Grey

        Everything was grey. The waves, the sky, the sand. Even the boardwalk with its distinctively brown texture played games on the eyes, grimacing with the same grey hue that enveloped the rest of the world. It was a modern day freeze frame as the three of them walked aimlessly beneath the wooden planks, feeling the light drizzle fall on their faces. Little was exchanged between them aside from quiet glances. They themselves were grey although they did not have the same gloomy sheen that the world exuded. As they moved about he would stop occasionally and poke his foot into the sand and watch it form crescent mounds, observing all the little grains coallesce along with the white miniature conches that dotted the beach. Everything was quiet and desolate.
        “Let’s go.” It was half a command and half a suggestion but he obeyed. There was nothing else on the beach for them to experience, although there was nowhere in particular for them to go. He glanced once more out unto the ocean and observed how it seemed to meld with the sky above it, the waves that bounced lightly over its surface mirrored by the clouds’ slow movement above it. It was time to go.
        Piling into the small vehicle they pulled out into the street. Few cars impeded their way and they made good time in reaching the low profiles of the inland storefronts, all of their colors muted by the gloomy day. The avenues were fairly wide here, blanketed with the same drizzle that fell on the beach, the street signs swaying rhythmically to the unseen current above them. They traveled without exchanging words, each staring out their personal windows as increasing numbers of cars began to engulf them. They were once again in the world of the living.
        He looked at his friend at the wheel and observed his stolid look. It was familiar to him, an unchanging aspect of his life. Never a grimace, never a smile. An unsaid agreement that neither would affect the other unduly. This did not bother him and the agreement seemed particularly suited to the day with its low hanging and expansive rain clouds.
        They merged gracefully into a turn lane and pulled to a stop, the left turn signal blinking and ticking pleasantly through the dashboard. Its meager light illuminated the console and he shifted his gaze slightly to capture it. It seemed hesitant, stretching its rays timidly across the gauges and the hard plastic of the car. He imagined it as being a shy life-form beckoning amidst a massive world of jutting and cavernous architecture, announcing to anyone who paid it attention that it was there. Finally he felt forward motion.
        Looking up he managed to catch a glimpse of an accident in the making. As they turned left through the busy intersection a large sedan pulled out of line, veering into the turning traffic with a slow but deliberate movement. Its windows were heavily tinted. Its body hung low to the ground. He watched as his friend met the challenger’s infraction, steadily moving forward as was his right. But the sedan refused to correct itself, pulling further and further out of line and attempting to force its way through into the opposite direction. Neither would concede their forward movement and so they slowly met with a thud, the sedan hitting their vehicle’s left rear.
        They both rolled to a stop, the sedan a bit further than necessary. He sat looking forward and felt a swell of indignation run through his body. How could they. They were in the wrong. They had no right. He grimaced. He felt powerful. He reached for the door and opened it slightly but heard his friend murmur a simple, “Close the door, now.” Immediately gathering the urgency of the command he attempted to bring the door back towards himself, but something would not give. Perhaps the latch would not hook, or the door simply no longer fit. But it would not close entirely, so he desperately flipped the lock switch and waited for his friend to commence moving again.
        But there was no movement. Instead his door flung open and in the empty space between himself and the world stood a woman, a woman of moderate stature with a large head of curly hair arrayed around her face. Her features were plain with a vaguely expectant look. She stood casually with a pistol in her hand, elevated towards him. He looked at her, their eyes engaging and playing together, exchanging the vast expanses of their lives in a disjointed symphony, swirling and swirling, uniting two worlds in an instance of poetic discord, worlds of pain and of pleasure, of boredom and of excitement, of experiences so far apart yet intimately connected. Their facial features melded into their eyes, their world melted away into the grey haze of the day, as did their personal stories. The swirling movements now cascading upwards then downwards, splashing each other and touching each others’ hearts and minds. The world contracted into the great vortex that was their momentary connection, two galaxies rebounding around each other, fighting to overcome the other’s magnetic force, pulling small instances of truth away from each other in a perpetual exchange of stories. But their ultimate fate was one of coalescence. They could no longer escape the laws of life.
        Then she shot. He let out a muffled moan, oddly high pitched. He could not tell if he felt pain, only the pressure that seemed to suck his flesh further and further into his chest. Behind him he felt his friend lean forward to inspect him. To his left he saw his friend shift gears and give impetus to the stationary vehicle. As they pulled off at a gradual and lazy pace he felt his head slump forward and the world grow distant. A sound emanated from one of his friends, but it was indistinguishable. It no longer seemed to matter, and the world remained grey.

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