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The world has changed. Subtly, over time; it didn’t happen overnight. I figured it’d be a good idea to tell my story, mostly to keep myself sane. I don’t even know where to start. I’m new to all this “recording and expressing my thoughts.” It’s just; I need someone or something to talk to. I need someone to understand the hell I’ve found myself in. The sun went out yesterday, turned into a ball of gray, cloaking the world in hues of black and white. Even my own skin has taken on a lovely shade of pale, pale white. Not that it’s much different than the previous shade, it’s better even; now I feel just like everyone else.
Let’s talk about everyone else. They’re gone. They’ve been replaced by unthinking shells of their former selves. It was rather distressing at first, watching my friends-no, peers (I don’t have friends), slowly “change.” I’d say they withered away, but if my lackluster parents ever taught me anything, it was not to lie. So I will not lie; they did not wither, they grew. Their arms grew down to their feet and their bodies lost all of their fat and hair. Their skin sagged due to the lost fat at first, but then slowly grew and stretched tightly across their bodies, turning bleach white in the process. The face in particular had an interesting reaction; the skin grew over their mouths, ears, and noses, leaving two unblinking eyes and a skinny hunk of flesh masquerading as a body.
They’re naked too. I’m not sure why. They lack any sexual organs, as if they’ve reverted to an asexual state. They just refuse to wear clothes. Maybe it’s a form of evolution; they no longer require clothing. Maybe it’s supposed to mean something.
Or maybe they just want to fuck with me.
I’ve always wondered how they sustain themselves, due to their lack of a mouth, or how they communicate with each other. I don’t think they can do either; I’ve never witnessed it. Nope, they just go about their former daily routines, unthinking and unblinking. They don’t usually show any malicious or hostile intent; they are just content to go on with their “lives.” They do get upset when I break my routine though, so I go about it whenever I’m in their presence. I’ve taken to calling them drones. I believe it fits the figure quite nicely.
When I first noticed the change, I was understandably panicked. I had walked downstairs expecting to see my mother and sister eating breakfast, but instead found two drones in their place. I screamed and ran, only to see two more crawl from separate doorways, and just stare at me. It dawned on me that this must have been my former family, and I rushed to a mirror. To my horror, I was still the same person. And now I’m an outcast, the only normal human awash in a sea of brainless husks. So it’s not that different than the previous world.
Of course, that’s not all that’s changed. The ground has turned to flesh. Literally. That is the best way to describe it. The ground is now pale flesh matching the color of my skin. I first noticed when I stepped outside and surprisingly found myself sinking into the ground, as if I was wading through mush. Upon closer examination, I found it to be rather warm and firm, yet it still easily tore. I cut it (the ground, not my skin, can’t imagine doing that), in an attempt to dig down, and see what lies beneath the skin. It bled. And the blood was actually red. That is the only other color I’ve seen besides black and white. I figured it had some significance, so I found a shovel and dug into the ground even more. It was like striking a geyser; crimson blood spurted from the wound, covering the surrounding area. I couldn’t go very deep; the skin is just the surface. There’s a network of something down there, but I can’t penetrate the surface. Nor do I have a reason to; there’s no possibility of escape. I’ve taken to calling it this world the Blood Canvas, as blood is the only thing that has color anymore in this world of black and gray.
My digging did draw the attention of a good amount of drones; who they were formerly, and what they were doing near my home, I have no idea. They surrounded me, and I had the choice to either fight them off or run. I ran. I’m a coward. Always have been. I ran from my problems before and I continue to run from them now. Old habits die hard.
God, I’m trapped here. As I mentioned earlier, I’m stuck in a routine from my former life. I wake up, go to school (Yes, I still go to school. It’s somewhat humorous; a bunch of drones and I sit in a classroom sitting silently, staring straight ahead. Still not any different than the old world), come home and go to bed at reasonable hour. The whole thing’s a farce; I gain absolutely nothing from the experience and the drones seem not to care the least when I’m following it. But heaven forbid I break my routine for just a minute, that’s when things get interesting.
If I do one thing out of the ordinary from my past life, the previously harmless drones will gather around and swarm me. They’ll stare at me, eyes open wide, their entire bodies twitching and vibrating. I can’t tell if they’re trying to communicate in some bizarre way or genuinely upset at my breakage from the cycle. One time, I tried walking towards one to coax a reaction from it, but the whole crowd shifted around me so that I was always the center of attention. God, I hated that. Honestly though, I have no idea if their intentions are hostile or not; I’ve never let them get past the twitching stage. I break down and return to my routine and the drones gradually dissipate, satisfied with my actions.
