The door creaks as Natalie enters. Stale air and dust dim all the colours inside.
“Hello?” She squints through between two shelves of pale books, goblets, bird cages, wires, and chemical tubes, all melted into colourlessness.
She makes her way in through the veil of earthy powder and notices a woman sitting at a desk, head down. Her hair is also colourless.
“Hello there,” Natalie folds her hands behind her back.
The woman looks up. A rolled-out papyrus drapes off her desktop. Natalie can’t see anything written on it. The woman scans her from head to toe. Grins. The cardboard-coloured wrinkles on her face deepen. Without saying a word, she stretches a hand towards the back of the antique store.
Natalie gives the woman an uncertain nod and walks deeper into the haze.
After a few steps she glances back, but the woman isn’t there anymore. Natalie shrugs and reaches out to a shelf.
Her arm is absent.
She chokes in shock and looks down. Morsel by morsel, her once blue jeans is losing its colour, quickly becoming transparent.
She screams and turns, but another shelf blocks her way.
“Help!” She races left to right, but can’t find the exit.
“Please…” Invisible tears roll down her white cheeks.
A bright yellow colour blinks at her through the fog. She rushes towards it. It’s a book, an unnamed book, glowing on a colourless shelf. She touches it with the last shadows of her fingertips.
A beam of light coming from behind the book blinds her for a second.
The contours of an open door take form. Clutching the book to her heart, she rushes out.
Originally got selected for publication by the 2020 National Flash Fiction Day – Write-In.
Photo credit: the featured image is called ‘Magella’ and it’s a sketch by Jeanette Sheppard, National Flash Fiction Day’s Artist-in-Residence, created for the writing prompt: colour vision.