Origin Story by Sarah Wallis

A man once saw a rainbow and thought it the most magical element. He raised praises so high, Iris popped out her tangled yellow head and giggled at adventure, climbed on a llama’s back and drew her multi-coloured cloak about her.

The man told other men of the mountains what he had seen and they drew down the rainbow with a spell and a wild fire dance, held to her skirts and fixed her into the earth forever. Their womenfolk sang Over the Rainbow, just like Judy Garland, and wished for an Emerald City dwelling wizard, to liberate them from a life of llamas and lizards and their cracked wash pots.  

Visitor millions grew and gawped and the snow at times fell white all around them, covering the colours, which endeavoured to shine out louder and the singing continued of the seven colours sown into the solid mountain ground…red and yellow and pink and green… and on into quartz, and phyllites, magnesium, elements the children soon learned to spell, telling the tourists what made the colours as they went about i-capturing the wild colours of the mountain but no mention at all of the girl Iris trapped in the mountain, her cloak of colours making them rich and famous.

The tourists boot worship wore the mountain down and down and into the ground like muddy plasticine. So the spirit of Iris wriggled and giggled and scrabbled and grabbled at the ground all around the inside of the mountain to eventual escape. Once out in the clean cold air she took a moment and then soared back up into the sky, where she belonged, shining on a million other fantastic adventures. But as she rose, she tore her skirts once, twice, three times before climbing free… and the mountain held on tight to the colours she wore and it shone, fixed forever into a bright blazing shadow the simple charm of an echoing song, singing out the colours of the rainbow, rainbow, rainbow…

Sarah Wallis is a writer based in Scotland. Recent work has appeared @LunateFiction, @SelcouthStation @CPQuarterly and @Trampset. A chapbook, Medusa Retold is published with @fly_press, a long form narrative poem told from Medusa’s point of view. You can find her @wordweave or sarahwallis.net

Image: unsplash.com