I’m stuck in a nonconformist’s hell (Christ, I sound like every edgy teen out there). That’s what I thought this place was at first; a form of purgatory designed to punish me by forcing me through the Old World’s daily cycle. But purgatory would have a reason for being, right? There is no purpose of the Blood Canvas, no reason for being here.
Today was a bit worse than yesterday. I was strolling around the Blood Canvas, going about my normal school routine, when I came across another foreign entity. This one was not like the drones; it was capable of thought and had definite hostile intent. I call it The Hanger, for reasons that will become obvious in a moment.
It had the basic appearance of a drone: long arms, skinny, almost anorexic body, and pale, white skin. Its left arm was missing, in its place was a messy, red stub attached to a long, crimson, rope-like appendage, which ended in a noose. The Hanger had a long, protruding neck, cracked in the middle to the left, so that its head rested on its own shoulder. A chain was wrapped around the bottom of the neck and coiled down its right arm. It actually had a face. Its mouth was stuck in a perpetual grin and above it laid a pair of bloated eyes. The nose dripped red, bringing some color to the bland face. Strangely, its right arm was covered in stitches, sometimes torn open, revealing a nasty, crimson wound underneath.
The final difference was that The Hanger was not asexual like the drones. It was definitely male. But it was still naked like the drones. What I’m getting at is that its penis was exposed too. I could see that its tip was red and I honestly did not want to look further to find out why. I’m sure you understand.
None of the drones noticed The Hanger. I tried to ignore it too, pushing the thought of it to the back of my mind, in the hopes that it would ignore me. It didn’t, instead, it followed me around the gray school campus, smiling, waving its noose, and pointing at me. There was something about The Hanger that seemed strangely alluring; I couldn’t tell you why. This thing was inhuman and so sickly, but its naked form was so… never mind, forget that part. There was something strangely familiar about The Hanger, like I had seen it before, but never took it seriously. I don’t know why it chose to manifest itself now.
I was sitting alone eating lunch watching it about thirty feet away when it decided to actually do something. It pointed at the nearest drone, signaled its downfall, swung its noose, and “lassoed” (for lack of a better term) the drone. The drone was taken by surprise; the noose tightened around its neck and the drone began to panic, making a loud, muffled sound, of which I assume was a scream. The Hanger dragged the drone by its neck to a tree with surprising strength (the noose looked decaying and frayed; hardly stable) and grabbed the drone’s twitching head with its free hand. The Hanger then threw the drone over a low, yet stable branch, acting as a pulley. The drone began to rise, making a louder sound and clawing at the noose around its neck.
I just sat and watched the poor drone get lynched. Streaks of red flowed from the drone’s neck; I assumed The Hanger’s noose was barbed or something. It was horrifying, yet… strangely beautiful, watching the red flow into the white blankness of the world. I didn’t have time to admire the queer beauty of the scene; the Hanger waited until the drone was silent and dangling, released it, and began walking towards me.
Now, I had been reasonably calm watching the drone get hung. After all, it was a brainless shell, brought back to reality seconds too late. But the thought of me being lynched flooded my mind with fear and panic. I had waited too long; The Hanger was closing in. I’d been sitting on what was previously a patch of grass, now turned to flesh (the flesh ground was unavoidable, I found grass-flesh to be softer than the hardened flesh that replaced the concrete), and got up to run. My shoe dug too much into the flesh and I ended up falling and tearing a patch into the ground. Fresh crimson oozed slowly out of the ground’s wound, and The Hanger stopped its advance to ponder this new development; I was still on the ground, in pain, realizing that I had skinned my knee and was bleeding.
The Hanger was above me, its ankles now tinted red as it stood in the ground’s wound. I began to feel a feeling of pure joy; no, not joy, acceptance. I realize how strange that sounds. But it was still true nonetheless; the pain of this world and the previous world would finally be over, my salvation was finally at hand. I accepted my fate and waited for the cold, rough noose to close around my neck; choking to death wasn’t my primary choice of death, but it would suffice. Obviously, it never came, since we’re both here right now.
No, The Hanger decided that it didn’t like something about me. I looked up as it stood over me; its pale, naked body reeked of decomposition. I got a better view of the creature (not that I really wanted to): its skin was rougher than that of the drones, some patches had rotted away entirely, leaving a mess of black and gray in their place. Hair grew in patches all over its body, some areas natural, some...unnatural. Blood was dripping onto the ground in front of me; I forced myself to see why. The head of its penis was cut down the middle, causing the red splotch I had seen earlier; now, it was dripping before me. It too, was covered in stitches like its arm; some were also torn open. Looking back on it, the image is still unnerving, and makes question my own sexuality (I know, I know, we’ll talk about that a later day, as it probably has something to do with this whole situation, but right now, I just want to talk about this beast).
