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He was sitting there, alone, reading. The cover of the novel was ripped off. The first page was almost ripped off as well. It looked as if it was held on by just a strand of hair. He stood up a little, but something in his mind made him sit back down. The novel was a mystery to him. He couldn’t stop finding new pages that he kept accidentally skipping. He found the novel next to a towel. A very filthy towel. An orange, dirt covered, stained towel. The book had scribbles and notes on the inside, and the title and author were not present. It was as if someone erased them from the book. The book did not make any sense; it was as if the book was guiding someone to do something, but not telling you what you are being guided to do. 

He was alone in this world. That’s what his mindset was. They called him Wert. He wasn’t welcome in school, and he didn’t exactly have a home. He lived with a classmate, who did not speak. He has never heard them speak. Maybe once, but he doesn’t even remember her voice if she did. Her name was Cosimia. Her mother knew that Wert did not have a home. His parents disappeared one day. Was it drugs? Was it insanity? Wert did not know. He just knew that his parents stopped loving him and themselves, and left to a place where they could be alone. Wert did not know the relations between Cosimia’s parents and his own parents, but the bond seemed to be strong, because he was welcomed at the Hartshorn’s home. They all had strange names, Cosimia Hartshorn,  and her mother Acelynn Hartshorn. Maybe they thought that Wert’s name was strange, but even if they thought of his name negatively, Wert wouldn’t care. He was small, unnoticeable, a little frail. Everyone seemed to be one step ahead of Wert in everything they did.

It was October, the moon looked as if it was whisked away by a puppeteer. It was in one place, then another. Ever since he was born in Magnolien, Wert liked to watch the moon. The moon was very visible in Magnolien. It was a pleasant name for a melancholy town. Wert liked to watch many things, slow things. There was a particular shop that Wert enjoyed going to. It was a clock shop, and Wert was always fascinated by the different types of clocks they sold. He never bought them, though. Wert has always wanted to have his own clock shop. It wasn’t a dream other people had. Wert’s mother had a clock that Wert used to stare at. It was just a normal clock, but the deep blue color was very attractive to Wert. When he looked at the clock, he was expressionless, stolid, just like the clock. Many things felt slow to Wert, he was a quick thinker, and always knew what to do or say. Wert felt like watching a clock made time slower for a long period of time. Maybe it was true.

Fog covered the ground. It was late, and Wert was out to go to a candy store and buy some chocolate. He wanted to go to the clock shop after and share some chocolate with the shop owner, Ridley. Wert was good friends with Ridley. He bought delectable, dark, yet dulcet chocolate, and headed to the clock shop. The rusted metal letters above the door, spelling out “Cerulean’s” always made Wert feel warmer. The deep blue color of the carpet felt nice to Wert, even though he was wearing shoes. He tried to open the door, but it seemed to be locked. The lights were on inside, but it just wouldn’t open. Wert was dispirited, and went back home. He was tired from walking. The shop was far away, and he usually rested at the shop. Now that it was closed, he had to walk the whole distance without rest. More chocolate to himself, he thought. He took a bite of the chocolate. He always bought the same chocolate bar every time, but it never got old. 

The following day, Wert was walking to school. This is when something strange happened. He bumped into a strange man, well, the man bumped into him. Actually, never mind, both. They bumped into each other. Wert wasn’t really focusing on what was in front of him. The man could’ve easily walked around Wert, but he didn’t. Wert didn’t pay much mind and kept walking. A woman this time bumped into him, and that's when Wert decided to open his eyes wide and walk straight and around anyone. He apologized for bumping into the woman. The woman seemed flustered by the strange bump, but when Wert apologized she didn’t seem to notice. Wert continued walking, and realized that he had to dodge everyone. Everybody just kept walking without noticing him. Wert was very confused. He rung the bell, so he could enter the school, and he saw teachers inside the school very confused. He felt like he was getting ignored by everyone. What could he have done that was so grand that made the entire town ignore him? Did the entire town ignore him because of how he looked? Werts dark golden brown hair looked as normal as usual. His long disheveled hair looked as it did every day. He did not care about others judgement. His clothes were clean, but ragged. His dark, blood-red shoes looked fine, normal. The laces were ripped into multiple strings, as if they were all tied together to make up the lace. Everything about him was normal. What was happening? His big round, green eyes went tight with worry. He now ignored school and ran back home to check on the Hartshorn’s. 

He was back at their house, and neither Cosimia nor Acelynn noticed Wert. Cosimia did not go to school. She is… unique. Wert did not see her in school for years now, he only has ever seen her come out of her room and go back in. She was out of her room this time, and didn’t even look at him. It was true then, no one saw or heard Wert. They wouldn’t ignore Wert like that, and he knew that. Wert didn’t know what to do. On one hand, this might’ve been a good thing for Wert. He always wanted to be able to turn invisible. He realized he wasn’t even invisible, he was gone from people's minds, forgotten. After some time thinking, he realized he cannot live like this forever. He needed for all of this to turn back to normal. He figured if he tried to talk to someone he knew they would recognize him? He found Cosimia in her room. She was braiding her hair. 

He asks her, “What’s going on? Can you hear me?”

She looked at him and opened her mouth, hesitated, but loudly whispered, “What do you need?”

“You can see me? Hear me? Why is the town ignoring me? Why didn’t you say anything when I walked back into the house? I have so many questions!”  he uttered, loudly. 

