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.


17. Malrick

Chapter 17




Rule shows him to the nurse’s office, hands him a bottle of pills and then leaves. Malrick gazes around the small room nervously, the nurse sitting in a chair but saying nothing. 

“Have a seat.” She instructs after long, awkward moments of silence. She gestures towards the paper-covered vinyl bed as typically seen in doctors offices. He uncertainly clambers up onto it, cringing when the paper rumples and crinkles. The nurse watches him carefully. “You’re the boy who fainted?”

“Yes.” Malrick nods. 

“Tell me about your Vision. What were you seeing?” The nurse asks, eyes misleadingly sympathetic. Despite her soft tone and kind expression, Malrick can tell she’s a practical woman who wants to get down to business instead of tiptoeing around. So he tells her what he’d seen. 

“It-t w-w-was t-terrible.” He states off into space with a look of stricken panic on his face, his mind replaying the gruesome scenes. 

“I think you might be experiencing true Visions. Or at least with a grain of truth. The sudden ominous turn is most likely due to something bad happening to you in the future.” She muses after a moment of pondering. “Thought it’s rare, having true Visions is not unheard of. Though it can be hard for the Visionaries who experience them to distinguish between fantasy and reality. You know the difference between the real world and your Visions, right?” 

“I-uh, I usual-ly d-do. Th-this las-last one th-though it wa-wa-was a bit-t hard-der.” Malrick loathes his stutter, witching to be free of the childish speech impediment. Though most days it was nothing more than a mild nuisance, in stressful times the stuttering got so bad it made talking an inconvenience on top of being painfully hard.

“Well, come back here and let me know if any of your Visions start coming true, if the line between Vision and real life starts to blur or if they get any worse. In the meantime take those pills, one a day or two if you start to feel a Vision coming on.” 

“Wha-what d-do th-the p-pills d-d-do?” Malrick asks, raking a hand through his glossy dark hair. 

“They’ll reduce the severity of the Visions. They won’t make them go away entirely, but they’ll make them weaker and less intense.” With that the nurse stands up, opening up the door for him. “And your free to go. If you ever get hurt because of a Vision again come to me right away.” 

She flashes him her toothy smile as he leaves, waving in a clumsily friendly manor. Malrick wanders down the hallways, searching for something or someone to point him in the direction of East Tower. 

Eventually he finds his wake back, knocking so hard his knuckles start to hurt once he finds the right door. 

“Hey, man.” Deer greets. His lips part in a bleary yawn, and he rubs at his eyes. “I was in the middle of a nap, but I s’pose I had to get up anyways as I haven’t had any lunch yet. How ‘bout you, bud? You need yourself some food?”

“I’m famished.” Malrick playfully he shoves his new roommate, walking into his dorm. Not his dorm, but his home. “I’m really tired though, I think I’ll take a nap first. Wake me up when it’s time for class tomorrow.”

Malrick stumbles forward, eyes beginning to droop shut. He doesn’t make it all the way to his bedroom, choosing to instead sprawl out on the couch and listen to the steady humming of the TV. Whatever Deer’s cooking up in the kitchen causes his mouth to water, but residual nausea quells any hunger he may have had. 

He yawns a massive yawn, lips pulled so taught it’s a wonder their dry skin doesn’t snap. Malrick os your typical teenage guy, no matter how much the cold dries out his lips he refuses to use a chapstick or a moisturizer. 

The pillow beneath his head smells vaguely unpleasant and the couch cushions beneath his weary body are bumpy, two facts which don’t bother Malrcil in the least. He’s asleep in only a fraction of a fraction of a heartbeat, dreaming restless, nightmarish dreams filled with blood and gore. He wakes up several times with a scream bubbling up to his lips, but manages to sleep peacefully for the most part without crying out in his sleep. 

At one point he wakes up and buries his face in the couch pillow, unusual smell and stains forgotten about, and thinks. Let’s his mind lose. Allowing himself to ponder whatever his brain dreams. Of course, his first thought is for Rule. He wants desperately to be more than her friend, and refuses to push for anything she’s not comfortable with or doesn’t want. Some people would call him weak, others kindhearted. Frustration mounts inside of him and prevents him from falling back asleep. He fidgets restlessly on the couch, his mind refusing to slow down even though his body remains exhausted. 

He gets bored quickly and sits up on the couch, reaching for the remote and flipping through the channels on the TV. There isn’t much on and he eventually settles on a show about fishing which he is unable to decide if it’s an infomercial or an actual program. 

His knees pop when he pushes himself to a stand, continuing to creak and crack with each step he takes as he walks into the kitchen. 

The kitchen is rather plain, white appliances, white cabinets and light grey walls that are chipped in many places to reveal white paint underneath. He’d expected the dorms to be better, and the whole situation is underwhelming. 

He sighs and moves lethargically as he searches for something to eat, but despite his hunger nothing appeals to him.

“What’s the big sigh for?” Deer appears out of nowhere, smiling brightly at a startled Malrick. “Everythin’ alright? Sorry I don’t have much in the way of food, we’re given so much a week but it’s all healthy stuff like spinach and real chicken you have to cook yourself. I end up either givin’ it away or sellin’ it. Everthin’ you see here I’ve payed for.” There’s a tinge of pride to Deer’s voice as he reaches around Malrick to examine a couple slices of cooked bologna. Malrick deduces they’re what he’d smelt cooking earlier. 

“Oh, uh sorry. I guess if I’m staying here I’m g-going to be g-given stuff too, right?” 

“You bet. Trust me though, you won’t wanna eat it.” Deer claps him on the shoulder before. Returning to the fridge and rummaging around inside. He pulls out a package of sliced cheese, and takes out a couple slices. 

“You m-making a sandwich?” Malrick inquires, but to his horror Deer shakes his head no and pops the sliced cheese into his mouth, chews and swallows. 

“Want some?” He extends the package in offering to Malrick, who quickly recoils thinking he may be sick again. 

“Uh... n-no th-th-thanks.” He splutters before offering a lame excuse and leaving the dorm. Deer’s eating habits were Malrick’s worst nightmare. The kitchen had been full of sliced cheese, bologna and wieners, whipped cream, white bread and completely bereft of fruits or vegetables. 

Malrick sighs and checks the time. It’s almost five o’clock in the evening and he hasn’t had any lunch. A wave of hopelessness suddenly floods him, and he’s filled with the desire to get out and get some fresh air. In a matter of minutes he’s gone from underwhelmed to completely overwhelmed.

He decides to try and find the gardens Rule had mentioned. She had said they were just past the courtyard. 

At a hurried pace Malrick scours the halls until he finds an exit, thankful when he discovers the courtyard. He crosses the stretch of grass by following the green-black stone path, passing a massive fountain. 

The entrance to the gardens is hard to miss, a massive archway made from the same stone as the pathways, which he narrows down to either hornblende or slate, and covered with purple climbing flowers, their emerald green vines wrapped around the stone. 

Without a second thought Malrick plunges inside, without a second thought about the dangers that may lurk inside and the dangers that wait to be awakened when the sun sets.

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