The mysterious day, magic came to play.
Do you ever wonder sometimes that we are just imagining our whole lives, and one day we will just wake up and everything will change? The thought comes to me constantly like a fly that’s trapped in your room and believes pestering you will release him. My life is rather dreary and it surprises me that strange ideas such as this would enter my mind. Sometimes, I feel like the things around me…don’t exist. Like perhaps I have entered a whole new realm. Is that possible? Maybe there is something wrong with me. But who knows?
Maybe everything we seem to think is real is simply imaginary. No one knows for sure where the world came from and what possibly could even exist in it. It’s sad, really, that we know more about the universe and planets surrounding ours, than we actually know about our own. It’s quit a pity if you consider the reality of it all, but really humans are clueless. We think for ourselves and sometimes the people around us, we think “Am I cool”, we think, “Do I fit in?” but we don’t stop and cherish what’s around us.
Tell me. What lies in one single petal on one single flower, in one single garden, in one single neighborhood, in one single world?
What do we know? Many might say cells, or organisms, or insects, or atoms. What about beauty? Or fascination?
Or even mystery?
Hm. The world is a mystery.
As I blab on to you about the world and my suspicion, I forget to take notice of what’s going around me at this very moment.
While I’m writing this, someone may have died, or was born, or fell down, or climbed up. Maybe an animal ascended a tree, or a bird tweeted a song for another as a symbol of love.
It’s simple, really, but interesting.
The more you think about it, the more detailed it becomes. Maybe that animal was running from something. A person, a predator, a leaf simply gliding in the wind.
No one can know everything. No one can know nothing.
My phantasmagorical tale is the very basis of my explanation. And, in the same way I look at the world, who the hell knows if it really happened, or if it was merely just a dream.
My name is Evelyn Todd.
Buzzing rings came from the inside of my alarm clock that morning. I flinched and opened my tired eyes, the sound roaring through my ears and scurrying up towards my brain.
I shook my head in frustration and reached for my clock that sat on the small, white table next to my bed, slamming my pale fingers across the roof of its noisy exterior.
My room was mostly white and quite dull. A little bit of black was splattered throughout the overbearing walls, but not an inch of wondrous color was to be seen. It was, truthfully, disappointing to me. The two strong shades of wonder were beautiful, but I needed something more - I don’t know - fascinating.
I stretched my arms out wide and busted into a yawn, shivering subconsciously as I glanced in the direction my window, the wind whistling as it rushed through the little entrance, where inside met outside.
It was the middle of winter. The breezes that swarmed the parks were frigid, and the neighborhoods were silent with the overwhelming hesitation to go outside.
London, England. A busy, crowded place.
Not many trees surrounded the raucous city, besides the public parks, and most of the area was simply built up of giant, rectangular blocks where most commoners spent their days typing, printing, phoning, and arguing. Nevertheless, it’s home.
How odd it is that a person can get so attached to a place that it becomes, what we call, a home.
Have you ever thought of it that way before?
To my supreme bliss, it was Friday. The last day of school before our winter break. I was glad to be free of the packed classrooms, school procedures, and dress code that seemed to suffocate me there, but then again, I always seem to miss it when it goes away.
Something about the entirety of school pulls me in.
It could be the knowledge the teachers explain or, maybe, just their attempt at teaching us such knowledge.
Words that they learned themselves, from other people, from other lectures, from other books. Yet, how do they know the words they learned are true?
When they were told that a dog will bark, or a tree grows because of light energy, was that the truth?
I mean, of course, it could be, but who knows for sure?
Maybe the tree in question will grow because of the powerful magic some little dwarf living under the ground distributes.
I know that’s a bit out there but you can’t tell me it’s not a sound fact. Scientists and many researchers believe what their tools tell them, then they pass that onto us and we pass it on to the people we know.
What is that all about?
Then there are the people that loathe others because of their own beliefs, or their own decisions, or their own lifestyles. No one deserves to be mauled to bits because they think differently.
I just don’t get it.
If I told you that I believe The One who looks over us is a giant pink elephant with a balloon, you’d laugh and walk off. But you’d never stop and think for one second that I could, possibly, be right. How do you know?
