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The Greyman's Book

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It was a relatively normal summer day, the birds chirping and the squirrels chittering; I didn't expect that everything would turn out the way it did.

Usually I would sit in my home and watch telivision until dinner, but my mom decided today would be a little different. We were going to a yard sale to see if there was anything we wanted; I tried telling her that people only sell what they don't want, but she didn't want to hear any of it. I decided that I would go just to see if they were selling any video games; as I expected, I was out of luck. What they were selling was mostly old stuff like antique lamps and some paintings, but one thing sparked my interest: it was a journal like I owned when I was a kid, with the words "ART BOOK" crudely drawn at the top. At the bottom, I could see a name crossed out which I figured out said "Dougal Gessner" and right below that name, it said "The Greyman" in pen. I walked up to the woman running the yard sale and asked her, "How much is this? I didn't see any price."

She responded with, "Oh, we don't care. We just need to get rid of it..." It seemed like she had began to forget what was going on, so I pulled out a nickel and held it out to her. She snapped back to reality and grabbed the shiny coin from my hand, then told me to scram. I walked back to the car with the book, seeing that my mom had already taken everything she wanted. 

I ran up to my room and hopped on my bed, ready to read this weird-looking book from front to back. I opened up to the first page and saw a simple drawing of a family that must've been drawn at the age of 8; I saw that at the bottom of the page, "Dougal Gessner" was signed in cursive. I was surprised to see that an 8 year old would've known cursive, but I guess everyone is raised differently. I turned to the next page and saw a decent drawing of a plane in the sky. I mindlessly  went through each drawing, looking at them long enough to process what they were, then going to the next.

Eventually, I came to a drawing that puzzled me; it was a drawing the Earth with a hole right through it, like a spherical donut. I didn't know where this kid got this idea, so I assumed he must've had a great imagination. I turned to the next page and saw a neat perspective drawing, where I was staring down at someone's feet as they walked on the sidewalk. "This kid has talent," I whispered to myself as I looked at the drawing closely. I then heard my mother call me down for dinner, so I turned the book upside down so the wind wouldn't blow my page away and walked downstairs. 

I ate my dinner as quickly as I could so I could head back up to continue looking at the book, and saw the book had somehow been moved. It was once on my bed, but it was upside down on the floor. I picked it up to see it turned to a different page; the picture showed a drawing of a hand holding a pencil, writing something. As I looked closer at the drawing, I could see it was writing the poem "The Raven", which I had to do a report on once. I was stunned by how a kid could draw a hand so well, and write the works of Edgar Allen Poe with such great detail; it almost made me feel ashamed for not doing that at this kid's age. I looked at the bottom of the page and saw that the kid's name had been signed more jagged; it also showed his age at the time of this drawing was 10.

I flipped back to the page I was at earlier, with the sidewalk; the kid was also at age 10 at the time, but his handwriting seemed normal. The number of pages between the Sidewalk drawing and The Raven drawing was 23, so if I assumed he drew one of these drawings every day, then it took him 24 days to go from clean handwriting to rushed handwriting. "What's a 10 year old in a hurry for?" I asked myself as I quickly skimmed over those 23 drawings that were skipped over. I saw a drawing of a zebra, a drawing of a space shuttle burning up in reentry, and a drawing of the Empire State Building collapsing. I forgot about how a child would be able to draw these things to well, as I was confused about WHY a child would draw these things. I turned back to The Raven drawing and turned forward. 

The drawing I saw surprised me a bit. It was a drawing of a crime scene, with police tape surrounding where someone had been killed. Either this kid spend 10 minutes standing by a crime scene and sketching (which probably wouldn't be allowed) or, as I assumed, he had a crazy imagination. Although 'imagination' doesn't explain how detailed the drawings look. I turned to the next page and saw a simple drawing of a brick wall, which unnerved me for some reason. It was a habit of mine to fear the unknown, and not knowing what was behind that wall frightened me and caused my mind to wander. The next drawing was an entire page filled with the words "I did a bad thing".

Then, the next page said, "Mit jedem Schritt, werde ich dich beobachten." I looked it up online and found it was German for "Every step you take, I'll be watching you." Those were the lyrics of this song from the 80's, which must mean this journal is a bit old. I realized that this kid wasn't just imaginative; something must be wrong with him. The next page showed a drawing of a white rabbit, reminding me of Alice in Wonderland. As I started at the drawing long enough, I saw a different image pop out; some of the dots on the rabbit formed the face of Alice. I quickly turned to the next page, as I was beginning to feel unnerved. 

I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to continue reading; there were about 40 pages left. I told myself that it was just a bunch of drawings; even if these were the drawings of a killer, they couldn't harm me. I turned to the next page and saw another first-person drawing, from the perspective of a man lying on the floor in a padded cell, with the words "don't blame yourself" written on the ceiling. I turned to the next page, and there was a drawing of a Raven. I chuckled a bit, remembering that drawing from many pages back; I might've just tried to laugh to forget about how creeped out I was. I turned to the next page; the drawing was of a hallway, with a shadowy figure at the end of it.

