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.

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10. Rule

Chapter 10

 

 

-Rule-

Hardly sleeping, Rule wakes up even more tired than she was before she feel asleep. Her alarm blares, and she fumbles around for the off button. Not finding one, she grabs the machine and throws it towards the wall. There’s a bang, and the sound of glass shattering, but the alarm cuts out. Oh well, she thinks. About time I got a new clock, anyways. 

She stays in bed for another good half hour, which slowly morphs into another hour. The decision not to go to school is an easy one. So she sleeps. 

Finally, at around ten o’clock, she finally gets out of bed. She drags herself through her usual morning ritual, brushing her hair, her teeth, washing her face and tugging on whatever clothes was on top of her drawer. 

Yawning, she stumbles into the living room and plops down onto the navy couch. She turns on the TV and flips through the channels, only to give up on finding anything interesting, leaving it on a boring cooking show.

Stomach grumbling, the kitchen beckons to her. There’s not much in the way of food, but she has a dribble of milk left and a couple boxes of plain cereal. 

She tosses both into a white ceramic bowl and grabs herself a spoon, before returning to the couch and shovelling the cereal into her mouth. There’s little to no flavour to it, and once again Rule wishes to return home. 

Once she’s choked down the cereal, she washes up the bowl and turns off the TV. Without anything better to do, she packs up everything she brought with her. Not much, other than clothes. She’d called Woodpaige last night, and they’d been astounded by how quickly she’d completed the mission. For some reason, she didn’t contact her father.  Maybe she’d been too scared, maybe she just didn’t want to. 

Her phone suddenly dings, and she picks it up to see a message from her father. It’s as if thinking about him suddenly summoned up his text. 

 

I just heard from Woodpaige. Why didn’t you tell me earlier you completed your mission? I was wondering what was taking so long.

 

She doesn’t bother to respond, flinging her phone on her bed. He doesn’t know she’s not in school today, she can always tell him around lunch time she was in class when he texted so she couldn’t reply. 

Finishing up her packing, she flops down on her bread, arms and legs sprawled, and stares at the ceiling. Boredom creeps over her, and for a second she wishes she’d gone to school. The feeling soon passes, though the boredom remains, so she decides to entertain herself. 

She creates a vast city of shimmering glass buildings in the space around her, replacing her bed and the bedroom floor with stark grey asphalt, dull and plain in contrast to the spectacular buildings. 

She’s lying in the middle of the road, and decides to leave cars out of the picture. She holds the Illusion for as long as she can, lasting a good ten minutes or so. But the effort grows too much and she has to drop it. Disappointment rushes through her, and she continues to lie on her bed for several minutes. She’s panting from the exertion, the magic like a muscle. The more she uses it the stronger it gets, but it leaves her physically exhausted for a while after each practice. 

She decided to try something a little more basic, and forms a plate full of chocolate chip cookies out of thin air. It was one of her favourite pranks to play as a kid. People could touch the cookie and hold it like a tangible object, until they went to bite it and she’d let the Illusion go, causing the cookie to dissolve into mist. 

It’s easy to tell Illusion from real once you know what you’re looking for. Illusions only appear to the eyes, they have no real texture other than the one the mind perceiving it dreams up, they have no scent and no taste, nor can they be heard. It’s said some of the most powerful Illusionists could create Illusions for all the senses, but the general rule of thumb is that if it can’t be heard, smelled tasted or felt than it’s an Illusion. Same goes for a Vision.

The difference between an Illusion and a Vision is that an Illusion is something everyone can see, but a Vision is inside one person’s head. Be it the Visionary who created the scene or someone they’re projecting it too, only one or two people at a time can see a Vision. And Visionaries need to be incredibly powerful in order to project a vision, most needed to be in contact with the person they’re projecting too, though a few incredibly powerful Visionaries only need to be in close proximity. 

Rule turns the plate of cookies into a plate full of vegetables. Another spin on the prank she used to do, turn the cookie into a piece of broccoli or tomato once someone reaches for it. 

She dissolves the Illusion, growing bored with petty tricks. 

The sudden urge to get out of the house washes over her, and she quickly grabs some cash before slipping into her jacket and shoes and walking out the door. 

