A series of five connected flash fiction pieces that have been sitting around since before I began my MFA. I’ve decided to publish them here.
The Art of Physics
Matter – Atoms – Molecules
Kenso stands on the bank of a sea where the water has no color, the sand beneath his feet the same. Clear as glass. Weightless as light.
He has stood on the bank of every sea on earth, and here is the only spot where all colors are absent. On the Southern tip of Africa the seas were a summer green. Off the coasts of the Mediterranean isles, a teal mirror. In the biting lands of the Arctic the waters were grey.
He has travelled many years to find this exact spot. He crouches down, cups his hands in the water, lifts. As always, the water comes out clear. Wherever the water is green, where it is blue, where it is red—it never matters, for whenever he touches it, the color disappears.
Here the water does not lie, does not pretend to be something it is not. Here not only is the water colorless, but the drape of the sky and the distant bodies pinned against it do not appear, do not hint at something he can see, but never reach. The expanse above where the sky might hang is not even black, it is not any other non-color—it is simply not there.
Kenso wonders if there is oxygen on the bank of this shore. The absence of sky must mean the absence of atmosphere. He does not feel the ebb and flow of his own breath, but he does not suffocate.
In this moment, he tries to remember the faces of ones once important to him. He sees the faces, can pull out distinct features—a plump lip, thick eyebrow, all painted in colors like the sea and sky. He lets the images float through his mind as though watching a passing sailboat.
The water in the sea changes shape. A sphere, a star, now a bird—a phoenix, symbol of fire and rebirth. The water phoenix spins in a circular motion, then dissolves back into the sea.
The sea is clear, his hands before his eyes are clear. Hands as formless as the water. His body is bright light. Light with no color.
The sea dances into a river, takes him along with it. Past many wavering shorelines, through thick forests, above the highest mountains. Color, color everywhere. Bright bright light and blackest dark. His lungs expand as he drinks it all in waves.
Before his eyes now, a colorless fire. He breathes.
And the fire catches the water.
Motion – Force – Gravity
He walks along the ceiling to sit in a chair that has been freshly stuffed. Faux leather upholstery, black and sticky. Sips a drink—amber liquid with two large ice cubes.