“Owwwwwww,” Melalie cried as she woke up with a pounding headache. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything. These headaches had been happening all week, and she was getting sick of it. Ever since Melalie’s mother had died three years ago she had these terrible headaches at least once a month.
“Melalie,” her dad was calling her.
“What,” she shouted back.
“I need you to come downstairs, please.” Melalie sighed and forced herself to get up, picking one leg up, moving it over off the side of her bed. Her eyes felt like they would reclose at any moment, and her throbbing head wasn’t doing her any favors. Pulling her other leg to meet it’s partner, she sat up as slowly as possible. Melalie stood up trying not to move too quickly. Ever since her mom had died, her dad had been awkward. Now, Melalie and her dad had a strange relationship where they barely talked.
Melalie started to walk, her head pounding; she moved into her closet to choose her outfit. Her closet was full of clothes in all different colors just like her room. Sometimes she didn’t appreciate all those choices, but she knew she had to be colorful.
Melalie went downstairs, putting on a brave face because her dad didn’t know about her headaches. She had never told him because she didn’t want him to worry. “Good morning,” Melalie’s dad noted quietly. She waved at him because her head hurt too much to answer. “Do you have work today?” Melalie nodded. Being 23 and working at the mall in a store named Rainbolia was not her ideal way to live. That was where she was assigned to work by the government, though. The store sold clothes just like the colorful ones in her closet. Melalie got some cereal out of the pantry and poured it into a bowl with some milk and started eating. She checked her watch to see what time it was and realized she had to get going.
“Bye,” Melalie called to her dad, grabbing her bright purple coat as she rushed out the door. Melalie was walking down the street, her head pounding. On days like this, the colors of her society hurt her head.
In Melalie’s society there was color everywhere; it was told to everyone by the government that colors stimulate the brain making the citizen’s quality of life better. What most people didn’t know, and even Melalie didn’t know, was the government used color as a weapon against their people. On Melalie’s planet, Gomsora, people are only a little different than humans on Earth; to humans, color does stimulate the brain. For people on Gomsora, color hurts their brain and brainwashes them to do whatever the government says. The government strictly monitors the people on their planet to make sure they are wearing color and doing the work they are assigned to do. While in school, children mostly learn to follow the government’s rules, blindly. Melalie followed blindly, but deep inside, she didn’t enjoy the colors of her society.
Melalie headed to work, on foot, passing by pink buildings, blue roads and green billboards. The planet had a smell almost like sugar and felt chilly on this cold day. There were barely any cars on her planet because there was almost no oil on Gomsora. The mall where Melalie worked was in the middle of Gomsora’s biggest city, about a mile from the apartment complex Melalie lived in. It took Melalie 13 minutes to walk to work; she enjoyed the walk because she could be alone with her thoughts. She carried only her green, smelly gym bag with her because she loved to work out; it took away the pain of her everyday life. She waved at her friend Suez as they passed. People weren’t close on Gomsora.
Melalie clocked in at work and went to the register to start the day. Rainbolia was a colorful place. The clothes were sectioned out by colors, making a total of ten sections. The clothes were nothing too extreme: just pants, shorts, short sleeves, long sleeves, undergarments, sweaters and jackets. Each of these items came in every color and every size. There were no logos or designs on the clothes; just color.
“Hello,” Melalie’s boss caroled.
“Hi,” Melalie responded.
“I will be leaving early to go to the dentist, so you’re in charge when I leave,” he replied.
“Alright.” Melalie went back to waiting for a customer.
A girl walked in. “Do you have anything in black?” Melalie’s mouth dropped. Black was a forbidden color.
“Of course not!” Melalie yelled. “Why do you even want black? Who are you?”
“I like black and I’m Char,” she asserted.
“That can get you in big trouble; I could report you.”
“But you won’t, I can tell; meet me at six in the park I have something that you need to know.” Char ran out and Melalie was left speechless. She wondered: why does she want to meet me? What would she tell me? Should I go? These questions bugged her the rest of the day, until she decided that she should go meet her just in case it was something important.
