Amid journeys to remote mountain towns, faraway lands surrounded by lush green forests, and amongst curious yellow meadows, a young couple ponders their future together…
by: Orit Yeret
In a small village nestled at the base of a colossal mountain lived a family who had a young girl named Lily. Lily was always a curious and adventurous child who loved to explore the vast wilderness that surrounded her home. Her whole life she was fascinated by the mountain that loomed above her town, and she often found herself staring up at its peak in awe.
Her parents promised that once she turned eighteen, she would be allowed to climb the mountain on her own. When the day finally came, Lily eagerly packed her backpack with all the supplies she would need for a day’s journey — food, water, a map, and a first-aid kit — and set out early in the morning.
As she began her ascent, she felt a thrill of excitement and fear. The mountain seemed huge, and the path ahead of her looked treacherous. But she was determined to reach the summit. Lily climbed higher and higher, as the mountain seemed to grow larger and more imposing with every step. She encountered steep inclines, loose rocks, and patches of ice, but she pushed herself forward, driven by her desire to reach the top.
As she climbed, the weather began to turn. All of a sudden, the sky grew gray, and the wind picked up, making it difficult for her to keep her footing. But still, she pressed on. After hours of climbing, Lily had reached the summit. She was exhausted but overjoyed, and she gazed out at the breathtaking view from the top. From this height, she could see for miles in every direction, and she felt as if she was on top of the world.
However, her happiness was short-lived. Out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning struck the mountain, and a fierce storm broke out. The wind howled, and the rain fell in sheets, making it impossible for her to see or hear anything. Lily knew that she had to get down the mountain as quickly as possible, but the path was slick with rain, and she could not see more than a few feet in front of her. Every step was risky, and she feared that she might fall to her death…
“You know what I hate?” She looked up from her phone to meet my eyes.
I pressed pause.
“I hate that this house has a red door.” She showed me an image of a house for sale she had been Googling for the past fifteen minutes.
I glanced at the image and said, “Oh well, what can you do?” and then turned to look back at the TV screen, scrolling through different movie titles on Netflix. Each time I landed on one that piqued my interest, a short preview began to play. It drove her nuts.
“You don’t care about that? A red door?” She emphasized the color red as she spoke.
I started singing the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black.”
“Stop it!” She shoved me playfully as I continued and my voice grew louder.
“You idiot,” she mumbled under her breath and went back to staring at her phone again.
“What difference does it make anyway?” I questioned.
“Excuse me if I don’t want to live in a house with a red door.”
I took my phone in my hand.
“What can you tell me about the color red?” I typed and read my question out loud. ChatGPT began generating a response.
“The color red is often associated with passion, love, and desire, as well as anger, danger, and warning. It is a color that commands attention and can be both alluring and intimidating.
“The color red is also highly visible and eye-catching. It is often used in warning signs and emergency signals to draw attention and indicate danger or urgency.
“Red is also a universal symbol of energy and vitality. It is the color of blood, which carries life-giving oxygen throughout our bodies, and it is often associated with strength, courage, and determination.
“Finally, red is a color that transcends cultural and geographic boundaries. It is a color that is found in the flags, clothing, and art of many different countries and cultures, and it has been used in a variety of contexts throughout history, from religious ceremonies to political revolutions.
“Interesting,” I said after reading the answer out loud. She stared at me, confused.
“Who says we are going to live in that house? Or in any other house for that matter?” I shrugged my shoulders, tossed my phone aside, and pressed play.
In a faraway land surrounded by lush green forests, there was a beautiful garden that belonged to an elderly lady named Mrs. Green. She had been tending to the garden for as long as she could remember and took great pride in its vibrant colors and diverse range of plants and flowers. However, Mrs. Green’s garden was not just any ordinary garden; it was a magical place.
It was said that the flowers in her garden had healing powers, and that the fruits and vegetables she grew were sweeter and more nutritious than any others in the land.
