Prompt: Inside the space between light and dark, color flourished from unseen forces which were yet to be explained.
There has always been a space between light and dark on the planet Earth. Most places in the universe didn’t have that; they were the blackness of space mingling with the harsh rays of light that pushed onward because they had no other ideas.
Ideas themselves came from differentiation, something the Earth had in droves, that it gained greatly in all sorts of increments. It owed this variety to its life: bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. They became the subject of contest in the space between light and dark as it traveled across the Earth as its horizon.
Its star, the sun, shone always, but the Earth’s spinning made a line, a traveling line, where the colors were born so they could assign themselves to the planet’s life. First came Red and Blue, immediately claiming basic energies as their own. Blue claimed the tide and red claimed fire. Before they could claim any more, they split into innumerable children: Fuchsia, Chartreuse, Emerald, Maroon, Beige…
Each color was forced to walk or fly the moment it was born, because the space between light and dark was always on the move. Some had a harder time of it than others, flagging on their weak or missing limbs until they were overtaken. No screams or whimpers escaped the darkness. A thousand colors died before making a claim. They would not be a part of Earth’s life. No eye would ever know them, and countless knowledge was lost because of it.
The surviving colors got used to their bodies as quickly as they could. Some had wings. Some had one leg or five. They all had very expressive faces, and before they resorted to actually speaking with each other, they tried to scare their kin off with snarls or frowns. There was barely time for words anyway, as there were blank things in need of claiming.
Red, Blue, and the newly arisen Green took the lion’s share, with green somehow touching a long finger to the first plant the space between light and dark crossed. The plants were already numerous, covering a great deal of the Earth, and so Green’s laughter boomed across the colorless realms ahead of them.
The success of wispy White should be mentioned as well. While Green struggled against the other two giants, she was at one of the poles, catching a single snowflake in her ten-fingered palm. Her blank eyes, like some of the marble she would eventually claim, moved from the single flake to the flurry in the sky. All was white. The poles were hers, forever cold and bright, and her snow would fall across the planet, perhaps even after all of Green’s plants perished in cataclysm.
Once again there came a culling, where the weakest and smallest colors were trampled or outright devoured by the others. The Earth never knew the brightness of the Haulich hue or the somber glow of the Saurdalla shade. A few defended themselves with inky stingers, managing to claim one or two things that would forever look curious, that would need their own words should a language ever arise in Earth’s life.
The colors became rabid when they reached their first complex animals. They did not fully understand why they had been born at that moment, life had clearly been around much longer, but they knew it was connected to these animals. There was something special about these segmented things in the shallow pools, paddling back and forth.
If they had paid close attention the colors might have noticed the animals fleeing from their grasp. They might have seen that there was only one way the animals could do this before physical contact was made. Eyes. Eyes as complex as the rest of them, newly opened. There had been spots sensing light before, but this new vision was different. It had subtlety. It had color. Thus the the colors themselves had coalesced from the space between light and dark, to give these animals something to see, to seek, to celebrate.
The colors fought violenty over each creature they passed, sometimes grabbing them too hard and squeezing the life out of them, which was a knife in their own hearts, because the animal could no longer live to spread its color to its offspring.
Shades of Purple and Pink, often quite serpentine and sharp, snuck into the creatures even as others claimed them, adding brilliant accents to their coats, shells, and cloaks. Intelligence would never see the wild pastiche of the early days of the aquatic armored things. They were more beautiful than any art the intelligence would ever create. They were arguments between the very concepts of perception and physicality, embodied as swirls of green, blue, red, purple, pink, and orange across canvases both alive and constantly afraid for their lives.
Of particular interest was a color known as Eddinblatt. Though intelligence would never recognize the name, Eddinblatt did survive past the claiming of the colors. His strategy was almost completely unique; he only claimed things too small for all the existing eyes to know they were seeing it. He touched the organelles of single cells with his six strands of kelp-like hair.
Eddinblatt had a silly beaked face, webbed hands, and a body that couldn’t fully settle on a shape, so he stayed out of the way of the other colors, placing his influence on specks of dust, on slight phenomenons of light, and on shreds of emotion in the rudimentary brains of things without eyes.
This gave him the opportunity to see what became of his kin. He watched from a distance, as far as he could get without leaving their sanctioned horizon line, as the colors became a great ball of tangled appendages, biting, scratching, and tearing at each other. They bled a trail, the most beautiful river in existence, but it was barely visible before the darkness of night swallowed their blood without concern or regard.
Eddinblatt shed tears of his own color. Then he shed tears of all the others, for they were too foolish to see what they did. They’d given in to the aggression of a legacy, the terror of being forgotten, when really it was as peaceful as letting the wind carry you. He had to do something while they were all distracted. Soon the space between light and dark would make its first full rotation, and the colors would die out when there was nothing left to claim.
Swiftly he swam through the air, picking up many of the claimed animals with the complex eyes. An ordinary physical being couldn’t do anything to them that would last past the individual, but Eddinblatt was a color, and their actions never went away.
He dashed those animals upon the rocks, damaging or destroying their eyes. His goal was simply to damage. They would never forget or shed the injuries given by a color. The battle ceased as the larger colors looked upon his work in horror.
Those with damaged eyes had already escaped into the darkness where they could not follow. They would breed and pass on their injuries. Some of the animals of the future would be blind to all color, others blind to those infrared and ultraviolet. Even the intelligence that would rise would never see the stripes on some of the flowers that the colors had carefully painted.
They realized it was all for naught. A simple dash upon the rocks could make them imperceptible. They could’ve been happy during their time in the space between light and dark, but instead they bickered, maimed, and murdered.
The remaining colors embraced each other, held their family, with Eddinblatt at the core, until the rotation was complete. They died knowing they had sewed discord, but hoping that life could eventually see past their messy colors and deep into their potential.
Author’s Note: This flash fiction story was written based on a prompt provided by Iloveshortshorts during a livestream. I hereby transfer all story rights to them, with the caveat that it remain posted on this blog. If you would like your own story, stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade during one of my streams and I’ll write it for you live!