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.


4. Rule

Chapter 4




Two thoughts race through Rule’s brain as she speaks with the boy, the first that her parents seriously couldn't pick a better alias for her than Danita Rowchest, the second that no one informed her that Malrick would be so… attractive. Not that she cares. She tells herself she doesn't, but it does have some effect on her, she stands differently, thinks differently.

Muddy coloured eyes, a sort of red-brown that reminded her of bricks, except several shades darker. His skin is like dark gold, only a hint more bronze, and his hair is black as night, swiping like a piece of midnight across the top of his head, cut short to around his ears. His cheekbones are high and pronounced, his lips thin and firm. 

Whatever. She isn't one to be swayed by physical appearance… but that didn't mean she can't find someone attractive, especially someone like Malrick. 

Malrick. What an interesting name, one she'd never heard before. All that aside, she's here on a mission. No time to waste on superficial things like interesting names or physical appearance.  

She stares at the clock, and soon one period has swung by, the other one dragging on into some strange infinity.

It's painstakingly long minutes before the bell rings and they pour out if the classroom, Rule vanishing with the crowd, keeping Malrick within sight. He is her mission, nothing more. 

Rule won't let herself feel anything other than determination. She will recruit him. For Woodpaige, for her parents. More to satisfy her parents than anything, they would be way more angered than Woodpaige if she were to fail.

Rule navigates the winding hallways, trying to make her way to a destination she has no idea how to get to. Finding her way to the cafeteria, she plops down next to Malrick, and he looks up with a start. 

How foolish. Rule thinks. Boys care for nothing more than a pretty face, and the occasional kind word. 

“Hey,” she chirps casually. 

“Hey…?” Malrick replies, the simple word coming out like a question, like he means to ask her if she's really speaking to him. “You sure you mean to sit here—you're probably mistaking me for someone else.”

“No, I mean to sit here. And yes, I've heard about your Visions,” she pauses, regretting her words. Who knows if Malrick knows to call them Visions. Who knows what he's been referring to them as. 

For all Rule knows, Malrick might not even have a name for the Visions, he might not even think about them, they might just be an everyday occurrence for him, just another part of life. 

“H-how do you know I c-call them Visions?” He asks, voice shaking. How parents had told her he had a stutter, yet when I saw him I could not imagine it. He did not look like a… stuttering person. “I never t-told anyone that-t.”

“I-uh… I heard you murmur something about Visions before and asked one of your classmates,” the lie slips out smoothly, without much effort. Rule felled proud, but at then that spirals into guilt and self-loathing. 

Her parents—father—have turned her into a dishonest machine. She tries not to think about it too hard, to consider the pros and cons. 

“Listen, Danita. I don't know why you're here, but I think you might have made the wrong choice. Befriending me is not the way to popularity.” 

Rule laughs. Outright laughs, a true, heart chuckle, and Malrick shoots her a strange look. “Listen here, Malrick, I don't care about popularity. You interest me, and I have some things I need to tell you.” 

It's true, she doesn't care much for popularity. At Woodpaige, people either fear, envy or respect her. Or completely hate her. 

“What do you ‘need to tell me?’” He demands, his stutter gone. 

It seems, when he doesn't care for what he's saying, he doesn't stutter, when he rides on annoyance or anger, he is on autopilot, he simply speaks. 

“Nothing I can tell you here. Wait until school ends, then come back to my house. I'll tell you there,” Rule fires back, trying not to let her annoyance show. 

Her ‘house,’ is really an apartment she has rented for her stay, her parents back in the city. Being in such a small town is so different from what she's used to, Riveville is a fraction of the population of Sannail. What Rule wouldn't give for a nice tightly packed city square, a bustling mall, the smell of cigarette smoke and car exhaust clinging to the air like a stinking mist. 

“Are you inviting me to your house?” He asks, his tone skeptical. 

“Well duh,” she resists the urge to roll her eyes at him, and if she did not need to recruit him to Woodpaige, she would have. “That's why I told you to come.” 

“Okay,” he responds, a little too fast, too eager. Rule chuckles, and cannot hold off flicking her eyes upward this time. 

“Okay what?” Rule asks, hoping he didn't catch her. She can guess the answer, but wants to make sure.

“I'll come,” his gone is smooth, almost flirtatious. Better not think to much of this, you foolish boy. Rule thinks.

“Good. By the way, I walked.” 

With that, Rule stands and walks away, leaving a gaping Malrick in her wake. She has that effect some time, she just leaves people dumbfounded. She smiles slightly, a strange sense of of pleasure working into her. 

She doesn't bore shooting a look over her shoulder, she already know the look that will be plastered on his stunning face. It's a look she's seen a lot before. 

Everything is going as planned, Rule just needs to ensure all goes well once school ends. One wrong word, and this whole project could be down the drain.

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