Bogleech.com's 2019 Horror Write-off:
Submitted by Shakara
She didn’t know how she got there. At all. Raking her memory back and forth, she couldn’t find a single trace of memory detailing the journey to this… place. If it could even be called a place. Unlike anything she’d ever seen. The sky was a piercing blue, so bright, she had to shield her eyes. The ground under her feet was as pink as candy. Where was she? Some tropical area? She crouched down to analyse the grass, and the smell of raspberry filled her nostrils.
“Most definitely tropical!”
Upon standing up, she saw trees popping up. Not as in ‘growing rapidly’, but simply… appearing. Everywhere she turned, a forest slowly began to grow. It didn’t look correct. She’d seen pictures of jungles before, but this didn’t look tropical in any normal sense. It looked… weird!
Each tree was a blob of purple leaves sitting atop a thin trunk. Fruit of every colour blinked into existence, ranging from pear-shape to banana. They, too, were oddly coloured. It was as if she’d stepped into a Fauvist painting. Yellow and red polka dot, cyan with magenta stripes, swirly orange and green… This was more than tropical. It looked alien.
…Was she high? She knew that some mushrooms could cause vibrant hallucinations. No, she was sober. At least, she thought she was. She looked at herself, counting all ten fingers and toes. She was still wearing her usual day-dress and slippers.
A bird flitted through the air, bright red and with wings much bigger than its body.
“Okay… Retrace your steps, Caraid. What were you doing?”
She’d woken up. It was a Sunday. She went downstairs and ate berry flakes. She dressed and brushed her teeth. She tried catching up on her reading when her little sister came in. Rhona. She wanted to show her a picture.
Rhona always drew pictures, trying to show them to her, but Caraid had been tired and didn’t get enough sleep last night. She’d never been sleeping well ever since secondary school had started. Rhona was always annoying her, always barging into her room with something or other, every hour of the day, distracting her from her from her schoolwork. At last, she cracked, going off on a tangent of insults and curses.
“Damn you and damn your drawings! I don’t give a damn about it! Leave me alone! Now, get out, you eejit!”
Rhona had begun to cry like a siren. That was all Caraid remembered.
… Was she dreaming? She jumped in place, trying to fly. No luck. Gravity still worked.
She picked a cyan apple from the purple tree, biting into it. Tasted like watermelon.
“Well, might as well find my way out of this weird place.”
She walked onward, out of the odd purple forest. There was definitely something strange with this world…
It seemed that Caraid had been walking for hours, but the surroundings didn’t change. She kept finding herself in that purple forest, and that same red bird flew past. Frustrated, she chucked the gnawed apple-core at the animal, and it fell down, unmoving.
She stared at her hands. She’d not even thrown that hard! Looking at the creature, she knew that it was no bird. It had beady black eyes, a too-long yellow beak, a tiny body and wings that took up most of its form. Like a bad copy of a bird. It dissolved into grey shards. She rubbed her eyes in disbelief.
Caraid looked upward in horror, seeing a giant flock of birds in every colour of the rainbow. Each and every one warped. Some with too many eyes, some without, some just mere floating wings, others with massive bodies- a swarming mass of wings and beaks, squawking, tweeting, all off-tune.
The world made no sense here. Sections looped. The plants smelt and tasted of candy. The sun didn’t move. The surroundings didn’t look right. Block-like cows. Long horses. Stumpy-leg cats and dogs with spherical torsos. Wisp-like clouds. Nothing felt logical. She didn’t get tired running, she didn’t feel thirst or hunger as she usually did… Where in the nine hells was she?! One thing she knew, she’d found herself in a new area. It was a flat white plain with a blank ground. Here, there were no smells. It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t cold. Just white... She looked behind her, seeing the colourful, disgusting madness.
This place didn’t look finished! It was like a… child’s drawing…
Rhona. With a drawing. She had been drawing pictures all day. She always drew… Caraid had been somehow drawn into the picture. But how? It made no sense. It had to be a dream. It had to be!
She was stuck. Everything felt stifled. She felt like a butterfly pinned down on a board, something to stare at. It was getting hard to breathe.
“Rhona! Please, I’m sorry! I don’t know what’s happening, but let me out! Please! I didn’t mean to be nasty to you! Let me out! I want to go home!”
The white sky crackled, the sound of scratching scything through the air. It was almost deafening. She looked up.
The word dissolved into pale pink shrapnel, blown away by an invisible wind.
The colourful mess caught up with the rest of the white plain, ground turning from pink to pale orange and the sky a royal blue. The two halves of the world came together, day and night. Blotches of white popped up as stars. Rapidly, a circle began to manifest. Caraid watched in horror as a sun-moon began to form, complete with a wide smile and staring eyes, one half of the face silver, the other gold. Far too many teeth. The eyes too clear. The celestial abomination glaring down at her, mocking her, judging.
“Stop! Don’t look at me! Leave me alone!”
She wept, she howled, she screamed. Uncanny animals surrounded her, eyes like black stones. Flowers jumped up from the magenta soil, faces turned towards her. She tore out her hair, only to find it grow back again. She gouged at her face with her nails, only for the wounds to heal. She struck her head off the ground over, and over, and over, her infinite rhythm of agony deaf to all but Rhona.
Rhona was drawing a picture. It wasn’t much. Just a simple pink field with purple trees, and half of the field orange, with a dark blue sky. A sun-moon sat in the middle of the picture, smiling uncannily. A figure sat below it, surrounded by twisted animals.
“Rhona, have you seen Caraid?” Mom asked.
“Huh. I wonder where she is. I asked her to bring down her laundry basket. What’re you doing?”
Rhona tottered up to her mother and showed her the picture.
“Ah, half day and half night! Very interesting. Why’s the grass pink and orange?”
“It’s a tropical place. My special place. The birds are every colour of the rainbow and the fruit tastes like candy.”
“Who’s the stick-man with the animals?”
“Very colourful, Rhona. Well, be sure to tell me if you see her.”
“I’m just going to pop to the shops for some milk. I’ll be back later.”
Rhona looked back to the picture, lines of pale blue streaming from the stick-figure’s face.
“You hated my picture. You are now part of the picture.” She spoke flatly. She ignored as the lines of graphite shook themselves into a frenzy of activity, line-hands trying to break through the paper in vain.
Colouring in the remainder of the sky, she finished her work. She then signed her name ‘Rhona Durnin, age 5’, and then a title ‘Night-Day World’. She got some Blu-Tack and proudly stuck it to the wall, a perfect piece of art. The stick figure slumped over in defeat.
She would let Cariad out when she’d learnt how to act properly.