Once upon a time, the world was full of life and color. This tale begin in such a time, sad to say. There was a great darkness and over the course of several decades, everything began to fade. The population was decimated as the plants and animals died off. Very little survive the darkness and what did - was different.
Small pockets of survivors surfaced and started to replant the barren wasteland. Their task was great if they hoped to survive. With great trial and persistence - the world began to revive. It was not the same as it once was though.
The one thing they could not bring back to the world was Color.
Fact was, the last person who knew anything about Color had long since passed away when our story begins. As such, these two sisters know nothing of it - not even a whisper or a fairy tale.
"El!" I called down the cellar steps once more. She'd been down there for nearly twenty minutes and had only gone down for a jar of jam! "Ella! Ma's been callin' for you for fifteen minutes!" I said stomping down the stairs.
I saw the jar of jam sitting on the table and picked it up curiously. "Ella Dust! What are you up to? Come on out!" I knew she had to be hiding - waiting to scare me out of my wits no doubt. After several more moments of utter silence, I began to wonder. "Ella?" I looked around the table and under it...
She jumped out from under it with a shriek! "Boooo!"
The jar flew from my hand and smashed into the floor, sending glass flying every direction. I stumbled backwards, reaching out for anything to catch my fall. My fingers found purchase against cold metal just as I heard Ella snickering.
By the time I righted myself, she was cleaning up the shattered jam jar with a broom and a dust pan. "I scared you!" she said triumphantly, standing up. For a second I could see utter glee in her eyes and then she looked past me in confusion. She dropped the dustpan and hurried toward me.
Her foot caught on the table leg - she always was a clutz - sending her careening into me. Together we tumbled backwards...into the wall - except the wall that ought to be there didn't stop our fall.
We reached for each other, holding tight to the other's hand, as we fell through space. Surely we ought to have hit the floor of the cellar by now...
When we did finally crash into the ground, the grass around us was a few feet high and there was dirt everywhere. We were outside! Only how could that be as we were just inside our house!?
I straightened up, dusting the dirt and pebbles from my dress as I did so, "What just happened?" I asked aloud.
"Woah" I said as I took in the vibrant colors all around me.
"I know! What a dump right?" Ella said. I couldn't understand how she could think this beautiful place was a dump until I spun to face her and followed her line of sight. Okay...so the house wasn't in pristine condition. I could see it's potential though...
We would soon find out that we'd landed in Sugar Valley - though neither of us had ever heard of such a place or all the colors that existed here.
Unsure where to go, we spent the first night sleeping outside the very house we'd landed in front of. No owners ever came home that night, or in the following nights. After a couple nights outside and under the threat of rain - we tried the door of the house seeking shelter. It swung open without resistance!
From the few people we saw pass our way, it was obvious that we would stand out in this town. Ella, who was always a bit shy around strangers, was unwilling to venture off the little lot but there was only so long we could go with a few bits of wild berries. In an effort to compromise, I went in search of other foods sources - but always within sight of the house.
I found several seeds but I knew it would be weeks before any of them even sprouted and still longer for any fruit - assuming there was fruit to be had - would come of them. Still, I planted them on the side of the house; hoping that the owners - whoever they were - wouldn't care about our minor improvements. I dreaded the day they finally returned, where would we go then?
Eventually, I had no choice but to go into town in search of a real food source. I waited until Ella was asleep and slipped out of the house in the dead of night. I was as leery of encountering the colorful populace as she was but it was looking more and more like this place might become our new home.
I found that there were plants of all shapes, sizes and colors planted all through the town. There didn't seem to be anyone out at this hour, so I picked only a few things to get us through another few days and found a few more seeds.
This routine continued for some time - Ella never asked where the food came from and I never offered an explanation. I suspect she knew, as there was only one rundown bed in the house that we shared. She must have noticed that I'd left at least once in all those weeks. As a result of my nightly adventures, our own little garden was growing.
Most of the time, I didn't see a soul while I was out. Who would be up at this hour anyway? But one night, I wasn't the only one lurking about the community garden.
His name was Valentino McWine.
He'd watched me for some time before I'd noticed him apparently - his dark purple skin allowing him to blend into the darkness fairly easily. "You should get some of the grapes - they're at their prime right now." his voice had startled me so badly I dropped my basket and fruit spilled across the grass.
I may not have welcomed his intrusion very well....
But if he was offended by my ire, he didn't show it. He helped me recollect my pickings and then introduced himself. "So Cinder is it?"
"Um, yes." I said softly. After a moment of awkwardness, he recommended the grapes again before taking his leave for the night. But he returned the next night, and the next. Over the course of a couple weeks - we developed a friendship and could spend the chilly evening hours chatting about our lives.
If it hadn't been for him, I may never have been willing to venture into town during the day but he encouraged me - telling me of his own arrival with his brother. While they were outsiders, they'd never suffered any ill will from the population.
Ella was a little harder to convince though. I could tell she'd become rather restless in the town though and finally confessed to all the things I'd seen in town in the evenings and she finally agreed to come with me into town one morning.
I even took her to meet Val, partially in hopes of meeting the brother he spoke of so often. Jagger was out when we arrived but Val entertained us both with a quick tour of their house and his guitar.
It wasn't long before Val and I had transitioned from just friends into something more. Our conversations became deeper and our jokes became more flirty. I had visions of weddings, kids and a happily ever after and it seemed as if Val was on the same page with me.
At least I thought so until one night when I broached the subject of actually becoming a couple. I had little experience with men and even less of men of this area - perhaps I'd made a faux pas! He seemed agreeable to the idea but then...
Oh I must seem like such an idiot! I ran out of his house without giving him a moment to say anything. I barely heard his footsteps behind me or heard him calling out for me to stop.
He caught up to me and asked me to come back inside but I just shook my head. "I think I need to go home."
"Cin!" Val called after me as I started backing away from him again. "I just.... Cin come on back!" I didn't hang around to hear anything else.
When I got home, I did what all women do in such a situation. I turned to ice cream...