The next drawing looked similar, but the shadowy figure was closer. The next drawing showed the figure even closer, close enough to touch me. I closed my eyes and turned to the next page... It was a drawing from the perspective of a man on a boat looking down at a mermaid who was looking up at him. The next page had the words "I know what I did" repeated five times before it turned into manic scribblings. I figured out that at the words at the bottom of the page were cursive, asking, "Do you know what they did?"

I was very frightened and confused by this, but I convinced myself to continue reading. Turning to the next page slowly, I saw a drawing of what appeared to be a hand turning a page; I realized that it the page it was turning was the page I had just turned. I could barely see an image on the page the hand in the drawing was turning to; it was a pen with the word "freedom" written on it. I figured it must've been some symbolic nonsense that I didn't care enough to think about. 

I decided that instead of actually looking at all these pages, I would just flip to the last page. I flipped the pages forward, but it stopped a few pages before the last one. It was a drawing of a ten year old boy looking into the mirror, and in the mirror was a creepy looking man (probably around 30). Is this a metaphor for losing your childhood innocence? I didn't care, since I was ready to finish this book. The word ME filled the entirety of the next page, and in those letters were many words: "sad," "thoughtful," "imaginative." The next page showed a skeleton resembling an Ewok from Star Wars; it must've been popular when the kid was alive.

There were only two pages left, so I flipped to the next one eagerly. It was an entire paragraph, which I read quietly to myself. "There are many doors surrounding me, and I feel a pain in my knees. I wish I could turn time back, so that I never attacked. I guess you'd probably agree." This interested me greatly, and it made me think about who this person was. I turned to the next page and was surprised to see a big drawing of an eye staring at me; the eye seemed a bit wooden, but the pupil almost had life in it. I shut the book, not wanting to look at it anymore. I threw it at the top of my book shelf so I could forget about it, but I couldn't stop looking at it. 

That night, I began to have strange dreams. I know you probably would call them "nightmares," but these dreams confused me so much I could barely figure out what to call them. I remember one dream where I was lying in an empty field, staring at the night sky. The stars were moving around to form an image; it was an eye. I got up and began to run in a random direction, but the ground began to collapse beneath me. With no where to jump, I simply curled myself into a ball and put my face in my hands. I felt someone tap me on the shoulders, so I looked up and saw a giant Raven flying above me. It whispered, "All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream," It then flew at me, waking me up. 

When I woke up, I found that I was not in bed, but lying in a closet. I was relieved to see that I wasn't tied up, and I pinched myself to make sure this wasn't a stupid dream within a dream. Then, I slowly got off the floor and opened the door just a bit. I peeked out to see a drawing on the wall; it was a Raven. "Whoever wrote that book must have an obsession with Edgar Allan Poe," I whispered to myself. I walked out and looked around, and saw that this was a bedroom. I'm not sure if bedrooms are supposed to have beds, because this one technically didn't; there was just a mattress on the ground with a pillow and paper-thin covers. On the wall, a drawing was nailed in; it was a drawing of an eye. I shivered, backing away from it, but I bumped into someone. I turned around and saw a semi-familiar figure: a tall, scrawny man with white hair and grey skin.

"H-hello...?" I awkwardly said to the man, not sure what to say. "How did I get here?" I chose to ask, since this guy was the only one here.

"You've seen me before," the man unhelpfully replied, "in my book." I suddenly see the images I saw in that book flash back in my head and I shake my head furiously.

"Oh, yeah... yeah, you're Douga-" The man gently slapped me, just to make me stop talking.

"No, not that name," he half begged, half commanded. "I am The Greyman." I nod nervously, remembering those words.

"I-I asked how I got here..." I reminded him, and he just blinked. "Yes, yes... you got here..." He muttered several things to himself as he walked to the closet and rummaged through many things. He pulled out a needle and turned to me.

"I want you to stay," he whispered to me, and I backed away quickly. He walked towards me faster, holding up the needle, but I ran down the stairs before he could inject me.

"Stay away from me!" I yelled at him as I reached to swing open the front door and run out; I then saw that there was no doorknob. I turned to him about to cry, and he was silently laughing.

He pushed me against the door and told me, "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits!" Then he injected the needle into my arm, and my vision faded. 

The next time I opened my eyes, I was lying against the wall. I tried to lift my arms, but I felt weak. "I'm sorry," he told me from another room, "but I had no other options." I felt like my mouth was numb, and when I tried to speak, I just wheezed. I saw visions; visions of what I had seen in the past, and many different futures. If my parents were to ever find me- which they would never be able to- I would never be the same as who I once was. I guess I'll just lie here until I either die of starvation or he puts me out of my misery, one way or the other.

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