Color Theory

She took up knitting four months after the accident.

Needles did not have good connotations. At first she was wary, but it turned into a sort of catharsis. Needles injected long scarves instead of drawing vial after vial of blood. A tangled mess resolving itself into neat rows, a conclusive result. Order from misery. The balls of yarn that were soft and wholesome in her hands had therapeutic names like Larkspur and Fleur and Feather. She avoids blends of British Racing Green and Stoplight. As the needles click she imagines her body knitting itself together, ball and socket, nerve and tendon.

Cast on, purl, alternate, bind off, slip knot. She learns the abbreviations as a second language and chants them like a mantra. She is getting well again. She has finished two scarves, a hat and a tote, all for friends and well-wishers, all in blues and grays.

She brings her stash to a session one evening when the sky is Sandstone and the air damp and cloying. After her therapist picks out a color for his tea cozy (Peacock, 100 Worsted Weight Wool) she lingers, fingering the faded skeins. "Cass," her therapist begins. His voice is muted. "I have a proposition." He goes on to suggest that she branch out. Inject a little color into her mass knit-gifting operation, so to speak. Standing in the lobby a mere fifteen minutes later, Cass cannot remember his particular turn of phrase; flashes of bright light and streaks of color are conflicting with her desire to please the good doctor, to make him something whole.

She lets four craft shops pass by the bus windows before getting off at a grocery store. The Michael's next door is incidental, she tells herself—she needs olive oil and probably new baking sheets, if they sell them. They don't. She buys a package of cookies instead. For lack of available hands, she ends up nestling her conquests in her sewing basket. Her environmental initiative is complimented with empathetic nods when she is asked 'paper or plastic?' by a girl who appears to be crafted out of the later, and Cass feels like an impostor.

The bus won't arrive for another fifteen minutes and there is a strange man in the shelter, so she wanders into Michael's. It is large and impersonal and flared with fluorescence; no one asks if they can help her. Cass feels marvelously loose and decides to peruse the yarn aisle. She walks out with Ember, Clementine, Miss Scarlett—even Stoplight. On the ride home she sets up her standard barrier, her string circle of protection, and squeezes each fresh roll. She stops at Ember, the faintest orange, and knits a cautious square. It is luminous; she leaves it on her seat when she leaves; it is liberating. The sky is now Cobalt and dark, but patches of bright orange streetlight guide her way home. She feels like she discovered the color for the first time, as if she was walking on the beach and stepped on a shell and saw it stain the sand a lovely dark violet, like the old story only with the hues reversed.

At home, with the radio on, she attempts arm warmers for her niece in Clementine. The wool sears her fingers as it flies through. Cass pauses for a moment over Lapis Lazuli at the café for lunch on Sunday but passes right over it for Clementine again. She goes back to blue briefly when she makes her therapist's tea cozy. As a thank you she weaves some Ember into it, but going back to the weak orange feels like treachery after the sparks of the stronger one. By the time her next session rolls around precisely one-third of her basket is warm with Miss Scarlett. She is a bit hot, herself; her hand shakes. Her therapist accepts her gift with grace and fire. There is a silence. "Cass," he asks, staring intently, "how do you feel now, Cass?" She does not answer. He voice is as soft as cashmere as his words knit violence and screams to the fierce colors in her lap. She gathers her basket. "And Cass," he says, "be sure to keep your supplies in a room other than your bedroom. Disassociation helps. I suggest the kitchen, an emotionally warm room. Or," he pauses, "or by the door."

That night, she sits at the kitchen table and knits and knits a long strip of wool made of every red she owns. When she pulls Miss Scarlett out she feels like she has looped a heartstring into the pattern. The kitchen constricts and her work becomes more concentrated, desperate. In the center of the furnace there is a string circle of fierce quiet. She feeds the fire and feels herself draining into the scarf, the strings of scarlet her own veins. It's a deeper red than her fevered brain can possibly comprehend, yet she doesn't remember taking out Stoplight. She reaches for it now.

There is a light. The world stops.

Cass misses her next session and the session after that. Her psychiatrist calls on her himself, forgoing family and friends and the police to travel into rural Virginia. There is no answer. He forces entry. The house is silent and awash with the lavender light of morning so early it hardly merits the name, but there is a glow coming from the kitchen. On the table is an empty basket. Two knitting needles are driven with disturbing precision into a door: her bedroom. He pushes it open. On the bed, the color of Bleached Ivory, is the woman. Tangled around her bulging neck is a long, tight strip of wool the color of bleeding rubies. There are wild unraveled skeins of the same throbbing hue strewn across the room.

With clinical precision the man rolls the excess yarn into the basket and then rolls the woman over. He puts the scarf in his jacket pocket and makes it back to D.C. in time for his nine o'clock. The scarf is draped alluringly over his chair when he leans in towards his next patient.

"Samuel, I feel you have taken all you can from carving your feelings into soap," he says, taking the brittle knives whittled into Ivory bars from the man. "Let's move on to something more substantial, more colorful, shall we?"

Suggestions to give the story more tension/creepiness are welcome! I tried to make the ending a little ambiguous, but it turned out more direct than I had intended. Does it work this way?
Thanks. :)