Edward sat at his kitchen table. He sipped black coffee out of a white cup. In his hand he rolled the tiny, colorful ball. He had named it “Frederiq” as he couldn’t think up any new name for colors — names that had been lost only a few generations ago. But without anything to reference or compare to, what meaning would such an useless word have anyway…
Whenever Edward held the ball up against the weak, naked lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, the whole room shined in purplish colors. Frederiq’s secret power. As soon as Edward covered the ball with his hands, everything, once again, appeared black, brownish and grey.
But he had seen that the world had more to offer, more than just boredom and hopelessness, and this gave him hope. A hope for the future, that he hadn’t had in years.
He dramatically emptied his cup, spilling a bit of coffee on his white shirt, and looked at his watch. It’s digits showed 4:43. It was early in the morning, but Edward could not find rest. He had to find out what to do with this tiny ball. Should he call any kind of authorities? Should he keep the ball and its secrets to himself? Had his mother simply forgotten about the ball, or had she tried to hide it? And if the ladder was the case, why?
Edwards head was flooded with thoughts, but he just couldn’t figure out what the right thing to do was. It made him nervous. It made his stomach turn.
He got up from his kitchen chair, stretched out his limbs, yawned and pulled out a pan from a cupboard. As he stood there in the morning light by his kitchen window and fried an egg, he saw an old couple walk by with their dog. Their eyes were dark, but they were holding hands, tightly. Smiles were on their lips, but not on their faces.
Edward had no girlfriend and no friends that were so close to him, that he could trust them with anything as big as Frederiq. Ironic that something that could turn out to be the most important thing in his lifetime, wasn’t any bigger than the space between his thumb and indexfinger, Edward thought to himself. He had to make a decission himself. After a whole night of thinking, no thought in his head was clearer than the other. He only had his gut feeling to go by, and it told him that this was to big for him – that the only thing he could do was to talk to someone who would new what to do, or at least knew who to go to.
Edward finished up his egg, went to the bathroom and threw three handfulls of water in his face. Always three. He looked at himself. A confused face looked back at him, but he thought he could see a tiny smile underneath the tired, grey skin. He stroked Frederiq in his pocket.
Edward sat in a waiting room. The room was quite big, but the ceiling hung so low, that Edward constantly felt it was going to move at him in a downwards motion and helplessly crush him into the grey, coffee-stained carpet beneath him. He sat in a well worn sofa that was surprisingly comfortable while the white, sterile clock hanging on the wall made a ticking soundtrack to his drowsy thoughts. His head was starting to hang well down on his chest as a young woman called out for him in a very official manner, even though he was the only one sitting in the waiting room.
“Mr. Grey? Mr. Buckington is ready for you now”.
Edward stretched out his limbs and stood up. The young woman pointed her finger down a short hallway, “It’s right down that hallway, to the end, and then the door to the left” she said and smiled. The smile seemed very unsincere, but Edward was to tired or to focused on something else, to notice at all.
He moved down the hallway, trying to prepare what he was going to say, but couldn’t really make it clear in his head. He knocked Mr. Buckington’s door. “Yes, come on in”.
The office was small, mostly greyish with hightlights of white and horribly lighted. Mr. Buckington wrote something on a document, stood up, smiled and shook Edward’s hand. “Have a seat please!” he said, still smiling. Edward sat down, quietly. His mind was racing as he tried to figure out what kind of person he was dealing with here. “So, Mr. Grey, what can I help you with today?” Mr. B said and folded his hands over the table.
A clock similar to the one in the waiting room ticked away slowly as Edward looked Mr. B directly in the eyes and preparing his mouth for… words. He rolled Frederiq in his pocket, opening his mouth, then closing it again. Mr. B’s smile faded. “Mr. Grey, please. What can I help you with?”
Edward starred at him another couple of seconds, then made a decision and put Frederiq on the table between them.
Mr. Buckington starred at the ball. “What… What is this?” he muttered almost to himself. He looked to Edward.
“I was kind of hoping that you could tell me that…”
Edward looked a bit concerned as Mr. B took Frederiq in his hand, weighed it and held it up against the light. “Hr,Hrm…” Edward coughed in a fake manner, “Can you help me with this somehow?”
Mr. B looked to Edward. “Oh, I’m sorry”, he put down Frederiq, “but help you? With what exactly?”
Are you kidding me?, Edward thought to himself.
“Well… I think this is kind of significant, don’t you? With the Greying and all?!”
“Mr. Grey, I don’t think this has any of the impact that you seem to think it has”, he smiled at him, “But if you want, I can keep this… ball?… and show it to someone who might have an idea on what it might be. But don’t be disappointed, it is probably nothing to worry about at all”.
The thought of leaving Frederiq in a stranger’s hands made his stomach turn. There was something about Mr. Buckington that concerned Edward, but he couldn’t put a finger on it.
“Ehm… No, I don’t think that will be necessary,” Edward started to get up, “but thank you for your time sir”. Edward stood up and reached out his hand towards Mr. B. He grabbed it, shook it and held it firmly.
“I’m sorry Mr. Grey, but I really think it would be for the best to leave the ball here. Have you told anyone else about it? It might get you in danger, people are obsessed with these kind of things. Have you thought about that?”
“But I don’t feel comfortable leaving it here”, Edward smiled politely and tried to drag free his hand. “I’ll be fine. I’ll watch my back.” Edward said, slightly panicking. Mr. B held tighter still.
“Mr. Grey, I insist. It’s best for everyone. We don’t want you to get hurt.”
Edward pulled his hand out of Mr. B’s grip with all his might. He grabbed Frederiq and ran out the door holding him tightly. Mr. B walked after him “You are making a mistake here Mr. Grey”
Edward ran as fast as he could. Out of the building, into his car. Go Go GO! No looking back. Drive!
Mr. Buckington stood outside the building he worked in and watched a man he had just met, named Edward Grey, drive off. In his hands something of huge significance. Mr. B took out his cellphone, and dialed a number.
“Yes, is this Mr. White’s office? Tell him to call me back imidiately. We have a situation”