I cringed, waiting for The Hanger to make its move. Instead, it stood there staring at me; the perpetual grin began to fade, replaced by a look of horror. I looked at its crooked face and tried to follow its eyes. It appeared to be staring at the wound on my knee; as if afraid of it. A peculiar thought entered my head: it feared my blood. This was the only conclusion; I would surely have been hung by now, if not for the sudden shock of pain and the aftermath. The Hanger began to back away as more of the red flowed from my knee, and I began to grow more confident. I had finally found my defense, in the form of my own flesh; why this was, I still have no idea. It makes no sense really, then again, nothing makes sense in this world.
Still, with this new knowledge, I dug my fingers into my wound and began to tear, ripping the scratch apart and allowing more blood to flow through. And actually, the pain was already fading, replaced with a feeling of elation and power. The Hanger was a good distance away; I stood up and started walking towards it, showing the blood on my hands. Drones too, began to mass around us, glancing back and forth between us two. They made no move, instead choosing to simply stare. Interestingly, they didn’t show any remorse towards their fellow drone that lay suffocated behind them. I suppose they don’t have any feelings for one another, unless united against a common cause.
I started walking towards The Hanger; it let out a shriek, its mouth now fully agape. Then it ran. As simple as that. It was afraid of my blood (for some reason, I have no desire to question why) and had fled the premise. I returned to my spot of sitting and resumed eating lunch, satisfied that I was safe for the time being. When lunch time was up, I walked over to where the drone had been hung and examined its corpse. Its eyes were now shut, creating a face of pure flesh. I could see the spiral of red around its neck and saw that it indeed had come from multiple holes in its neck. I left it there. Some other drone would surely come upon it and clean it up.
I haven’t seen The Hanger since; it’s probably too afraid to show its face now. But why be afraid of blood? Obviously, blood is important in this world; it’s the only thing that has color. Fascinating, utterly fascinating. Perhaps I’ll collect more from the flesh ground and study it, away from the drones of course. That’s the other thing. The drones are hiding something; I know it. Maybe they’re like a hive mind or something. There’s just something “off” about them (more so than the fact that they’re walking sculptures of skin). No, I don’t want to discuss this any further; it’s been a long, tiring day. We can talk tomorrow.
I know what you’re thinking; but no, I want to talk about another event like yesterday. Trust me, it does wonders to get it out of my head.
I had come downstairs for breakfast, expecting to see the drones of my former family members waiting for me. Instead, I saw a large bloated mass rummaging through the kitchen drawers. It didn’t react to my presence-at first. I knew that this thing was hostile. The Hanger had been the only unique thing in the world so far, and this thing was on course with how disgusting it was. So I grabbed a knife off the kitchen counter and started walking towards the mass, which I saw to resemble an incredibly obese and disfigured person. It stood on two legs and was bent over looking through the shelves, its buttocks shoved straight in the air towards me. It was not a pretty sight; this thing was fat, inhuman, and I swear I could see its skin occasionally ripple and gurgle, as if something moved beneath it. There were no red or dark spots I could see; the thing had bleached white skin. It reeked of foul smelling chemicals, which began to burn at my eyes as I got closer.
And then it turned around, catching me mid-stride, and revealing its, or I guess her, full self. Well, to call this thing a her would be an insult to my gender, so I’ll refer to it as The Burned. That’s what I noticed first; the burn marks on its bulging throat, dark spots of black that would constantly, bubble and boil, like a constant chemical reaction. The Burned was less like a drone than The Hanger was; it was the size of three drones rolled together and mashed into a ball. It had short, stubby limbs instead of long, limp arms; they protruded out and seemed to mainly be there to maintain balance. Looking back on it, The Burned made a great antithesis to The Hanger. It too, had a face, or at least part of one. I couldn’t see its eyes, instead seeing two shrunken sockets that extended deep into the creature’s head. It had long, dark hair that had not been cut in some time; it nearly fell to the floor.
The most defining feature of the face was The Burned’s mouth. It was simply a wide slit cut across the entire face, with a slight grin to it. A constant liquid drool emanated from within, the color white, nearly matching the bleached color of the skin. I could hear the liquid sloshing around, and when The Burned opened its mouth to breathe, I could see the liquid being stored in its mouth. The Burned would occasionally try to swallow down the liquid, but to no avail; it would instead vomit it back up to the floor. I could smell the fumes from its breath as it moved towards me.
As I mentioned, The Burned’s neck had severe burn marks and the skin had begun to peel away, revealing a hint of red underneath. The neck mimicked the rest of the creature: short, fat, and constantly shifting. The liquid it had been attempting to swallow leaked out of a series of small pores around its neck, further speeding up the chemical burning process.
