They passed a law that everyone had to constantly stand in paint. They didn’t care about the colour, but you absolutely had to be barefoot. The announcement came over the tannoy one day; and was repeated, in every country, in every language. Nobody knew why…of course, that didn’t stop them pretending. It’s to get the kids moving again – and cut childhood obesity. Not it’s not – it’s to boost our country’s manufacturing, by making all that paint! Can’t you see that this is what happens when we have artists in government? You could hop-scotch; Fox-Trot; march; shuffle; pace; heel-to-toe… nearly anything went. Those who liked to bend the rules, bent themselves and tumbled, hand-stand first into the coloured emulsion. If you had no legs, or legs that meant you were less able to get around – you were allowed to create imprints with your prosthetics or mobilising aids. If you were yet-to-walk, your parents could legally take your tiny little feet and plunge them into any colour they wanted – it didn’t matter that the hue would make your nauseous, or anxious, or overwhelmed in years to come. Those whose digits danced, only left fingerprints so far. Nobody knows what happened to them, after their thumbprints disappeared. Maybe they suddenly ran out of energy – after all, nobody could get by, walking on their hands for a long time (all the blood would rush to their head). Yes, that was definitely what happened.  The wheelers and walkers; the little baby not-yet-walkers – their imprints only lasted so far. In the end, everyone was the same. It didn’t matter if the colour you’d chosen was daffodil yellow or midnight black. In the end, everyone walked all over one another – until there was no trace of a single individual – and every colour, however once-bright, had merged to a forgettable-mud.

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Liz Wride is a writer from Wales. Her short fiction has appeared in The Ginger Collect, Okay Donkey Magazine and Occulum Journal. In 2015, her short story ‘Potato’ was shortlisted for the ELLE UK Talent Awards. Her newest pieces will pop up in Turnpike Magazine and Pop To..Magazine in 2019.

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