With Drawn: Part 47 — Out of the Maze

Mystic Island Middle SchoolContinued from: With Drawn: Part 46 — A Little Help

In the hallway outside of room 102, Jacob Grist was tattooing Tommy Rogers’s skin with a black magic marker, drawing snakes and insects and other creepy crawly creatures across Tommy Rogers’s torso and arms.

Jacob stepped back from Tommy, and Jacob stared at the snakes and insects and creepy crawly creatures in his focused-unfocused way. The figures drawn onto Tommy’s skin began to move, the figures scurrying about on Tommy’s body, the snakes and creatures gnashing at Tommy’s skin.

John Berkley, still running the halls and searching for Jacob, and still with Officer Raymond on his tail, turned a corner into the hallway of room 102. John stopped running and he stared at the sight that was before him. He saw a writhing, screaming Tommy Rogers in the grip of a giant gorilla, he saw a wolf-like creature, and he saw Jacob.

Officer Raymond turned the corner into the hallway, stopping beside John Berkley, the police officer staring at the sights before him with the same disbelieving expression on his face that the art teacher had.

The wolf-like creature standing at Jacob’s side turned on John and Officer Raymond, and it began to growl as it bared its teeth.

At first, Officer Raymond was too shocked to move. The officer was shocked to see some kid in the grip of a gorilla, this kid screaming with moving tattoos seeming to bite at his skin, a vicious, giant wolf-cougar baring its teeth. It all proved to be a little too much for the police officer to process, even with all his training for being able to react to unbelievable situations.

John Berkley’s shock seemed to have subsided, and he, in a surprisingly calm way, said, “Jacob, you’ve got to stop this.”

Jacob turned from the screaming Tommy Rogers to find his art teacher behind him.

John said, “All of this isn’t right, Jacob.”

Jacob said, “But they should know what it is like to be tormented.”

John said, “But not like this, Jacob.”

“Then how?”

John said, “Jacob, you can’t punish people for being mean. You can’t lash out at things that don’t go your way. There’s other ways to change the world around you.”

“But I don’t know those other ways.”

John said, “Maybe it’s time you left the maze for the grassy field.”

Jacob seemed for a moment to stare off into space. He stared off in a focused-unfocused way, as if recalling a distant memory.

It was at this point that Officer Raymond’s shock subsided, and the police officer raised his gun, the police officer not quite sure at whom he should point the gun. The police officer shouted, “Nobody move.”

The wolf-cougar growled again, bearing its teeth, and both John and Officer Raymond thought the wolf-cougar was about to pounce, but then John and Officer Raymond could have sworn they saw a flicker of a man standing beside Jacob—the man seeming to have paint smeared on his face—and with a loud pop, Jacob and the creatures vanished.

Tommy Rogers fell to the floor, the tattoos no longer writhing on his body.

John and Officer Raymond looked down at the floor. The wolf-cougar and the gorilla football player were now two-dimensional paintings on the linoleum.

Across town, in the mural of a grassy field that had been painted on the wall of an abandoned house, Jacob appeared at the side of his father.

Jacob and his father regarded one another through the smear of paint over David Grist’s face. And standing in the house’s living room, Joanne Walsh, with tears in her eyes, covered her mouth as she regarded her son and his father together again.

Continued in: With Drawn: Part 48 — Murals

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