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The Colour Spa

By Kelley Townley All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Mystery

Blurb

Seven very different people find themselves at a luxury spa courtesy of their friends and family; seven people for the seven colours of the rainbow. What at first seems like a bit of tranquil R&R quickly becomes suspicious and then downright alarming as they are first stripped of their belongings and then their general individuality, and forced into a rigorous routine based around the colour they've been assigned: coloured clothes, coloured rooms, coloured food... Trapped in the middle of nowhere with no footwear and automatic locking doors, some will give in, some will rebel, and some will fight to the bitter end. The Colour Spa is on the surface a mystery novel but underneath it has a thought-provoking philosophical soul that looks at why we are the way we are and whether we can change for the better.

Chapter 1

Are you being driven GREEN with envy?

Do you see RED a little too easily?

Or maybe you’re suffering from a YELLOW-belly?

Whether you are feeling BLUE or in the PINK

here at The Colour Spa we can help you.

You just don’t know it yet.


Blaine

Monochrome.

That’s the word for it.

Ironically.

Black and white. White and black.

Two monochrome women are smiling at me.

I should really smile back.

One of them, the older one, wears a classic white tunic like the ones you see on nurses and dental hygienists. She looks to be of African descent so her clinical uniform is stark against her dark skin. This contrasts harshly with her younger, blonde companion who wears a similar yet black version of the uniform against her pale Nordic complexion.

Black and white. White and black.

It almost hurts my eyes.

I guess they’re supposed to be welcoming but there’s a definite edge of gatekeeper about them; waiting to pounce, right next to the door. If I turned around and walked back out I imagine they’d grab me, spin me around so that I’d be walking back in again.

No escaping this now.

“Hello, sir. Welcome to The Colour Spa,” the black woman in the white outfit says. “My name is Aisha.”

Of course it’s completely possible that I’m reading too much in to it. I do that. They probably want to go home as much as I do.

“And I’m Zoe,” says the young blonde, positively bubbling with American glee – if I’ve placed the accent right. “Can I take your things?”

Her hand is outstretched. Expectant.

Take my things? Oh, she wants my bag.

I hand it to her. Small. Black. Modest.

“And your coat?” she smiles. Wide.

“No.”

Damn. Forgot to smile.

“No, thank you,” I smile. “I’ll keep my coat.”

“You must be Blaine,” the black woman says.

She tilts her head, eyes big, happy face. Trying hard to engage me. Failing.

Ugh. Why did I do this?

The blonde woman, Zoe, offers up a plain white teacup and saucer. Fine bone china. Yellow contents.

“Some tea while we wait for the others?” she suggests. “It’s my favourite.”

Yes. Tea. Universal answer to everything. My head hurts now too. I force another quick smile, nod and take the tea. Step away. Further into the room. Away from the women.

There’s a few steps down into a circular area. It’s bright in here. Much too bright. No one needs this much light. A central skylight floods the room with afternoon sunshine and the walls are a constant whiteness. No breaks. No windows. They’re curved. No shadows. Nowhere to hide. And no chairs either. Just padded benches built into walls. Circular. Round. Chapter houses in cathedrals have round rooms. This has the same feel too. Slightly otherworldly. Slightly oppressive.

The only gap in the endless circular walls are the entrance doors through which I came - thick green glass; like old bottles melted down into a flat sheet but uneven, lumpy, slightly hard to see through. Here the circular building juts out slightly creating a small foyer. I watch as the blonde takes my bag into a small walk-in cupboard. I eye up those green doors that lead to escape with a sinking feeling: too late now.

“Ooh, I could do with a proper cup of tea, couldn’t you?”

I look down. There’s an old woman in front of me. I hadn’t noticed her before; which is surprising. Short. Grey haired. Skin honey-hued, mainly age not race, but with enough colour in her cheeks to know she likes the outdoors. Really rather large in unflattering folds of ethnic clothing. Over friendly.

“It’s not even the right colour,” she laughs.

She is holding a white, fine-bone cup and saucer similar to mine. I guess I’m not the first to arrive after all.

“I like mine milky. And what’s wrong with a bit of sugar, hmm?” she smiles broadly, making lots of eye contact.

She has big eyes and big cheeks. Actually everything about her is big. The pattern on her tunic is one big swirling mass of bold bigness. I cannot look at her without feeling motion sick.

“Three,” I say looking away.

“Three?”

“Sugars.”

She looks at me blankly. Was I not clear?

“Three sugars. That is what I like in my tea,” I explain.

“Oh!” she scoffs and laughs again. She has deep lines in her face that match the laughter so I assume she must laugh a lot. I wonder what she could possibly find so funny all the time?

“Oh. Well, that is quite a lot, isn’t it?” she says. “My poor old Bernie used to take a lot of sugar too.”

“Is that what killed him?”

She stares at me. A moment passes like an hour in which I mentally kick myself. Too direct. Too blunt.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to... I just... I assumed... You said ‘used to’. I didn’t mean to be insensitive.”

The woman puts a hand on my arm. Her fingers are plump and fleshy, decorated with many silver rings. I hope she’ll remove her hand very soon.

“Not to worry, Love,” she smiles, thankfully removing the offending digits. “You’re right. He’s gone now. Don’t think it was the sugar though. I think it was more the bus.”

The bus?

“Stepped out right in front of it, he did,” she says, shaking her head sadly.

I imagine the impact, the alarmed driver, people watching from the pavement, the blood, the twitching form of Bernie on the asphalt...

I take a sip of the tea.

It’s herbal or something.

“How awful. I’m sorry.”

“Yes. Careless really,” she sighs. “But you know he was never one to ‘stop, look and listen’.” She smiles again then. “Lived life to the full, he did. Good for him, I say.”

Really? He sounds like a idiot.

We nod solemnly. Death. White walls. One entrance. One exit.

There’s movement outside. Through the hazy green of the thick glass doors large shapes are appearing. Arriving along the driveway. Taxis.

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