18 August 2014

Terribleminds Challenge: 'Colour'

This week I discovered Chuck Wendig's blog terribleminds through Bloglovin', and the weekly flash fiction challenges he sets his readers/fellow writers. This week's challenge was, very simply, to write a story with a colour in the title. Although Wendig's brief was a little more interesting...


'Colors.

COLORS ARE PRETTY.

*paws the sky*

*touches a tree*

*drops acid, dances around in a whirlwind of colors that do not exist*

Ahem.

Anyway.

This one is pretty easy.

I want you to write a story using a title that incorporates a color into it.'

Fun, huh?

My interpretation of this (extremely open) brief is under the cut. It turned out a bit domestically darker than intended. This is Baby Blues



Custard or buttermilk?”


“Hmm?”


Joy sighed as Daniel looked up from his toast. There was a smear of jam in the corner of his mouth. 


“I said, custard or buttermilk? For the baby’s room?” Joy laid two square pieces of card on the kitchen counter, each an almost identical shade of pale yellow. “We need to buy it in before this weekend or it might still smell of paint when baby arrives.” She laid a protective hand over her stomach, frowning down at the samples.


Daniel sighed and pushed his plate away. The jam was still there. “Joy, not again…”


“I think buttermilk,” Joy mused, ignoring the comment from her husband and turning to start washing the breakfast dishes. “It’s softer. Custard is too much of a harsh yellow. And I don’t think I’ve completely decided if yellow is the best way to go.”


Joy could feel Daniel watching her carefully as she made her way around the kitchen. When she turned to face him, his eyes dropped down to the kitchen counter. He fidgeted on his stool.


“What do you think, hmm?”


Daniel lifted his head as though it was made of lead. “I think we should talk about…”


“I want you to get the room painted on Sunday, you’ve nothing else on,” Joy interrupted. “We’ll have to leave the windows open in there for a while to let it air out as well, don’t forget.” She eyed her husband steadily, until he averted his gaze once more.


“Of course, sweetheart.”


Joy nodded, and busied herself with the kettle. She rattled about with a mug and the sugar, making more noise than was technically necessary. The kitchen clock ticked heavily on the wall.


“Shouldn’t you be leaving for work soon?” Joy asked, easing herself onto a stool opposite her husband. She nursed a cup of hot lemon tea in her hands. “But before you go, I really do want your opinion on these samples. I really do like buttermilk, don’t you?”


There was an empty pause. “I have the day off,” Daniel replied finally, wiping a hand over his mouth. The jam spread further across his cheek.


“Why?” asked Joy. She smoothed the fabric of her dress over her stomach. “Baby isn’t due for a while yet. Are you ill? I don’t want to be catching anything. ”


“I want to look after you,” said Daniel, his voice strained. He reached across the table to take Joy’s hand in his, but she pulled away. 


“I’m fine, Daniel.” Joy stood. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I just want to get this painting sorted. Do you think buttermilk or custard?”


“This isn’t healthy,” Daniel said, rising. He moved around the counter to be closer to his wife, but she stepped away clutching her stomach. “Joy, we can’t… we need to talk about…”


“The only thing we need to talk about is these paint samples!” Joy’s voice was shrill, unnatural. Her hands clutched at handfuls of the front of her dress. “Custard or buttermilk, Daniel? Custard or buttermilk?”


“Forget about the damn samples!” Daniel slammed his hand down against the counter, the sound reverberating against the kitchen tiles and bouncing back at the couple. 


“I want everything to be perfect for our baby!” Joy screamed back. She snatched the coloured cards from the table and turned, running from the room. She thumped up the stairs, Daniel calling out behind her to slow down.


“Joy wait! Joy, you need to calm down…!”


She didn’t stop. Reaching the landing, Joy threw herself through the first door and slammed it shut.


Leaning her whole weight against the door, Joy slid to the floor. Tears spilled over onto her hollow cheeks as she looked about the small, darkened room. The cloud-patterned curtains were drawn shut, a single beam of dust-laden sunlight filtering through the gap in the fabric. A half-built cot stood empty in the corner, a mobile of ducks and sheep hanging motionless above it. A stuffed giraffe sat alone on a shelf. Across one wall were patches of colour, blues and greens and yellows.


“I wanted everything to be perfect…” Joy whispered to no one. The paint samples were still in her hand. 

* * * *

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