Cross My Heart

A painting would not lie. It would not change. It would not love.

But she was so real, so very real- how could she not be? After all that had happened she could still feel and laugh and walk- so what if she did not breath?

The name had been given to her, no one else. She had felt like taking on the world and winning.

Mary observed the world she had entered.

The painting behind her was shattered and broken- it was where she had come from. But in the picture nothing lived and nothing happened, it was a moment forever set in stone.

Her dolls had greeted her first. Their shining, black eyes glinted with joy and she cried for their sake. Not everyone could leave the world of the man who called himself Guertena- her father, her creator.

Mary did not feel like somebody's property. She had dreams on her own, dreams that even dared to leave the painted world.

But a painting could not live without a motive to display.

The painter would draw for a purpose, he would be happy once he finished. Why couldn't she?

Once she had been only an idea. A memory Guertena himself never encountered; however, it haunted him still.

And as every human being, every person, he had searched for a way to express himself and all his supposed madness he knew as creativity.

Mary had seen how he soiled the precious white papers with his visions. It terrified her how casually he forced the pencil and brushes across the pure world of its own, how casually he destroyed it with a quick twist of the hand.

What remained created her.

A rose would lose its petals in the storm.

Mary smiled as she picked up her rose, the brightly yellow flower she had had in her painting. It gave her comfort.

That was an indication she was alive, wasn't it? She had to be, right?

The toys left carelessly on the floor lined her path just like visitors on a parade day. All of them were refugees from one of the now shattered realms behind security glass; they were unhappy and bent on revenge.

But who was to kill? The painter? The observer? Who could claim to solidify the wicked visions?

The storm would come, in time, before the petals fell.

The little girl and her guardian had found shelter at last, in a room not far to the row of paintings Mary so strongly disliked.
First, she only watched them interact, but she could not make much of it. It appeared they had been visitors to some kind of art exhibition- the same paintings that trapped so many good persons?

It made her angry to see these other persons so free and lively. Why did they have what she wanted to badly? Who decided they deserved it?

Mary followed them and learned. The man, Garry, told stories of about everything, everything he knew or liked; he became an open book, a painting with an obvious motive.

The girl, who called herself "Ib", stayed silent and never revealed more than she had to.

Mary was curious.

Someone would choose who could leave the painted world. Someone had to. But who would take their place?

They found her on the floor; a silent, frightened girl in the middle of the death trap they wanted to leave. Mary was a good actress; she knew she had to wait for a better opportunity.

If it was possible for every painted person to just leave like that, it would end in chaos. Guertena had known as much. And so did the paintings.

It had to be a trade, a painted life for a real one.

Her two saviors did not suspect anything, it was a perfect disguise.

The paintings wanted her to escape, after all. A new life, a pulsating, breathing person was so much more interesting.

They would believe they were safe in their outside world. They would not see what the pictures wanted.

Mary soon noticed she liked the girl. Ib was quiet and distant, but nice and so very naive.

The stone plants separated the two of them from Garry.

She was happy to have her new friend all for herself; if everything went as planned, they could escape together. Live as a family.

Mary liked the sound of that. Forever together. Forever caught in a perfect moment.

But Ib's answer to the essential question was... wrong. She wanted to escape with Garry. Alone.

Mary had never truly felt disappointment, but she recognized it when it jumped her in the face. And it hurt.

The dolls would not disappoint her. They would watch and listen and care.

The palette knife sliced through the fabric, again and again and again.

Puppets did not bleed.

"In my way... in my way... in my way... in my WAY", Mary screamed and kept her steady rhythm of stabs. The footsteps behind her did not bother her in the least.

There was nothing in the museum that could hurt her.

The mannequin would soon be that man. How could he? He stole Ib and kept her for himself, even though they were not related.