“There he is Master,” I pointed towards a little boy. He simply nodded sideways to what I proclaimed. “He’s playing around the rainbow coloured swing in the courtyard.” Master’s brows twitched in unison. Even the slightest mention of colours agitated him. Rumours said that he was probably blind, but in fact it helped him conceal his soft side. Everyone thought of him as a cruel man, a sadist to be more precise.
Master held his front and tapped his cheek with his forefinger at a constant pace, as if in deep thought. Then, breaking the silence filled in his castle of a room, he spoke, “That creature doesn’t deserve to live amongst us. He’s a descendant of the enemy clan.”
“But Master, he’s very excited about this year’s celebration—”
“Enough Dame Audrey. I’ve asked you to get rid of him earlier too. Yet, you always load him with love. Dress him up like a clown if you must! This is my final order.”
“Yes Master,” I responded, staring at the granite flooring and left at once to catch Lep.
“Come here my boy, don’t you want to get dressed for Samhain?” Being his notorious self, he stuck his tongue out and teased me. “I have a surprise for you young one.” He leaped into my arms before I could add on to my lie. His eyes were full of hope and that hope came in the form of a sparkle in his little pupils. I was having second thoughts on telling him the truth about him being taken away by the demons tonight.
“Aunt, what are you thinking? You know today I reached the silver colour of the rainbow!”
“The silver colour?” I asked almost amused at his statement.
“Yes Aunt! You know I started from violet, then indigo, and so on. Each colour reminded me of different things and even my former family.”
“Is that so? Then please do tell me what each colour reminded you of.” I loved Lep. He was the most playful creature I’d ever come across. His presence in our Kingdom brought colour into our dark lives and somehow shadowed our misdeed of slaying the Lebanese. Lep was their lone survivor and I felt connected to him the moment I saw him. I didn’t have the heart to leave him lying on the ground, calling out helplessly for his mother.
“Of course I’ll tell you. Violet and indigo showed me the bruises I bear. Master would bash me up so brutally sometimes. However, I think it was for my own good only. Blue was a little tricky. First it soothed me and later it reminded me of the times I wasn’t allowed to use a blanket when it was freezing cold. Aunt Audrey, did you know that green is my favourite? I want to dress like an elf today! Please Aunt. Please? I want lots and lots of money but I’m not allowed to keep any. I don’t know why. After green I jumped towards the yellow line. It was nothing like the sunlight. Instead I felt weak and ill. I recalled how pale I’d become due to not getting proper medication whenever I fell sick. Then the orange line made me recollect the days when I wasn’t allowed to go outside and play. I would sulk by the window pane, watching the other kids hop, skip and jump.”
I didn’t want to interrupt him, but out of curiosity, I asked, “What about red? Oh wait. Let me guess! It reminded you of love and only love.”
“No Aunt. It wasn’t love,” he replied with a wry smile. “There was blood everywhere. The war; the war between the Celts and the Lebanese caused my parents to drift away from me. I could see everything from shields to swords; spades to leashes and even worse. Towards the end of the red line, there was a huge pot of silver coins. I could see Master’s reflection on it. He was saying that I would soon be with my parents as I’m not a Celt. I think he hates me. Don’t you think so too? I don’t want to celebrate this year. I’d rather go to my parents. Can I? And what about my surprise?”
“Well. I suppose you can. Oh and as for your surprise you can have it next time,” I answered, fumbling at the last part of my sentence. Although I didn’t want to let go of him, I decided to grant him his wish. I took out some dark green overalls from his cupboard and wrapped him in them. His ears were already drooping and he also had his black belt and black boots on. We now had a little elf amongst wizards and witches. This was it. I had to leave him for good. Convincing Master was next to impossible. He despised them like anything. Just the sight of Lep made his blood boil. Also, if the other members came to know about Lep’s identity, they probably would’ve killed him without listening to any explanation. I understood that it was best to leave everything to fate.
Suddenly, the air around us got clouded with darkness. It was absolutely black; a kind of black that no oil pastel could match. To my surprise it was Lep’s parents who’d come in the form of spirits to collect him. Lep disappeared right before my eyes and all I could do was wave at him. He was going for good. While I was waving at him, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see that it was Master standing with his hands folded behind his back. His lips formed a grim line and the tension around us became neutral.
“You see young Audrey, it’s sometimes good to love an enemy.”
Then slowly, everything fell into place and I perceived that even a dark man could have his shades.
|The silver lining in a rainbow
(Picture credits: Peter Tarka)