The Burned was naked, just like every other creature in this world (I’m the only person with enough decency to not expose myself). Its breasts were large, swollen, and the skin was beginning to fall off in the places where the chemical liquids had flown downwards. Its body was mutated; rippling every few seconds and bubbling violently when exposed to direct contact with the liquid. Thankfully, The Burned’s fat covered most of the lower body. Hair grew in seemingly random patches as it did with The Hanger, primarily on the arms and in the nether regions. I saw no patches of red on its body, save for a small puddle that formed beneath it
When it saw me with my knife, it opened its mouth in some attempt to communicate, a low, guttural moan, letting the liquid splash on the ground before me. It advanced towards me slowly, each step must have been a tremendous amount of effort. Riding off the confidence from my confrontation just the previous day with The Hanger, I took my knife, plunged it into The Burned’s bulbous body, and wrenched it back out. The Burned didn’t seem to notice at all; my knife on the other hand, was covered in the body’s inner liquids and began to dissolve. Again, I stabbed at The Burned’s body (not wanting to get close enough to slash at the throat) and this time lost my knife in the mass of flesh before me. The Burned was agitated and started towards me at a faster rate. Then it stopped, a gushing sound filling the room, and vomited on the ground between us for a solid ten seconds. The pool of liquid began to fill the room and I could feel it start to burn away at my feet. I screamed in pain and tried to run to safety, only to slip wildly in the liquid and fall face first into the hard ground. The Burned seemed unaffected by the liquid’s properties and continued its advance towards me, more liquid boiling up in its mouth.
I tried desperately to recover, but between the burning fluids and my own panic, I had trouble getting to my feet and constantly fell back down. The Burned wasted no time and was on me in seconds, grabbing my hair with its stubby hands and pulling my face towards its. Its skin felt warm and gelatinous rippling against mine as it placed its hands near my mouth, trying to wrench it open. I held it closed firmly as the mass of flesh began to pull and pull. I thought back to my confrontation with The Hanger and remembered what had driven it away; my blood. I reached a hand down to my knee and again tore at the scab, allowing blood to once again flow freely. It seeped down into the pool below us and mixed with the liquid. The Burned let out a yell of surprise and released me into the pool, which was no longer burning at my skin.
I looked around the room, desperately attempting to find some object to aid me; I needed more blood than my leg wound would provide. I found another kitchen knife, this one more serrated than the other. It would have to work. I drew the blade across my left arm, parallel to it, not perpendicular. The familiar color of red began to drain from it and onto the floor, mixing with quickly with the pool on the floor, changing it from white to deep red. Sensations of pain were quickly replaced with the feeling of total control and happiness.
The Burned nearly slipped on its own chemicals and blood as it began its hurried retreat, stumbling towards the backdoor and slipping in my blood. I made another slash across my arm, doubling the feelings of pleasure while further driving The Burned away, out of my house, out of my mind. By the time The Burned finally rolled its naked body out the door, all that was left of its presence was the pool of blood and chemicals it had waded through.
I haven’t seen it since. It’s gone, just like The Hanger is; buried deep down in the corner of the world and my mind. I’ve since covered my self-inflicted wounds and hidden them away. I’m not ashamed of them or anything. It’s just… I don’t know. Maybe I am ashamed of them. But they saved me. And they felt good. The drones don’t like them. I could see them glaring at my arm; that’s why I finally covered them. The mess in the kitchen was cleaned up when I got home; the drones like their cleanliness.
Still, I’m trying to figure out just the hell is up with these abominations that attack me. Well, in all honesty, The Burned may or may not have been trying to kill me. I’m fairly certain it wanted to vomit its chemicals directly into my mouth, either dissolving my organs from the inside or turning me into a creature like her- I mean it. Trust me, if you saw that thing, you’d agree that it needed to die. The creatures must have something to do with the Blood Canvas. This world is sentient; it realizes that I have refused to follow suit like the rest of the people and sends creatures to remove me, to ensure that conformity is followed by all. Is my blood toxic to these creatures? Maybe the Blood Canvas wanted to give me a fighting chance, but such a glaring weakness is surely unintended.
I’m not dead. That’s all I can ask for anymore in this cruel, cruel world. Yes, I’m done for the day.
Nothing attacked me today, but I still thought it would be beneficial to get these thoughts out of my head. Let’s talk about the Old World. I don’t even know what to think about it. I keep contradicting myself when I think about it. I mean, yeah, it was full of color and happiness, but at the same time, no, no it wasn’t. I hated the Old World. And I still do, just less than the Blood Canvas.
