Coloured Errors

"The world is not what you think it is, it's much worse."
Flynn likes how he goes unnoticed by the government. Andrew thinks he's an asset. Together they work out why the world doesn't fit right.
Wait, the world doesn't fit, right? Who told you that? Don't trust a word of whoever told you that.


3. To Be Orange


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There were times when the water looked like lava and Flynn was sure that he was going mad. The world tipped in oranges instead of blues and he screwed his eyes shut to avoid the hysteria.

Water. Water. Lava. Lava. 

Red, blue turned into orange, blue.

He remembered when he first met one of the Sick – someone utterly emotionless. It was when he was huddling with the Water Side Hobos, because everyone were hobos when water flooded everywhere, in a skyscraper trying to escape the rising waters.

These were the days before the walls went up to try and prevent London becoming Atlantis. These were the days when they didn’t really know what the Sick were. He was away from his parents for the first time in months and there she was, a five year old body with no emotions whatsoever.

He didn’t know that at first, couldn’t have known it because she appeared like a normal kid, playing with the other ten or so kids that they had at Water Side.

She appeared normal until she tried to hurl herself out of the window.

Her body collided with it with full force, her head bouncing off of it and yet she looked like she felt no pain. She kept going even when men pulled her off. She bit them and punched them and ran back to the window to hurl herself into it. She may have not felt pain but they did. 

Eventually her hair came free from her pigtails and cracks splintered the glass. She flung herself at the glass again and spider web’s decorated the window, one more time and chunks were fragmenting and going into the water below. One more and she would tumble out of the window like she was one of those chunks.

Flynn knew what she was going to do as she did it and he grabbed her arm as she was halfway between skyscraper and the open sky. She hung like a ragdoll when he grabbed her and her body slammed back into the glass below her. She was desperate to be free and despite the trauma of the situation everything appeared poised and delicate and beautiful. Even then she wouldn't have felt panic like Flynn did. 

There he was perched, on the edge of a skyscraper holding a child that had just tried to leap out of it.

“Let me go,” she whispered.

“No, hold on,” Flynn had said because what else are you meant to say.

“I just want to feel,” she said in words that sounded too ancient for her skin and let go of his hand. Her hand had been dainty in his, and when she fell the loss of it felt as cool as ice water.

Her hair flew as she fell like a bird without wings. She disappeared into the water and he was left perched on the end of a skyscraper, half a step from plunging into the water below.

Maybe that time showed that even Dots could become emotionless in a sense since Flynn did everything he could to block this particular memory out. He couldn’t exactly recall the girl’s name even though he had been introduced to everyone upon his arrival at the skyscraper, and he couldn’t recall whether or not he had watched her plunge into the water or whether he had looked away before she could.

“You okay?”

There was something about those two words that tinted the world back to blue and Flynn was plunged away from skyscrapers and onto a boat.

“Of course,” the words were out before any of his barriers could stop them. He smiled as he looked towards the other man. The muscles betrayed him.

This man was nothing like that little emotionless girl; he was everything that Flynn didn’t know.

“Do you have all of your emotions or…?” the question pushed at Flynn’s lips as his limbs moved closer to Andrew. He didn't know what he was doing, his brain didn't either. He knew that the Taxed were those with too many emotions and the Sick were those with too little. Dots were the correct amount but what was Andrew?

No mark either meant untested, the rare sector of populace that had escaped the government or it meant something that none of them could comprehend.

“You’ll have to wait and see,” white teeth like that of a sharks quirked up at him and he snapped, the tether holding up all of his pretty emotions pulled taut and thin.

“No!” Flynn was a candle and suddenly his hands were on the lapels of Andrew’s jacket and crowding him up against the wall. The image of that five year old falling flashed in orange. The world disappeared behind barriers.

Orange was the colour of indignation, a kind of anger that tipped towards red if the situation was right. Mercury curiosity dissolved in condensing indignation.

“You are going to tell me because not only do I deserve to know but because if you’re Sick it might just be better to chuck you off this boat right here and now.” Someone else said those words in Flynn's body because he didn't know where it was coming from. There was something to know about Flynn and that was even despite having the correct calculations of emotions he was prone to outbursts just like the people of a world without two Disasters. 

“Let go of me and I’ll tell you all about it before you capsize Miss. Jackson,” Andrew gritted out and up close, nose to nose in fact, it was uncanny that their preconceived personalities were reversed. Whereas Flynn had thought them both to be of a calm disposition he had been dead wrong.

Flynn let go of professional lapels and fixed the man with a gaze filled with boiling colours.

Orange. Blue. The world flickered like a switch dangled on the edge. 

“I don’t have a mark because I’m lucky, but I’m hunted. You know that the government have a tracer on all of those they haven’t yet marked and they hunt them down because they are ‘dangerous’. We are dangerous because we know that we need to get beyond that wall of theirs and we can’t because they watch us like criminals. They overlook you, they don’t care about you.”

Flynn didn’t know the man standing in front of him, he had never known him, because Andrew was a torch and Flynn was a candle.

“Haven’t you ever wondered about what is beyond that wall, why everything is regulated and hunted and controlled by a government we only see on televisions and hooded figures on boats?” Andrew paused and stepped so close that their shadows became one. “The world is not what we think it is, it’s much worse and I am here to figure out why.”

“We are here.” Flynn corrected, his flame dwindling to nothingness as the orange receded. As much as Flynn disliked it he couldn't go back to his world at Sentire, his world was full of curiosity and blue water and mysterious men with a mysterious agenda. That couldn't go away.  Andrew blinked and nodded trying not show all of the emotions that he had locked behind his face. 

Flynn knew that look, he knew what it looked like when someone was trying their damned hardest to hide themselves away from prying eyes even when it was difficult.

“Life isn’t fair,” Flynn murmured, “None of us has the right to know why but maybe we can search for that answer.”

The words tinted his world back into memory.

One day the media merged into people in white suits and prescribed smiles and clipboards. They told of the Prime Minister being shot and of the curfew being issued and then of the waters rising and the Thames flooding and then of the Sick. One day they tried to force the ones with too many emotions, the ones they had already stamped and branded, to give emotions over to the ones with too little. The people refused to be lab rats and protests overcame the skyscrapers. The government changed into people in white burlap sacks with eye and mouth holes, hiding their face until regulation and laws. They became a face none of them knew and yet they all went along with it like it was nothing.

The government had a solution for everything however and so they just taxed them so high and then broadcasted that you could sell your emotions to pay those taxes.

There was their solution and that was what the world was. 

Flynn had first saw it on the television with his mother beside him as she told him how the world wasn’t fair. She told him that before the day she upped and left and he was deserted in a heavy and cold world.

It was barely after that, that he arrived in Sentire with a light heart and several boxes and a desire to forget it all in people’s emotions even though he had the correct amount.

Andrew was always there to drag him back into the real world with his words and mystery chinked skin. “We’re nearly at a first stop. Part one of beating those devils in burlap sacks.” Andrew was an enigma as he described their government and Flynn retreated into the other man, if he could do that then he could be enveloped in mercury and then in violet. 

He and Andrew were going to solve part of the equation of why the government didn’t fit right in the puzzle that made up the world. His life could dissolve into colours and memories but he and Andrew were whiplashes of emotion. Maybe that would right the apocalypse or serve as the positive feedback loop making it all worse.

You never knew until you gave into the mercury and became smeared in orange. 


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