An Artists Impulse
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I rolled over, scooting myself down further into my sleeping bag and praying that I could drift off again before all my senses fully came to.

That didn’t work, though, and I heard the sound of pots and pans from the nearby kitchen. Who the hell was making food at this hour? Unless it was an entity, of course— which it probably was. No sane person would be making food right now.

The window next to me, covered by lacy, thin curtains, indicated it was “night time” right now. Quietly, I reached out to run my fingers against the delicate lacing and then pulled away. When I was younger, I’d stand here and play with these curtains for hours, running my hands against the intricate designs and absorbing the texture into my memory.

I should get out of here. The thing in the kitchen isn’t the person it's going to claim to be.

I pulled myself up, staring past the amalgamation of delicate furniture that I’d pushed to surround the window before I went to sleep. Across the living room, a warm glow poured in from the entrance to the kitchen.

Spotless as ever, our kitchen was just as big as our living room. I could see a figure practically dancing around it, steps light and airy as she made what I was going to assume were pancakes.

Stupid me, going to sleep in a place like this. It gave it time to sneak in and assume its role as my “mother”.

Stupid faceling, though, for thinking I was interested in seeing her again. My time in this maze of worlds gave me a new perspective. Quietly, I crawled out of my sleeping bag, rolling it up and stuffing it into my backpack. I fumbled with the zipper for a moment before I hastily closed my bag and slung it over my shoulder.

“Lyric, honey! It’s time for breakfast. You have a busy day ahead of you— your father is coming to pick you up to tour colleges in two hours.”

God, it’s in my head. Every second that passed, I just hated myself more for falling into that false sense of security.

Well, I was gonna hate myself even more in a minute because this was the perfect chance to stand up for myself in a way I never could have before.

“I’m not going. I’m actually gonna go hang out with my friends today.”

Footsteps echoed closer, and I stood up to see the thing standing at the entryway to the kitchen, glaring at me… somehow.

“You have to go. You know what my rule is on going out, anyway.”

“I’m almost 18– you can’t micromanage me anymore.”

The entity stepped closer. Crap. It was really hard to not feel like I was backing down, but I had to run. As much as I wanted to contend with my overbearing parents, this wasn’t the time or the place. Turning to my left, I jumped the couch wall and darted away, swerving closer to the faceling and sidestepping it, weaving my way behind it before dashing into the kitchen.

“I love you mom, but— god, I gotta do things on my own,” I whispered, turning into one of the many hallways connected to the kitchen. I could see light beginning to pour in from one of the windows, and I glanced at the paintings on the wall. They were all surreal, sprawling landscapes that didn’t follow any logic or reason to them. The signatures at the bottom were all the same. They were all signed by my cousin, an artist who never “made it” in the art world.

This hall went on forever, it seemed. Some areas felt like they repeated, and for a second, I wondered if I was in a loop until I saw an entryway to my right.

I ran in. The wallpaper had changed from its serene white to a pale purple like it was in my family’s summer home. Yet again, more paintings lined the walls, and a sense of envy welled up in my chest as I slowed down.

She at least got to try. I respected her for that. She put her all into everything, and even if she didn’t achieve her dream, she seemed relatively happy that she put forth an effort. Maybe it made the monotony of her “real job” easier for her.

Chasing dreams, imagining impossibilities, being impulsive and finding clever ways to balance your crazy maneuvers with even crazier backup plans… Wasn’t that just what art was about?

At least, wasn’t that what it was about for me?

I reached the end of the hall after what seemed like hours. There was only one door at the end, and it was covered in stickers and colorful tape. Slowly, I took the handle into my hands and opened the door.

A large, open window greeted me, covering the room in warm sunlight. On the right side of my room, closest to the door, was a white desk— on the other, a small daybed with white sheets embroidered in yellow flowers. Other than that, the room was bare. I inched closer to the desk, slowly feeling under it until I found the small, pullout drawer I stored my art supplies in.

I pulled it out, and a sigh escaped me once I saw my sketchbook was right where it always was, next to a leather pouch of colored pencils.

There was a reason I took this risk. I wanted to draw again— with my art supplies. There was something about the familiar feeling of my favorite pencil in my hand, the way I could drum my fingers on the cover of the sketchbook, and it would quietly click. It was stupid to risk it all for just that, I know, but art had been my escape for so long that it just felt natural for me to come here and find it.

As if handling delicate glass, I took the sketchbook and pencil pouch in my hands, cradling them delicately. The breeze from the window ran through my hair, and I turned. I could actually see the outside— so it must be an exit.

Shifting to hold my prize in one hand, I used my free one to pull myself up over the windowsill. I lingered in the space between, and then I jumped, suddenly finding myself in a large, foggy field, a building just barely visible out of the corner of my eye. I took a breath, the smell of rain filling my lungs.

I think I’ll sketch this out.

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