Printed (extract 1) by Celia Watson

“Life isn’t all black and white.” There was no better phrase to contradict the world Dominic lived in. To a total outsider, the World might seem like a mythical place, but for Dominic, it was cold, hard reality. Black and white, except skin tones, were the only colours to be seen along the streets and fields of Block, a small country landlocked in a sea of states. One might think that the fact that everything was made of up words might give the place a little more oomph, some creative urge. Nothing. The words were stale, concrete. Nothing poetic lay in the repeated lines of “BRICKBRICKBRICK,” forming walls of buildings, or the bobbling clusters of “WATERWATERWATER” making up the pond. One would think that nothing needed a label. But without words, there was no identification. Clusters of letters would float around aimlessly, not resembling any known object. Yet somehow, there was only really one person in the whole of Block that identified himself with words.


Dominic was a feature editor at the traditionalist, slow newspaper, The Clock. Everyone deemed him as a freak, because he was fascinated with language. He was the only one who showed up to work every day with a smile, eager to type at his computer. This was hell for the others. They were pushed into it. The people of the World were indecisive by nature, but if they were so indecisive to the point of laziness they’d get stuck with a job as a journalist. They, the adolescents with no care for anything except the present moment, didn’t give a damn what they would be stuck with for the subsequent ten years of their lives. Until they got there.


Part of this lack of motivation was caused exactly by the opposite of that clichéd phrase: life was black and white in the World. One way, one clear-cut choice, two tonal shades to describe it. And all words.


It was a late Sunday evening. Dominic was again hunched over his keyboard, typing frantically, as if his fingers were magnetically drawn to the keys. He smoothed his blonde curly hair back and admired his work. Three pages of absolute glory on why the World should care about recycling. Dominic smiled as he sipped his decaf coffee and stared out into the black sky. At night, the words “SKYSKYSKY” turned dark and huddled so close together that they resembled a sheet of midnight velour enrobing the World. Suddenly his smile faded. He quickly remembered that although he wrote this article, it was not truly his. The Law of Conservation of Words flashed through his mind: “Words cannot be created nor destroyed, only transferred from one mind to another.” There used to be a bit in there about Erazeh, Block’s ruling overseer, being the only creator and destroyer of words. But that would mess up the flow of the sentence, and besides, everyone knew that Erazeh was the only exception anyway. Erazeh was the Boss of Block; other countries have Bosses but there was no central Boss. It would be impossible for he or she to manage all that word creation and consumption. The Bosses never talked to each other, ever. Practically the only thing connecting them was that they were all in the same World.


Dominic pushed aside his worry and tried to reassure himself with the fact that he was able to put his voice out there. The other journalists honestly didn’t give a crap.


It was 10:32 p.m. Sighing, he emailed his article to the Manager of the Printer, also known as his employer who collected and printed the articles. He then called it a night and shut his light out at 11 p.m.


To be continued…