an excerpt from: Going Through the Spectrum

 Darkness surrounded him. These nightly fits were sure to mean something. Pain in his nose started to swell. First a shooting, razor sharp pain, then an itch. Oliver’s hand darted out to his night stand. In the cluttered mess of study sheets, day old tissues and medication bottles he snatched a tissue from its box. He brought the tissue to his nose. The boy let out a gigantic, painful sneeze. A sound that could only be mimicked by that of a howling wolf escaped the boy’s open mouth. Pain branched and crackled throughout his lungs. In all of this pain he’d somehow forgotten about the heartbreak that had taken place only ten hours ago. In curiosity, Oliver glanced at the tissue his shaking hands held in front of him. What he held in his hands was a tissue, spotted and smeared with black. Oliver’s eyebrows furrowed. He took his quivering index finger to the edge of his nose and lightly dabbed above his lip. His finger looked like it had been blotted in sky black ink. Before the boy could scream or run to face his own reflection, his bony knees gave out and he lay on the floor, unconscious.

White. The four walls surrounding Oliver were white. White, white, white. His mind and memory were fuzzy. It felt like the black and white static on a television screen. White was a word that kept reappearing back into the boy’s mind. The walls were white. His sheets were white. The sky was white. The tiles beneath him were even white. Oliver looked down into his thin, pale arms. IV tubes branched into them, and clear fluids sunk into his veins. He watched with intent as they flowed.

Oliver was alone. His mind was empty. White? Not only in the frost colored hospital room, but everywhere. He felt loneliness sink into his heart. Elsie, what he needed was the girl who had spent six years by his side. The girl who would laugh along with him to nothing. The girl who could comfort him without any words escaping her narrow lips. The girl who had fire for hair. Once again, Oliver fell into a deep sleep, this time caused by medication, not a tissue soaked in death.

Three hours had passed when Oliver found himself sitting up in the hospital bed. His ears led him to a nasally voice coming from a corner of the room. “Yes Mrs. Owens, Oliver is awake.” The lady dressed in white projected her voice through the phone. “You can come during our visiting hours, he’s in a stable condition. Not yet, we’re planning on running some more tests,” Tests? Oliver grew uneasy. That same lump in his throat surfaced itself against the boy’s translucent skin. Surely it was a clump of nothingness this time, there was no doubt.

The lady hung up the phone and advanced towards Oliver. The small white name tag fastened onto her uniform spelled out Nurse Lawson. “How are you holding up, Oliver?” Nurse Lawson spoke. The boy couldn’t reply; it was that lump again. Oliver could only nod his head. She let out a smirk, “You’ll be back to normal in time.” Nurse Lawson turned on her white heels and continued out of the blank room, and Oliver was left with the white noise.

Oliver sat in the silence; it devoured his frail teenage body. Tick tock. Tick tock .The clock overlooking his bed screamed out. He turned his head to the window and observed the outside world. The sky was white horse grey. Puffy clouds hugged each other and swirled into the nothingness that hung above. Tiny snowflakes danced in the heavens. Oliver could almost hear the sorrows of the wind clawing and scratching at the rain spotted window, if it wasn’t for that terrible ticking noise.

Red. When Oliver opened his weary eyes all he could see was red. The fiery shade fused into his white emptiness. The white pillows were now red. The white sheets were now red. The white tiles were now red. His eyes were bloodshot, maroon branched and crackled to his pupils. The room was no longer stark white. Fragments of blazing color interrupted the desolation. The amount of redness did not frighten Oliver, he had seen it once before: In the locks of Elsie. Oliver welcomed the crimson with open arms, it was all he had left of the girl.Was it all he had left at all?

Oliver’s insides were obsidian like the night sky. His blood flowed dark through his fragile veins. His lungs were spattered black with nothingness. Oliver’s being was an empty hull bobbing among the swells. The world surrounding Oliver leaked white. The clouds that swirled above were blank, an empty canvas that had shown no desire for color. Dull white snow fell and crowded around his shoes. Oliver’s world was painted black and white; what he needed was red.


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