I’ve never quite felt the tinge of happiness that everyone else has. I’ve resented all of them for possessing it. But god-fucking-damn it. I’m not special, I’m not different. We all felt like that at one time or another, right? So why am I chosen to be trapped in this world? Was it by chance, or by choice? And whose choice was it? I don’t understand; I don’t know how to save myself. And it’s not like there’s anyone to turn to. Everyone is gone. Except for you, I mean. Obviously, someone’s heard my cries of frustration. How are we able to communicate? Are you trapped here too? I don’t know. I don’t know shit.
I did cut myself again earlier. No reason; I just simply wanted to see a color again. I took the blade to my hip, and dug it deep into the flesh. It was a darker red than I had seen in a while, which was a refreshing change of pace. It gave me a good rush. You see, I cut my hip so that the wound would constantly rub against my pants as I walked around, never fully healing and leaving me languid all day. It’s a crusty mess of a scab right now. The drones can’t see it either; that’s a nice bonus. I’ve started carrying a razor in case I ever need to defend myself again.
It is kind of cool being the last human alive, at least as far as I know. Gives me something to fight for. But holy shit is it lonely. I never realized how important it was to actually see other human beings every day, whether I wished to speak with them or not. And there was the odd person that I could talk to every now and again. The Blood Canvas is just so empty.
Of course, if I saw another human being, I’d probably do something despicable. I mean, as long as there are no drones around, this world is technically consequence free. I wouldn’t mind cutting up another person just for the hell of it. I’d slice up a drone, but that just wouldn’t be as satisfying. They wouldn’t realize what was going on until it was too late. I want to see the fear and panic in another’s eyes as I cut their lifeline short. I want to feel their blood on my hands. I want to feel my blade cut down to their bone. I want to feel my fingers in their eye sockets, gouging them out, twisting and eliciting anguish and agony. And then I want them to die. I want them to regret leaving me so alone. Retribution for myself in the Old World. I have control here in the Blood Canvas.
Christ, that’s sounds awful. I don’t mean it. Sorry, I got a bit carried away. God, I hate thinking like that. Really, I do. Sometimes I get flashes back to my old life. Yeah, I suppose I’ve buried that enough. But come on, I’m stuck in another world, you can hardly blame me. I don’t know what was worse, my peers at school or my parents at home. Sure, it’s one thing to have everyone stare at you and call you a whore or slut behind your back (Or to your face if they’re feeling particularly brave), but it’s another to come home and hear your parents discussing their “misguided child” and trying to “fix” you. I’m not a social person, my lack of friends or allies was something I grew accustomed to (and it even helps me cope with the loneliness now).
Shit, I don’t know why I’m talking about this. It’s inconsequential to my current situation and no one wants to listen to it.
It’s been a few days. Nothing interesting happened until yesterday when I met another human, or at least another person like me. A young girl, around my age, seemingly appearing out of the mist. At first, I was obviously suspicious. After all, the only other apparitions that had appeared tried to kill me. I met her on campus; I’d never seen her before. But there she was, wandering around, looking just as confused as I was when I first entered the Canvas.
She was shaded in black and white like everything else, but I could make out a few of her features. First, she had nice, long, smooth, dark hair; what color it was previously, I couldn’t tell. I could see that she wore traces of makeup and eye shadow, although both were beginning to fall into states of disrepair. She had dark eyes, and a few freckles scattered about her face. She was pale, like me, and, if we’re being honest here, she had a great, slim figure. Seriously, I could go on, but I won’t. I want to keep this short.
She was surprised at my presence and asked where the hell we were. Instantly, I fell in love with her voice; although just listening to someone other than myself talk was what I really needed. I told her we were trapped in another world, and asked how she arrived here. She offered the same explanation that I’ve offered you, detailing how the world began to subtly shift into the total overhaul that is the Blood Canvas. I asked her name. It was Carmen.
Carmen seemed rather, eh, “distant.” Which is understandable; I was lost too upon entering this world. She talks slowly, as if she’s constantly computing what she’s saying and what she’ll have to say. Quiet, soft voice; god, I love it. I made an attempt to befriend her, and she shyly accepted, not having much of a choice. After all, we’re still alone in some strange level of purgatory. That’s why I want to keep this short; she’s coming over to hang out soon. I don’t even know what to talk about. I haven’t had a conversation in weeks. She doesn’t seem interested in talking about the Blood Canvas (I haven’t told her my official name for it yet), instead choosing to focus on the Old World. Which is fine, I let her talk and in turn listen; something no one else can do in this world. She told me she hasn’t seen any strange creatures like The Hanger or The Burned. She did say she was afraid of the drones though, mostly because of their eerie appearance. I don’t blame her. The drones are getting a bit testier. They stare at me more and more now, especially when I’m with Carmen.
