He awoke a few hours later, as the sun set over the horizon. His red hair had fallen in front of his eyes and he didn’t have the energy to lift his hand and push it away.
The black tendrils were climbing up his face now. They curled around his ears and stopped just below his eyes. His chest was completely black, as though it had been painted. He didn’t have much longer now– the disease was slowly wrapping itself around his heart.
He didn’t feel pain anymore, for most of his nerves were dead. Only the sharp pounding in his head let him know he was still alive–for now.
Through his blurry vision, further obstructed by his hair, he caught a glimpse of the blank side of the house, and realized he had only painted the front. Forcing his heavy jaw to move, he croaked out a soft spell that duplicated the pattern onto each wall of the house and each part of the roof. Within seconds, the house was covered in rainbow colors.
He felt himself relax. At last he had fulfilled his promise to his sister. He had finally painted Elyza the rainbow she had asked for.
Summoning his last bit of magic and all the strength left in his feeble body, he whispered one final spell. A rainbow slid into the sky. It would remain there forever, perpetually painting the cyan sky above the town with its beautiful colors.
For the first time that week, the tears that streamed down his face were ones of relief. He had kept his promise. He had painted her a rainbow.
If only Elyza could see this now, he thought to himself. He wished he could see the smile on her face, the way her emerald eyes would light up at the sight off all these colors.
His wish was answered, partially.
His ears were the only part of him that hadn’t been altered by the infection. His hearing was as clear as could be, as good as it always had been.
“Eoin!” a voice screamed. He recognized that high yet pleasant voice. It belonged to Elyza. Elyza’s voice was calling his name.
A few seconds later, that voice was followed by her pale, unharmed face. It appeared high above him, then dropped down so it was less than a foot from his face. Her crimson hair pooled around her head, creating a red halo. Her emerald eyes stood out in that halo, as bright as they had been the day he left. Tears fell from them, splashing onto his half-numb face.
For the first time that week, he smiled. This illusion was the sight he had yearned for. His tired mind created the one thing he had longed to see, and believed it was real. He gave into that belief.
“Look Elyza,” he crooned. “I painted that rainbow you asked for.” he paused, struggling to breathe. “Do you like it?” he expelled the last of that breath, closing his eyes before an answer could be uttered. He had seen his sister; that was good enough for him.
He died with a smile on his face, held tightly in the arms of his sister.
“And that was how Rainbow Village came to be.” the old lady finished, gently placing her hand on her grandson’s knee.
The ten year old had tears in his eyes. “That’s so sad…” he said, using a corner of his pillow to wipe away the salty drops that rolled down his cheeks. He paused for a moment, glancing up at his grandmother before asking, “Grandma Elyza? How come the sister was still alive? I thought everyone in the village died.”
The old lady glanced wistfully outside the window, at the roof of the house across the street as she said, “She wasn’t in the village then. She was with her parents at their aunt’s house in a neighboring town. She didn’t have a television so they didn’t hear about the disaster that occurred in their village until two days later.”
“So why did it take her so long to return home?” the little boy asked, following his grandmother’s gaze to the rainbow-colored roof of a nearby house.
“They went to the hospital to pick up her brother, but he was long gone. When they returned to the town, thinking he might be there, they saw everything had been rebuilt with only one change…” she trailed off.
“The roofs were painted with rainbows.” the boy finished, staring back at his grandmother. Her green eyes had tears in them. A few streamed down her wrinkled face, falling into the closed hands on her lap.
“That’s right.” she paused for a moment before sniffling, wiping away the tears and standing. “Get some sleep, Eoin.” she said to the little boy, turning around to ruffle his ginger hair. “It’s just a story.” as she said these words, she touched the locket hanging around her neck.
She walked to the other end of the room, pausing in the doorway with one hand on the lightswitch. In her other hand, she held the open locket and stared down at a faded picture. It was one of her when she was younger. She was smiling from ear to ear, standing in front of a purple mailbox. Next to her stood a teenage boy, no older than 15. He had a small streak of pink paint under one of his azure eyes. His crimson hair fell over his forehead. He had one arm wrapped tightly around his little sister and he wore a huge grin on his face. The blue house behind them had a “sold” sign on the green lawn.
The old lady slowly closed the locket. She held it close to her chest, treasuring her favorite picture.
Turning around to glance one last time at the ten-year old falling asleep in the bed, she turned out the lights, and shut the door.
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading! 😀 I hope you liked this story and I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment and let me know what you thought! Criticism is always appreciated! I hope to see you next Friday!