“Gray is such a lovely color isn’t it?”
The first time I met her, she had been wearing an oversized, gray knit sweater with a lighter gray shirt beneath along with gray jeans and a pair of gray converses. I hadn’t realized she had even said anything because all I could think was ‘Wow. I never thought anyone could wear so much gray.’
“Yea … I suppose.” It was my half-hearted attempt at conversation, but I didn’t want to come off as awkward. It didn’t help that I was still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of wearing completely monotone colors, of the possibility that someone would actually wear all gray.
“Mm.” She was staring off into the distance now, fiddling with the handle of a giant, gray cello case (what was with her and gray?) that looked much heavier than it should’ve been. “There’s something beautiful about gray, don’t you think? It’s not extreme, like white or black, but simply neutral. There’s so many shades, and yet no matter what, it stays the same. Gray is balanced. Perhaps dull, but nevertheless balanced.”
It was an odd thing for her to say, yet I still nodded and said nothing. After all, this high school was full of weirdos of all kind, and with her cello case, she must be in orchestra right? Our orchestra and band students all had a few screws loose, at least that’s what the generalization was.
However, as lovely as awkward, cringey, confusing small talk was (do you hear this sarcasm?) there were things I still had to do and so I quickly bid this mystery girl in gray goodbye and left.
The next day, there was an assembly during fifth block. The atmosphere was tense and somber, something I had never felt in this school since I enrolled.
Our principal had a grim look on his face as he informed us that just this morning, the dead body of one of the students at this school (a tiny, redheaded freshman that was just a tad too shy but wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone) had been found mutilated and drained on the banks of the river just a half mile from the edge of town.
It was a pity such a kind girl had died, murdered too, but no matter how sad I knew I should have felt, I could not find this emotion called grief within me. And thus, I proceeded to the fake it to the best of my ability.
The second time I met her, she was wearing all gray again. It was a different outfit, this time a dark gray coat with gray pants and gray knee high boots. I wondered if, perhaps, this girl’s wardrobe consisted of only gray clothing.
She still had her cello case that still looked like it was about to break at the seams.
“Hello again. I don’t think I had time to introduce myself last time we met. My name is Athena.”
I couldn’t help but find the irony, because now that I looked at her closely, I couldn’t help but notice that her eyes were a shade of stormy gray much like the legendary Greek wisdom goddess.
“My name is Light.” She smirked, but that was a bit of a stretch. A simple, odd quirk of of the mouth was probably more accurate.
“What an interesting name.”
“I could say the same to you.”
There was something off about the situation, just the two of us awkwardly introducing ourselves in the middle of a deserted hallway. After all, it was the middle of a Saturday afternoon and the only reason I was at school was because of Student Council. In fact, what was she—no, Athena—doing here anyways? Was there an orchestra event that I was not aware of?
“Why are you here on Saturday? And why do you have a cello case?” There was that smirk-not-smirk again before she easily replied.
“I have places to be and things to do. After all, do you think I lug around this cello case for show?”
Something was indeed off, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I lost my chance to ask as she breezed past me with an airy goodbye and I was left alone in the corridor wondering just what seemed so wrong. It wasn’t until that night as I lay in bed that I realized.
She smelled like blood.
Tuesday, there was another assembly.
Another student, this time a pale-skinned senior, had been found in an alleyway, once again mutilated and drained of all fluids.
Rumors were spreading that what skin left on the body had been ashy gray.
The third time I met her, Athena was dressed all in gray once more, lightly swinging her cello case as if it weighed nothing. I thought back to the two brief times we had met before and felt a sense of muted dread rise within me. I casually glanced around to find we were once again all alone, this time behind the school on a gray, overcast Sunday. The sense of dread intensified, and yet stayed muted as if it were a mere background emotion.
She had turned to look at me with a glazed over look in her stormy gray eyes. It was unnerving to say the least.
“Say, Light, did you know?”
And yet, somewhere deep within the recesses of my mind, I knew what she was going to say. What she was asking.
“You would look really good in gray.”
What an odd person.
Image found here.
Say, can anyone guess why she had the cello case?