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The Empty Page

Post by Brute on Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:10 pm

The paper was blank, the pen was out of ink, and the clock ticked on. Still, nothing changed but the clock’s constantly moving hands. Two mysterious brown orbs looked out the window. It was raining. The sky was dark with grey clouds, and rain drops splattered on the pavement and on the windows. The shadow sighed. Once again, the boy had forgotten to cover the statue, to protect it from the rain. The eyes of the shadow disappeared as the one in the dark bowed her head. She would have to go do that, or the statue would dissolve. Rain was no longer a neutral source of life and prosperity, but a strong, persistent force of destruction.

The figure stood up and moved out into the dim light of the windows. It was a young woman, perhaps in her early twenties. Her short brown hair was pushed to the side in the front. She wore dark clothes, and her face was emotionless, but her round face offered some trace of once harboring emotion. One would imagine, if she smiled, she would radiate with warmth. But she didn’t smile, and her small, Caucasian nose twitched as she glared out into the rain. Why did it ever had to be like this?

A small scratching nose entered the silence, and the woman turned. The door opened slightly, and a girl peered through, her wide brown eyes peering about in hestitation, her long golden hair tumbling down her shoulders. She made a small nervous sound, extending a small hand to offer a small slip of paper to the woman in the shadows. The shadow regarded her for a moment, then took the slip of paper. The girl started to turn away, but the woman stopped her with a hand: “Stay.”

The nervous girl in the doorway wavered, wringing her hands. She bit her lip, and held her hand up to part her hair from her small face. She watched as the shadow read the words on the slip of paper. She moved her lips to say something, but couldn’t. Finally, she managed, “What does it say?”

Once again, the older female regarded her. This time, she spoke sooner, but did not mention the slip of paper. “Kayla. Starts with a K, ends with an A, correct?”

The nervous girl in the doorway couldn’t speak. She made a small, nervous sound, and gripped the front of her jacket.

The shadow glared out the window. “The kid forgot again.”

The nervous girl moved her hand into her pocket. She felt a small rock, and brought it out of her pocket.

The older female continued to look out the window.

The girl aimed, and threw the small rock. It sailed harmlessly past the shadow and out a paneless window.

The shadow said nothing, just continued to look out the window.

She, the girl in the doorway, remembered an earlier time, when the boy hadn’t forgotten, when all in the abandoned house were cheery. Alex, a cheery Asian-American girl, had been talking about The Shadow.

“I’ve known her for a long, long time,” Alex said, joining Julia, another girl, and Kayla at the top of the stairs. Paisely, a serious, curly-haired female, joined them shortly. “I’m sure I’ve upset her multiple times, but she never gets angry at me. Like, never ever.”

The small group of girls thought about this for a few moments. Julia started walking down from the attic to the second floor. “Why doesn’t she come out on happy days?” she asked, referring to the Shadow’s habits of staying in her dark room all day every day.

Alex thought a bit. “Well, for her, it’s always raining. It is always a sad, stormy day. Water is always coming down from the sky. Kat is gloomier these days.” She sighed. “It may be the more suffering by her different-thinking counterparts.”

Erica, a boisterous, overconfident, blond-haired female, had arrived with the group. She looked at Alex. “Why doesn’t she come out into the light? Y’know, she should lighten up. Let some others carry her burden.”

Alex looked at Erica, unsmiling. “You can try. But it’s not her style.” Then the girl left the group, with one single calculating glance backward.

After the strange answer, there was a short silence, then Julia commented, “Well then.”

Kayla wondered, “But why? How does Alex know so much about the Shadow?”

Julia shrugged.

Erica ran a hand through her shoulder-length hair. “I’ve never heard Alex talk like this. I mean… she didn’t even say that she knew who The Shadow was.”

Paisely spoke for the first time in the conversation. “Alex knows a lot of things about a lot of people.”

The sentence was not much, but it changed everybody’s ideas. Now Kayla thought of that day, remembering how the shadow never got angry, and yet never got happy, either. Could The Shadow possibly be tormented by the sufferings of others? Alex said so, but the others didn’t believe her. Now, as she stood in the doorway, the nervous girl waiting for the silence to be broken, she watched The Shadow stare out into the rain. Even though she perfectly knew who The Shadow was, she addressed the mysterious female, “Who are you?”

The Shadow looked out into the grey. “I am the shadow of a pen, on a blank page. Time is going by; the clock is ticking.” She sighed. “I am the pen, deprived of my ink. I try to do as much as I can, but we are at a stalemate.”

Kayla regarded the Shadow. What did she mean by “we”?

“I need someone to-- change a few things. Add more ink to my pen. Then I can start writing, and then all of you can go.”

“Wait.” Kayla’s voice was soft. “What do you mean?”

The Shadow said nothing, just continued to stare outside.

Suddenly, the light in the hall went out. The Shadow made no movement. Kayla uttered a small whimper and stepped into the room. The Shadow noticed her, and for the first time Kayla saw her smile. Warmth seemed to radiate from that smile, so sweet and perfect, and the room seemed to lighten slightly. Kayla breathed slowly. Then the Shadow turned back towards the windows, and Kayla saw her differently. The Shadow was just a person, in a very difficult world to live in. That moment, the nervous girl saw life in the Shadow’s perspective. None of the masters or the mistresses agreed with the Shadow, but the Shadow only got through because of her higher rank. That moment, Kayla felt bad for the Shadow, like she never had before.

The Shadow looked outside, her eyes shining in the moonlight. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to tell you a bit about myself. Would it?”

Kayla slowly shook her head, her shifting golden hair looking grey in the dim light.

The Shadow started to speak softly, “I graduated from college in 4013, a time when biology majors were rare, and engineering and astrological majors were all the more frequent.” The Shadow inhaled. “I was a biology major.

“Some time after my graduation from college, when I was in grad school, I was recruited to salvage students like you from various high schools, to learn how to make more spacecrafts.” The Shadow looked at Kayla. “You know Alex?”

Kayla nodded.

The Shadow nodded. “She admired me, ever since she met me before I graduated from college. So, when I was ready to start-- a separate project, she was willing to help.” She paused for a moment, thinking. “Alex also mentioned to me that I possess a ‘warm smile.’ Do you think I have a warm smile?”

Kayla thought for a moment, then nodded slowly.

The Shadow laughed. Her laugh was a beautiful sound, a happy, cheerful sound ringing in Kayla’s ears. Kayla had never seen The Shadow like this before. She had never thought of the Shadow as having this particular character. Something, the nervous girl knew, was going to change.

There was a flash of light outside, silencing the pair, illuminating the room and the faces and throwing some light into the hallway. There were screams all around the building, but the Shadow didn’t seem to notice. She stepped to the window, and her face seemed to light up. She fired a pistol at a stumbling man waving a pipe, and he fell to the ground. The Shadow’s face was set, Kayla saw, as she joined the older at the window. The Shadow nodded at Kayla, then left the room. The pen had received its ink, and was beginning to write.

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Brute
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