The Technicolor Town of Edmond Griffith


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2. CHAPTER TWO

Today was a particularly "special" day for the students of Clareview high school. That was because it was art class day. Well, it happened every other day, which didn't render it particularly different or special, but it was a nice change of scenery for once. Instead of sitting in a silent classroom, waiting for their parents to get off work so they could go home, they got to sit in a silent art room, waiting for their parents to get off work so they could go home. Around there, and around that time, school was just an excuse to get the kids out of the house while the parents went about their business.

One question, one dangerous question, was circling through Edmond's head in that moment. What was that color? What was it doing there? How could anything, or anyone for that matter, be colored in such a manner? He glanced down at the acrylic paints, in a tidy line of little colored puddles, neatly dotting the newspaper's funnies (which was simply made up of two oddly drawn men having an intelligent conversation, regarding the true meaning of existence, over tea). His gaze drifts to the black and white paints. His mind, for the first time, began to race. He held the brush, loosely, between his index finger and his thumb. He glanced around, and let out a quiet sigh of relief. All heads and eyes were turned to the art teacher, who was sitting at her desk, facing them with a smile that was striking Edmond as creepier and creepier the more that he looked at her. He gently dipped the paintbrush into the white paint and squinted, all concentration fixed on he spun the brush in his grip and pressed his lips together, in a straight line. He glanced at the teacher, he needed a way to grab her attention somehow.

He cautiously raised his hand, earning a collective gasp from everyone in the classroom. The teacher, Ms. Merlani, hesitantly shifted her gaze to him. She gently lifted her glasses, and placed them on the bridge of her nose. She squinted, making sure she was seeing this right. And, much to her dismay, she was seeing it clearly. The horrid sight in question, a boy with a small hint of curiosity. And, in this town in particular, that can lead to horrible things. Or at least, horrible from the standpoint of someone who is used to perfection. None of the repercussions, that would come from such an action, particularly strike me as atrocities, but they are still relatively mean spirited and rude nonetheless. Curiosity and knowledge were intensely frowned upon. There are simple principles taught and then you're taught to care for yourself and be obedient. They teach you how to walk, talk and act, and then they force their conformist ideas down your throat as if they're cough medicine.

But, then again, at least it's not anarchy like where I come from. Where I come from, you can get shot just by walking outside alone after ten o'clock. I have personally given up defending my neighborhood, claiming there is a secret bright side to it that no one sees. But, there isn't. It's a rotten place and so is the technicolor side. And, speaking of the technicolor side,

"Yes, Mr. Griffith?" Ms. Merlani asked, hoping desperately that Edmond just needed to use the restroom.

"I was hoping that you could identify a color for me." The boy said, a flat expression on his face.

"Sure, what is it?"

Cautiously, she thought to herself, Maybe there isn't anything to worry about.

However, that (quite delusional) thought was disproved when Edmond said,

"I saw it peeking over the wall. It is a color that I don't believe I have ever seen. It looked like a light shade of black, or a dark shade of white."

"Um, I d-don't know what you are talking about, Edmond."

She saw Edmond look down at his paints and picked up the paintbrush. He fixed his eyes on the blank canvas before him and took white paint onto his brush. He dipped the milky white bristles into the pitch black paint. With a few flicks of the wrist, the brush swam about the dark puddle, slowly, but surely lightening it up. He smiled in satisfaction. It had turned out just the way he wanted it. A little darker than he expected, but close enough. He held up the newspaper, pointing to the white-ish, black-ish substance. The students do nothing but stare in awe. This was a new discovery for them. How pitiful is that? Well, how would they find out? They never even did as much as touch a paintbrush, let alone could paint linger on the thin bristles and create a color unbeknownst to them once they went to add a little black to a painting. But, black was disregarded, anyway, so it didn't matter, and seemed improbable in and of itself. It was too gloomy of a color for the residents of pleasantville to handle. When someone was to wear black, for a funeral or something of the sort, everyone would shun away. Whether they were leaving them to mourn or too god damn happy to acknowledge those who weren't is beyond me.

Edmond's little masterpiece earned a startled look from the teacher.

"So, what color is it, Ms. Merlani?" Edmond asks, innocently, like a child.

"Go home, Edmond." Ms. Merlani says, coldly, closing her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose between her right pointer finger and her thumb and pointing to the door at the back of the room.

"What?"

"Go home, please. Be sure to close the door on the way out."

"Alright." Edmond frowns, getting up from his chair. He reluctantly trudged out of the classroom. He hung his head and his face fell.

Why he was being turned away so often, just for simple curiosity was completely above his level of comprehension. The moment the warmth of the outside world hit his skin, he shivered. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as his feet made gentle crunching noises against the coarse turf. It was perfectly green. Not a blade was missing. It was shiny with mid-morning dew. The sun's golden rays bounced off of them, gracing the white exterior of the school with tiny flecks of golden light. They danced about as Edmond's dress shoes gently tread upon the delicate green blades, splitting them apart and crushing them on top of each other. They all seemed to melt into one green mass. One solid lime-colored chunk of moist earth. If he were to lean down he would be able to see each blade, solitary and independent. But, much like all the people in his little suburbia, each blade was bound to collide with the others and was bound to be ripped out of the mass, only to be shoved back in again.

