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.


1. To Feel


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There was a shack at the edge of town, a tall rectangular structure with two red eyes and a blinking neon sign on the side. It stood in the middle of a wasteland, half submerged in endless, endless water and it proclaimed that its name was Sentire – to feel. It was in a dead language but all of the occupants were dead anyway.

Not dead, not really, but you certainly couldn’t call them alive either.

Flynn had worked there for barely three months and he knew that he was more of a reaper than a bartender. He was lit in red and blue, the glasses in his hands flickering like police headlights.

Red. Blue. Anger. Sadness. Red. Blue.

He watched the blinking flames that were the half dead people around him, and profoundly told himself to shave in the morning. That was if he didn’t have any customers in the morning since the dead couldn’t really tell the time.

Sentire had its regulars and its newcomers. Lucy was a regular, there every night because the time was instilled into the whites of her eyes, and she approached the bar with a lollipop coloured smile.

“Whiskey sugar,” she meant it as two separate words but in her half gone brain simple linguistic knowledge ran away from her. He poured it and gave her two brown sugar cubes which dissolved on her tongue and washed away the burn of the drink. She smiled with her lollipop lips and flounced away to dance with a half dead stranger. It was routine, simple as sugar and even Flynn knew it by now. She found some guy with lightbulb eyes, sense flickering with new use and they became victims to the mechanical music, swaying under the patience of stolen time.

Claire, no last name, was new and she told Flynn that with a saccharine voice tinged with liquor. She was young, like nearly everyone was in Sentire those days, and she wore brown leather over a crop top and dark wash jeans. Her hi-tops were her high heels and she wore shy confidence. She was a storm in a ballerina, a hard night packed into a good morning and so Flynn listened but never talked as she swept her eyes around the dance floor, a tiger picking out her prey. She picked purple lips and paint splattered and stumbled onto a guy looking for that first major mistake. Flynn didn’t look though as they mingled and their danger cancelled out one another’s because who knew misadventure could be dangerous.

They became one with the swarm of anatomy on checked dancefloor and Flynn didn’t look for them there. He knew where they would be, where everyone else was, with bodies pressed closed and arms held high, and voices too loud to be heard even mere inches apart. They went from half dead to half alive for three and a half minutes before the song changed and they were half dead again.

Flynn knew the sort that wandered into Sentire for a chase away and a regretful time. He also knew that his customers surprised him all of the time. The man that came in was agitation with a drum beat tattooed into his fingertips, missing buttons on the cuffs of a dated button down shirt and jeans a size too big rather than too small. His wrist was unmarked, a minority and his eyes were deadened despite the brief house fire of wonder that peaked for one still second before it was blown away by music beats and powdered air. He didn’t go to the bar, to Flynn, he stayed by the door and stole the drinks of a drunk girl. Flynn wanted to call him a coward but he knew that the definition wouldn’t fit onto his limbs properly. He eyed people like the art Flynn had mastered. They were not food or pleasure to him. They were study. Sentire did not accept business men and people with unmarked wrists were virtually unseen. An exception, this man, had got past the needle.

The clocks whirred backwards when the man approached Flynn and took the alcohol that resembled ink stains cut with delirium.

“How did you end up here?” The unmarked wristed man enquired.

“It’s in the rules to never question origin stories,” Flynn droned and consulted his name tag which said; Flynn here – do not expect an answer from listening ears. Just enough strangeness to register on half beaten brains.

“I’ll do it anyway,” the man swallowed the drink with resolve born in fire and lips quirked like shadows.

“I needed a job,” Flynn tensed as he said it and the man didn’t notice.

“We all need something,” the man muttered and slinked off to observe more people. He never danced, never allowed himself to succumb to Sentire’s beat of bass drops and repeated choruses.

The clocks whirred onwards. Red. Blue.

The unmarked man came back, “Why do you never move?”

“Because I don’t need to?”

The man left. He had found a loophole, or rather a loophole of a loophole. One answer, one question per person, and so when the unmarked person came back Sentire had formed a never person onto their skin. It was true that the music of Sentire was transformative, putting extra notches onto spines and glints into eyes since its conception back in ’83.

“Do you like being here?”

“It’s certainly different to water wet suburbia.”

A laugh huffed out of chapped lips. The man bobbed to the music, scowled at his mistake and then he left.

When you started dancing that was when your consciousness started to leave you.

“So you know what’s going on?”

“Do you?”

The world tinged purple when the man approached and drank enough to fall despite the fact that he still talked with a sober tongue.

“Does anyone know what’s going on?”

“It’s in your contracts?”

One time he just came up and stared, face flickering a colour Flynn didn’t even know, before nodding.

He disappeared to the jukebox in the corner and tapped a beat that wasn’t the music that played. His body strummed in defiance, he would not dance, and he would not be blown away.

The last time he came up to the bar, when the clock had nearly ran backwards of out minutes he grinned into female high tempo screams before he took a glass flickered red and smashed it into a temple. Flynn’s temple to be exact. Then a hand gripped hair, blue tinged hair, hair that shouldn’t have been snatched and pain became a star burst. Flynn had one look into galaxy eyes before he became one of the dead, something he couldn’t have been and his head was cracked into the bar counter top.

There was a shack at the edge of town called Sentire and it was an Emoticon Centre. A Centre where the Taxed went to sell their emotions so that they could eventually be sold to the Sick. They came to white sterile rooms and signed contracts and they sat as a person like Flynn stuck a needle into their marked wrist – a sharp T – and the room was warped to a club called Sentire where all emotions would be felt. They sat there until their clock ran out and vials were collected in coloured emotions. Flynn observed their feelings without feeling himself and he stared at red blue atmospheres until the patient woke and went on with their day.

Flynn woke with a patient, Andrew his forms declared, with an unmarked wrist and his needle dislodged from his veins.

A hand, bones and tendons pronounced, grabbed his wrist and Flynn saw his own mark, a solid black dot like a full stop.

“Do you want to see the world?” Andrew asked and he looked like a hummingbird if a hummingbird could be human, with shaggy hair on a colourful body and slanted cool eyes set onto an eager face.

Flynn knew what he looked like, like too still coffee, hair brown even though he would rather it be blue to blend in with the water.

He knew what he looked like when he tugged the needle entirely free from Andrew’s unmarked wrist and stood.

“Do you?” 


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