Bob awoke to teal numbers on a teal background on a teal box that blared “Sounds of the Eighties!”
He blinked. He opened his eyes wide.
Everything was still teal. Walls. Curtains. Carpet.
Bob stifled a scream. Don’t panic. Call the ophthalmologist. Figure this out. It’ll be okay.
He stumbled from the Sunday morning bed, disoriented. Without color, everything was nightmare. He spread his skinny arms wide, touched teal walls, and navigated through his home of a dozen years like a spelunker whose light has gone out. It took forever, and he nearly trampled the teal beagle who leapt forth to lick his bare teal feet. But he made it to the kitchen.
Barb was there, by the stove, crying teal tears from teal eyes. Teal ooze dripped from a teal counter, onto teal tiles, and Bob eventually realized she’d been trying to cook eggs. Teal eggs.
“Bob,” she sobbed. “I can’t see. I tried, thought it would go away, but something’s wrong, really wrong, with my eyes… everything is the same color. It’s all…”
She looked up with teal eyes. He heard the sharp intake of her breath. “You too?”
“Yes, baby.” He ran to her, took her in his arms, hugged her tight. “It’s not just you. Me, too. Whatever it is, it’s hit us both. We’ll face it together.” Even as he said it, he silently berated himself for being relieved that — whatever it was — she had it, too.
They hugged tightly for several minutes, crying teal tears. He kissed her teal lips.
“Let’s see if it’s the same outside,” Bob said, because he was the man and he felt he was supposed to do something. He took Barb by the hand, and together they stumbled through their suddenly alien kitchen and found the door.
Outside, everything was the same shade. Grass, trees, sky, clouds, morning sun — all one gigantic teal blur.
Ghosts moved through the teal morning mist, and Bob shuddered before realizing these were his neighbors. Some sobbed, some knelt in prayer, others simply stood frozen in fear. Bob started to call out to Henry across the street, but couldn’t force his heaving lungs and quaking jaws to form words.
When words finally came, they came from everywhere. “Mankind…” the voice roared, like a tornado. “You’ve always seen things differently from one another, and you’ve always gotten things wrong.”
Bob tried to kneel, but somehow ended up sitting. Barb remained standing, but shook violently.
“Now you all see things the same way,” that voice from everywhere continued. “For I have decided you will never figure things out on your own, and from this day forward I will take a more direct hand in your education.”
Bob gasped, and looked to the teal sky.
The voice roared: “In the beginning…”
Steve Goble wasn’t sure whether to label this one science fiction, fantasy or horror. He writes in all these genres, and sometimes gets a bit mixed up.