Have you seen “God” or whom ever is up there, whether there is someone or not? No, you haven’t, and I will continue believing my theory.
I swatted the covers off my pale body and headed for my clothes, snatching them up and out of my white dresser. Plain.
Damn, I need more color in my life.
My parents are so very sophisticated. So it’s only normal, in this house, that I’d pull out a black, pencil skirt with a white flannel shirt, of which I’d end up tucking in out of force from my father. I’m sixteen.
Slumping out of my room with my black satchel in hand, I headed for the kitchen, ignoring the thick polish of the countertops and the far-too-expensive stove.
My mother was lawyer and my father was a doctor.
You can hardly imagine how that is for me.
A modern day, two-story house, my father’s red convertible Porsche, and a little hole in our huge garden where I bury myself in disappointment. Just kidding. I’m hardly that lucky.
I try to be appreciative of my parents’ wealth, seeing as I know how hard they’ve worked to get where they are, but I can’t help loathing it when I’m bamboozled with attempts of turning me into a pretentious brat.
Everything I do in this house is wrong.
I touch the TV, “No Evelyn, don’t watch that.”
I listen to my music, “Oh Evelyn, why do you listen to that nonsense.”
If I do anything I like to do, I get criticized for it.
Now imagine if I sat on the couch and read “Doctors for Dummies!” then I might not get judged.
And I use “might” in the loosest sense possible.
I picked out Cheerios from the kitchen cupboard and sat them on our pristine, flawless grey counter along with Lactose Free milk - just another one of my fabulous quirks - and a spoon.
It cradles food like a tractor arm scoops dirt, yet it’s so bad at spiking, stabbing and entrapping food.
That’s why we have the fork!
I don’t know why I think so much about things, but it seems the world fascinates me. What would we do without spoons? Make soup illegal? Never eat it again? Invent another simple thing?
It completely swallows me up in wonder.
I jerked upwards upon hearing my mother stomp out from her bedroom and into the kitchen, waving her hand animatedly as she spoke on her Bluetooth. Why did we have to invent those?
“Good morning,” I mumbled with a quick movement of my emerald green eyes, the sparkling irises holding a gaze steadily on my mother’s nimble frame before dropping down to my far-more-interesting cereal.
I poked a lonely Cheerio floating along merrily in the thick milk, watching the woman before me fumble carelessly in the kitchen. She nodded towards me as an acknowledgment of recognition whilst continuing to blabber on to the client on the other end of the line.
Then my dad came out, footsteps heavy on the wooden floor of our large, pricey home. For once, he wasn’t on the phone, much to my imminent surprise.
He went directly for the fridge, grabbing out two eggs, and a saucer from the small drawer under the stove, turning to the sink to fill the metal bowl with water. He looked up at me, eyes narrowing, a frown deepening the wrinkles sprawled across his forehead. I winced, adjusting my posture, adjusting the messy strands of my caramel brown hair as my ponytail lay slack against my collar bone. Overall, I looked presentable, clad in the black pencil skirt I despised so passionately, and my tucked in flannel blouse.
He sighed, shaking his head disapprovingly, whilst dropping an egg into the boiling water.
I shrugged, “What?”
“First of all, don’t shrug. It’s a very rude gesture that we absolutely do not tolerate in this house,” He huffed and shook his head, a terrifyingly sophisticated glare in place, “And second, put your hair down. It looks very shaggy and it’s certainly not suitable for your school.”
Half the time I don’t understand a single thing my dad says.
I slowly pulled my hair tie from my hair and shuffled it through with my fingers. Shaggy?
Like English Sheepdogs are shaggy, or like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo? Why did we create such a strange word?
Shaggy. It’s odd to me.
With a sigh, I quickly dropped my bowl in the sink and grabbed my satchel. It was an ugly creature, but required. Why?
Because I attend an all-girl private school.
You want to know what else?
I have never been to a public school.
Oh, and I’ve never had a boyfriend.
In fact, I’ve never even hung out with a boy.
My life was so dull.
Growling to myself, I snatched up a jacket, slipped it on, and left the house without a goodbye to my parents.
