Tasks and paint.
The girl nodded. She understood. Monsters walked right past us. I couldn't see them clearly because of the darkness, but I knew they were there. They just didn't notice us.
I got up and took her hand. It was safe now. We walked out in the yard. There were more of them there too, but it didn't matter. They couldn't see us.
He had left another box out here. It shone just a little in the darkness. I couldn't see anything else. The girl opened it. To my amazement there were brushes and buckets of paint in the box. That's how he wanted us to do it. He had thought of everything.
She opened a bucket and handed me a brush. I dipped it in the black liquid and let the paint do the magic. Curves. Lines and corners. I let my imagination run freely.
Signs. Words. Letters. I didn't know what it was, but it felt natural. A resistance. Something safe. A shield. Nobody could hurt us. I dipped and painted and dipped and painted. Slowly, but surely it came to life.
The girl had drawn two circles and the whole thing seemed more alive. The circles enclosed what we had made so far. It was like a wide halo filled with signs. I opened the remaining buckets and started reinforcing the whole. She started painting inside the inner circle.
Lines and curves. This was meant to be. A triangle and more strange figures. Letters. Words in an alien language. I didn't know what it meant except that it was right. Yes, it was meant to be. We kept on making the lines thicker until there was no more paint. It was finished.
The mark glowed in the darkness. It warmed me up. It heated this hopeless world. It felt like he was much farther away. He couldn't help us now. We were on our own.
The girl hit the ground. She passed out and fell lifelessly. Someone hit me in the head with a mallet. I dropped to my knees. It hit again. Harder and from all sides. My head was about to explode. I fell. The ground was hard. Almost like metal floor. The soil was gone.
It kept on. Pain. Spears impaling me. Sharpness. Coldness. Agony. Ache. Sting. It squeezed my throat and cut my knees. It hit my head and ripped the life out of me. I screamed I wanted whoever it was dead. Silence.
It was over. The hammering. Nobody was beating me. A body in a pool of blood. I looked away from it. The headache was awful. This place was awful. Everything was. Something bad had happened. It was wrong.
Where the hell was he? I got up and looked at the school. Something had happened to it. It looked frightening. Like it had been burned or... There was an accident in the laboratory once. Someone spilled acid on the table and the floor and it looked like the building. I had smashed the glass and the floor changed color.
There was something else. It wasn't just acid or fire. There were metal things everywhere. I hated it. It was like a bad dream I had often. The red fence everywhere. Rust. I despised rust. Somewhere below was the cause of it all. The master. That's what he said. I had to beware. It wanted to eat me and everyone. The girl's father would have to help.
I didn't understand what he meant. He had said something about gambling on two horses. I suddenly remembered. He had also said the void was killing him and me and the girl. Things had to reach the end in one way or another. The girl's father. I was helping him and working against him. It was weird. I didn't understand.
The girl. I had almost forgotten. She was still lifeless. She wasn't breathing. I put her on a bench and blew into her mouth. I hadn't tried something like that before. They had done it on television. It felt strange. She started breathing again. Slowly. Slow breathing.
She was cold. I slid my hand under her clothes. She was cold between her shoulder blades. Much too cold. She was dying.
I shook her lightly, but she didn't wake up. I shook her hard, but she didn't wake up. I touched her face, but she didn't wake up. I held her hands, but she still didn't wake up.