“The Macabre Figure”

Story written by Franklin Rayeski – Please do not use without crediting me

          I was a poor man that lived off of the bare minimum. Everything from my food to my apartment was plain and minimal. My day jobs could never give me the luxurious life I had always envisioned. I was an artist, too and I stole paper and pens and whatever else from whomever I could—all for the sake of fulfilling my passion. I lived like this for a long time, until Nameless came along.
          Nameless was the name I bestowed upon my favorite caricature. I drew him into everything I created; he was my muse. His design was very distinct: he was skinny with long appendages and his eyes were glossy and pale and empty. His eyes were only features on his face, everything else was blank. He was the noseless, mouthless, earless Nameless. 
          I don’t really recall when I first drew him—he just showed up one day at the corner of my sketchbook. Days after days passed and I saw him repeatedly appear in the corner of everything. So I started drawing him in the very center of the page. He’d do so many things there; he’d read, write, cry, laugh and wish upon shooting stars. I grew very fond of him quickly and couldn’t contain the joy I felt when I carried him from my mind, out my pen and onto my canvas. Nameless was the center point in which I revolved my life around.
          Our bond, though, grew stronger and I couldn’t stop drawing him. I wouldn’t eat or sleep until a perfect portrait of him was created. It had to be perfect, from the shading to the line work to the watercolor backgrounds. I worked for long, strenuous days, sometimes breaking down and crying over simple mistakes. This overwhelming desire would eat at me and I’d hallucinate phantasms that’d crawl across the walls. The pressure and stress would weigh down on me and, for many moments, I couldn’t breathe or move or think. But, somehow, I managed to carry on.
          After weeks of starvation and sleep deprivation, I finished Nameless’ perfect portrait. To celebrate, I ate four meals in one sitting and slept for a whole day straight. When I was fully rested and fed, I went back to my masterpiece; I wanted to see it’s brilliance with fresh eyes; I wanted it to take my breath away—and that it did.
          It was ugly. It was lopsided and contorted. The colors didn’t mix well, everything was a washed-out faded grey and Nameless sat at the center of a disaster. I remember screaming at it. I remember tears flooding my eyes as I smashed whatever furniture I had. I threw things, I spat, and I grabbed hold of the canvas, ripped the portrait apart and burned it. And after I burned the portrait, I burned the apartment and after I burned the apartment, I burned myself.
          The whole place was up in a crimson flame and I laid on the floor and breathed in all of the toxins; I was ready to leave this foul earth. But someone saved me; some hero-in-the-making broke in and dragged me outside and resuscitated me. I was in a black tunnel and the light at the end of it faded away as I burst back into reality.
          I was alive; I drank the air as if I had never felt it before; I devoured the smell of freshly lain dew; I listened wholeheartedly to the sound of chattering birds; I was alive. The gloom of Nameless was gone and I could feel a new chapter of my life opening up. Thoughts rushed through my head as I headed through the town. I thought of all the artwork I could make; I could create beautiful landscapes and remind the whole world about the wonders of living. In the moment, my heart was filling up with joy—fattening up and readying itself to burst.
          A hand snatched me from the streets and pulled me into the darkness. I struggled and saw a masked man with a sharp barb between his fingers. I tried to fight back but all was futile in the end. My eyes were fixed onto the moon as his blade gouged into my ears, plucking the sound out of this world. Then all the smells vanished and then the taste of the night disappeared. Pain pulsated through me and gushed out my ears and nose and mouth, decorating the streets in blood. The shadow of the man left me on the stone pathway and I laid there, suffocating in sanguine, until falling back into darkness.
          Thrice I had been engulfed in darkness and thrice I had awoken to light. The world was a blurry hum; it was scentless and tasteless, too. I had awoken into a hospital dressed in a plain patient gown and had tubes emitting from my anorexic arms. I saw people around me, moving their lips and looking at me from time to time—I only saw them, no other sensation was present. They handed me a paper explaining that the assailant had robbed me of sound, taste and scent. I felt the inside of my mouth and my tongue was missing, I felt my nose but it was missing and my ears felt empty. Everything was stitched up with a tight bow.
          They eventually let me leave and I left as a silent shadow of the man I was before. I walked through crowds of people and saw all of the forbidden senses I was deprived of. I dragged myself to a small park in the center of the town and picked a patch of grass to lie on. I gazed up at the stars then gazed back at some passing vehicles. Tears flooded out of me as I shrieked silently. I was now nothing but a being of sight; noseless, mouthless, earless, scentless, soundless, tasteless, nameless.

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