Sometimes, the color white really was despicable. Not that
it was a color—white is a combination of all colors, her Shōllyo had said.
Personally, she preferred black, but according to her Shōllyo that wasn’t a
color, either; no, black was a shade. She didn’t really understand how that was
supposed to work. Were there not also shades of white? Could there be a shade
of all colors combined? True blackness is not something mere mortal minds are
meant to comprehend, Sylarr, her Shōllyo would say. Yes, that was definitely
what she would say, if she were here. Unfortunately, her Shōllyo wasn’t here.
There was no one here.
There was a strange crunch with her every footstep, but she
hadn’t the time or attention to spare for that particular novelty. Oh, no. Not
in this white. Not when there were such conundrums as black, but her Shōllyo
said there was no black for such puny beings as they, except that her Shōllyo
wasn’t here, she wasn’t anywhere, there was nothing here but
A bone-clacking shudder thundered its way from her shoulders
all the way to her toes. Well, she assumed it reached her toes; she couldn’t
quite be sure, as it were. No matter. That wasn’t important. What was important
was the white and how despicable it was. A combination of all colors—bah! She
knew from experience that mixing all the colors just made a dark, icky brown.
Any child with some paint could prove that. But, oh, how she could do with some
nausea-inducing brown right about now. That was a combination of colors that
made sense, unlike this white.
Maybe it was stardust? Stars were white, after all. Little
white pinpricks in the sky, winking at the toiling fools down below. They were
so tiny. About the size of these little white granules. Wait, no, that wasn’t
right. This white thing on her hand wasn’t a grain of sand composed of all
colors. It had structure. Little spears, and bridges between them. Was this
what stars were like up close? Were these the children of stars? Would these
children of the stars one day rise into the skies and join their parents in the
…Not this child. The structure had dissolved. All that
remained was a slight sheen on her hand where the stardust had only just been.
Where had it gone?
She looked desperately around her, but it was no use. The
stardust was white—it was all white! There was no picking out the lost spears
and bridges amidst this great sea. It would be like searching for a single
teardrop while submerged in the heart of the Inseia Sea.
Such a futile endeavor wasn’t worth her time. Not right now.
Not in this white.
Her crunching footsteps were so loud. The white produced no
sound without her intervention. Sylarr was unaccustomed to such silence. Where
was the wind, the surf? She could hear no mehral lizards crying out for a mate,
could see no glowing green waters on the horizon, could smell no salt or algae
on the air. It was just her and the white.
Until it wasn’t.