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A Black and White World

Updated on September 28, 2016
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

" “We’re near the coast?” Jill asked, excited."
" “We’re near the coast?” Jill asked, excited." | Source

Billy wiped away the soot from the sign. Large white letters emerged.

Nearby, Jillian sat on her motorcycle that was parked on the cracked and broken road.

“What does it say?” she asked through the filters of her mask.

Billy was the literate one. Then again, he was only one in their tribe who could read.

“White Pier, one-mile,” he said.

“A what?” Jillian asked.

“I saw pictures of them at that book place down south. It’s something that stretched into the sea.”

“We’re near the coast?” Jill asked, excited.

The sky was always dark. The radiation clouds blocked the sun. The world was barren. Acid rain had killed off the plants and trees. Thus far, they’ve only known a black and gray planet devoid of other colors.

White Pier, one-mile,” he said. “A what?” Jillian asked. “I saw pictures of them at that book place down south. It’s something that stretched into the sea.”
White Pier, one-mile,” he said. “A what?” Jillian asked. “I saw pictures of them at that book place down south. It’s something that stretched into the sea.” | Source

Billy nodded. But, in truth, he wasn’t sure. Since they decided to part ways from their band of survivors in the east to search for a better world (one exploding with colors), they had found nothing but the same landscape.

The sky was always dark. The radiation clouds blocked the sun. The world was barren. Acid rain had killed off the plants and trees. Thus far, they’ve only known a black and white planet devoid of other colors.

“Black planet, black world.” He uttered.

"What’s that?” Jillian said.

“That mantra the elders wanted us to recite. Now I know why.”

“Aren’t we going to the pier? We’ve come so far!”

Billy ruminated. She was right, he realized.

“Might as well,” he said as we jumped onto his bike.

Moments later, they arrived. The two found White Pier, only it wasn’t white. It staggered into a dark gray ocean where even the white caps of the waves were tainted with ashes. To worsen the matter, a storm was brewing, possibly full of poison rain.

"There was something else. Somewhere over the ocean, a rainbow arched through the sky."
"There was something else. Somewhere over the ocean, a rainbow arched through the sky." | Source

"Let’s go,” he said. “We’ll find shelter and then head up the 101.”

But, as they were about to leave, Jillian spotted something. Excited she grabbed Billy’s arm.

“Look!”

He turned around and froze. In the distance, there was a break in the clouds. Something he had only heard about emerged.

“Blue skies?”

There was something else. Somewhere over the ocean, a rainbow arched through the sky.

“Is it colors?”

“A rainbow,” he answered, tears forming in his eyes.

He had never seen such a beautiful sight. Maybe this world wasn’t so black after all

The pessimism of the eighties' Dark Wave music

This story was inspired by goth/punk band Sisters of Mercy's song "Black Planet" (not to be confused with the album Fear of a Black Planet from Public Enemy). While the story contains some elements found in the song, many liberties were taken to create the story. Both mention highways, a white pier, radiation and a post-apocalyptic world.

The song is dark yet, it reflects the sub genre and era it came from. It seemed that the early 80s was a time to fear nuclear annihilation. This was especially true with Europe. The Cold War was intensifying and it appeared that there was no let up between the superpowers.

Goth, Industrial, or Dark Wave (as this brand of music has been called, lately) reflected the fear and pessimism many felt. The idea of a dark foreboding future was real for many.

Fast-forward 30 years later, and some of the themes of these songs seem to peculate among today's youth. The Great Recession, wars, terrorism, and more countries expanding their nuclear arsenal has created a scarier world than what existed in the 80s. One can argue, that it's more dire than the world Sister of Mercy created in their song. .

Black Planet - Sisters of Mercy (an English band traveling through Southern California's refineries and harbor area)

Black Planet By Sisters of Mercy

© 2014 Dean Traylor

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good story with a nice colourful ending.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 18 months ago from Southeastern U.S.

      What a bleak rainbow. Held my interest. Makes you think. Good visuals. Will probably remember this one...

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