The cool winter breeze hit me like a punch to the gut as my body surfaced into the outside world. The snowflakes fell on the ground inaudibly and the frigid air seemed to carry me off into a land of sculptured ice and glaciers, some new world formed into the crevice’s of freshly fallen snow.
The sky was gray and depressing, rain clouds threatening to burst as I watched them drift across the sky, humming to myself as I headed for school.
I walk everyday, enjoying the short travel immensely, depending on the path I choose to take and the weather. It’s only about a mile, so I can’t really complain.
You see, my parents don’t want me to take the bus because they believe the people who board it are ’uncivilized’.
What does that mean? Who is civilized anyway?
I dragged my fancy, black flats across the gravel of the sidewalk, attempting to drown out the surrounding chaos of cars rumbling by. I turned to my left, smiling as I passed an old, lonely park.
I loved it there. It was the only place I really felt welcome.
The magic of the trees that hover over you as you rest on a dirty brown, park bench; leaves constantly falling down around your nimble frame; the pigeons cooing with greedy delight.
Of course it wasn’t so merry for a lot of people as it was for me; for my cluttered mind, it felt like paradise.
To be away from all the commotion and ruckus.
Sure, the discord of the London traffic is still a bother, but there’s something different about it.
If you closed you eyes, you would still hear the skidding wheels of polluting cars as they rolled over the streets of Earth.
You would still hear the laughter of pushy citizens, sat at small cafe table sets, and brightening after a good joke.
And you could still hear the yells of citizens as they bumped into one another or conversed noisily on a phone call.
It was all there, but, to me, it sounded as though it were merely forgotten music blasting from discarded headphones.
And that was the closest I got to a little bit of peace and freedom.
My whole walk was a cluster of frazzled thoughts, ideas and theories bombarding my brain as I took to observing my surroundings more diligently. I passed an elderly man sitting with his legs sprawled out in front of him, cane in one hand, bird food in the other. His face was drawn into a thoughtful frown, wrinkles piercing the corners by his eyes, lips pursed in concentration.
He looked up from the birds fidgeting for food in front of him, and peered curiously at me. He simply smiled, nodded his head in friendly greeting, and then returned to his feathery friends.
I managed to produce a little smile myself, but of course that gesture was lie. At this time, I was in no way pleased to be heading to school.
I flinched away from the man, hand flying to my forehead, wincing at the sudden shock of pain.
There it goes again.
My mind aching with the same strange fantasy I keep making up in my mind, over and over again. I was constantly seeing flashes of a boy. Some boy. His face was never clear. A simple blur of faded green and brown; like a smear of fresh paint.
Almost like I was dreaming the character up while remaining awake. But it wasn’t daydreaming, because I couldn’t control it.
It was like someone in a computer lab somewhere was operating a program in my head, and decided they would simply inject a virus into the flustered system for the hell of it, supplied with the goal to corrupt my mind.
It happened constantly. I’ll just see dashes of things and never the true and clear image, frustrating me to no end.
Crowds of people were passing me now, however I merely kept staring down at my prissy shoes, thinking about my utterly mundane life.
When I did decide to look up, a ridiculous idea sparked inside the deep, dark corners of my mind.
What if there was a zombie apocalypse in London?
What would they do? Evacuate the survivors and close down the city, or would they kill off all infected?
I don’t know why my observations turn into depictions of fantasy. Maybe because I was picturing the groups of strange people walking by me to all be zombies.
The funny thing was, of course, I couldn’t see myself.
What was I? Was I a zombie? Or still normal?
Here I am thinking up the inane idea that I could be normal.
I let out a laugh, strident and disturbing, irritating a woman I’d never met before as she sauntered past of me, scowl in place, nose upturned, posture stiff and guarded.
Why were so many people so angry with the world all the time? If they weren’t happy with themselves, couldn’t they change?
I sighed and looked down again, peering at my flat clad feet, admiring the way they lifted and lowered with my every step. It was as though they were moving in slow motion. I beamed and shook my head, turning forward again.
Funny how things work.
I approached my snobby prep school with a frown on my face. The building was ancient, like a mansion, with columns layering the outside, and marble stone decorating the elegant walls.
With something akin to aggravation, I adjusted the way my satchel hung, and headed up the front steps, hiking my way up towards the entrance.