She’s the polar opposite of me. Positive, hopeful, kind, gentle, wispy, sociable, smart, funny, memorable, likeable, good-looking (really good-looking), not covered in self-inflicted wounds; it’s amazing that she’s here in the first place. I feel so at ease in her aura. Of course, that’s a bad thing, and I need to constantly be alert. Still, good god, I’ve never felt this feeling before, and it feels so, so great. Better than the artificial bliss I created for myself earlier. I haven’t cut myself any more since meeting her; haven’t needed to.
I’m going to ask her out. I realize how pointless (and how strange it is really, I’m not sure I’m really her “type”, if you catch my drift) a gesture that is in a world like this, where we’re the only people remaining, but I still want to have the experience. And I feel it’s the right choice. I’m giddy with excitement. Things are looking better. Literally. Carmen appears to “glow”; I can actually see tinges of color emanating from her. The first was obviously red, but I swear I’ve seen glimpses of blue and green. Blue eyes, I swear she has blue eyes. I’m afraid to ask her; she doesn’t like being reminded that she’s trapped in this alternate dimension. Anything beats the black and white droll. The sun still burns bright, bleach white, and the ground is still flesh and bleeds, but damn it, my whole world has actually changed.
I also haven’t seen any other hostile abominations and neither has Carmen. It’s like she keeps them away. Hey, I’m not complaining; we’ve spent more and more time together. Which makes sense, seeing as there is nothing else to do in this world. She tries to ignore it, tells herself that it’s just like the Old World. It’s not. But we don’t acknowledge it.
The drones are still acting strangely. At least when we’re together anyways. All they do is stare at me-actually no, that’s a lie. They only stare at me when I’m with Carmen. Alone, I’m invisible to them. I’ve since broken most of my routines to be closer to her. The drones haven’t seemed to care as much as they should. Something’s off with them, I just can’t figure out what. Carmen’s noticed it too; we’ve discussed the drones at length, trying to determine their purpose in this world. The best we could come up with is that they must be integral somehow, vital to keep it turning. Unthinking and unfeeling, put here with a single purpose. We’ve tried interacting with them, only to get no response but a glare. They’re deaf to it all.
This is going to be short. I need to go see her again. I’m almost afraid that I’m beginning to rely on her. Almost. I don’t mind that much. I don’t quite know how I’m going to ask her. I could do something spectacular. She would not expect that. I don’t know. I’ll let you know if it works.
Day Thirteen: It worked.
Color. It’s back. I can’t believe what I’ve been missing. Okay, it’s not a total miracle; there’s still some black and white, the ground is still made of flesh, and the drones still roam about. But holy shit am I finally happy. Well, maybe I’m not happy; maybe I’m just not depressed anymore. Things are definitely looking up, something I never thought possible.
I don’t even know what to say here. I’m so good at bitching and complaining; not so much saying positive things. But I’m getting better. So’s Carmen. It’s nice to finally have a real friend, not to mention a girlfriend. Sure, we were pushed together through necessity, but that’s beside the point. God, she makes me feel so special-so noticed. She pays attention to me, and as much as I hate to admit it, I crave attention. She’s happy right now and, by extension, so am I. Damn. I can’t get over how nice it is to see colors other than black and white.
But there is something strange going on. It’s like the world’s pushing back; it can’t stand to see me happy. It craves my blood. I know it does-I’ve felt the urge many, many times. But I haven’t cut myself since meeting Carmen. That’s a huge step forward. I still carry a razor though, just in case. God knows what’s out there. We talked about possibly leaving, going off to start a new life, see if there are any others out there. But we’re still stuck here, like we have unfinished business to take care of. So we both agreed to stick around a bit longer and see what happens. She’s coming up later; I think we’re going to take a nice walk down to the park. There’s a bridge overlooking a nearby river. Carmen says you can see the blue in it. Honestly, I just want to be with her; I’m happy wherever we go. Not that there’s many places left. She refuses to be near the drones any longer than need be, and the ground isn’t exactly perfect for having a picnic.
Shit. This may be the last one. I’ve got nothing else to really say. The Blood Canvas is fading away, and I have a new view on life. Things are okay.
Day Twenty Five:
Fuck! I don’t even know where to fucking start; everything’s fucked! I should have known something was wrong, that things would never go back to normal. It’s the goddamn world! It does not want me to be content, it won’t leave me be.