The late-may air is bright with the promise of summer, warm and humid. The complete opposite of winter, cold and dry with snow piled up over her head and ice slicking every surface. The sun is hot, spilling down from between gaps in the puffy white clouds. To some, this would only just be considered spring. To the inhabitants of Riveville and the rest of the province, it’s practically summer. 

Time has no meaning as Rule walks. She moves at a brisk pace with her head held high, shoulders back, not meandering or slumped. 

She walls to the mall near Town Square, and pushes open the heavy door to step into the comfortably warm interior. Inside there’s no need for the leather jacket she’d been wearing, so she shrugs out of the garment and tucks it under her arm. 

Once inside, she slows her stride to a stroll and takes her time, making her way from store to store. She only has about fifty dollars left, which she needs to save if she wants to be able to eat. It’s impossible for her to tolerate another day of Mr. Noodles for supper, so she’s decided to treat herself for a nice dinner at an enjoyable restaurant. The school only granted her one hundred and fifty dollars for the mission, most of which was spent on food. They’d payed for her apartment already, so all she needed to buy was her meals and school supplies. 

She finds nothing to purchase anyways, but still spends a good couple hours at the mall simply because she’s got nothing better to do. It’s not until she reaches into her pocket for her phone and doesn’t find it, does she realize she should of texted her dad back by now. She would’ve had lunch break already, and there’d be big punishment if she admitted to cutting class or if she lied and said she had forgotten her phone. The lecture would be the same, her father going on about responsibility and how she lacked it while her mother watched with her infuriating pity. 

Muttering a string of swear words at the ground, she quickly leaves the mall and starts her walk home. The one good thing about a town as small as Riverville, nothin’s ever far away, even though the mall is towards the centre of the community while her house is more towards the outer edge.  

In twenty minutes she’s back at the apartment, having jogged most of the way. Out of breath, she stumbles up the porch and inside, heading straight to her room and plucking her phone up from her bed. She quickly taps out a response, before reviewing it, tweaking it, and hitting send. 

 

I didn’t reply sooner because I was in class, sorry. I was so exhausted from practicing last night I forget to call you. 

 

Not exactly a lie, and plus she knows it’s what her father wants to hear. She’d done some light practicing with her Illusions though nothing exhausting, but she’d still been pretty tired by the end of the day. She braces herself for her dad’s response, which comes startlingly soon. She jumps at her phone’s ping, quickly reading his message. 

 

Don’t go making excuses. 

 

Simple. Direct. No further elaboration. She sighs, and tosses the phone on her bed with a flick of her wrist. After about twenty seconds, she reaches for it again to reply. 

 

Sorry. 

 

After that her father gives no other responses, but she still waits a long ten minutes before going to plug her phone in. Her stomach rumbles; by now it’s almost one o’clock and she still hasn’t eaten. 

She goes to the kitchen but finds nothing appealing, and wanders aimlessly around the house for a few minutes. She’s hungry but has no appetite. 

With nothing better to do, she lies down for a nap. 

When she wakes up, she checks the time. School is over and the sudden urge to see Malrick hits her, similar to the desire to get out of the house she’d felt earlier. Spontaneous. Persistent. She hopes after a few minutes of ignoring it she’ll make the feeling go away, but to no avail. She doesn’t know how to contact him, so she goes into the file she’d been sent with his information and searches for his address. 

She puts on her jacket and her shoes, a series of actions that make her feel a strong sense of déjà vu. As per last time, her dad was the reason she needed to leave. 

Malrick’s house isn’t terribly far away, on the opposite side of the school as hers. She makes it there in only ten minutes or so, stealing herself to knock on the door. The house is a rather plain house, with mustard-yellow siding. She raises her fist and hesitated for a second, before knocking three times. 

The door suddenly swings open only seconds after she lowers her arm, and a disheveled looking Malrick greets her. 

“She left.” He declares, voice flat and steady. There’s no emotion to him at all, but not in a cold way. In an empty, defeated way. He steps aside and she walks in, not bothering to observe the house surrounding her. 

“Who left?” Rule demands. She is equally as flat, the only difference is a mild curiosity nags at her while Malrick appears to be completely hallow. 

“My mother.” 

 
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