Girls were exiting and entering, clothed in their classy dresses and heels, layers of jackets doubled across their small figures in a feeble attempt to keep warm without breaking dress code.
I rolled my eyes at most of them, ignoring the way they giggled to one another, waving their hands around animatedly and blabbering rumors to those willing enough to contribute to the dramatic gossip.
After having pushed through just about every girl in the school, in an eager attempt to just get inside, I looked around the halls.
Not surprisingly, nothing had changed.
Of course, nothing ever did for me.
Not my parents. Not my school. Not my friends. Not even me.
Wait; let me go back a step.
Cross out the ′S’ in friends. Friend.
I have one friend who doesn’t even go to my school.
It’s sad, I know, but most people find me, just, odd.
Maybe I’m too unique.
That’s just what I try to tell myself, at least.
The only girl who can actually put up with my strangeness is my best mate Melody Harper. She’s a gorgeous, dark-haired girl with olive skin and a passion for theater. We grew up alongside one another for what feels as though it’s been a lifetime, since the moments of ‘sitting naked together in the bathtub’ and ‘learning to braid each other’s hair’.
However, when comparing her to me, we’re nothing but opposite.
She goes to a public school.
She has a boyfriend.
You see? I’m lame.
Whilst I headed for my first period class, I glanced upward and caught sight of the black and white banner hanging in the corridor. Really not one bit of color?
It simply read, in dark, painted, sloppy, bold letters:
WINTER BREAK IS HERE!
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE SCHOOL DANCE TOMORROW, GIRLS! SATURDAY, 6:00 pm!
School dance? Though I wouldn’t be caught dead at a dance, what good is one if it’s all girls?
That’s just awkward.
Awkward? Another strange word we use.
Why do we have more than one word for one meaning?
Why can’t we just say strange, or uncomfortable?
Speaking of strange and uncomfortable.
A curvy, though supermodel skinny, blonde approached me, hips swiveling with sass, and eyes flaring in unspoken mockery.
Her name? Elizabeth Carter, and curled in her other arm was her slave, Janice Baxter, a cute brunette with a lovely complexion, of whom follows Elizabeth around, whilst Elizabeth throws orders at her pretending to be her best friend.
Literally, the bad rep high school girls get, when portrayed to be snappy and faux, is because of these two.
She reached my place in the hall, stopped with a twirl of her hair, and smirked, greedily, and might I say, hungrily.
I swallowed the knot steadily forming in my throat and braced myself for what I knew was coming.
“Janice, look who it is. Evelyn Odd Todd.” She giggled as though it were some hysterical inside joke, whilst I simply stared in familiarity, utterly fed up with the ridiculous title.
That was my so-called ′nickname’ around here. Sometimes it was Odd Todd or just Odd. Or, even more brainless: Oddy Toddy.
At least, that’s what I hear - occasionally.
Everything is always said behind people’s backs, isn’t it?
Being sixteen or older, you’d think everyone is mature.
They aren’t. Most of us here have never dated, or kissed, or done, you know, other things, with a boy. Besides that, the girls are rich, which means they are responsible for nobody and no one.
They’re simply conceded, snobby, prissy, and immature brats.
Maybe that’s why I’m the odd one.
As a strategy, I usually try to ignore everyone.
So after that little excursion, I went straight for class, leaving Janice and Elizabeth behind to dwell in the victory of their insult.
My first period is Biology. My mind usually takes a vacation in that class. Perhaps it goes to Hawaii or even a reclusive town in Africa; either way, I barely listen in science class. I think its because I disagree with every little thing the teacher says is a fact.
My science teacher’s name is Marie Baracadi. She’s a scrawny woman with the thinnest, reddest hair and a scrunched up face, which only seemed to straighten out when she smiled, and trust me, that’s not often. I find her to be overtly obnoxious; she teaches without finesse and is alarmingly dull.
Today’s class didn’t go over so smoothly. You see, Ms. Baracadi hates a challenge, because, according to her, she’s always right.
So when I approached her on the subject of the current lesson, she wasn’t overly fond.