Shit, where do I start? This happened yesterday; I was just too upset to actually talk about it. We were out walking, Carmen and I, when I first noticed that the color of this world had begun to fade again. That should have been the first sign that something was wrong, but I had my guard down. I wasn’t ready. I was too happy, lacking the necessary depression that we all need to function. Well, we were out walking by one of our favorite spots, the bridge and river I mentioned a few days back, when Carmen decided we should stop and take in the surroundings. I agreed; it was a nice place to be, we were about fifty feet above a river, which roared and raged about, creating a fantastic ambience. Few drones ever permeated around this spot, making it all the more likeable. It was a nice, calm, serene scene; god, do I still remember it.
There wasn’t any color; that wasn’t incredibly unusual, in fact, I was completely used to it. Still, it was marginally unsettling. But we were enjoying ourselves, leaning over the railing and talking. We were discussing the Old World; I talked about how much I hated and almost preferred this world, while Carmen talked about how lonely she currently was, and how she desired to find a way back. Then she started getting more descriptive, more uh… literal. I’ll reiterate the conversation to the best of memory here.
“How do you think we get back?” she asked.
“Why would you want to go back? We have all the freedom in this world. And we have each other…”
“Oh no, don’t get me wrong. It’s not you, I love being with you. It’s just... I guess I miss my family, my friends; I miss the color and warmth of the Old World. The Blood Canvas is just so dark and disturbing; you’re the only thing worth a damn here.”
“I never told you I called this place the Blood Canvas…”
“Oh. Well, I mean, that’s what I’ve been calling it I guess. I mean, blood used to be the only thing that brought color here.”
“Until you showed up.”
“Until you showed up.”
“I wish we could capture this moment forever.”
“Yeah, it’s just…”
“What’s bothering you, Carmen? It’s something. You’re not the ball of happiness you usually are.”
“I just… don’t know if I can go on living in this world.”
“Don’t talk like that! That’s what the world wants; it wants us to end our lives. But we’re better than it. Together-”
“I’m sorry- I just can’t… It’d be so simple. We could jump. Together.”
“What?! I’m not ending my life, and neither are-”
She stood up on the railing and offered her hand to me. Without thinking, I stood up there next to her.
“We’re done with this world,” she said, “Let’s face the next one. Together.”
“I mean, I don’t know-”
“Shhhh.” her voice was soothing, “Close your eyes. Don’t think about it. Jump with me.”
I closed my eyes, thinking that maybe this was the most logical thing to do. I was ready for the next world. And I had Carmen. Surely we’d go to the same place. I thought back, to my time in the Old World, my family, my former friends, my former life. Then I thought about the Blood Canvas, and how quickly I had grown accustomed to it. I didn’t hate it like Carmen did. But I was ready to follow her; to obey her wishes.
But doubt still lingered in my mind. No, no I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t jump. There was still more I could do. I wanted to understand the Canvas, not give into it. If I could understand it, maybe I could find the exit out of here. I had to back down. I wouldn’t let Carmen jump either. Sure, I had tried before, and sure, this world had sent two of its agents to end me, but I was better than them. Despite my better judgement, I still wanted to live my life. I wouldn’t do it. I opened my eyes and looked at Carmen.
But Carmen wasn’t standing there. In her place, stood some unholy, unnatural abomination. It wore her skin, but it was not Carmen; it couldn’t have been. Its clothes were stained with red, dry, cracked bloodstains, lingering on as if they’d been there a few days. Its left arm was broken in two, cracked in the middle and hanging limply at its side. I had been holding it and released it immediately in shock. Then it turned to look at me.
It had Carmen’s face alright, except the top half was missing, as if someone had popped it open like a grape. There was an uneven, slanted line of flesh and blood that showed the divide. Compressed. That was the word. Her face was removed and compressed in. Her previously slender and soft neck was scrunched up in jagged lines and drenched in red. The thing’s smile ran cheek to cheek, overflowing wickedly with joy at my discomfort. Blood leaked from the open wound that was her face.
There was no way that this was the Carmen that I had spent tireless days with, that I had cared about, that I had loved. A trick. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. That’s what it was. It couldn’t be real. Yes, the sun had gone out. Sure, the people had changed into brainless drones. Yeah, I had cut myself to drive the other creatures away. But Carmen could not be this-this thing. I stood there dumbfounded. It reached towards me with its working hand.
“Jump with me.” It spoke through clenched teeth, never breaking its insidious grin. And it still had Carmen’s majestic and gleeful voice. Out of everything, its voice was what really stunned me. I stumbled backwards, nearly falling onto my back in horror. It still stood on the railing, and bent down to put its “face” even with mine.
“I-I can’t. You’re not-you’re not the same-” I struggled to find words.
