Fic: Gray

A self-inflicted exercise, with "gray sky" as a prompt and a 550 word limit. This was previously posted on my Xanga, but has been lengthened and had the ending changed.

There are no words to express....


Gray Day
by Brat Farrar

The sky was gray when she looked up, gray and flat, like slate. She would have been tempted to draw on it with the chalk she always carried with her, but it was farther than the tops of the trees, and so out of reach at the moment. Still, it looked impossibly close, if she ignored the evidence of the trees, and she almost reached up anyway.

"Meghan?" The sound of her brother’s voice pulled her out of her reverie, driving all thoughts of sky-touching out her mind. He sounded worried, and tired, and sad, and she wished she had the words to make him feel better. Lacking them, she turned to him and smiled instead. "Oh, good. There you are. I thought I’d lost you there for a minute." He sounded a little less worried now, although he kept fidgeting with the coins in his pocket.

Her smile widened briefly before she turned back to her contemplation of the sky. How much farther than the trees was it? It couldn’t be very far, although it had looked rather remote earlier in the day, when it had been blue with clouds in front of it. But then the winds had come and blown all the color away, and now it looked like slate instead of sky. She wished she could reach it, so she could draw some clouds on it. It looked so empty the way it was now.

A particularly rough bit of wind blew her hair into her face, and wrapped her skirt around her legs. She wasn’t really cold, but she shivered anyway. Wind always made her think of ghosts and dying people. "Chilly?" Without waiting for an answer, her brother draped his suit coat around her shoulders. She wasn’t really cold, but the coat made her feel warmer, and she flashed him another quick smile as a thank you.

There was a handkerchief in one of the pockets, and she spent a few minutes turning it into a passable rabbit, which she handed to her brother after another minute of consideration. He took it silently, and rubbed a finger over the knot which formed the head. She watched him for a bit before going back to staring at the sky.

They stood like that for a while, the only noises those caused by the wind and the subdued chatter of the people who hadn’t left yet. It felt like they could stand there forever, and she might have, if her father hadn’t called their names. "Meghan! Donald!" Looking unlike himself in his black suit, he waved at them to come back to the grave. After one last look up at the sky, she started to obey. Behind her, Donald choked back what might have been a sob.

When she realized he wasn’t following her, she turned around again, unwilling to leave him alone. But he didn’t acknowledge her presence, even when she put a hand on his arm. Torn between father and brother and not knowing what to do, she leaned against his back and was startled to feel it shaking. Donald was crying, but Donald never cried.

Still lacking the words to make him feel better, she silently let him cry. He was sad because the sky was gray, but she knew that someday the color would come back.
Hmm...Meghan's a bit of a conundrum here--I'm really not sure what the source of her detachment is. I mean, is she just that kind of girl, or is she deliberately refusing to feel her grief right now? Or perhaps she has a very mature faith in the essential rightness of things...I have no clue! =P I like all of the imagery, though, and her interaction with Donald. A very visual little ficlet with some great potential, methinks!
I think she's somewhat . . . differently abled, and doesn't really understand what's happened. Or something along those lines. I'm not all that certain myself.

This really was written as an exercise: I wanted to see if I could write about an event without ever mentioning what it was or having the POV character color the description of it. Hence Meghan's detachment.

It turned out to be a lot more interesting to write than I thought it would be.
You certainly succeeded in your goal, and did it very well--I love your ability to make things known indirectly. And felt, too--I was very drawn into Donald's POV, just because of the contrast between his reactions and Meghan's--as though it was up to me to commisserate with him, since Meg couldn't....