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Eraser

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Staring blankly at the pencil and paper placed in front of him the dusky brunette wonders whether he should write or draw something. Surely that’s what’s expected. Why else would the implements be here?

The wooden chair creaks pathetically as he cautiously leans forward, eyes trained on the sheet. Instinctively his hand goes to his face and curls up at his bottom lip as he studies the page. The fate of blank paper is to be written on so it only makes sense to do so, but how can he taint something so beautiful.

The pure, uninterrupted white of the page is so simple it’s mesmerizing, teasing his slowed mind with the possibilities of what it could become, so beautiful in its current state that it almost seems a waste to ruin it. In the back of his mind the brunette knows that whatever he does, whether it is write or draw, it will ironically pale in comparison to the captivating emptiness and potential of the blank page. It is just so tempting to leave it as it is and just waste the day away watching the artificial light play over the paper as it creates the illusion of shade and depth.

But the stark emptiness of its lack of anything is unsettling and makes the brunette uneasy. Drawing his legs up, he balances his heels on the edge of the seat, hugging his knees to his chest. His hands itch with the compulsion to do something to break up the monotony, to draw a line and scar the page. The consistency of its dead colour taunts him, mocks the aggravating simplicity of his life and reminds him of everything he hates.

He doesn’t like it.

Hands still trembling, begging to have their way with the jeering page, he rests his elbows on the edge of the cold steel table as his fascination turns sour and he contemplates how best to get back at the hateful colour.

Head balanced in his hands, hanging over the page, he stares at it angrily.

White.

So simple, innocent and unassuming; yet terrifying and maddening.

So much like his life, his world, himself.

If he was to ever be asked to describe them he would use the colour white. It fit perfectly, snugly, just like the white he is so frequently strapped into.

His life is an empty white, without depth or complexity, and it drives him mad.

His world is a cold white, like that of snow, and it makes him numb.

He, himself, is a blank white, devoid of anything, and he hates it.

Lowering the pencil to the page the drag of graphite over the white fibers is almost deafening as he cuts into the blank, oneness and kills it like he wishes he could do to himself.

The white isn’t pure anymore; it’s tainted, scarred by a single line. His stomach turns as he looks at the damage he’s done, a line that reminds him of the one thing that scars him. The only memory he has.

Reaching forward suddenly he grabs the forgotten implement that had been laid out with the pencil and paper. Without a second thought he slams his free hand down on the page to keep it in place as he scrubs frantically at the offending lead. Twists of rubber litter the page as he works. He has to take it back, undo what he has done, and remove the taint from his pure white existence. He has to forget the memory that haunts him and taints his blank mind.

But it’s stubborn, even as the lead fades away the imprint remains. Slowly the eraser in his hand wears away as his efforts to purify the page eat through it. Suddenly the page tears and the steely grey of the table cuts through the white. The brunette freezes, the last of the eraser falling from his hand. For a moment he just stares as he comes to grips with what has happened.

He snaps, pushing the paper away sharply before retreating back onto his seat; legs pulled up, head cradled on his knees, one arm hugging his limbs closer to his chest the other draped protectively over his head. Trembling he cries into the cotton of his white pants. He’s scared, afraid that the more he tries to forget his own scars - to erase them completely from his blank white mind - he’ll break like the page, tearing beyond repair.

He doesn’t want to break but a part of him knows that he already has and that it is only a matter of time til the drugs and the therapy wear through him just as the eraser had done to the page; only a matter of time till he loses his fragile grip on existence and tears.

As the dusky brunette struggles to breathe through his hysterical sobs he feels a hand rest on his shoulder.

‘Calm down Shou. It’s only a piece of paper.’

Only a piece of paper?

The orderly doesn’t understand the connections that the brunette’s medicated mind has made. He doesn’t understand that in the brunette’s mind he was the paper, that the paper was him; that the line he so desperately tried to erase was the only memory he had, one that he doesn’t want. None of them would understand.

To them the brunette is just another patient; just another abandoned nut case convinced that the murderous monster in his dreams is himself and that the invisible blood on his hands belongs to a lover he can’t remember.

They just don’t understand that the tiny fragmented memory he relives in his dreams is horrifyingly true and that Nao was real.