The Man in Orange
rating: +27+x

Chris Kelly awoke to a glint of sunlight reflected on his window. A beautiful day, yes. Such luscious colors in the flowers outside, reds, violets, yellows, blues…He climbed out of bed and considered the clothes in his bureau, his closet. It was a magnificent collection, indeed! So many vivid hues, like the flowers, how could he possibly have a preference?

Kelly returned from the shower ten minutes later to appraise the clothes once again. When he had finally decided upon the blue jeans and green shirt, something caught his eye. A hint of orange. His heart stuttered. He scanned the flora outside his window and found the source. A single, orange rose had sprung up among its red siblings. Kelly seized the hedge trimmers he kept ready against his wall, pried open his window, and leaped into the yard. In a matter of seconds, he decapitated the problematic blossom and smuggled it back into the house. He hung the trimmers back upon their rack and lowered his gaze. Below them was a the bowl that he had always ready for this contingency. Kelly stuffed the flower in the bowl and retrieved his lighter. Within moments, the rose was ablaze. He watched it burn with a stone-carved face. Once it was no more than ash, he scooped the remains up and sprinkled them over the yard. Kelly turned on the spot, examining every corner of the lawn, his heart still on double time. Upon verifying that no further contaminants were present, he went back inside, exhaling deeply.

Kelly joined his sister and parents at breakfast. His father brought a massive plate of beautifully browned french toast to the table. His mother passed the syrup and butter around as everyone took their places. Kelly's little sister was seven years younger than him, an eager and mischievous 9 year old. She scarfed down the bread, making a mess of her cheeks and place-mat. As this marvelous spectacle was occurring, Kelly's father addressed him.

"You remember what you promised to do today?"

"Of course."

"Good boy." His father wiped his bottom lip clean of syrup. "Got your outfit picked out?"

"Yes."

His father looked at him warily for a moment, "A man at my office brought one of his old hats to work yesterday." Kelly looked at his father, a piece of toast suspended on his fork. The latter went on "it was a lovely blue hat, but it had the tiniest streak-" he traced his finger around his scalp "he probably hadn't even noticed when he put it on."

The room was silent. Kelly cleared his throat, "What happened to him?"

His father sighed. "Well he called the police, of course. He'd have been arrested himself if he hadn't."

Kelly closed his eyes slowly and repeated: "What happened to him?"

His father gave a jerk of the head, "The usual."

The family drew a slow and grim breath. "You understand what I'm trying to make clear, Chris?" he told his son.

"Yes, I understand." Kelly replied.

Breakfast continued without further incident until the little sister piped up: "Where's the carrot juice? We used to have it all the time, why can't we have some?"

The mood shifted abruptly; it was not the solemn quiet of the father's story, though: it was a mood of panic. The mother flung her hand across the table and covered her daughter's mouth, uttering a kind of muted scream. The father's head darted around, looking out the windows. Kelly was struck by a sudden, frightful image of the rose he had burned this morning. The girl gazed at her mother, terrified.

"We've talked about this, dear. We can't have carrot juice anymore, or-" she gave a small gag "-you know the other kind."

She lowered her hand from the girl's mouth, who looked down at her empty plate, shaking slightly. Kelly got to his feet.

"I should probably get going."

His parents looked up at him. "Be careful," his mother said. Kelly nodded.

He left the house at a brisk pace, the dull grey morning casting a dim illumination over the town. Kelly set off down the main street, looking at the jackets and sweaters and scarves that the other pedestrians had produced for the day. Almost entirely cool hues, purples, blues, greens, black…it was unsurprising. A few people came out in reds, yellows, pinks, browns, but it was a very few. Not a lot of risk-takers out there. Kelly exhaled, his breath lingering on the air. There was nothing wrong with the cool colors, it was just…you know…things had to be the way it had to be, and it got old.

Kelly stopped by the mail office in the town square and dropped off the letter his father had given him. His task completed, he glanced around the square for a possible lunch site. He settled on the burger joint which had recently opened and headed over, however, his trip was interrupted by what came bursting out of the restaurant's door.

Kelly blinked, the world seeming to shrink for the tiniest of moments. There a man stood, draped from head to toe in the most bizarre assortment of clothes ever. Coats, ties, scarves, belts, and ever single fragment shone in a different and glaring shade of orange. The man stood in the square, rotating slightly, gazing at the bystanders who stared back at him, mouths ajar. Vaguely, Kelly heard the sirens in the distance. The man walked out to the center of the square, his arms outstretched and a great, wide smile upon his face. He laughed.

"Why are you afraid? It is your color, you must take it back. They will only take more from you. What's next? Your wooden chairs? Your caffeinated drinks? Your light-haired children? Take it back, do not cower, take everything back."

At that moment, the man in orange was obscured by the bodies of several thick policemen which had leaped upon him. The square stood in silence, every eye staring at the struggling mass in its center. The police chief marched over and watched the man, beaten and bleeding, dragged to his feet.

"Cheeky little cunt, aren't you?" the chief said as he smacked his baton across the man's shins. "Well I like the spirit. Makes it so much more fun." He let out a whistle. "Gents! Fetch the boiling paint, we've got a badass on our hands here. Let's give him the tour."

The man was forced to his knees as two more policemen hauled over a tub of hot blue paint. The chief chuckled as the tub was raised up and toward the man's head. As the tub's rim was inches from his hair, a yell rent the frigid morning air.

"THE ORANGE!"

The chief and his men turned just in time to see the gargantuan mob which bore down upon them. The small force stood no chance. Kelly gazed in terror and amazement as the rebels took to the street, bearing great, tall banners of orange, orange which pierced the grey morning and filled Kelly with terrific wonders he remembered only in self-denied dreams. It was time, they would take it back, they would take back their orange, their world. It was time!

The outbreak of violence in Honeywood has been successfully suppressed. The instances of SCP-1434 which triggered the anomalous activity have been recovered. No further events have occurred.

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