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.


5. Malrick

Chapter 5




He stares as Danita retreats, watching how her brown-red hair swishes. Confusion swarms him. A girl, who actually bothered to talk to him. A girl, a human of the female gender, paused to speak with him. What is happening? He almost tells her that she should stay, but then realizes he's lucky she even bothered to look st him in the first place, let alone speak to him, let alone invite him owner. 

Then invited him to her house. He takes a shaky breath, and despite the hunger gnawing in his stomach, his food no longer looks appealing. Part of him wants to whoop with victory. Part of him wants to cry. 

Part of him just wants to curl up and sleep until the world ends. Sometimes, it doesn't seem like that's far off. With all the problems, Malrick—pessimist as always—tends  to believe that the world is only around the corner from ending. Sometimes he hopes that he's right, and that whichever force that will cause it will hurry up already.

Alone with his thoughts, he almost doesn't notice the Vision that creeps over him. Not harsh and demanding, but quiet and cunning. Dark and deadly.

He's in a massive building, not the school cafeteria. Marble flooring, walls painted cream, with gold gilding on the wood trim. A high, vaulted ceiling, with ornate gold details painted on it. 

A-a cathedral? Malrick refuses to move. A cathedral, yet it's empty. No preachers, no pews, just the ornate flooring below him and the elaborate ceiling high above him. He's sitting in a chair, the only piece of furniture in the strange chamber. White, with gold decals. This time, he decides not to let the Vision control him, but to control this Vision. He grabs at the image dancing in front of him, and warps it. He makes a chair appear. Something small, yet it causes a rush of excitement, and earns a shout of victory. 

He's done it. He has mastered his Visions. He has taken control, no longer the victim. First a chair, then a table, then a lamp. Then a cat, because why not? The white, orange, and black calico strides over to him, begging for attention. 

He pets the furry animal, and with a flush of embarrassment, checks the gender. Female. He decides to name her Alice. The cat jumps up on his lap, and he scratches her behind the ears. 

He's almost disappointed when the Vision dissipates, dropping him back into the empty school cafeteria. So bland. 

Why is no one there? Laughing at his own stupidity, he glances at his watch. That assures him that he is in fact guessing right. Lunch is over. Long over, he realizes, ten minutes ago, class started. Why did no one tell him to come, shake him away from his land of daydreams?

Letting out a storm of curse words, he jumps up. Late for class—again. Part of him wants to dive into a Vision, a fantasy, and never come out. The only things that's stops him is Danita’s invitation, her promise. 

He scrambles to class, mumbling some ill-thought excuse to his teacher, and takes his seat without another word. If he could, he get down on his knees and beg for a Vision to sweep him out of this place, so that he wouldn't have to face Mr. Millard’s harsh glares and the lecture he knew would come after class. 

The bell rings, and like water, the afternoon slides away. He wishes to grasp at time, to make it stay in one place for just a few moments, yet he can't. No Visions come, yet deep down something tells Malrick that if he wanted to, he could create a fantasy world around himself. One bell, then two, then a stampede of kids rushing to get out. 

No one even bothers to acknowledge him, to say something like see you tomorrow or even how did you find that science question?  Just him trying not to get without being trampled. This is how it always is, him keenly observing those around him, assessing them, while the ignore him. They always ignore him, as if he's invisible, or not even there in the first place.

Occasionally, someone would pause to speak with him. To throw a few insults, or maybe just yell at him for getting in their way. Never anything positive, yet he's used to all their hate. He doesn't like it, but his heart has turned to stone, and he takes it all without flinching. Danita is suddenly beside him, and asks him how his day was. He answers with a squeak, trying to make small talk. 

“Malrick! I need to speak with you!” Mr. Millard bellows, his voice hysterical with anger. I freeze. Then stop and turn around, ready to face a lecture. 

“Don't.” Danita breathes to him, and Malrick is paralyzed by indecision. “Just come on,” she beckons to him to follow her, a mischievous smile dancing across her lips. Malrick sighs, then breaks into a mad dash, a bout of maniacal laughter taking over him. 

“Malrick!” The teacher screeches. “You'll get detention for a week!” 

“What about me!?” Danita pouts to Mr. Millard. In a way that reminds Malrick of his young cousin, when her mother told her she couldn't have ice cream.  “It was my idea—give me detention, not him!” 

Her change of tone is shocking, going from whining toddler to defiant teenager. Her eyes reflect this, going from bored, almost sad even, to glimmering with cunning and hints of irrational anger. Mr. Millard detects it too, and a malicious glimmer hunts in his high. He enjoys mocking his students, and doling out punishment. 

That's why he's stuck to this job, even though he's practically ancient and could have retired ages ago. Instead, he sticks around to make as many people suffer as he can. Dramatic, yet accurate.

“Then you'll both get detention!” He shouts at our retreating forms, as we dash out of the school and into blissful freedom, the afternoon sun lighting up their eyes, which shine with amusement and adrenaline. Their escapade a success, Malrick lets Danita lead him away from the school grounds. 











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