366 Days of Writing · Inspired Writing · Original Posts

Day 2: Out of the Woods

The first Saturday. On Saturdays I’m writing based on other work I’ve seen, read, or listened to.

Today I’m featuring Taylor Swift, because her songs are poetry to a sick beat.

“The rest of the world was black and white/ But we were in screaming color” -Taylor Swift, “Out of the Woods”

She was mesmerized, sinking into the leather chair, an equally leathery and worn tome cradled like an infant in her arms. The words seemed to bleed from the page into her eyes, though it was not horror that kept her attention riveted on the book, but rather the characters, the people somehow created by letters less than a centimeter high. She’d never known people more complete, and yet she didn’t know them at all. The colors of their lives and loves screamed for her attention, and chapter by chapter she gave it to them, until the world faded inextricably into the story.

The girl was oblivious to space and time as she read. The old man smiled from his chair across the wood-paneled room. He had been right to bring her here, to the last known repository of novels, perhaps in the world. There had been hunger in her eyes when he first saw her, a soul crying out. There had to be more to the world than computer readouts and analytical perfection, it shouted. There just had to be. Books could sate that hunger. She had been alone in the world, and now she never would be again. Her pleasure as she read was obvious, but the old man was apprehensive. Few were those who relished discovering color in a grey world, and fewer still were those who gloried in it.

She laughed and she cried in equal measure, barely aware. How did what was around her matter compared to what was inside the words? She turned the last page, and her mind disbelievingly filled with the blankness of the end sheet, crying to lose the oversaturated colors of the story.  Gradually her focus returned from her mind to her body, to the dull colors of her ordinary life and her ordinary grey world. She closed the back cover of the book, and it seemed to glimmer with possibilities, and the tragedy of their failure.

The girl looked up and seemed unsurprised to find the old man watching her. She was crying again, elegantly silent tears dripping down her face.

“How?” she asked, in a soft, despairing voice. “How can I go on? The dullness of the world is revealed to me, and I cannot go back. The colors screamed to me, but they are gone.”

“I cannot tell you how you must go on,” he said, and his wisdom could not entirely cover his nerves.  He gestured to the labyrinth of bookshelves in the cavernous room. “There are plenty more screaming colors to escape into.”

She stood suddenly and stared with wonder into the stacks.

“Escape is temporary. Do not miss the depths of black and white in your search for color. Create that which you seek.”

Her head tilted back towards him, but her hand stretched out for the books.

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