“So everyone understands the way the carbon cycle and water cycle work correct?” Her eyebrows rose hopefully at the class, praying no one would ask anything else and she shut down her projector and filed her notes alphabetically.
But I did. I raised my hand confidently, my features open in curiosity, and lips pursed in consideration.
“Yes, Ms. Todd?” My teacher sighed and shut her eyes for a mere moment, before she tilted her head my way.
I dropped my hand and swallowed, “Are you sure?”
A few snickers emanated from the group of girls sitting hunched in their desks, pencils still and gazes downcast.
“Excuse me, Evelyn?” She snapped, as politely as she could physically muster.
Why did she have to get all snippy?
I just asked a question, a serious one at that.
“I said, are you sure?” I bit my bottom lip, features narrowing with impatience, expecting the woman to have answered by now, seeing as how, well, she was the teacher.
“Yes, I heard you, but please elaborate.”
I frowned, “What’s there to elaborate on? I simply want to know if you’re sure or not.”
She glanced around the room, head arched backward, eyes wide, brows raised in disbelief, and then she scoffed, a snarky grin darkening her expression. Some of the girls who were lounging around, intending to pay attention, laughed as well, obviously assuming this were some sort of irritable joke.
I was silent, but I kept my gaze steady, honestly expecting an answer from the red-headed woman.
“But of course, Evelyn. Scientists have proven studies, research papers, textbooks for Christ’s sake!” She chuckled in between breaths, as though finding the entire charade pointless, referring her theory to me like I was some sort of kindergartener.
I tilted my head to the side, remaining utterly emotionless, my expression flat and persuasive. “Were they sure?”
The class fell quiet, as though each and every girl were actually considering the idea, before they turned to Mrs. Baracadi expectantly, eyes narrowed and brows furrowed.
She scowled and then simply added, “Moving on.”
Class from that point on, of course, was still overtly tedious.
I considered the little amount of information I had on my dreams and sudden flashes, consisting of unknown characters, strange creatures, and foreign color.
Were they supposed to mean something?
As the bell rang, dismissing us to our next class, I quickly swept up my things, shoving them into my ugly satchel, and then hurried for the door, mind simply reiterating, “Avoid her, avoid her, avoid her,” like a mantra.
I slowly turned in place, twisting backwards on my heels, to face Mrs. Baracadi. I smiled at her bashfully and with fake delight, my eyes abnormally bright even when consumed by dread.
“You,” She pointed to me, nostrils flaring, and for some reason, with her hair pushed back and her expression wrinkling, I thought of Medusa instantly, snakes hissing in outrage angrily, eyes turning me to stone, “need to stop asking me ridiculous questions. I’m not an amateur, young lady, and I know you’re just doing it for attention.”
I snapped myself back to reality, blinking the dreariness from my eyes. Must have zoned out. Oops.
“I’ve had quite enough.” She proclaimed, eyes slanted with frustration, lips a bright red, and cheeks a weary pink.
I scoffed, shaking my head at the , “Oh, but I’m not! Truly. I simply want to receive an answer.”
She glared down at me, expression stern and unyielding as she shuffled through her things sitting atop her messy desk.
“Out, before I send you to the office.” She snapped hastily, and I merely sighed, turning to continue out the door.
She really thought I wanted attention? Me?
Evelyn Odd Todd from planet weirdo, an attention seeker? Please. You’re making me laugh.
I slugged my way towards my next class, utterly irritated.
For the rest of the day, I didn’t ask questions.
I went through all my classes shrugging at the things I would’ve inquired about, ignoring the strange way all my teachers stared me down, expecting another ′aggravating query from the outcast’.
I mean, come on. I didn’t want to be an attention hog, now did I? I decided, for the sake of all my blubbering, raucous teachers, I wouldn’t be a nuisance.
I made it through my next class alive and well. And, to my great fortune, I got there early, acquiring a seat in the back and out of the splash zone. The elderly man, of whom I know as my American History teacher, spits. And not just your ordinary spitting. He spits like a llama.
My last subject was art. My absolute favorite class. Art to me is the crow to my Edgar Allen Poe; the John Watson to my Sherlock Holmes; the very Romeo to my Juliet.
