Continued from: With Drawn: Part 5 — Win-Win
Jacob was drawing at the table in his house’s kitchen. This was his favorite day-place to draw. Jacob’s favorite night-place to draw was lying on his bed in his bedroom. Jacob liked drawing at the kitchen table during the day because the light was best, sunlight streaming through skylights in the kitchen’s ceiling. But at night, Jacob liked the incandescent bulbs in his bedroom. The rest of the house had energy-saving fluorescent bulbs that seemed to flatten the lines of his drawings. And they also gave him headaches if he drew their light for too long. The one problem with drawing in the kitchen was that sometimes Dennis would wander past Jacob and make some snide comment about whatever Jacob was doing.
On this day, however, Dennis was busy playing with his new gun. Perhaps playing wasn’t the right word. Jacob guessed that adults didn’t actually play with guns. But the way that Dennis looked at the weapon, and the way he manipulated the handgun’s workings, he certainly looked a lot like a child playing with a new toy.
Anyway, the drawing that Jacob was working on was a drawing of a muscular, medieval warrior. The warrior’s face was hidden within a horned helmet. But the warrior’s eyes shone like bright stars within the helmet. And those bright stars were fixed on a gargantuan dragon with huge, bat-like wings spreading from its back, and wisps of smoke unfurling from its nostrils. The warrior had an impossibly large sword that he had cocked over his shoulder as if ready to strike down the winged lizard.
Jacob paused from his sketching and he began to twirl the pencil in his fingers. He stared at the drawing he’d created, staring at it so intensely that his eyes almost went crossed.
In the early 1990s, there was a fad of computer generated artwork. When someone looked at these pieces of artwork, allowing his or her eyes to become unfocused and then refocused, a three dimensional image would make itself apparent. This is similar to how Jacob now stared at his drawing. The computer generated artwork from the 1990s was known as, “Magic Wallpaper.” But they were not really magic. It was actually an optical illusion created by repeated patterns designed by algorithms on a computer.
What would now happen as Jacob stared at his drawing is a lot more complicated. Or maybe more simple. I guess it depends on one’s understanding of magic or the paranormal, which for most people is not much.
As Jacob stared at the drawing, he found that the warrior seemed to shift slightly. Kind of like when the three-dimensional image in the Magic Wallpaper first began to emerge. Or like when someone who has ingested a hallucinogen first notices some shift in reality at the beginning of a trip.
A hallucinogen is a substance that makes the chemicals in people’s brains go a little screwy, causing those people to see things that are not there. This seeing of things that are not there is known as a “trip.”
It was not chemicals in Jacob’s brain that would cause him to see his drawing move, but as Jacob stared at that drawing before him, he actually did see the warrior in that drawing move. The warrior’s muscles flexed and his head turned slightly so that his starlight stare now fell onto Jacob.
Jacob lowered his eyebrows, breaking his trance-like state for a moment. Then Jacob stared at that drawing in his ultra focused-unfocused way again. And again, the drawing seemed to waver slightly, the wisps of smoke rising from the dragon’s nostrils seeming to curl and be carried off in an unseen breeze. But this all stopped when Joanne Walsh walked into the kitchen and broke Jacob’s concentration from the drawing.
As Joanne walked into the kitchen, she said this to Jacob, “How was your time with Mr. Berkley after school today?”
Jacob flinched, practically gasping, as his mother broke him from his focus. Joanne recognized her son’s reaction and she realized that she’d startled him. She said, “You okay, kiddo?”
Jacob said, “Um, yeah, I’m okay. Detention was fine.”
Joanne approached the kitchen table and she peered over her son’s shoulder to see the warrior and the dragon in Jacob’s sketchpad. Joanne said, “That’s some drawing. The smoke from the dragon’s nostrils almost looks real. I love it.”
Jacob looked down at the drawing again, and he said to his mother, “Thank you.”
Joanne said, “All right, kiddo, you should probably put the drawing away for now and get cracking on your homework.”
Jacob said, “Uh-huh, okay.” Jacob then sat quietly for a moment, staring down at the kitchen table, but not at his drawing, and not twirling his pencil in his fingers.
Joanne understood that when Jacob sat like this it meant that he had something he wanted to ask her, but he wasn’t sure if he would get the answer he wanted. Recognizing this, Joanne said, “Everything all right?” Joanne asked this because it was generally the right prompt to get Jacob to ask the question he was struggling to ask.
Jacob said, “Can I still go for my walk after dinner?”
“Of course you can,” Joanne said. She said this because Jacob always went for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner, and Joanne wasn’t sure why he would think that he could not go this evening. So she asked Jacob, “Why wouldn’t you go for your walk today?”
Jacob said, “I didn’t know if I was in trouble for what happened at school.”
Joanne said, “You’ve already paid your consequence for that. That’s what the detention was for. Of course you can still go for a walk after dinner tonight.” Joanne ruffled her son’s hair and walked out of the kitchen.
One ruffles someone’s hair as a sign of affection. If one is going to ruffle someone’s hair, it is generally better that the person whose hair is ruffled be a younger male. Women tend not to like it done to them.
When Jacob’s mother was gone, Jacob did not put away the drawing and get to work on his homework, like his mother had suggested. Instead, he stared down at the drawing again in his focused-unfocused way. And again, the drawing seemed to shift. The warrior’s glowing gaze was still on Jacob, almost looking through him, and then the warrior lifted his oversized sword and he let out a scream that Jacob could not hear, a muted death cry, a call to battle. The dragon lifted its head, its chest rising with a deep breath before the dragon spewed fire from its mouth, flames spilling toward the warrior. But the warrior was too quick, and the warrior dove aside as fire washed the place he had been standing. The warrior then rolled back onto his feet and he swung the giant sword, the blade finding its mark. The dragon’s head toppled from its long, serpentine neck, falling to the ground as a geyser of blood spurted from the decapitation.
This time it was Jacob’s stepfather’s voice that broke Jacob from his trance. Dennis was standing beside Jacob, Dennis looking down at Jacob’s drawing. Dennis said to Jacob, “Man, what’s the matter with you? Isn’t this the type of shit that got you into trouble at school?”
Jacob looked up at Dennis, then he looked down at his drawing again. The drawing was of a decapitated dragon, blood spurting from its neck, its head lying at the foot of a muscular warrior, the warrior’s sword dripping in blood.
Dennis said to Jacob, “Don’t let your mother see this, she’ll freak.”
Not looking at his stepfather, Jacob said, “She’s already seen it. She said she loved it.”
Continued in: With Drawn: Part 7 — Savage