A Colourless City

Here’s a creative writing piece I wrote a few years back for English Extension 1. It’s supposed to be dark and gloomy and representative of modernism during the period between the two world wars.


As they travelled the streets, rows and columns of tall, grey buildings interlocked. Scents of smoke and wet filled his head. The atmosphere endlessly circled through his nose, throat and mouth. The tip of his nose burned from a rushed wind, but the redness did not flatter him in any way. Unlike his daughter, the flushed cheeks made him look older rather than charming. The slush from a previous snowfall seeped into his shoes and turned the next twenty minutes into a misery. He sees the soggy newspapers on the ground, full of articles containing no information, articles that are merely groans of questioning existence. Is this what society has become, a wasteland throughout the city?

Weaving through the endless streams of head-soddened people, a worn down building becomes visible on a corner up ahead. With a closer glance towards the caved in steeple, it is clear that this building was once a church. The man’s eyes shift to three peasants, covered in coffee-stained and moth-holed rags. Their heads placed firmly on the building’s steps and arms splayed out before them. The man shakes his head back and forth with an obvious distaste. Tightly gripping his daughter’s sweaty palm, he pulls her forwards.

It was not long until they reached the theatre, a common place for widowers and children. Single file, they trudged along into the blackened room.

The flickering lights across the screen scolded his corneas and his daughter continuously swung her legs to and fro on the edge of the seat, fiddling with the golden chain around her neck. The constant anticipation in the room was unbearable. The contrast of bright illumination from the screen and the darkness from the walls was nauseating.

Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?

He’d taken his daughter to see this film time and time before. Nothing ever changed. The seats they sat upon were still covered in balled-wool, just as the smell of butter remained burnt. Paint on the walls peeled down, revealing an old, dusty pink. Strings of spider webs lingered in the corners, their inhabitants crawling nearby. Everything else was irrelevant to the human eye. The eye was only drawn to things that were pointless and exasperating.

His vision fizzled out, just like it does every day and the life that exists around him dies. The city turns black and white, as it should be, as it is constantly seen by all of its residents. The only colour that remains inside of his empty mind is that of Little Snow White and her seven dwarfed friends. It is obvious that his daughter lives with the hope that no longer lingers in the city. Hope was an old friend for many of the city’s inhabitant, but she was forced to leave. She used to sit in the crooks of peoples’ elbows or watch them from their windowsills. Asking them to stand up, walk over, and open the window.

But then the fragments of hope got caught up with the wind, and blew out of the dusty window. It’s unknown as to whether she landed elsewhere, but it is pretty certain she won’t ever be allowed back here.

Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.

The aspiration that lived inside his daughter, her dream to be as beautiful as snow white, was heart wrenching. He knew that she might possess a pretty face, and her body could possibly be graceful, but no one would look at her with beauty in their eyes. They would always look at her with pure longing, using her for self-pleasure. Peeling her crusty eyes open every morning, looking at her mistake breathing heavily next to her. She would roll off of the wrinkled bed, telling the grungy man to wake up. Not bothering to offer him a cup of stale coffee, but just asking him to leave. It was obvious she would never see this particular man again, but instead she would head to the filthy local bar, guided by the moonlight, to later stumble home with tomorrow’s dreaded awakening.

For a second, he gets a glimpse of the future. His twenty-one year old daughter gazes out of her window. She still fiddles with the golden chain, a habit that will never fade. It lies in the hollow of her neck, the weight of the locket heavy around her throat, strangling and suffocating her. There is a beating heart within the hinges of the locket, one that she has never known but always admired. If you peer into her eyes, close enough, you can see the red, rose lips, the ebony hair and the pale, snow skin. An echo of her mother or what she has always pictured her face to be. But the past must remain in the past even though leftover pieces of Snow White sit inside her. They wish to burst out, although they never will. Not until the city gains its colour once again.

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