Ivan and Kiel weren’t sure about their new town. Their house was okay, they guessed, but their last one had been okay, too. And their last neighborhood had included friends. They were both in sour moods during their first week in the new house and fighting came easily. It had rained every day and the cool gray outside seeped into their spirits. By the time the sun came out and they were sent out to the backyard to play, together, both boys felt like they were receiving a jail sentence.
Feet dragging, mouths grumbling, the boys shuffled into the backyard with glares in their eyes. Kiel picked up a stick and Ivan eyed him warily. Kiel drew arcs in the soft bedding beneath a tree though so Ivan relaxed and slumped away, kicking at a rock.
“I hate it here,” Ivan sighed.
“I want to go home,” Kiel sniffed.
Ivan studied his little brother with a rare wave of sympathy. His little shoulders hunched, Kiel seemed smaller and more fragile than ever.
“Hey,” he said, “it’s going to be okay. See? See how these trees look kind of like guards? I wonder what they’re guarding.”
Kiel’s eyes filled wide with a new vision of the yard.
“It looks like they’re all standing around… that spot right there,” he said, pointing.
The boys eased on tiptoe to the spot and inspected the ground. It was a cross section of tree roots, fallen twigs, leaves and needles. Kiel ran his stick over the soil.
“Do you see that?” he asked in a whisper.
Ivan had. Just for a moment, something had caught the light.
“Is it a marble?” he wondered.
“It’s a treasure,” Kiel decided, digging around it with his stick.
Ivan dropped to his knees and helped with his fingers. Whatever it had been, they weren’t finding it.
“No wait,” Kiel said, “it’s over here.”
A new flash of red orange light nearly blinded them as Kiel’s stick scratched at the spot. Once again, though, there was nothing there as soon as they began digging for it.
“Maybe we’re sitting on top of diamonds,” Ivan guessed. The next spark was greenish, and behind Kiel. “There!” he shouted.
“Ooh! I saw it!” Kiel shouted, pointing to a clump of roots. “It’s blue!”
They poked around but nothing blue was caught in the roots. A lavender flash of light washed over them and they gazed at each other in confusion. Neither of them had seen where that one came from. Then red. Really red. The tree trunks looked black and gray through all of the red.
“It’s so hot,” Kiel said, dropping his stick to wipe his brow.
“Kiel,” Ivan said in alarm, “we’re floating!”
Kiel looked down to see that Ivan was right. They were rising up and up along the long trunks of the trees, and still the world was red. The air was hot, like standing in front of an open oven.
“We are in so much trouble,” Ivan murmured as the roof of their new house passed beneath their feet.
“Ivan, check this out!” Kiel called.
When Ivan turned to look at his brother, he was surprised to see Kiel waving at him from a short distance away. He was… orange.
“I was wondering what the orange air might feel like,” he said, “and then I just slipped over to orange. It’s way nicer over here.”
Ivan wanted to try the orange. No, he wanted to try the yellow just beyond Kiel. Or maybe the green or blue. Nothing happened.
“You have to want it,” Kiel called from farther away.
Ivan looked down at the world passing far under their feet, all red and gray and black. He wanted to see it clearly, or how it would look on a bright sunny day. Yellow, he decided. He felt a shifting of the air around him. The heat eased as the world brightened to orange, and even more as everything became crisp and happy through a yellow view.
“It’s perfect here,” he said to Kiel.
“We’re riding a rainbow!” Kiel announced in delight.
Ivan had to laugh. It was obvious that they were riding a rainbow, and in any other moment he would have made fun of Kiel for saying something so obvious, but at this moment Kiel’s statement was exactly the thing he needed to hear.
“We are!” he agreed. “We’re riding a rainbow!” he called out to the sky and sun and surprised birds.
“You are at that,” said another voice. “And you’re doing a great job, too. Once you get better at it, you can surf them all over the world.”
The boys looked around but didn’t see anyone else in the rainbow with them until feet above their heads slowly sank down to their level. The newcomer was in his teens, and the first thing they noticed about him was the bright purple in his hair.
“Newbies?” he asked.
Ivan and Kiel shrugged.
“Don’t worry about that,” the new boy said. “We all have a first ride. It’s what you do with the ones after that matters. I’m Kiergen. You can call me Ki.”
Ivan and Kiel introduced themselves as well.
“You’ve figured out how to move between the colors,” Ki said. “That’s really good for a first ride. You’re going to be good surfers, I can tell.”
“How do we get up top and surf?” Ivan wanted to know.
“That’ll come in time,” Ki said. “The thing you have to know about bows is that they take you to where you need to be. Sometimes it’s so you can help somebody out, like I’m doing right now with you. Other times the reason isn’t as clear. I guess the things that we need, in our own life, aren’t really clear until later, so I suppose that’s why. Anyway, wherever the bow takes you, try to help out if you can. Oh, looks like my ride’s over. Safe skies Ivan and Kiel!”
Ki rose up to the top of the rainbow and they watched as he slid down its slope to the ground below as if riding a big wave.
“Cool,” Ivan breathed.
“Blue tickles your nose,” Kiel said. “I can see my breath.”
It took Ivan several tries to reach blue and by that time Kiel had already slipped into the lavender shimmering air at the far edge of the rainbow.
“This feels… alive!” Kiel called. “Like getting all of your sleep without having to go to bed or close your eyes.”
Ivan would have tried to join his brother in purple but he was already finding success in rising up above the colors. He didn’t slide down like Ki had, but he was able to walk around a little. From this view he was able to see that the rainbow was shrinking. He could make out details below.
“Hey Kiel, there’s our old playground!” he cried, pointing. “There’s our street! There’s our old house!”
“Maybe that’s where we need to be!” Kiel called back.
The rainbow kept moving, though, sweeping past highways and neighborhoods until it was small enough for Kiel to poke his head up out of purple and get Ivan’s help up to sit atop as they slowed over their new neighborhood.
“Maybe there’s something here that we need to do,” Kiel said thoughtfully.
The same thought had been on Ivan’s mind.
“Maybe someone here needs our help,” he agreed.
“Mom needs help unpacking,” Kiel said with an eye roll and they both laughed.
“The ground is getting pretty close,” Ivan said as the end of the rainbow washed into their backyard. “Want to try surfing?”
Kiel was on his feet in an instant. Ivan went first, testing it out. It wasn’t the smooth glide that Ki had performed but it wasn’t half bad for a first try. Kiel slid down on his bottom, laughing the whole way down. They rolled to a stop in the soft bed of the trees and the light of the backyard went back to normal. The rainbow was gone.
“I suppose this place isn’t so bad,” Kiel said after a thoughtful minute.
“It might be the best place yet,” Ivan agreed.
Written by W. C. McClure. This may be shared (and please do); just please be sure to share it in its entirety, unaltered (and including this fine print), with credit given to W. C. McClure. This is a work of fiction. None of the characters or events depicted are meant to represent anyone or anything this side of dreams. Comments are welcome! Please help support this indie author by telling your friends about this short story blog at http://www.farsideofdreams.com and buying W. C. McClure’s books at http://www.wcmcclure.com. Thanks for reading!