with it. It darkened and darkened, until all was black. Timmy knew he had seen his last light, like the last ray of sunshine leaving the earth at dusk on the evening of the apocalypse. There was no hope of a bright moon coming to him out of the darkness, or stars showing themselves, eager to be wished upon. No hope of tomorrow's dawn to bring a rebellious flicker of light to his heart, but Timmy was content. THE END ...read more.

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