Asking for his name was meaningless, verging on an insult.

There was no meaning to be found for a name in a world where everyone was at once one whole and beams of light in a rainbow of color. You might as well ask someone for their ethnicity, a divisive concept eliminated by the advanced of mind. Not to say that all were the same- there must be the full spectrum- but no individual could be held accountable to the evil of assignment or stereotype.

In short, there was a rainbow but no color, a family but no sisters or brothers. Such a thing was not a contradiction; to make one distinct would be to make them separate, which was the evil of the past. To make someone true would be making another false, and that could not be tolerated. No, negative, evil, or wrong could be present, for everyone was equal and therefore good and therefore equal. Thus, he had no name, and needed none- even his own subconscious distinction that he was male (a word he did not know) he slowly worked to remove from his mind, as it made him different- and that would make him evil. And he was not evil. He could not be- even if that meant he could not be he.

He, if he could even be called that, looked up in the midst of the gaudy green field he lay in and listened to nothing at all. The wind blew in a bright blue sky, sending the slightest warmth over his naked skin. Clothing was of no need- why would it be? There was no shame. There were those like him near: Of course, none of them spoke, because words begot concepts, and concepts begot opinions. Opinions, of course, begot conflict. They knew nothing but happiness- in fact, one might argue they knew nothing at all, as happiness would imply some state of incompleteness. And there was no evil here.

Something alien shook the air and earth with its rancor. But there was no evil here.
Figures, unlike in appearance to the boy, stepped out of a large pitch-painted object wearing brilliant white and holding sticks with rounded points. But there was no evil here.
They made noises he could not understand and moved forwards. Something primal stirred in his heart, refusing to be calmed. But there was no evil here.

Then the noise split the air, and when something cut between one part and another of one of those near him, a brilliant spray of red beside green and blue taught the boy colors.

The following chase was a search for life and carried appropriate philosophical weight. The boy learned many things: First, that the rancor of evil was as real as a falling blade, second, that he desired something like freedom, and third, that he was not the other, because the other was cut, while he was whole. He wondered without symbol whether he might be the evil- he had made a distinction, however slight, between himself and others, and now the chaser made a distinction between life and death. Another question gnawed at his mind, too obvious to ask.

Why was he running?

He moved as quickly as he could over the green, headed towards where it met the blue. Now color truly meant something to him, as it did to an ancient man. White and black death, green and blue life, a bloody barrier separating them forever. And he? What color was he? He had no time to ponder with his weak mind. The sounds continued and grew louder. Pain, something alien to him, knocked him off his footing. He tumbled, and the intruding sensation crawled up his side. It was an evil brother to the wind on his skin. He saw green and blue and red.

A few more breaths and his body told his mind that he would soon see nothing but black and white. Footfalls, a terrible sound, approached. It was the monochromatic band, here to make him evil like them. The metamorphosis was already happening, he was sure of it. Soon he would be like them, a monster that had set itself outside of the rainbow. Was this the price of his thoughts? His weakness for separating himself?

His tears were like the evil wind on his skin, the crawling cold that drained out of him. The color he was sure was leaving him, the red that made him up. A hard thing struck him as he scrambled to see the blue and the light before he turned totally black-and-white. Now that he knew the colors, he wished that he had known them all along. This pain, as sudden as the color, could be worth it if he could only see the shades in their newfound glory.

“Only one so soft could find meaning in pain,” someone spoke to him. He was not sure at first why he knew what they meant- after all, words were not his way of being. Only someone evil could have words. His heart dropped as he realized this meant he was becoming as black and white as he had feared.

Then, however, something not quite blue and not quite red flashed before his eyes, causing a horrible scream. He looked up just in time to see one of the monochromatic men turn into a spiraling fountain of red and green and blue. A flash of purple caused this discoloration to settle into one burst of red that turned all the green in the area off.

The boy was in awe. What, indeed, could bring a tone to the colorless, to sunder death into life as life sank to death? Another of the monochromes, this time a woman, raised her rounded stick only to have it twist in her hands and her head to flash red. The last of the monochromes screamed in the same way the boy’s kind had screamed before changing from dead to living. A miracle that left them so astonished, the boy thought, that they could not move for the shock of it.

Much like the curse that limited his movement. As he struggled to stand despite the pain, the boy found himself locking eyes with a being at once like but not the same as the monochromatic monsters. Before, he knew of only one kind of person. Now, the revelation of pain promised him some third kind.

“How pitiable,” the grim figure muttered. The tall man with grey skin and strange proportions studied the boy with eyes that glowed purple, the same not-red-not-blue that had given the monochromes life. These alluring lights expanded and shrunk, swerved and teetered on grey hinges. They surveyed the area and the boy’s wounds. The boy reached out to the eyes like a moth drawn to flame-light, but his side shouted at him with pain, telling him to stop. The machine-man, for what he was was a cyborg, took pity and placed a hand on the boy. Purple shock skittered across the boy’s skin and turned pain to safety.

Before he could thank the prophet that had taught him color, death, and life, the boy found that his savior was walking away as if it were nothing at all- a trifle. But this did not unsettle the boy, as he knew that people could now be different and that different need not be evil. He followed the prophet for some time before the man turned to face him in turn.

“What do you want from me?” asked the Prophet with a dismissive tone. “I saved you from those Eugenicist thugs, so head back to your precious Egalitarian fairyland.”

The question startled the boy, and he pondered the issue with what little power he could. Using his vocal cords for the first time, he muttered something that the cyborg could not understand.

“Speak up,” the cyborg waved one of his great hands, his purple eyes narrowing. “Oh, I see. You’ve never spoken before, so you’re not used to talking. Just think, and I’ll read your mind. That’s how I spoke to you at first.”

“Name...” the boy whispered.

This caused a slight startle from the newcomer. “Name?”

“Your name. What is your name?”

After a few seconds, the cyborg laughed a hearty laugh, confusing the boy. “No, you must understand, boy… I find it funny that the first thing you ask for is a name when you have none of your own.”

The boy realized that pain could be even where fear was not, as his heart seemed to twist in his chest. The mockery hurt him. Still, he asked. “But you are one, not many,” the boy put his hand on his chest. “I am not. I have no name. Individuals have names.”

This quieted the laughter, and the cyborg looked down. The boy wondered if even a prophet could feel shame. After what seemed like an eternity, the prophet replied. “It has been very long since I have had a name. What do you want to call me, now that you have words?”

“Prophet,” whispered the boy. “Savior.”

“You give me titles I do not deserve,” snorted the cyborg. “Though if you like, you can call me Hermit.”

Now that Hermit was known to him, the Boy clasped his hands, still stained red from the spilled color, and asked, “What will you call me, then?”

The answer was instant in return. “I will call you Boy, as there doesn’t seem to be a better name at hand.” A wave to move onward signaled a continuing of the walk. “Come on, then. It’s been long since I’ve had a name because it’s been long since I’ve had a companion.” The mighty metal footfalls of grey streaked with purple light contrasted with the green and blue, and Boy felt as if he had discovered something much better than mere life.