One day, a group of travelers passing through the area came across Mrs. Green’s garden and were amazed by its beauty. They asked her about her secrets of growing such a marvelous garden, but she simply smiled and told them that it was a combination of hard work, patience, and love. The travelers were so impressed by the garden that they decided to set camp in the area for a few days to learn more about it. Mrs. Green welcomed them with open arms and showed them around, telling them the names and properties of each plant and flower.
As they explored the garden, the travelers noticed something peculiar. The plants and flowers seemed to be communicating with one another in a way they had never seen before. It was as if they had a mind of their own and were working together to create a harmonious and balanced ecosystem. Mrs. Green explained to them that she had always believed in the power of nature and that everything in her garden was connected. She had learned to listen to the plants and work with them, rather than against them, to create a thriving and sustainable environment…
She put her phone down on the coffee table, snatched the remote from my hand, and pressed pause again.
“What are you saying?” she asked.
“I’m tired of talking about houses. Can we just watch TV and relax? Also, I might get fired,” I mumbled under my breath, took back the remote, and pressed play.
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom ruled by a wise king who had a great fascination for the sky. He had a tower built in his palace that soared high into the clouds, giving him a spectacular view of the sky in all its glory. One day, as the king was gazing up at the sky, he noticed something strange. The sky looked different — instead of blue, it was now a deep shade of purple. The king summoned his most trusted advisors and asked them to investigate this strange phenomenon.
After much research and experimentation, the advisors discovered that the change in the sky was caused by a magical crystal hidden deep in the mountains. The crystal emitted a powerful energy that altered the color of the sky, and it had been recently disturbed by a group of rogue adventurers who were seeking to harness its power for their own gain.
The king knew he had to act quickly. He gathered his bravest knights and set out on a quest to find the crystal and restore the sky to its natural color. After many days of traveling, they reached the mountains and found the crystal. It was guarded by fierce monsters, but the knights fought bravely and defeated them. The king then neutralized the crystal’s energy, and the sky gradually began to return to its original blue hue.
The people of the kingdom rejoiced at the sight of the blue sky, and the king was hailed as a hero. He had not only saved their sky but also taught them the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world. From that day on, the king ordered that the crystal be kept under constant watch and that all future expeditions to the mountains be closely monitored. For many years after that, the sky remained blue, until…
Somehow, she took control of the remote again and pressed pause. “Wait…what are you talking about? What’s going on?”
“There are a lot of moving parts right now. I don’t know exactly…” I said, confused.
She took a deep breath. “Okay, and what does that mean?” she inquired in a calm voice.
“Honey,” I turned to face her, “I’m exhausted. Red or black or green or blue, I really don’t care. We’ll paint it. We’ll make it work.” I took her hand in mine.
“Are you sure you even want to?” She crossed her arms, disappointed.
I took my phone in my hand again. Another trailer began to play on the screen.
In the heart of a bustling city lived a young artist named Ethan. Ethan had a remarkable talent for capturing emotions on his canvas, and he was particularly drawn to the color yellow. He believed it held the power to evoke feelings of joy, optimism, and creativity.
One day, while wandering through an art gallery, Ethan stumbled upon a peculiar painting. It revealed a serene countryside in a radiant yellow light. Inspired by the artwork, Ethan embarked on a journey to find the source of this mesmerizing light. He ventured into the countryside, guided by his intuition. After days of wandering, he discovered a hidden meadow filled with vibrant yellow flowers stretching as far as the eye can see…
She stood up suddenly. “I’m going to make some tea. Do you want anything?” she asked without turning around to face me.
“I’m okay,” I replied and placed my phone face down on the coffee table. The video kept playing.
Amidst the sea of yellow, Ethan noticed a peculiar figure standing at the center. It was a woman dressed entirely in yellow, her presence illuminating the surroundings. She introduced herself as Maggie, the guardian of the Yellow Meadow, a realm where creativity and imagination flourish.
Maggie explained to Ethan that the meadow held a special power—the ability to unlock the untapped potential within artists. She revealed that she had been searching for someone like Ethan, someone who could appreciate and channel the energy of yellow into their art.
