Writing with colours

journalI attempted an exercise that focusses on writing with colours. Each paragraph is dedicated to a colour and the name of the colour itself must only be used once in the paragraph. I may have taken a few liberties with the task, but that happens when you’re a writer.

“Blue bird?” she called from the window, pushing aside the indigo curtains, to peer through the thick morning haze. The little girl, in her lace dress and bouncy curls tied up with teal ribbons and matching sash, had come to live in the Colonial house with her grandparents six months previous. She had despised the perfect little cottage with it’s white washed weatherboards and cobalt shutters at first. She was too wrapped up in morning the loss of her parents, dedicated to the feeling of dark depression that had crept like ghostly fingers into her heart. The chilly pale sky, almost devoid of colour when she arrived had been so stark, so frigid beside the golden sand and cerulean ocean she had left behind. But time had passed, and she had come to love the morning glories and violets that came up in the garden’s that surrounded the house.

A gold locket bounced lightly against the creamy fabric at her throat, absently she brushed her thumb along the circle of citrine quartz, her birth stone. A glow filled her heart at the memory of her mother lifting up her blond curls so her father could secure the clasp. It had been her birthday, they were sharing a picnic in the bright spring sunshine, chamomile tea and lemon cakes spread on the yellow checked blanket amidst the daisies and daffodils. Now her birthday would be in autumn.

Fall was full of red, orange and brown, dull, boring colours. She had thought of them as the colours of death for a very long time. Giving up on the bird she skipped over to her dressing table to check on her appearance. Her cheeks were flushed with the chill morning air from the window, her lips looked almost scarlet as they stood out from her otherwise pale skin. She smiled at the reflection, even at the tender age of ten she was becoming a little conceited about her looks. She pinched the cheekbones, increasing the flush of colour to a more vibrant cherry glow then headed downstairs.

Granny sat stiffly in the green velvet armchair, tapping her foot impatiently as she always did when waiting for her granddaughter. A verdant expanse of lawn spread out in front of the parlour windows. The little girl longed to run her toes through the soft clover rich carpet, but was strictly forbidden from doing so, both taking her shoes off outside and walking on the grass. Granny’s pasty skin puckered disapprovingly as the little girl skidded to a holt in the doorway. The woman looked perpetually ill or in pain, she really should have avoided the light of this room as it made her look even more sallow then usual. “Good morning Granny,” the child intoned before attempting to walk daintily across the room, she was just the right hight when Granny sat in this chair, to kiss her on the cheek without having to stretch up. Her breath caught in her throat as she noticed the emerald comb in her grandmothers hair. It was easily the prettiest thing she had ever seen the woman wear, her fingers itched to touch it.

A dark shadow fell across the two of them, the child felt her heart leap a little in fear, knowing the grey outline could only belong to her grandfather. His ashen skin, and spectral form never failed to creep her out. His suits had long since faded along with his hair and any sense of humour he may have once had. His skeletal frame reminded her of a fig tree after the leaves had dropped, spindly, gnarled and silvery right down to his finger tips.

Now, you might be wondering how a child who described her grandparents thus, could possibly love living with them? The answer to that query came in the form of her governess, who at that moment was clicking her heals lightly down the mahogany stairs, her burnt umber skirts swishing ever-so gently with each step. Virginia was that rare bread of young woman, poised, polite, proper and punctual. Talented, tactful, tasteful and tenacious, all qualities admired by her employers. What they didn’t know was that Victoria was also a scamp.

I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out, especially since I was having one of those “I suck at everything” days.

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More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
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4 Comments Add yours

  1. greenembers says:

    This seems like such a great exercise! If I get some time, I am going to have to give it a go!

    1. It was great fun, I’d like to try it again myself a few times, really explore those colour words and implied colours that can evoked.

  2. Kira says:

    Well, you definitely didn’t suck at this!!! This was great 🙂

    1. Oh shucks, glad you liked it 🙂

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