Let me take a moment to say something - somewhat of a pledge, a note of gratitude: To whom ever created art, the subject, and the goal: thank you.
Simple as that. I adore art.
To be creative, to be imaginative, to be artistic.
Half the time my mind draws something I could have never planned or imagined, and most of the time I never know what my drawing means.
My art teacher’s name is Lillian Marnette.
She’s a riveting, young woman with a gorgeous smile and bright blonde curls that are always tied back into a stiff ponytail, though it still manages to acquire obscene amounts of paint, so much so, that sometimes I think she’s dyed her hair.
She’s not like the other teachers here. She’s different.
Most of the others are bossy and arrogant.
She is creative, hypnotic, and actually knows how to have fun.
I like her. And that’s saying a lot.
I sauntered into class, this time with a smile on my face, admiring the walls lined with artwork from multiple students, some of which belonged to me. I brightened upon getting a glimpse of the lesson plan projected onto the white board, excitement rising within me as I noticed “painting” written into the context.
There is nothing fake about art. It’s all real.
Every inch. Every color, every face, every movement.
Whenever I paint, I feel like it opens up a whole new world. Perhaps it does.
I waved a slow wave to Ms. Marnette and the woman immediately grinned, “Hello, Evelyn!” She leaped up from her seat at her desk, her small red dress tumbling down around her joyfully, “Please grab your paints and head on over to your easel.”
I nodded in confirmation and headed for the other side of the room, tossing my things onto a nearby, plastic chair.
Ms. Marnette always had a blissful smile on her face, as if her whole life has been shear happiness. It was quite inspiring.
I grabbed one thin paintbrush and then a thick one from a small translucent, rose colored box near layers of valuable art supplies. I like variety with my painting. Who doesn’t?
Did you know most paintbrushes are made from horsehair?
I find that so disturbing and yet so very fascinating.
Sorry. Side-tracked once again.
I headed for an easel that sat in the corner of the room, away from everyone else, just how I liked things. Once I was comfortable I glanced at the board for a second time, gazing at the instructions a little more closely.
It read, plain and simple: Begin working on a piece that describes yourself. Be sure to use your imagination.
I got to work immediately. So many things were spinning through my mind, I could barely focus. So that’s what I drew. That’s how I am. I think so much about things I don’t understand. It simply had to be the centerpiece of my painting.
I began to draw the world. It came out clean and pristine with all the correctly shaped continents. I worked on filling it with green and brown hues; I lined the ocean with dark and light blues, and mapped out the land with texture so that in appearance it could be believed to be grass and dirt. Then I worked through to the background, filling it with swirls, squiggles and just full-blown commotion. Everything overlapping and squirming for room. Bursting, brightening, burning, blaring.
Class was beginning to reach an end, much to my own disappointment, and I wasn’t close to done. I had to fill in the colors, create layers and layers of tiny details, and shade the unthinkable.
Sound blared around me, the clinks and clanks of metal against glass, paintbrushes slamming down into the sinks, water running furiously, paper swishing against easels. The girls around me had begun to clean up and put away their things, while I sat, still working before my cluttered, chaotic painting.
Footsteps clicked up to where I was plowing away, and Ms. Marnette appeared above my shoulder, analyzing my canvas.
“Evelyn, that’s amazing.” She grinned and leaned forward, aching to get a better look. “Don’t rush. We’ll finish up tomorrow.”
I sighed in relief and nodded, collecting my tools and utensils and heading for the sink to rinse my brushes. I held them under the water, scrapping off the brown, green, blue, and white hues from the bristles, admiring the sprawling mixture of enchanting colors as they fell into the water collecting below.
A clatter sounded from behind me and I flinched, surprised by the sudden strident noise interrupting my, thankfully, inaudible thoughts.
I peered over my shoulder, wincing in regret when I witnessed Janice and Elizabeth swaying closer and closer, hair done up perfect and proper, outfits newly purchased and elegantly ironed.
They stuck out their hips, glaring at me with smug features, infamous smirks in place, eyes challenging and spiteful.
“Hey, Odd Todd,” Elizabeth spat, rounding on me, scowl fixed with the obvious hint of amusement, “Nice painting.”
