Painting Pictures

Malrick has an overactive imagination. His mind involuntarily turns ordinary walks into treks through a mystical forest and boring classrooms into ancient chambers and caverns. He spends his time hiding from others. But then Malrick meets a girl named Rule who teaches him that what he sees isn't delusions, but a gift that he can learn to harness. But Rule isn't all she claims to be, and with his parents convinced Malrick is nuts, Malrick will need to unravel the truth of wether he has a wild imagination, a rare mental disorder or a magic gift. And doing so just might mean he will need to stop hiding and trust a girl he barely knows.


3. Malrick

Chapter 3




The day suddenly fades out into night, and Malrick tries to sleep. But he is kept awake by his turbulent thoughts, mentally bouncing him left and right, up and down. Such a strange thing, time is. It is slippery, and sticky. Sometimes it flows past you, gushing like a river after a hard rain, sometimes it is like the rotation of the earth, it's moving by, but you just can't feel it. 

Tonight, for Malrick, it's the latter. He lays awake, sometimes staring with lifeless eyes at the ceiling, sometimes reading, sometimes playing games on his phone. His parents don't bother to poke their heads in to check on him, make sure he's asleep. 

It has become evident that they are used to his ‘moping,’ and no that none of their words will have an impact in how he feels. So they leave him alone, and it's not until the sun begins to stain the sky scarlet does Malrick drift off, only to be awoken heartbeats later by his alarm clock, screaming in his ear it's time to awaken. 

As if in a daze, he drags himself out of bed, hauls on some clothes, a black shirt and jeans that were also probably once black but are now scrubbed out to a faded grey. Then he looks at himself in the mirror. 

Bronze-gold skin. Black hair. Reddish brown eyes. In truth, he is fairly handsome. But when he sees himself, all he sees is ugly. He doesn't see himself for who he is, as if every time he stares at his own face he is seeing a Vision, someone else staring back at him. 

With a sigh he brushes his glossy hair, then heads down to the kitchen. He debates skipping breakfast, but his stomach rumbles and he wastes precious minutes preparing himself a bowl of cereal.

When he plops down in the chair, Malrick notices the note on the table. From his mother, more than likely. 


Gone to work. 

        text us when you get to school. 

     -mom & dad 


No hearts, no xoxo. Not even an ‘I love you.’ Describing his father, he wouldn't say cold, just… distant. Unemotional. Describing his mother, he would say cold. Not a hesitation, not a flicker of uncertainty, not when describing the unsympathetic man who's blood he happened to share. Bitterness fills him with thoughts of his mother, while sorrow fills him with his father. It wasn't always this way, but damage has been done to this family, and Malrick fears that it cannot be undone.

With a sigh he finishes up his breakfast and heads to school. Malrick doesn't live to far from his school, Pikearm Intermediate, but he would never make it on time if he were to walk. Not owning a car, and being to years off from legal driving age, he hops on his bike and pedals his way to school. 

By the time he arrives, his legs are aching, his breathing is ragged and sweat beads across his hairline. 

But he's on time, and that's all that matters. It would be a great morning, sun shining, birds singing, at school with plenty of time to spare, if not for the Vision that suddenly embraces him, slamming down over normal images like a curtain at a show.

The school hallway is now a dark and foreboding jungle, trees swaying around him, the roof replaced with flicker of blue, only visible when the massive, arching branches parted slightly, on a phantom wind.

And yet, he doesn't panic. Malrick doesn't stumble, doesn't flinch. In fact, only one though occupies his mind. 

Not this again. Not another one. 

On average, he gets one or two small, short Visions each day, and a larger, longer one about once or twice each week. This week though, he'd already been emerged in three strong ones, ones that hit him like a brick as they slammed into him, when they leave him, they left him shaking and nauseous. 

He shuts his eyes against the Vision, and staggers by memory to the boys washroom, locking himself  inside a stall to wait it out. 

This one is a short one, vanishing almost as soon as he finishes bolting the door. But it leaves him unsteady and nauseous. A very un-masculine blush stains his golden cheeks as Malrick leans over the toilet and vomits up his breakfast. 

Tears prick in his eyes, and it takes a few minutes for him to calm his racing hear and steady his shaking body. 

When he does, he simply wipes away those few stubborn tears and washes up, acting like nothing even happened, and heads to class, praying he's not late. Last time he was late, the teacher had lost his mind.

He arrives on time, but realizes something is amiss. Different. He swallows and heads to his desk, hoping for some time to himself before class starts. He doesn't get it, as the whispering around him makes it impossible not to wonder what the others are saying. 

He listens in to a nearby conversation, surprised by what he hears. 

“A new student is supposed to be coming today,” one says, and Malrick is instantly interested. New students are rare at Pikearm, the school located on the outskirts of a small town called Riveville. But no, he'd heard correctly. A new student. Maybe someone who doesn't know of his past, someone who might actually talk to him. 

It seems his wishes have been granted, as today is already looking better than yesterday, and the mere prospect of someone to befriend. Loneliness has always plagued him, he has always been the outsider. 

The teacher strides into the classroom, a brown-haired girl in tow. His heart sinks almost immediately. If the new student is a girl, then he stands no chance. To him, it's as if he is made out of soiled girl-repellent. 

“Hello class. This is Danita Rowchest,” Mr. Millard, Malrick’s homeroom teacher, announces. No time wasted on further introductions, he motions for the new girl, Danita, to take a seat in the empty desk—right behind Malrick’s. 

Wait. The empty desk had been directly at the back of the class, how…? The thought ends right there as the girl speaks to him.

“Hey!” She hisses, her voice strong and sturdy with confidence, and Malrick foolishly looks to the side to see if she was talking to the person next to him. But no, her words were meant for him.

“Hi…?” He whispers back, cursing the way his voice sounds. At least he didn't stutter. He twists in his seat, and studies the girl. Brown hair that gleams almost reddish in the yellowy classroom light, skin that hovers close to being tanned, yet not quite. 

Danita, as she'd been introduced, is quite stunning, yet her most interesting feature is probably her eyes. A shifting mixture of colours, a greyish base with flecks and splotches of blues, purples, greens and yellows dabbed in. 

“You're Malrick right?” She asks, and he simply nods, not bothering to question how she knew his name. He simply assumes that the teacher had told her who she'd be sitting next to. “I'm Danita.”

She extends her hand, as if for him to shake. He does, then pulls back, stunned, as with a subtle flick of her slender fingers, a rose materializes out of thin air. He blinks, to insure it's not the beginning of another Vision. 

“What the—!?” He has the sense to keep his voice low, regardless of his surprise. Danita merely laugh, gesturing towards the rose, that appears to to shift slightly, like a collection of mist. 

“For you,” she pronounces, keeping her voice a whisper, then all but shoves the rose into his grasp. He smiles, the first genuine smile he's displayed in weeks—months. 

Malrick runs his finger over the rose’s petals, the feeling eerily similar stroking a cloud. The deep crimson colour is so vibrant, you can say the rose is carved from blood. 

“Thank you,” he whispers back, watching as the rose vanishes, dissolving into scarlet and emerald mist. “Uh-I guess.” 

Danita chuckles, but the laughter is short lived. The teacher glares at them, looks alone scathing enough to force them into silence. Mr. Millard drones on with the lesson, and Malrick cannot focus. He keeps shooting quick glances over his shoulder at the girl, wondering about the misty rose. 



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