As he walked down the street, people gave him sympathetic smiles. That was the second time that Edmond Griffith turned heads. He looked down, gently digging at the gravel with the heel of his foot. The corners of his lips threatened to stretch into a smile, betraying his inner feelings. However, he let his lips curve upwards, for there was nothing else to do. He didn't have any other option. Or at least, not one that he knew of. And soon, those looks of concern that he had earned from the people he had passed had faded into their normal bright and cheery smiles. Edmond raised his head, ever so slightly and he fixed his eyes on the sky. Suddenly, he didn't remember what he found so interesting about it in the first place. It was just white tufts of matter with a rich blue backdrop. Sure, towards the edges of the clouds the blue and the white seemed to interlock and trail off into each other, but that didn't add much variety to what was otherwise a dull sight. Then, in a last resort to find a sight that was of any substance, Edmond turned his head downward. The pavement wasn't necessarily better, but it had a certain sense of depth and variety to it. It intrigued him. And thus, with his hands in his pocket and his eyes fixed on the ground, Edmond Griffith arrived home. He swung the door open with ease. There were no locks, for no burglaries had ever been committed. And thus, people were expected to leave each home alone with all of its furniture and valuables intact. It personally makes me sick how righteous everyone is over there. I don't know if it's out of spite or out of jealousy. Or perhaps it's just because that's the way it has always been. My father and my father's father and his father before him were all born with a sense of what was wrong, what was right, who was inferior and who was superior. And, for a while, those fundamental principles, prejudices and ideas remained untouched. We were simply born to hate. That's just how we were, I suppose. Whoever my father and mother were, I guess that they raised me in the same way, before leaving me to fend for myself. All of us kids around where I live don't have parents. But, for what it's worth, it's alright. We weren't like those TC's, obsessed with perfection and rule following. We just lived the way we wanted, and so did the adults. And, for some reason, our parents decided they wanted to live without us. So, we learned how to survive without them.

However, I'm not the only one with an absentee, practically non-existent parent. Edmond's father, being the mayor and all that jazz, wasn't home when Edmond had returned. And, in a way, that was kind of a blessing. If his father had been home, he would be getting a stern talking to. And, god knows he wouldn't be able to handle that. He would probably thank his father for being honest and go to his room like the little angel he is, before breaking down and crying over being the worst son the whole wide world.

Edmond cautiously made his way up the stairs, he tried to make as little noise as he could, still unsure if his father were home or not. To Edmond, a father was almost an abstract entity. He was a pillar of power and control. He was less of a person and more of an omnipotent, benevolent god that kept him, and the entire town, in line. He was more of a concept than a father. At least that's more than I ever had.

Unhappy with the conclusion to the school day, he attempted to clear his mind by looking out his bedroom window. However, that only served to bring back more memories. The wall stood as it always did, a shadow nowhere to be seen. Edmond assumed it was on the other side, keeping whatever it concealed shrouded in darkness. Edmond didn't dare let his mind wander to that wall. He distracted himself by watching people walk about, living their ordinary little lives. One man was tending to his garden, while another was standing while his dog circled a fire hydrant, aimlessly. Through a window, he could see a woman, she was sitting and reading. That struck Edmond as especially odd. Mostly because it was. Reading was just about as uncommon as a frown. There were hardly any books, no televisions either. If anyone was bored, no one else would know. Not a single complaint would spill from their lips. So, their true emotions were left ambiguous. Were they as happy as their outward appearance would suggest? Was Edmond the only one who felt this feeling of emptiness and a desire for more? There was no way he could find out, so he didn't. He just did what any TC would do, while faced with a troubling question or massive problem.

He ignored it and tried his best to plaster a smile on that perfect little face of his.

His gaze drifted about until his curiosity took over. His gaze snapped to the wall and he scowled. Those hands were back. And, there was no way in hell that he would let those foul, filthy-looking hands ruin his day yet again. He just stared, in hopes of catching a glimpse of whoever, or whatever were connected to those hands. Even from a distance, he could tell that the hands were bleeding. Black liquid oozed from the pads of the hands fingers, leaving dark marks on the wall. They grabbed and slapped at the other side of the wall, almost desperately. Then, an elbow was propped onto the very top of the red brick divider, acting as a sort of anchor, to keep the body it was attached to stable.

So, what did Edmond do, so close to seeing the mystery creature?

He turned his head and looked forward.

For that's what he had been bred to do. And, he just couldn't look any longer. He couldn't bare to watch another second of the horrid sight. The mere memory of that bloody hand, reaching out and grasping at his light, happy and most of all, safe side of the wall. What if, whatever that was, was to get over? Did it want to hurt somebody? Did it want him?

When he turned back to face the troubling sight, he was met with a sight even more frightening. They were gone. Where they had gone, he had no clue. And, in all honesty, he didn't want to know. Those hands had given him his fair share of trouble. He turned his head again, and flopped down on his bed, defeated and confused.

He shifted his gaze on the ceiling and prayed silently to himself that the next day would be as perfect as those that had proceeded. Although, he knew that wasn't remotely possible.

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