Moumita Dutta posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-52 on 2023-05-21

Epi dreaded this time of the year. It brought back bitter memories of past years. She sighed, thinking about the torture and distress it'll cause her. And that she’ll have no choice but to absorb everything. Or speak up.   I’ve had enough. It’s time for a change. I must find a way to silence those hominal bullies. Shadeism is a prejudice, and they have no right to mock anyone. Since I can’t pass the message directly, I need to think of a feasible method.  Suddenly, an idea struck her mind. Oh yes! Melani can help me get through this. If I succeed in convincing her, half the problem will be solved. But first, I’ll notify the integumentary system bench. That way, the message will get circulated quickly.  Epi did as planned. The bench took charge, and a phase was set for the hearing.   “I need your help on a vital matter. Actually, I’ve been a victim of seasonal harassment. I stay fair and fine the rest of the year, but once Sol goes high and mighty, his fiery rays burn my delicate fascia. It gives me freckles and the hyperpigmentation is so prominent that the onlookers make fun of me. Their scornful words smolders my spirit and slackens my regeneration process. The only one who can help me sort this, is Melani.”  “My job is to protect you. I do that diligently. What more do you want from me?” Melani sounded upset and curious.  “Yes, I know, but when Sol’s blaze dazzles you, you lose control over yourself. There is an uneven increase in your production, and that gives irregular colouring to my façade. If only you keep a balance, I won’t get laughed at by those inane hominals. I won’t become an object of mockery. Hope you’re getting my say.”  “Don’t be foolish. My capacious presence protects you from harmful ultraviolet rays. It makes you dark, but then it saves you from further damage.” Melani explained patiently. “Seems like you’re more worried about your looks than your health. I think it’s best to ignore those outworldly creatures and concentrate on your well-being.”  "If only you had to bear the taunts..." Without further ado, the Derma group members of each stratum got into a discussion and passed a fair judgment. They empathized with Epi and advised her to stay strong and disregard the shaming. Melani was apprised to cooperate and bring balance to her production procedure. They instructed everyone to work in synchrony and obtain the natural sheen.  “Thank you, everyone.” Epi was beaming as if someone emptied an entire tube of ‘Glow & Lovely’ on her. “This isn’t just about me. For, only after we fix the inner discord can we fight the external foe. And win too. If we work together, it’ll help me to become eudermic. Since we’re interconnected, it’ll benefit everyone, eventually. And now that we sorted our internal glitches, I hope the sun understands the troubles we face due to the burns he gives us.  ------------ Glossary: Epi- Short form of Epidermis (outer layer of the skin) Melani- Short of Melanin (provides pigment to skin) Eudermic - scientific term for well-balanced skin     Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!