The girl drew in her sketchbook every night.
Pictures of dragons curled on top of piles of gold, guarding their hoard protectively, pictures of unicorns prancing through fields of clovers underneath bright, blue skies. Princesses, castles, cities made entirely of flowers. Always something colorful. Drawing was an escape from reality, which was gray and cold.
One night, the girl drew a monster.
Maybe it was because that day had been even worse than usual, but she didn’t feel like making something pretty.
She colored something mean.
Black and red only. The girl poured all of her coiled up emotions onto the paper in the form of scribbles and harsh marks until there was nothing left of the crayons. When she was done, she set her sketchbook on the nightstand, going to sleep with a bad taste in her mouth and black and red wax under her fingernails.
She didn’t dream.
When she opened her sketchbook the next night, she stopped on the page with the monster. The thing which she had drawn the day before was scary. Crimson eyes peered up at her from a page covered in blackness.
It frightened her, that she had created something so sinister. How was it that a drawing could scare her, when she’d been the one to make it? The girl closed the sketchbook. She suddenly didn’t feel like coloring anymore.
She dreamed of dragons curled on top of piles of gold, guarding their hoard protectively, of unicorns prancing through fields of clovers underneath bright, blue skies. Princesses, castles, cities made entirely of flowers. Colorful dreams.
The girl thought she might like to draw again, the following day. She opened her sketchbook with the intention of tearing out the picture of the monster. Then it wouldn’t bother her anymore.
There were no dragons nor unicorns, no princesses nor castle scenes.
The girl was shaking as she flipped through page after page of darkness and crimson eyes, black and red, only black and red. Paper beasts, two dimensional nightmares. She flung the sketchbook away from her, where it fell open on its spine. A dozen scarlet irises stared back at her from across the room, peering out of make-believe shadows.
Her make-believe shadows.
How long had she been drawing nothing but monsters?