Ticking Red

The clock chopped seconds off her life with an implacable rhythm. In the darkness, her mind made the sounds into bursts of colour – like bubbles popping. Like fireworks. It wasn’t something she did, it was just the way her brain worked. It was something she had assumed everyone experienced, and when she discovered that she was unusual she struggled to explain it. Fortunately, there was a word for it. Unfortunately, the word was synesthesia, which felt like moving marbles from the front to the back of your mouth without choking and didn’t really explain what it was.
She didn’t really have to though. Just as she had been unaware that other people didn’t see sound as colour or any of the other things she perceived, so they could be unaware that their words bubbled out in rainbow ripples and their footsteps echoed greenly to her. It was a pity for them. Mostly. She liked the colours, liked them more when she learned they were hers. But there were things she didn’t like. The bruise purple of machines humming. The slick of yellow left by squeaky white board markers that took so long to fade. And the blood red bursts of a clock ticking, like an alarm going off. An alarm for time crumbling away.
She got out of bed as quietly as possible, a faint green rustle of sheets. He snored vermillion once, but settled again unaware. With a soft crimson pop she removed the batteries from the clock. She sat for a moment in the almost perfect black silence. She would apologise in the morning, if she was still there. Perhaps even explain.

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About Jon Keevy

Jon Keevy is a writer of stories and plays and also runs Alexander Bar's Upstairs Theatre.
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