Janice nodded vigorously, biting her lip with mock timidity. “Its very,” She paused for effect, ”odd!” Elizabeth busted into a fit of obnoxious giggles, Janice imitating her every move.
I rolled my eyes and turned around, my hair sprawling out behind me dramatically as I glared their way, “What are you?”
I kept my features subtle, holding back the laughter eager to escape, as I watched confusion dawn upon their perfect faces.
Janice looked terribly insulted, whilst Elizabeth simply shrugged and shook her head, whispering as she turned away to exit the washroom, “Such a freak.”
I figured that would send them walking; it made them think too much. With a solemn grin, I left my paintbrushes in the sink and headed back to my easel. Once there, I packed my side-bag and covered my painting surface with a white, flannel cloth.
When the bell rang, I made my way to the exit of the school, eager to flee from the suffocation of other teen girls.
I started on the same route, dreading the return home, knowing both of my parents would be otherwise preoccupied. I passed all the same places, my mind now considering squirrels and why they loved acorns so much, and birds and how they were able to tweet such romantic songs.
I was passing the park once more when I saw the same old man I had seen earlier, still sat on the bench feeding the pigeons, cane lying idle by his side. I slowed in my steps and turned to watch him, discretely and curiously.
Before I could get very far with my attempt at spying, the elderly man spoke, voice deep and slightly raspy, “Evelyn.”
I froze, mid-step, and swallowed, spinning to peer down at him, my eyes dropping to the pigeons, the chaotic clutter of my mind actually believing for a moment that they had been the one’s of whom muttered my name. “Hm,” was all I could mention, utterly bewildered by the state of this man, a man of whom I had never met before, mind you.
“Who are you?” He asked slowly, eyes remaining downcast, one hand still tossing crumbs to the feeble winged-rats pecking at the gravel. The very depth of his question lured me closer, and I sat down beside his frail body, my expression blank and overtly frazzled.
I swallowed, narrowing my eyes, before biting my lip, “I -” I paused, “Um.”
He chuckled, deep and soothing, “No question can be answered by the same level of consciousness that first considered it.” He looked at me now, and from where I sat I could see that his eyes were a bright, baby blue, mesmerizing and bemusing.
He smirked as I gulped, folding my hands in my lap nervously, “How do you know who I am?”
“I don’t know who you are, Evelyn. That’s for you to find out.”
I scoffed, and nodded, “Okay. But how do you know my name?”
He turned to his pigeons, tossing a few more crumbs to the floor, whilst digging them out of the clear plastic bag. “You are about to go on a very unexpected adventure, Ms. Todd.”
“Well,” I paused, shrugging, “Where?”
He smiled fondly, crumbling the now empty bag into his pocket, “Your dreams, I’d assume. The ones you’ve been having lately.”
I blinked, disbelief lacing every inch of my expression, “What? How do you,” I shook my head, eager to find the right words, “How do you know about those?
He sighed reverently and patted me on the shoulder, “You are not alone, my dear.” Then he got to his feet, tipped his black London hat my way, grabbed his cane, and limped off into the crowd of citizens. A unique man lost within the common folk.
What - how - what?
For once, I didn’t have an answer. I had no explanation, no depiction, no deduction. I was bloody clueless. I’d surely lost the plot, gone ’round the bend. It was like the whole, entire Earth, the globe, the world had stopped rotating and I was the only one aware of it. For the first time in my life, I was lost, thoughtless.
When I finally got to my prison of a house, still wholly confused with what I had only just witnessed earlier, both my parents were on their laptops, typing emails and scribbling on papers.
My mother was sat on the couch typing away, the TV on to Dr. Phil, whilst my dad was sat at the dinner table staring into the white light of the computer screen, as if it were some mind-blowing masterpiece. I sighed as I swayed into the room, dropping my bag at the door, and shrugging off my jacket.
“Hey Mum. Hi Dad.” No answer. Figured as much.
I stomped to my room, slamming the door behind me, heading straight for my easel that sat in the corner of my bedroom. With a devastated sigh, I grabbed my paints and set up all my materials.
And then, I stood in front of a blank canvas.