Melalie clocked out of work and went outside to start walking to the park. She was nervous to see what Char had to say. Melalie walked down the turquoise sidewalk passing by yellow trees and maroon grass. She arrived at the park and saw Char on a rainbow bench, Melalie’s least favorite bench. There were almost no people around which made Melalie even more nervous.
“What do you want to tell me?” Melalie inquired.
“I know that you don’t like the color.”
“What are you talking about?!” Melalie was shocked; she didn’t like the color but she had never told anyone that; how could this girl know?
“I can tell; I want to help you, and I know you can help me,” Char stated.
“I want us to escape this society, I’ve heard stories of another planet near ours where there is no color. I want us to go together.”
“I don’t know, I have to think about it,” Melalie got up and left; she was too freaked out to be polite.
Melalie walked home pondering what to do; she almost forgot about her headache. When she got home, she wanted to eat but she was too tired. Her dad wasn’t home yet, and she was glad; she didn’t want to deal with him. She walked upstairs and went into her closet to get her pajamas. She put them on as quickly as possible and climbed into bed. The next day, Melalie woke up, got out of bed, got dressed and went downstairs. “Good morning,” Melalie’s dad cooed.
“Hi,” Melalie grunted. She made herself some cereal and sat down. While she was eating her cereal, she realized that she still had a headache, but it was better today. Melalie also thought about Char’s offer; she thought that she could never leave; how would she do it? The government wouldn’t let anyone leave. There were fences all around the city. Melalie got up and started to leave.
“Bye,” she called over her shoulder and shut the door. Melalie began walking to work; as she passed the library, she saw Char coming from her right side.
“Have you thought about my offer?” Char asked.
“Yeah, I don’t know,” Melalie answered.
“I know you want to. Just meet me again, same time same place.”
“Alright.” Melalie kept walking. When she got to work she went to the register and realized that if she left, she wouldn’t be leaving much behind. Ten customers came in that day, each bought a different item and left quickly. When Melalie’s shift was over, she left the store quietly to go meet Char.
Melalie walked down the street courageously and got to the park. Char was on the same rainbow bench that Melalie hated.
“Hi,” Char exclaimed. Melalie nodded and sat down. “We need to make a plan now,” Char expressed.
“Hold on, I didn’t agree yet,” Melalie announced.
“You did just by coming here, Melalie,” Char dictated. “We will leave in two days, the sooner the better. You don’t need to pack clothes, there will be better clothes where we are going. Meet me here again tomorrow for further instructions.” Melalie felt like a sea of words had just drowned her.
“Ok,” Melalie responded. They both got up and left; Melalie started home.
When Melalie got home, she saw that her dad wasn’t home yet, and she was relieved. She peeked into the refrigerator and saw some lettuce. This made her decide to eat a salad. All Melalie had on her salads was mozzarella cheese, ranch and onions. Green and white, two colors were all she could handle colorwise. When she finished, she walked upstairs, changed, and went to bed.
The next day, when Melalie was back at work, all she could think about was how excited she was for the meeting with Char. She had packed her deodorant, toothbrush, and toiletry items that morning. The more she thought about leaving the more excited she got. Her head hurt even less and her life was looking up. At the end of the day, she ran to get to the park.
“Hi Char,” Melalie sang.
“Hi,” Char replied. “Melalie, tomorrow we are leaving. Meet me here at midnight tomorrow, so we can leave.”
“That’s past curfew.”
“I know, but we have to go then, or we’ll never be able to go.”
“Why do you even want to leave?” Melalie asked, “I have never seen someone this determined to go.”
“When I was eight, my parents were taken away for rebelling,” Char began. “They wore black clothes and got caught; I had to go live with my aunt after that. I always hoped that maybe somehow my parents got away, and I could find them.”
