Modes | Short Fiction by Daniel M. Clark

Weirdest fucking thing just happened. I’m walking down near Fenway and the world goes black and white. Not the way things lose their color when it gets dark, cuz it’s around three in the afternoon. Real black and white. Off in the distance a little bit and up in the sky I see the words “Black and White” written in giant backwards letters. And it wasn’t skywriting, man, they just appeared there.

Wait, I’m not done.

Next thing I know, everything’s back to normal, but kind of… brighter? Or, the colors are more vivid? Greens are more green, blues are way more blue. And it takes me a minute but the writing in the sky, I can see it says “High Contrast” in backwards letters.

And then! You know what sepia is? Sepia is like the beginning of that movie The Wizard of Oz that's playing over at the Bijou. Everything you’re looking at is kinda copper-colored. I swear, I’m not fucking making this up, everything around me looked like that. And up in the sky? Yeah, it said “Sepia” in big backwards letters.

I ducked into Janice’s bar. It's not called that, she just—never mind, not important. Even in the middle of the afternoon, you can usually find someone there. Nobody acted like anything was weird, and I didn't want folks to get the wrong idea o’ me so I keep my mouth shut about the colors and head back outside.

The colors turned again. And again. And again. Each time, some new words showed up in the sky. Cinema. Sports. Dynamic. I asked a couple people on the street real low-key if they noticed anything; nobody did.

Then it all went back to normal. Weird, right? The world looked right again. I gave myself a pinch just to be sure, but yeah, everything seemed okay. Real.

But now, up in the sky, in giant backwards letters, it says “Sleep Timer” and a number's counting back from sixty.

I wonder what that’s about.



About this Story

2017. I'd written something on the blog about how I'd been uninspired to write while in New York and how I'd hoped Virginia would be better. It was. This weird little story was one of the results from that part of my long trip.

The inspiration was another prompt from InspiroBot: “Could it be that colors are colors because you’re on television?”