For a moment, I shut my eyes and stared wistfully into the black pit of darkness, watching the colorful stars dance across the back of my eyelids.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to paint, but I wanted it to have something to do with the old man, the dreams, my discorded mind, and the irritable personalities of my parents and their aggravatingly busy lives. I wanted to combine everything that was soaring through my head and put it into one place.
A place. That’s it.
I would combine the ideas, the thoughts, the visions, and the perspectives; combine them to form my very own fantasyland.
I threw my paintbrush into the green paint and slammed it down onto my canvas, dragging the end of the utensil across the white surface.
I created my own trees, unique and out of the ordinary, with swirls and vines of all different colors.
I added birds that were red and blue; I added strange new creatures that were small and unheard of.
I was making up my own characters, my own setting, my own world. Trees with leaves of mystery falling onto the floor in a single dance, along with butterflies singing in the breeze.
I simply poured my imagination into my creation, clearing my mind of the struggles and mischief that had taken over inside.
My paintbrush guided along the canvas, swiftly planting a unique color as they mixed to form a paradise.
As I looked down, dipping my wondrous tool into yet another enchanting color, something caught my eye. I examined my painting closer, a sheet of otherworldly design which seemed to sparkle in the sunlight that shined through my bedroom window, resting itself along the colorful, glittering acrylic.
I narrowed my eyes, frowning, beginning to believe that I had perceived an illusion, that something had moved in my painting.
Whether it was the colorful vines and leaves extended across the paper, or simply a butterfly I had sketched on a flower, there had been motion, a flicker of life, something unimaginable.
I leaned forward, my eyes fluttering over every detail, every brush stroke, until yet again, something sparkled in the corner of my eye. A shimmer extended itself onto the canvas, cascading down across every hue, luring any overt curiosity, persuading the viewer that though it resembled sunlight, it surely was something more magical.
Confused, I lifted my hand to guide it across my cluttered paper. Only then, I knew I wasn’t hallucinating.
My fingers were inside my painting.
They had vanished from the air within a moment.
Sparks, flickers, and fireworks of dancing, white-gold light shined over their entrance, my hand sinking further into my artwork, one impossibly unbelievable action. They seemed to float in an invisible, frigid air, and currently, I was lacking the ability to form any sort of explanation. Slowly, I inched my hand in deeper, desperately trying to grasp something on the other side.
I turned my head to examine the back of the painting, checking to see where my hand had exactly gone, but nothing was there.
My hand was, most definitely, inside my art.
What that meant exactly or why that was, I was unsure.
But I was officially bewildered beyond belief.
Slowly, with something akin to fearful curiosity, I released my hand from the paintings grasp.
To my utter incredulity, a monarch butterfly sat perched on my finger. I froze, momentarily forgetting how to breathe, the image so very beautiful, so very surreal, it was hard to process my reality. The elegant insect was the brightest orange I had ever seen and its wings glowed in the sunlight’s shine.
Amazed, I lifted the finger it sat comfortably atop, watching the little black legs shift and flinch. The butterfly gracefully lifted itself into the air, gliding across my bedroom, wings fluttering shades of yellow and orange, peacefully and with poise.
My eyes wouldn’t blink. Instead they seemed infinitely focused on the monarch, taking in the impossible scene they were struggling to believe.
Suddenly, the butterfly fluttered its way down towards me and back into the painting with one smooth swoop, a burst of light signaling its exit.
And now? I was questioning myself. Because why wouldn’t I?
Am I dreaming? Was something wrong with me?
But even more concerning, I was considering whether or not to follow the beautiful creature inside.
Was I really asking myself this?
If something like this was occurring to you, would you follow through with it? Play along?
It was worth a shot, I suppose.
It would, of course, just be me trying to figure out if I really am going insane. Slowly and carefully, I lifted my arm, directing it straight towards the painting.
My body followed in a smooth motion, my eyes fluttering shut whilst I fell through my canvas. My mind boggled as I felt a rush of cool air sweep over my entire being, biting my skin, creeping over my every organ, my every appendage. And I simply waited, falling, as my body was lifted into a surreal, magic, field of light.
I didn’t budge. I didn’t open my eyes.
Instead, I lay frozen, in what felt like a soft field of grass.