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.


11. Malrick

Chapter 11




Nothing. He feels absolutely nothing, other than a dreadful hollowness that’s worse than any pain he’s ever experienced. It’s like someone ripped out his heart, leaving a yawning void in his chest. He knows he should feel utter anguish, yet there’s nothing. 

Rule’s face melts into a look of sympathy, confusion and sadness, with a dash of pity. She places a comforting hand on his arm. 

“Talk to me,” she whispers, and something in her voice compels him. “Tell me what happened.”

“My dad went out of town for work. I guess she was sick of being alone.” He sighs, remaining empty even though something tells him he should feel. Feel something, feel anything, but instead he is devoid of all possible emotion. “She was cold, distant. Always angry and scowling and looking at me and my father with this infuriating contempt. She wasn’t happy. I should’ve seen it coming, but I didn’t. And now she’s gone, she just left. Left, Rule, left without so much as saying goodbye.”

“How do you know she’s really gone, then?” Rule asks in a soft, comforting tone. “She might come back.”

“She left a note,” the one good thing about being emotionless, there’s nothing to trigger his stutter. “Didn’t say she loved me or anything. It was simply bland, hard fact. She said she wasn’t happy here, and that she was gone and not going back. She also said not to try and find her.” 

Rule pulls him into a hug, and he stiffens, unaccustomed to such a casual, caring embrace. Nobody has hugged him for a long, long time. Not his parents for sure, and they rarely visited other relatives. 

She holds him in her strong grip, before pulling back, one hand lingering at his waist while another presents him with a flower. An Illusion, of an indigo and pink spotted white orchid with soft, delicate feathers. When he holds it, he can feel the soft, velvety petals, and he brings it up to his nose to admire the or hid’s dainty floral scent. 

“Thank you,” He breathes, a smile gracing his handsome face. Rule pulls him back into a hug, one arm wrapped around his waist and the other near the base of his neck. 

They’re in such an intimate position, Malrick knows he should feel awakened and anxious beyond anything he’s ever felt, but the emptiness remains. Slowly, a tingling sensation fills the chasm where his heart is supposed to be, like tiny Burt’s of electricity going off inside of him. 

Unable to think clearly or resist the lust taking over his body, he gently presses his lips to Rule’s. She immediately grows stiff, as if he’s holding a statue, before ever-so-slowly relaxing. 

The kiss is over as soon as it begins, and Rule’s eyes are wide and frazzled. Malrick studies her, realizing not for the first time how beautiful she is. 

“Let’s not tell anyone about this,” she whispers, before slinking out of his arms. Her cheeks aren’t red, there’s no yearning in her eyes. No fireworks goes off, no choirs start singing. 


Malrick goes back to being empty. 

Rule paces somewhere off to the distance, muttering to herself and gazing around as if expecting monsters to jump out from every corner. 

“We need to leave, and soon. Woodpaige has contacted you’re school, you need to pack up because we leave tomorrow. You start the day after that.” Her tone is firm but not unkind, tinged with slight panic. “And no one can know about you kissing me, alright? My first mission and they’re immediately going to think I can’t control my emotions.” 

“Do you like me, Rule?” He asks, equally as firm but twice as cold. 

“Yeah, I like you.” She mutters, still pacing. 

“No, do you really like me. Not just as a friend.” He realizes he’s not empty. He’s full of hope, of lust and desire but most of all hope. 

“No Malrick, I’m sorry. I think you’re incredibly kindhearted and a genuinely good person, and handsome an’ all that. I’m just not the type of person who feels romantic about... well, about anyone.” She gives him a look full of pain. “I’m sorry, I really am. Maybe by the time I’m eighteen or nineteen I will, but I’m only fourteen.” 

“I’m only fifteen.”

“It’s different for guys, though. They start thinking about list and desire much younger. I’m only thinking about love, which you won’t feel until much later.” There’s something wise about her words, Malrick thinks. 

“Well, Okay then.” He sighs, unsure what else to say. “Can you help me pack? I don’t feel like talking about romance anymore, it makes me think of my mom.”

“Sure,” she agrees, and he leads her to his room. He’s not messy and has no real personal items, his mom was never one to cling to memories. All the drawings he did as a kid, she recycled or threw away. 

With a sharp exhale, he gets to packing up his stuff. The bigger things can wait, all he really needs for now is his clothes. So he grabs his large suitcase, a bulky back mass of metal and fabric, and gets to filling it up. 

Most of his clothes is plain. The main colours are navy, black, white or grey. He mostly wears t-shirts and jeans, generally shying away from khakis. Or athletic clothes. When it comes time to pack up his underwear, he involuntarily blushes. Rule laughs heartily, pretending to close her eyes while he tosses them in the suitcase. 

Packing provides ample distraction from his mother leaving, while Rule makes him smile and laugh, filling the whole inside of him. 

She said she wasn’t interested in romance, and even though he is, he cares for her and respects her. As a result, he’s more than content with simply being her friend. 

There’s no awkwardness between them as he had expected. They have a genuinely fun time together, nothing forced or fake between them. Malrick realizes he’s strangely happy, until Rule mentions his father. 

“What about him?” He asks flatly, thinking about the distant man who’s the only family he has left. Sure, he has aunts and uncles and even grandparents, but he hardly knows them. He never sees them except for the occasional Christmas or thanksgiving. He wonders if this will bring him and his father closer together, or push them farther apart. 

“Woodpaige and your current school, Pikearm, have contacted him. So he must no about your transfer, and that you’ll be living in Sannail.” Rule answers. “But is he going to come home and see you before you move?”

“I doubt it,” Malrick answers, chuckling drily. A lot Sure has changed since he left yesterday. He’s in for quite the surprise.” 

Rule laughs humourlessly as well, and helps him finish up his packing. Though he tries to hide it, his thoughts have become inherently worried. Conflicting emotions threaten to overpower him, but deep down he knows he’s a lot tougher than he used to be. He can’t remember how it happened, he just woke up with unfamiliar confidence and the desire to take on the world. 

He decides to revel in the emotions, knowing they’re ten times better than feeling empty. He also knows the only reason he can feel anything at all is because Rule is here with him

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