She did not look confused, but she was. Cosimia was very expressionless at times. Almost like Wert when he was observing his mothers cerulean clock. 

“Well, I do not know, since I have not been invisible, as of late.” she pronounced jokingly. 

Wert was frightened, but happy that he found someone that he could talk to. He had never been so glad to live with Cosimia. They talked for a bit, and Cosimia revealed that she has been reading a lot of books about witches. Wert cringed at the suggestion that this had to do with supernatural things, but he knew it was probably true. Wert had never been a fan of magic or curses. She said, there was a curse given by Lierau Taboc, a famous witch that lived in the darker parts of Medeni, a neighboring city. She curses people with the curse of vanishing, where no one could see or hear the person. 

“Impossible, curses aren’t real, but even if they are, which they aren’t, why can you see and hear me?” asked Wert.

Cosimia shrugged, “Let’s read more.” she said quietly.

There was a book that was written by the witch herself, that was a perfect guide on how to stop the curse. Wert thought that it was better to try to break the curse, even if he wasn’t sure if he was cursed or not. Wert needed to find this book. He remembered the book. The book without a cover. The book without an author, that was the witch’s novel! He downstairs to his room, and the book was not there. Where he remembered it being, there was dust. This was terrible, the book was gone. He will be cursed forever. Did the witch find out he was looking for the book and take the book? He searched more, and could not find it. He saw a small trail leading to a little hole in his wall. He put his hand to it, and felt around. A hand grabbed him; it felt like tree bark, and pulled until his hand couldn’t reach further. He couldn’t breathe. It was as if his mouth was on his hand and his mouth was covered by whatever this was. Cosimia just stared in fright.  Suddenly, Wert passed out. He was so weak, he could do nothing about the hand tugging him into this hole, which might’ve been a mouse hole that mystically appeared in his room. 

Wert woke up, and checked his surroundings. His limbs were gone, and he couldn’t lift his head. He slightly rolled over and saw Cosimia lying there, watching him. He was not in pain, he was not bleeding. Where his arms and legs were, were now just slight bumps. Wert had never been in a state of such disbelief before, but for some reason, he was not scared. He rolled closer to Cosimia, until he toucher her, and suddenly, everything he saw was white. He blinked a little, and he was back in his room, this time, screaming in pain from the bark hand pulling harder than before. He stopped struggling, and the hand stopped struggling. He finally stopped moving, and the hand stopped pulling. He noticed the pattern. He suddenly jerked it when he had the chance and had his arm ripped off by the hand. Cosimia shrieked, and ran to Wert. Wert closed his eyes for yet another time, and realized that what he saw earlier could’ve been his future. He opened his eyes and was back to the hand pulling him. Was this a puzzle? Why did he keep coming back to this moment in time? He stopped struggling, and the hand stopped struggling. He did not know what to do. He thought the best option was just to wait it out, but it could take days. He knew if he tried to pull his hand away, his hand would pull back. 

“This must be a test,” Wert whispered to himself, nervously. 

 He waited hours in this position, not moving, and suddenly, the hand let go. He looked inside the hole, and saw the book. Was the witch testing him? He tried to figure out a way to get the book, but when he felt helpless, the hand reached out of the hole, and handed him the cover of the book.

“Obsolete,” Wert read aloud, in a whisper. 

He looked at the hand that grabbed him prior, and it was now opening up, like a flower blooming. He looked inside, and saw as if another hand inside the hand was holding an orange towel, with something inside. He took the towel, unwrapped it, and got the book back. The book was completely empty, and all the words were gone. Wert stepped away. Cosimia was still standing in that same place.

“Cosimia?” Wert uttered, warily.

She did not reply. Wert looked broken. He touched her, and she did not notice it. Wert was now hidden in her mind as well. He wandered helplessly around the house, defeated. He did not even care anymore that he was probably making progress. What’s the point of living if you are so alone? He felt alone in this world, but he realized he wasn’t. He realized only now that he was truly alone. 

“Wert?” Acelynn interrupted his grief. 

“What are you doing with that paper” she pronounced slowly. 

Wert could not believe it. Did Acelynn also hear and see him? He looked around, everything off about the room now looked normal. Did anyone else see and hear Wert? Without saying a word to Acelynn, he ran outside. He walked up to someone, and they turned around, shocked. They politely greeted him. He had no idea what he did to stop this. He went home, and found one of Cosimia’s books. It felt heavy, but it was very thin. He opened the book, and started reading it. It was the story of the same curse he had. The way it was broken was by passing it on to someone else, someone else that accepts the curse, he then realized it was the same book he had when he found it next to the orange towel. The cover was attached. Cosimia must’ve accepted the orange towel and took the curse with her, and now the book is hers.

“Cosimia?” Wert mumbled.

She was gone, but was she? Wert has had the curse, he knew how it worked. Wert knew she was somewhere. He did not see or hear him. He wanted the curse back, knowing that Cosimia had willingly cursed herself for him made him regret being such a coward. The book told that if you really wished to help someone with the curse in need, you will get the curse. The hand will appear, and offer you the book. Wert was not cursed for the rest of his life. Years passed, and Wert was always ashamed of himself for not sacrificing his happiness, that he did not have once Cosimia was gone. He wanted the hand to come back, and be cursed again, but couldn’t. Cosimia lived on, together with Wert, while Wert lived on, alone.

November 01, 2019 20:08

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1 comment

Ashlyn Leung
01:43 Nov 12, 2019

Cool story, Anthony.


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