Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violent by Ken Elkes

May 10, 2012 Comments Off on Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violent by Ken Elkes

“Let’s make a rainbow. Which color do you want?”

“I don’t want to.”

“Come on now. It’s a simple thing just pick a color.”

“I want white.”

“White’s not a color, is it?”

White is a color to me. Mommy wore a white dress when she went away that first time. Kiss her, they said. She tasted salty. Grandpappy took me on his lap when I cried and gave me a sip of his drink. It made my mouth hurt.

“Black, then.”

“Come on now, black isn’t in a rainbow either, you should know this.”

Black was the color of the van the men came in to take mummy away. She left a bad smell when they carried her down the stairs.

“Are you going to choose?”

“Okay, red, then.”

The taste of red is like a metal spoon pushed in my mouth.

“What are you thinking about?”


“Red spoons? That’s a funny thing to think about.”

“Is it?”

“Okay, that’s one color of the rainbow, now what’s the next?”

I know it’s orange. Orange is like the color of grandpappy’s belt. It makes a snake hiss when he pulls it from round his pants.

“I’m not saying.”

“Why not?”

I don’t want to think of orange. I know yellow is next.


“Yellow, now? Okay, well, we’ll come back to orange then. Do you like yellow?”


Yellow was the color of the blanket in the secret place in the basement. It was warm and smelled good.

“Good, we’re making a great rainbow here. What color is going to come next then?”

“Green. That’s a color, made up from blue and yellow.”

“Yes, well done.”

Green is the color of the car grandpappy drives when we go on trips out. It smells like old food. When he goes to do some work in the tavern, I climb over the seats and make like I can drive away.

“Are you thinking of green now?”

“No. The next one is blue, and the other one … I can’t remember the word.”

“Indigo, it’s a little bit like purple isn’t it? What’s special about indigo?”

“Does it matter?”

“It might.”

I’m not telling them about colors any more. Indigo is how the little rain clouds start. That’s what grandpappy calls them. Five each on both legs, and then they go purple.

“I don’t want to think about colors. Or rainbows. Can we do something else?”

“But rainbows are beautiful aren’t they? Everybody likes them.”

I don’t. Rainbows are stupid. They have too many colors. It would be better if everything was just black and white.

© 2012 Ken Elkes

Ken Elkes lives and works in Bristol, UK. He is a prize-winning author of short fiction, a journalist and a travel writer. His work has appeared online (including East of the Web, Twisted Tongue, Orange Labyrinth, Words Literary Journal) and in several anthologies (including Your Messages – Blue Chrome Press; Image Coal – Leaf Books). He recently finished his first novel.

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