A Grey World in the Dark This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The days were gloomy, the nights were dark. The world was normal by any and all standards. An old man, Isador, lays in his bed depleting as a young boy stands by the door to the room. Paintings of colors splashed across canvas cover the walls of the room as well as a portrait of Isador standing behind a woman with orange eyes. Isador motions for the boy to come near to him with a movement of his long finger. Isador's graying hair is patchy and he is balding. Isador's breath aggressively shakes his chest. Before the boy can understand what is happening Isador hands him a weathered leather journal. The pages are askew and a few threaten to fall out of it's bindings.
"Read every word and hold it deep within your heart, for it shall live on within the wretched world we live in, don't make what I did be for nothing," Isador shakily says in between wheezing. His grandchild holds the book as if it is as fragile as a butterfly. As isador takes his final breath the boy whispers:
"I will."
***
"Isador Marcus Weild, 20 years old, male," a man with spider-like fingers, that curled around a small white index card, droned on in a monotonic voice. Isador, a pale pudgy man, stepped out of a line of men and woman adorning the same bored face.
"Present," Isador said as he stepped to the middle of the room with his back to a single wall of mirrors. With robot-like movements the lone spider pointed to a white metallic door to his left. A whoosh filled the air as the door retracted into a divot in the ceiling. The room before Isador was completely white with a small grey dot drawn on the ground below. Isador stood on the dot in the middle of the room. He smiled widely as he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the door's shine.
Yellow is good, he thought to himself, yellow is yellow.  The smile Isador adorned was what got him taken from his home in the first place. He was taken because of colors. Colors that made him different from the rest of the world. Colors only he could see. Reds, blues, greens, and yellows in a world full of grey and white. The colors were taken away years ago, hidden from all those who couldn't remember. Those who did died, or were hidden away in cells and tortured until they were conditioned to forget. Isador, showing small hints of remembering, was forced into the latter.
Isador with the smile still on his face waited for the signal, a white light emanating from above that forewarned of the torture he was about to endure. No one, not even Isador, called it torture but, deep down in the caverns of humanity Isador knew. When the light flashed Isador thought blue, and then, when his vision cleared he thought black. A door, that was seemingly invisible, opened in front of him. His smile vanished as he walked forward. All Isador thought for the next few hours was black, and every time he thought of the single word or rather, color, they would torture him in various ways.
Isador, bruised and tired waddled back to his cell as a bell rang from above. His cell held one small bed in the middle of the room and had a wall of mirrors to his right. To his left a single closet was filled with indistinguishable overalls. The only difference between his cell and the rest was that his held a small window with jutted edges all about, a present left by a former tenant. Newly molded bars crossed the window. Fresh air wafted into his room as he slumped down on his bed. The zoom of a camera from the corner of the room made Isador think: green. Instantly isador sat up, unable to act upon his exhaustion he stood and faced the mirrors.
Blue, he thought as he looked at the face staring back at him. It was his own, but not. He knew this wasn't how he was supposed to look, something was off. Grey shadows were cast across his protruded bones. He looked like everyone else standing in the line, bored. But his eyes, his eyes were what gave him away. His eyes screamed yellow at whoever would listen. A second, higher pitched bell sounded above his head from speakers hidden in the ceiling. Isador quickly undressed, folded his overalls, and placed his head on the single hard pillow on the bed. Within seconds the lights went out.
The next morning Isador followed the routine he always did. He rose, dressed in the overalls everyone wore, and went to line up in the main hall. The same faces he had always seen surround him as he waited for spidey to call out his name. But, today felt different to Isador, today felt red. He saw red when he looked at the guards' faces, and saw red when they looked back at him. He saw red in the words the men were saying and red in the eyes of whoever passed. Today's color was red he had decided.
When his name was called the shade changed. No longer was it pale, but it was blazing. He didn't like being tortured, and didn't like the spider that sent him to that doom. Isador, unable to control what was happening screamed at the top of his lungs as he lunged for spidey. Two men raced from an unmarked door and rushed at Isador grabbing him by the arms to drag him out before he hurt anyone. As he was dragged away he caught a glimpse of a woman's face. Although it was plain with jutted out bones parallel to his own, her eyes were what caught his attention. Her eyes were orange.
Isador was issued to more torture that day than ever before. The colors had nearly vanished from his mind as he sulked back to his cell. And then something extraordinary happened. As Isador sat on his bed looking at his drab reflection, a small butterfly flew and landed on his shoulder. He stared at the dainty creature.
Yellow, he thought as the creature slowly flapped his wings. Isador heard the zoom of the camera in the corner but he didn't care. He loved butterflies, loved how they flew and how they were colorful and how they reminded him of yellow. Isador moved slightly and watched as the butterfly stirred from its perch and flew back from where it came. Blue came to mind as he stared at his lonesome image reflected in the mirror. His skin seemed to resemble a vampire with no blood pumping through it, with no life. The bell sounded above his head again and soon he went to sleep.
This sleep was different from the rest. As Isador lay with his head against his single pillow he dreamt for the very first time in his life. A butterfly was perched on a tree branch. Blues, greens, as well as other shades he had never seen before danced across the creature's wings. The movement was fluid and beautiful as the colors slowly merged with the blackish-blue sky of night. Suddenly a black crow swooped down on the butterfly and picked it up by it's talons.
Isador awoke with sweat beading on his brow. He didn't think of any colors that day. His daily tasks went smoothly. Finally after four years, with minimal need for help the men who had kept Isador at the cell, released him.
As Isador walked home that day with a face of boredom that matched all he passed, a small butterfly followed behind undetected. But something was different about Isador, a leather bound journal was held tightly under his arm, hidden underneath his jacket. His  house, a small grey stone cottage among homes of the same stature, texture, and color sat with her arms opened wide to welcome the known-stranger. But, as Isador neared the home's grey doors he paused. A small flicker of a thought began to glow dully in his mind but he was unable to grab onto the flame to feed it and let it rage.
Isador, with the butterfly still trailing behind and the journal under his arm, walked into his house without a second thought. The interior, not unlike the exterior, was grey and plain. Isador sat the journal on a small cubed, grey table and stared at it for a few moments.
It needs to be done, Isador thought as he grabbed a grey pen and dated the top right corner of the first page.
***
Within the pages of the journal the scrawls of a man who thinks faster than he can write cover once white pages.
Red is bad, yellow is good, black is bad, green is okay to feel as well as blue, orange is moderate and is usually good. A small butterfly is drawn in the middle of the last page. Colors dance across the wings and smudge onto the page behind it. The word beauty is messily written below the creature. A young boy holds the book to his chest as a tear falls down his cheek. People rush in and check Isador's no-longer-there pulse as the boy mutters to himself inaudibly:
"Blue,"






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