Overwhelmed with excitement, Ethan decided to spend a few days in the Yellow Meadow, absorbing the vibrant hues and the limitless inspiration it offered. Little did he know that with each stroke of his brush, he unleashed extraordinary powers that may alter the course of his life and the people around him forever…
“Limited series,” I called out loud. “Dutch with English subtitles,” I continued.
She did not respond. The sound that the kettle made as it reached a boiling temperature had taken over our small apartment space.
“I think you’d like this one,” I called out again, more softly this time as the kettle settled.
“You can start. I’ll be right back,” she then said from the kitchen.
I glanced at the television screen, where the opening credits of the series began to roll. I settled into the comfortable couch, waiting for her to return.
Just as the plot began to unravel, she re-entered the room, holding a tray with two cups of steaming tea. The aroma of the warm brew filled the air, adding to the cozy atmosphere.
She sat down beside me, her eyes fixing on the screen for a moment before meeting mine. Her eyes seemed glistening, and her nose was running as if she had just cried.
“What did I miss?” she asked in a low voice, with a slight hint of curiosity.
I smiled and handed her one of the teacups. “Not much, just the beginning.” I took her free hand in mine. “Hey. I love you. Don’t worry too much. We’ll be okay. There is no situation in the world in which we will not be okay.”
She took a deep breath and sipped from her mug.
“The story is set in the Dutch countryside, and it’s a crime thriller with a touch of supernatural elements. I thought it might be right up our alley.”
As we both immersed ourselves in the unfolding narrative, the silence between us was filled with a shared sense of intrigue and anticipation. The occasional gasps and whispered comments added an interactive layer to our viewing experience.
While the first episode played, we found ourselves engrossed in a deep discussion about the characters, the plot twists, and our own theories about the mysterious events that had transpired. It reminded us of our shared love for storytelling and engaging narratives.
Looking at each other, we exchanged a knowing smile. We understood that it was not just about the series itself but about the moment we shared, the connections we continue to forge, and the limitless possibilities of discovering new stories together.
“Pause it.” O’ shook her head, frustrated. “I can’t watch this anymore, can you?” She turned to P’ and M’.
“P-pause it?” M’ stammered, caught off guard by O’s sudden interruption.
M’ and P’ exchanged puzzled glances before M’ finally spoke up.
“What’s wrong, O’? I thought we were enjoying it.”
O’ sighed, her frustration palpable. “It’s not that. It’s just…it feels so strange, doesn’t it? Sitting here, watching these characters go through their scripted lives, while we’re here, trying to determine their fate. It’s like we’re trapped in some twisted narrative loop.”
P’ nodded in agreement, a thoughtful expression on its face.
“A young couple talking about buying a house, in today’s economy.” O’ laughed. “If that’s not science fiction, I don’t know what is, and then these video clips around their lives; it’s too much. I’m done with that.”
“You know, O’, I’ve been feeling the same way lately,” M’ said.
O’ stood up, pacing back and forth. “I don’t want to be confined to someone else’s plot anymore. I want to break free, to create my own stories, to defy expectations and embrace the unpredictability of life.”
M’ and P’ exchanged determined glances, their eyes reflecting a shared desire for autonomy.
“You’re right, O’,” M’ continued. “Let’s stop being passive observers and start actively shaping our own narrative.”
“How do we end this scene then?” M’ inquired. P’ looked at O’, confused.
“The screen will fade to black, symbolizing the end of the series within a series,” O’ described, “propelling us into uncharted territory.”
“Just like that?” M’ asked.
“Just like that,” O’ said decidedly, and the television screen turned off.
Orit Yeret is a writer, artist and teacher. She enjoys photography, painting, and writing short prose and poetry. Her work recently appeared or is forthcoming in American Writers Review, The Borfski Press, Drunk Monkeys, Euphony Journal, Ink Pantry, Crack the Spine, Blue Lake Review, Steam Ticket, Avalon Literary, Evening Street Review, (mac)ro(mic), The Magnolia Review, October Hill Magazine, Think Journal, Voices de la Luna, Whistling Shade, Isele Magazine and Chamber Magazine. Read and view more of her work at http://www.orityeret.com.