My paint brush flicked silently across the paper, adding details to the scene on the canvas. A boy knelt against a wall, hands chained to a wall on either side of his head. Shadows twined around his body, clearly binding him further. Silver hair fell to his shoulders, over his face, but didn't hide either the fire in his green eyes or the smear of blood on one high cheekbone. It was by far the most detailed thing I had ever painted. It was going to be my entry for an art contest my school was running.
What I liked best about the contest was that I was not required to give my real name. I could paint people as I saw them, without having to explain my views to annoying busy-bodies. I flicked a last highlight on the metal of the boys necklace; a battered metal heart dangling from a black leather choker. Quickly, I signed it with a metallic silver pen. Not my real name- Sora- but a penname I used online. ShadowSky. It sounds a little strange, but I picked it largely because it wasn't in use. The paint was dry. I unclipped the canvas and put it in the bag I had brought, padded for protection. Now all I needed to do was put it in the contest box without being seen. I headed towards the office, trying to think of a way to distract Miss Hesell. As it turned out, I didn't need to. She was out getting a cup of coffee, so I just added the painting to the pile of canvasses.
I didn't mind much if people knew I painted; I just didn't want to be teased into next year for painting one of my fellow school losers that way. Riku really does strike me like I painted him though; brave and beautiful, but bound by shadows and lies and his own defenses. I think he must be as lonely as I am. Beauty in no way insures popularity, and he tends to keep to himself. It took me a while to come to terms with my crush on him. It's not every day a guy figures out he's got a crush on the hottest guy in the school. However, if nobody knew who had done the painting, no one would know who to bother. The info sheet glued to the back of the painting had only my pen name and an e-mail address. That way maybe people would see how wonderful—and how lonely—Riku really was, without getting distracted by me. I thought it was a foolproof plan. But fools are so terribly ingenious…
Huh. So this was why people kept staring at me. I glared at the painting for a moment, but I wasn't really that annoyed. Just puzzled. Who would want to paint me, and why? And why in such a position? And how the HELL had it taken first place! I couldn't figure it out. The info sheet hanging below it gave only what was obviously a pen name, and an e-mail address. ShadowSky, why did that sound familiar? Still, an e-mail address was something. Maybe if I emailed her, I could find out who she was. It never occurred to me that the artist might be a guy; guys didn't enter pictures of other guys in high school art contests, even anonymously. People kept laughing and pointing at me all afternoon. I kept ignoring them, like always, with the mask of coolness I've been perfecting for years.
When I got home after school, I headed strait for my room, and the computer, I logged into my email with a welcoming chime, and began to compose a message. Quickly, I sent it before I could change my mind, then pulled up a browser to web surf a little. I spent several minutes admiring pictures of the new Mathew's Compound, a sweet little bow with a draw weight of up to sixty pounds, but something tugged at the back of my mind, a half memory. On a hunch I ran a Google search on ShadowSky, and found what I was looking for. A reference in the blog of a web comic I read, recommending Shadow Sky's art, with a link to a website. I clicked the link, and was rewarded with a fairly simple page, though clearly belonging to an artist. Half the page was taken up by what was essentially a live journal, the other half with thumbnails and brief descriptions of the pieces. I read through the latest entry, a bit surprised by the darkness and maturity of the writing. What really shocked me though, was the art on the page market 'archive', in particular, a piece called doppelganger.
I don't normally do self-portraits, but this picture just came to me. I'd been reading a ghost story, and was starting to creep myself out. The blurb read. The picture was of a brown-haired boy standing before a mirror in a t-shirt and jeans, looking at the two reflections there. One was the boy, by his clothes, chocolate colored spikes falling into impossibly innocent blue eyes. Looking over his shoulder was a slightly taller copy of the boy, but wearing a black fishnet tank top and a black leather collar with a metal ring bent into an asymmetrical heart hanging from it. There was nothing innocent about him; he was grinning, showing vampire fangs. I was unnerved—which one was the artist? The innocent boy seemed familiar, and when I realized who it was, I nearly fell out of my chair. One of the guys from school, the guy everybody knew and nobody knew well. Sora. The Sora I knew was definitely the first boy. But all of the art here was much darker, harsher than he seemed even capable of. It looked like there was more to him then met the eye. My computer chimed again, telling me I had mail. I clicked back to my inbox to find a reply from Sora.
I don't talk to pranksters. Bother someone else.
I frowned. He didn't think I was me? Maybe if I kept trying, he'd give in and answer me. I typed another note, using his name. After that, I clicked the window down and played Insaniquarium until it chimed again. Another one-liner, but one that gave me plenty of food for thought.
I paint what I see.
I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. Finally, hesitantly, I sent back a message of my own. Just two words.
I had gone strait home after school. I had never thought that the painting would generate that much fuss. I mean, who pays attention to a high school art contest? I had been home about fifteen minutes when my computer chirped to announce an incoming email. I tossed my book down on the bed and climbed over the debris on my floor to my computer desk. Opening my inbox I found two new messages. One was from my cousin in Waterchester. The other was from someone I didn't recognize-- I clicked the second one open.
Why me? Why like that? Who are you?
I knew exactly what he meant. I clicked reply and stared at the message blankly. Then it dawned on me. This was probably a prank! Someone who recognized Riku must have guessed I might talk to him. I typed back one of my trademark one-liners. I felt that anything that couldn't be said in one line ought to be said face to face. I brought up the message from my cousin and read through it, and I was about to kill the window when it chirped with another message. Lostinthedark again. Boy was he lost. I clicked it open.
I'm not a prankster. I just want to know why you painted me like that without even telling me. Is that so much to ask, Sora?
The last sentence made my breath catch in my throat. If they knew who I was, I would never hear the end of it. If I answered no, though, it might keep them from confronting me at school. This way I could at least keep my dignity. I typed back another message. Just one line, but for some reason, I felt compelled to tell the truth. Or at least part of it. I paint what I see. A truth of sorts. I clicked send and stared blankly at the screen for a long moment, trying to figure out where I had slipped up. I shook my head, and dismissed the question. It didn't matter. I had my mouse poised over the X when my computer chirped a third time. I had the message open before I stopped to think. An answer from Lostinthedark; just one word. I blinked. Thank you. ? That was it. I slammed the lid down on the laptop, and pulled a red box off one shelf. I really needed some pocky.
The next morning, I dressed to intimidate. Most people at school liked me well enough; but I was no one's special friend, and my schoolmates will turn on someone like a mob of piranha fish if they start enough gossip. I wore a long-sleeved black shirt, loose cut and a tad large, over baggy black pants covered in extra loops and buckles. Around my neck I fastened a collar, made of heavy black leather with a bent metal heart pendant. It felt comfortable around my neck; it had showed up in several of my paintings. Running my fingers through my hair, I looked in the mirror and grinned. Vampire Sora. Perfect.
Thanks for reading my first fanfic. Please review, as I won't really bother to update if I don't think anyone is reading it. (I like writing it, but typing it up is annoying)
Thank you again,