Black, Red And White

All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.

The sun hung bright and blinding in the sky like a scorching ball of fire, shining down at the anarchy that graced the world. Sweat poured down the backs, laughter filled the air; it was a good day.

There was a buzzing energy in the air, an excitement, and curiosity, breathing in the light of the sun. Maybe Pico could feel it in the air he breathed, or at the tips of his tongue when he opened his mouth to speak. Or maybe he could just see it. But whatever the reason was, that energy, that curiosity and excitement, had woken him up from his lazy slumber.

It was once in a blue moon that he woke up on his own and not because his mother brushed his hair off with a feathery touch and whispered the magical words. For Pico was just a boy of 9 and slept like the dead.

So, Pico was up bright and early in the morning and like the good boy his mother wanted him to be, he had brushed his teeth and hair, worn his shirt and had tied his shoes by himself.

To anyone who was not accustomed to Pico’s behaviour on this fine day, it would seem like a surprise that the usual lazy boy with shaggy brown hair was ready on his own and was eager to go to school. But Pico’s mother knew better.

“I’m sure you’ll win, darling. You have a natural talent and a beautiful voice. Believe in yourself, because I know you have it in your heart,” his mother’s angel-like voice soothed him a lot and made him feel at home. She was a fragile woman, with sickness taking over her body and poverty hanging over their head, there was little to no money to cure her sickness. The only income she received was poured in to educate Pico. In a world of anarchy a parent could only hope to raise their child with the best, in hopes of bringing back some of the humanity.

Pico nodded his head like a little puppy. His bright brown eyes were twinkling from the sun shining in from the kitchen window. He pecked his mother on the cheek and bounded down the rusty floor towards the door.

He was running down the sidewalk, if it could even be called that, as his small tummy flipped. He was excited. Exhilarated. His mother’s words repeated over and over again in his head till he reached the quaint little school he studied in.

His breathing was harsh and his cheeks were flushed a bright pink from the running.

Pico calmly walked to his classroom and sat down beside Gracie. They both looked at each other and smiled. A friendship had bloomed between them and would soon morph into something else if they lived long enough.

After the roll call was done, it was time for the main segment of the day: the music competition.

Pico’s hands were clammy as he wiped them off constantly on the soft fabric of his pants. He was nervous.

The junior group was first. Pico was the last one to perform.

“Next is Pico Nabrisk.”

As his name was announced he gulped and stood up with small shaky legs. He shuffled to the rough-and-ready stage. With tense shoulders he stopped right in the middle, in front of the judges.

As he opened his mouth to sing, his voice got stuck in his throat. He had forgotten the lyrics. Pico panicked. And he felt as if he was about to burst into tears. But then, his mother’s words rang through his thoughts. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and opened his mouth.

The words rolled off his tongue and hung in the air in delicate pitches and discordant melodies. Everyone was stunned. Shell-shocked. His mother was right. He did have a beautiful voice.

As the last of the notes dribbled down the air from Pico’s mouth, there was a shocking discovery. A screeching whistle ricocheting through the room and finally hitting the ground.

A bomb had been flung into the air from a warplane. A small bomb which caused a massive explosion.

Pico’s small frame flew back from the force of the bomb. Bricks were flying everywhere. The roof had collapsed. People were caked in their own bodies.

There was a blazing fire. A white blinding light. Dried blood stuck to the ground making it look like ruptured veins with black blood. Then there was the sky, the colour of red-hot boiling soup with flecks of pepper decorating it.

Pico’s body was stuck between the debris. Somehow in the chaos the first prize medal was nonchalantly placed around his neck. His shaggy brown hair matted to his forehead and the bright brown eyes hidden underneath the closed lids.

The war had done it. It had destroyed the last ray of sunlight in the darkness that had spread over the world. It had destroyed a mother’s love, a blooming relationship and a child’s life. It had destroyed everything.