The thing didn’t struggle in the least, “Weak. Pathetic. Scared.” Hearing those words in Carmen’s voice broke something inside of me. The creature never broke its hideous grin and went on, “I’m offering you a way out. That’s what you’ve been wanting this whole time. Right?”
“I… no. No, that’s not what I want-”
“Liar! You’re afraid! You’re afraid of what comes next!” I could smell its foul breath, tainted with blood and death.
“No I am not!” Its grin widened. The thing grabbed my arm and pulled me close; our faces pressed against each other.
Its voice changed from Carmen’s; it deepened and took on a more ferocious and aggressive growl, demonic even. “Then prove it. Jump. Kill yourself. Do it. Coward. Pathetic. Loser. Whore. Slut. No one loves you, no one gives a shit about you. No one ever will. You’re lost in this world, trying to find your way out. Give up. Jump.”
“No! I’m better than this world! Fuck! This is your fault! Carmen and I had a life together until you came along and screwed it up! You sick fuck!”
Its voice reverted back to Carmen’s, “What are you talking about? I’m right here with you! You still find me attractive, right? You still love me, right?” It rubbed its working hand up and down its body.
“No! You’re-you’re not… real.”
“Ohhhh!” Its voice deepened again, “A clever one! Tell me, what makes me less real than everything else in this sick, sick world?”
I had no words to answer that. Instead, I dug out the razor I had been keeping, just in case something like this happened, put it to my arm, and dragged it across. Crimson once again oozed out of the fresh wound.
“Ha! Bleed your problems away! Can’t even answer the fucking question!” Its voice twisted, obviously in pain, “It’s not that simple; your problems! They’ll bury you before you bury them! Farewell my friend! Good luck finding someone else to give you attention!” It switched back to Carmen’s voice, one final time, “I love you.” It blew me a kiss and dropped off the bridge, falling into the river and rocks below. I didn’t look for the body, choosing instead to dig deeper into my flesh, control and assurance returning to my body.
Day Thirty Two:
It’s been a week. I spent it in loneliness and depression. The drones are gone. I barely noticed. It’s just me now. I can’t believe I miss their presence. Nothing matters anymore; if Carmen had asked me to jump with her now, I would have done it.
I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday, wondering what had become of me in the month I’ve been trapped here. I looked about what I expected: skinny, malnourished, broken, sullen, disgusting, filthy, unhealthy, unattractive, and altogether miserable. I don’t even see blood anymore. That color has been lost; the feeling of ecstasy it once brought me has faded away along with it.
I stared at myself for a good fifteen minutes, wondering just what in the hell to do with myself. And then my reflection moved, on its own will. I watched it take out the blade I kept in my pocket and put it to its wrist. Then it sliced it clean open in a near perfect cut. Dark gray liquid flowed from its wrist and poured onto the counter adjacent to it. Then, with some difficulty, my reflection repeated the process with its other wrist. Its arms were drenched in presumably blood as it held them out towards me, for me to observe. It grinned at me and then fell to the floor lifelessly. I shook my head and my normal reflection appeared again. A glimpse of the future, if I followed my current path. Sloth. A path of laziness.
My reflection was right. It’s time to end this. I’m concluding my story, hoping someone else can make sense of it. I’m finally fed up completely with this world, and ready to move on. I’m tired of running from my problems; I’m getting rid of them for good now. I’m finally taking control, real control, putting my life into my own hands. And I choose to leave the Blood Canvas.
So Doc, that’s it. That ends my story for today’s session. What do you think? Am I a crazy teenager or what?
It got a little dramatic at the end there, but overall, I quite enjoyed it. It’s been an interesting month, hasn’t it? And I certainly wouldn’t use the word “crazy.” We all have our ways of coping with stress and difficulties in our lives. May I see your arms please?
Sure, my arm is my canvas, my blade, my brush. Together they make art. Aren’t they beautiful?
Indeed. Now, I want you to realize that you can’t punish yourself like this. We’ve talked about this. Numerous times. You know you can’t keep hurting yourself like this; there are those that genuinely care about you. You’ve had a very troubling month. You’re confused about your sexuality, you’re alone; but you realize that you’re winning the fight, correct? Every day you are still alive, you are winning that internal struggle of yours. And you’re making progress; don’t forget that.
You’re most welcome. Let’s talk some more about these, eh, creatures, that caused you to punish yourself. What do you think that girl in the mirror represents?
I told you; it’s me if I keep doing this.
So you realize that you can’t keep doing this to yourself?
Yes. That’s what I said at the end. I want to leave this world. I’m going to listen to you; I need someone else to pull me out of the Blood Canvas.
I’m glad to hear that. First, we need a better way to deal with these punishments, these creatures.
Oh, they’re not punishments.
Oh? What would you call them?
Written by Whitix