Rainbow – John Baek ’20

The zebras were milling about like sporadic, sparse pianos bereft of an owner. The absence of music, long left played if not absorbed into emptiness, precluded the need. Their coats long left leaving like frail, windblown leaves remained to be polished; as such, a melancholy was to be stated, although the picture was yet unfinished. He knew that to be true. Without a remembrance, without recalling or even attempting that foray into memory, Farragan knew regret and knew its meaning.

Uttering a languished sigh, he brushed away his thoughts — frisked away like the wind — and resumed replenishing the gun. Heft stolid paint bucket in one hand, tip, gaze at the thick dense waterfall of solid, unremovable color moving down from round emptying cylinder to perished design of long receiving rectangular. Cap muzzle, turn lever on barrel, flick safety on handle. Eye pressure gauge, pump deoxidizer — smooth hands along entire length — before lifting weapon. Align vision with the sight. I can see it. A field of color, marred by the presence of white, hindered the otherwise tranquil vista. Shuddering, Farragan, shoulders heaving, lowered the gun and squinted. The sun was bright. The horde of zebras continued to swarm. Their flanks glistened; hairs bristled, hooves clipped the ground, manes waved in the air as a hostile army of belligerents. A fly buzzed near his ear. He ignored it.

A deep breath. He raised the sight back to his vision. All-encompassing canvas reduced to shimmering bands of horrid white placed against cool black. Begone, foul color. A short intake of air, before focusing — touch to trigger — press.

Air rumbled. A minute click as the gun righted itself after release. Farragan lowered the sight. Opened his eyes. Beheld a miasmatic chorus of disagreement as the zebras — at least those struck by the paint — snorted and whinnied, their coats now embellished by a sable night to bestride the sun’s daylight. The scarred ground remained touched by the new coloration. Hail, Lord Black. The crest of Les Chevaliers Noirs sung against his breast. An assignment, remunerated by the Lord himself, was no chore but an ordeal to be treasured.

Decision. Regret’s signified lost definition to its signifier. The man, the servant Farragan was but knight. Night was the chief haven, hall of life; light shone in that chamber, shaming any missed misconstruing of the calling. He could think, feel, want, regret but mind alone was not the key; the door was lost, reconstructed, bound, held possessed by the Lord.

Soon. The residue and the shrapnel shriveled in the heat. Pianos become obsidian granted movement by the enclosure established the previous, impervious night. Paint withstood permanence gaining autumn’s foresight, flaking off temporal hide to further litter rapacious ground below. Farragan gazed. No music to plague his ears as of yet — no other color to witness his creation — no mere rainbow to solidify the dream. Even Helios’ chariot above could not faze the sanctity of execution in the cycle of life, or death of color, that he was enacting with the zebras.

He picked up the paint bucket.