Can you imagine a world without colour? Dull, monotonous, and depressing are words that come to mind.
I’d been a councillor for the past ten years, though my husband, Eric, hadn’t approved. “Why concern yourself with other people’s problems, don’t you have enough of your own, and what about me and the kids?”
Well, actually, I did have problems, Eric had problems, our kids Sonny and Kara had problems, but they were nothing, and I mean nothing, compared to the problems of people I dealt with through my social services work. How can you compare not having enough space for a pool table to someone with cancer, their kids addicted to heroin, being evicted from their grotty flat and being confined to a wheelchair? Now, that was a problem! A problem that, in private moments, made me sob out loud.
Anyway, Eric himself had succumbed to liver cancer out of the blue. A few weeks later and we were burying him in a coffin of pink cardboard, his hideous dying wish to save the planet.
“Eliza, come and look at this.” It was Savanah, a friend and self-confessed witch.
I entered the cave, cool after the blistering summer sun outside on the moor where the heather was brown after weeks of heat and no rain. I wore a purple T-shirt for mental clarity, no doubt black with sweat under the armpits, and scarlet leggings to attract success, whatever that meant. “What?”
Savannah was prising at something in the brown clay wall. She pulled out a large glass jar with a triumphant smile. “It was buried in the wall!”
We’d come to this place – sacred in some eyes – to meditate. This was unexpected. “Let’s have a look.”
“Just a minute.” Savanah took a bundle of green herbs from a leather sack. She took a lighter from the sack and struck the flint, holding it to the herbs. A pungent smell and smoke began to fill the air as the herbs took light. Savannah waved the bundle around whilst chanting in an incomprehensible wail. After wafting it around and above me, she threw it into a corner of the cave with a shout. Then she unscrewed the lid.
One thing I’d learnt through my counselling was the power of colour. Interviewing a client in a grey or dark-brown painted room was very different to interviewing that same client in a yellow or bright blue room. Yet, how could that be? Colour was just the differing wavelength of light, reflected by the ambient circumstances, focused by the lens of the eye onto the retina, and interpreted by the brain. Why should that affect someone’s mood? But then, what was mood? An emotion influenced by thought? And on and on.
Eric’s death had left me in the shit, to be honest. The bugger had so many fingers in so many pies that I’d been left with nothing. In fact, I was facing financial ruin. Then I’d stumbled on a local witchcraft shop, Bucket and Sprong, and its lovely owner Savannah and her side-kick, Prunella. They’d latched onto me as some kind of ‘soulmate’ and soon I’d found myself at Bucket and Sprong’s meditation circles. Then after an initiation ceremony, I’d been invited to accompany Savannah out onto the moor to a ‘sacred’ cave. How could I possibly refuse?
Savannah was unscrewing the lid now, extracting pieces of paper and coloured ribbons. “This is someone’s ‘time capsule’. Seems like it’s been here fifty years, since the nineteen sixties! Can you believe it?” She waved a hand over the jar. “The winds of change I feel tonight. The waters are calm and the sky is bright. Luck be mine, come unto me. My desires are true, so mote it be!”
I looked on, flabbergasted, as she pulled out curled photographs of a youthful Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, all signed in ink. Then a short letter detailing a woman’s life, her friendship with John Lennon, and her obsession with The Beatles, followed by a further parchment with what appeared to be lyrics and chords to a song, and even some melody in musical notation, all handwritten in ink. It was signed in the same hand by no less than John Lennon.
Savannah gasped. “Oh my god, she says it’s a new song written by John Lennon for The Beatles. ‘Wrapped Up in Blue’. I’ve never heard of it. They can’t have recorded it.”
I stood, astonished. “’Wrapped up in Blue’ Wow, that’s like, the colour of healing! Blue is a healing colour.”
“Yes,” Savannah said, “You can imagine a sword of blue. Then at the tip, a star of blue with incredible healing power. When the star touches any area that is sick, it dissolves the sickness out of your body.”
“Yes, but that song must be worth a fortune! Give it here.”
Then to my horror, before I could stop her, Savannah put her lighter to the parchment. “The gain of wealth so immediate is the devil’s work. Best that it be destroyed in the light of our lord, Jesus Christ. So mote it be!”
As I stood helpless, watching the unknown and likely impossibly-valuable Beatles song going up in flames, along with the chance of saving my financial life, I knew I would never feel the same way about the colour blue ever again.
Featured in the book, Flash Friction: To Cut a Short Story Short, vol. III: 72 Little Stories
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