Rainbow’s Edge


© April Pearson

A rainbow is nothing magical, just the result of light shining through a lot of drops of rain and being dispersed into a spectrum of light in the sky. Okay, I’ll buy that as far as it goes, but why is it in the shape or a bow?

Sometimes the bow forms a semi-circle with ends that touch different parts of the earth. What would happen if you came across one of those ends.

Yesterday, I did.

I was hiking on a trail in the deep interior of the Valley of Fire. The sky was overcast. I love November. It had been raining all day, but the storm was ahead of me now. That’s when I saw it; the edge.

The base was fuzzy, indistinct as it touched the ground, and there certainly no pot of gold there. It looked more than a trick of light, especially as it illuminated the shadows, cut off from the sun’s rays.

On the 4th day in November, Madelyn April Cross touched a rainbow and became all the colors of the universe. Then she knew what to do next.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of November 4, 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 185.

I can’t really tell you what made me write the story the way I did. I can tell you that the Valley of Fire is a real place that is roughly 60 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. I hiked there many times in my youth.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

9 thoughts on “Rainbow’s Edge

  1. Of course the pot of gold is real! The leprechauns just keep it hidden. After-all we all realize that rainbows do end up somewhere, and eventually someone would post about it.



  2. I don’t suppose you researched the physics that explains the curvature of a rainbow. Essentially, the portion of the reflected and refracted light that reaches the eyes of any given observer represents the surface of a cone whose point is at the observer and whose opening terminates at the intersecting planar surface of the water droplets where the refraction is occurring. If not for the horizon or the ground, the rainbow would form an entire circle; and pilots are occasionally treated to seeing an entire circular rainbow halo surrounding the shadow of their aircraft against a cloud. I’ve experienced it myself. The rainbow image that one observer sees is not quite the same image that another sees from a different position. A different set of light rays is reaching the second observer. Therefore each one is also seeing a slightly different point where the rainbow intersects the ground; thus also if an observer is in a moving vehicle the position of the rainbow may appear to move as well — though if the image is at a sufficient distance its apparent movement will seem less. And when a moving observer reaches a position where the sun is no longer behind him — that is to say he is no longer within the necessary range of angles between the sun and the surface of water droplets that refract its rays — none of the refracted light rays will reach him, and the rainbow will disappear.

    Of course, physics can be rather a spoilsport when one is trying to create a fantasy scenario like the ending of your story.


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