By Wendiann Alfieri
When he walked into his parents bedroom, he couldn't find what he was looking for. His parents room was big and empty now that they were out to dinner. It was a white room. Everything looked so white and clean that if you spit on it it'd probably make a stain.
The only bit of color was on the endless shelves of books.Tons of options to read, but this particular book he was looking for was no ordinary book. It was special to him. He knew he was supposed to have finished reading it by the next day.
He searched far and wide for that book but he couldn't find it. He searched on his fathers desk. He searched on his mothers night table. He was careful to walk on the floor with fresh socks on his feet and gloves on his hands, as the carpet was new and his parents didn't want it too get too dirty yet. When he finally found the book, it was when he left his parents room. It was just around the corner of the hallway that lead to the kitchen. He went back into his parents room to sit on their bed and read it.
But something was off. He looked at the cover. Same brown, well worn cover with a picture of a sun. Same description on the back, same passage of a critic claiming " Guided Imagery Is A Positive Force!" It looked the same as his book. But it didn't feel the same. He opened it and looked at it's pages.
A gust seemed to be pushing out and pulling him in at the same time. It started as a flurry and actually looked pretty with the black dots floating around. He put the book down on the floor and tried to catch the beautiful punctuation. It was like that for a while. The carpet was getting commas and explanation points and everything all over the floor and it was beautiful. It looked like a pattern. As try as he might, he couldn't catch the little dots. They seemed to be avoiding his grasp and little wisps of them skated by his skin. But once they landed on the floor he knelt down to pet them. And they were staying, ingrained in the carpet he know longer cared about keeping clean.
But when he finally crawled over to the book, to see what it's pages were like, something changed. Letters were flowing out before he could realize it. They were pelting him in the face, like pieces of ice. The letters felt cold, and as the light snowfall of punctuation had sunken into the carpet, the harsh storm of letters began to stain his skin.
Once they were on his skin, he still couldn't understand how he still felt it to be beautiful. It looked like a tattoo of letters that were scattered on his skin. The letters grew harsher and harsher and eventually, after his skin was covered, they began to fall on the floor, and stained what remained of the carpet. They were forming sentences as they moved around the carpet like snakes.
And so were the letters on his skin. It wouldn't have hurt as bad if they had had the proper punctuation to form correct sentences. But the letters did the best they could, and after that agony, he know longer thought of it as beautiful. After he was able to sit up straight again, he shut the book with what was left of the energy he had after all of that. He had earlier dropped the book right by the door. Maybe if he shut it he could get to the door.
He made a mistake, because once he shut it the sun on the cover of the book began to emerge. Its colors were hot as the bits of the sun pattern were scattering all over his shirt, burning holes and burning his skin. The letters and colors were separating on his skin, and the sun was soon ingrained on his chest with the letters shifting once again around him. His chest was burning but the rest of him was cold, and he tried to move his hand towards his chest, trying to make some sort of balance between the heat and cold as his shirt was scattered in shreds on the floor.
That was when he passed out. His eyes and body were not responding but his mind was awake as the torture continued. Soon his mind faded away too, and he felt like he was out for hours. When he finally woke up, it was to a tickling sensation. At first he didn't know what was going on. But when he opened his eyes, he saw. He saw the black oozing on the carpet. The words were no longer in a nice order. The ink was deepening and it felt like a sludge. He tried to move but he couldn't because the words on his skin were shifting too. And for the last time, he closed his eyes and hoped for the best.
An hour later there was a shuffling outside the door. " Oh Jack, why can't he just answer our phones when we call him? That's all we ask him to do, just don't, Oh My God!" The door to the bedroom was open now, and the carpet was was stained red and black and yellow. All that remained of the book was the brown of the color and the back description. His mother stared for a moment, and she picked up the book which was right by the doorway, she didn't dare step on the carpet and the back cover's letters patiently waited to be found. As she turned it over she gave her husband a stern glance saying, " Jack, I told him not to mess up the carpet."