The Room

I stand in the center of the room, confused. Did they really just tell me that this paintbrush holds the key to my survival? Maybe I can chop the handle up into tiny chunks and eat them. But how long would that really last me? I needed water or better nourishment than a few ounces of wood.

I stand in the center of the room, confused. Did they really just tell me that this paintbrush holds the key to my survival? Maybe I can chop the handle up into tiny chunks and eat them. But how long would that really last me? I needed water or better nourishment than a few ounces of wood.

There was no door, no window, no exit or entrance. That meant no water or food or human contact. I was trapped and the world would never find me.

Dangling the paintbrush from my fingers, I marched around the room, circling the center like a hawk circles its prey. Only I had no prey, nothing really to focus on but the movement of my feet.

Here I was with nothing but a paintbrush. I wasn’t even an artist. I could not create any great works of art that might catch the eyes of those who had thrust me in this cell. I didn’t even have any paint. Just a brush.

I stopped pacing and focused on the brush. An ordinary brush. Nothing special about it. Without thinking I touched the tip of the brush to the wall. The contact felt nice so I started doodling as a child might on a fog-filled window. Carefully, I constructed a flower, the one thing I knew how to draw.

After detailing the last leaf, I stood back to admire my invisible “work of art.” The words “well done” were on the tip of my tongue when the wall sunk in, just a little where I had painted my flower. The shape of the flower I had drawn for years formed a crevice then immediately popped out, a real flower popping with it. To the floor the flower fell while the wall went back to being just a wall.

I took a step forward and knelt down to get a closer look, a little afraid to touch the stem and petals. Leaning closer I could smell the aroma a real flower might exude.

I looked back to the wall, then the paintbrush in hand. Would it do the same for any other, maybe much more artless object? Only one way to find out.

I raced to the wall and began drawing the first thing that came to mind: a box. Just a box. Something simple to test the magic. Just as before, I stood back and let the walls do there magic and out popped a simple 12×12 cardboard box.

Now for something more difficult. Grasping the brush handle I glided the brush along the wall, creating lines and circles. This was definitely a more complex object. If I had drawn on paper with ink the image would have looked more like the art of a small child. But hopefully that did not matter to the magic.

Standing away from the room’s perimeter once the invisible drawing was finished, I watched as the walls sucked in much farther than the flower or the box. If this had been my first magical object I would have felt dizzy at the sight. But the excitement was too great.

The walls formed the shape, just as I had imagined, and out popped a chair. My chair. Just like the one I curl up in at home. It even had all the right colors and textures. All too easily I let my body sink into its cushiony bottom. Aw. If I could create things like this, maybe I could survive after all. That is, as long as I had food and water.

It wasn’t long before I tried the magic for apples, sandwiches, pastas, soups, and anything else I could think of to fill my appetite. The magic responded to it all. And the food was delectable, much better than I could have imagined.

For days I lived like this—imagining, painting, enjoying the magic. I had everything I wanted at my fingertips.

© S. Ann Comte, 11 February 2014

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Writer. What more can be said. Actually, a lot. So, just read and find out.

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