“Wow,” Melalie commented. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. See you tomorrow.” Char got up and left. Melalie thought she saw a tear in her eye. She left, too, with hope in her heart.
Melalie again came home, no dad, and looked for something to eat. She settled on spaghetti. She made it, ate it, and ran upstairs. She completed her nightly routine: checked to see if her get away bag was still under her bed, where she stashed it earlier, and went to bed.
When Melalie woke up, she felt that her headache was lighter. She got up, got dressed and went downstairs.
“Good day,” her dad uttered.
“You too,” Melalie pronounced for the last time. She decided that instead of cereal, she would have a granola bar, so she could start walking to work.
“Goodbye... love you,” Melalie said for the last time, she added the, “Love you,” just to truly say bye. She walked to work with courage; she knew she only had to get through her repetitive day one last time.
Melalie clocked into work and went to the register. She remembered the day Char had come in yelling about black and smiled. Her day was boring, as usual; this time she got to go straight home though.
Melalie decided to have her favorite dinner for her last meal. She prepared chicken alfredo and ate it with pleasure. It was still early, but she wanted to get some sleep before she had to leave, so she went to bed, this time with her clothes on.
Her alarm buzzed at 11:50pm, and Melalie was careful to shut it off quickly. She got out of bed and reached under it to get her bag. She tiptoed downstairs and grabbed ten granola bars for the road. Carefully, she put shoes and a coat on, and snuck outside. She walked to the park sneakily; always watching for police. When she got to the park, Melalie saw Char standing by their bench. She ran over to her.
“Hi,” Char whispered.
“This might be a long walk, but we can do it,” Char encouraged.
“Ok, let’s go.”
They walked silently for what seemed like forever, until they saw the large metal fence. Suddenly, they heard sirens and, “Freeze put your hands up!”
“Run,” Char yelled. Their pace quickened as they sprinted to the fence; suddenly, Char fell and twisted her ankle. She screamed, and Melalie hurriedly picked her up.
“We have to go,” Melalie yelled. The cops were getting closer now, and Char was limping. Melalie dragged her along until they got to the fence. “You have to climb.” They climbed the fence as fast as they could, then went down the other side. They still ran, Char limping, until they were far away from the fence. Luckily the police hadn’t caught them. “Where is this planet?” Melalie asked.
“We have to go through the portal which should be about a mile from here,” Char replied holding up a map. Her foot was doing much better now after the walking loosened it up.
“Where did you get that?”
“My mom gave it to me a week before she was caught.”
“Well, ok,” Melalie answered and they kept walking. Eventually, they saw what looked like a huge black hole in front of them.
“This is it,” announced Char. “Let's go in together.” They grabbed hands and leaped into the abyss together, not knowing what would happen next. Whooooooosh! Melalie and Char were swept into the hole then, Boom! They crash landed; this was when they knew they had made it.
Standing up, they saw a planet that was all gray. “We should get some rest,” Melalie reported. At this point her eyelids felt like bowling balls. About 100 yards away, they saw some black grass; they went over and laid down.
“Hello,” Melalie and Char woke up to see a person standing over them. “Have you escaped Gomsora?”
“Yes, we have,” Char answered. “We need a place to stay, please.”
“Of course, it is very impressive that you escaped. Gomsora has been using color to brainwash people for years. Follow me,” the person responded. They were led to a city full of dull colors, then into an apartment building. “You can stay here; we will send you clothes and food then you can pick jobs for yourself,” the person led them into a room, and left.
“I guess we live together now,” stated Melalie.
“I think it will be good this way,” Char resolved. This was when Melalie realized that her headache was gone, and she smiled.
The next day, Char went around asking people if they had seen her parents. Everyone she asked said no, but it didn’t matter to Char. She just needed to know if they had been alive all those years. Even though Char never found her parents, Char and Melalie both agreed that they loved living in the new society. Melalie especially liked her new job of Data Scientist that she got to pick herself.