Isaac stepped back from the wall, paintbrush in hand. He always wanted to paint a mural and see his doodles, larger than life, on permanent display. The cartoon jungle glowed vividly in the afternoon sunlight, even brighter than when he painted it. It was perfect. When Marianne and Charlie came home, they certainly would be impressed. Time to wash up.
Hours later, Isaac heard rumbling coming from Charlie’s room. He set his book on Marianne’s empty pillow and pushed his toes into his slippers. As he neared the door, the rumbling sounded louder. He left the window open a crack to let out the paint fumes — was the sound an idling motor? There were those bikers that roared down the street at all hours of the night…
Annoyed, he pulled his hand back from the knob and began to turn away. The back of his neck prickled with fear. It wasn’t rumbling; it was roaring. Instinct impelled him to pull the heavy hall table against the door moments before a dull thump shook it. Something like claws made a shrieking sound and the door rattled. There was a roar and a snuffling snort and the sound of canvas paint-cloth being shredded.
Isaac stopped in his room long enough to grab his keys and wallet and then fled in his slippers without pausing to turn off the lights. He stayed in a hotel until mid-morning, reluctantly returning home only to sneak around the back and peek in Charlie’s window. The room was torn apart, but empty.
He entered the room cautiously. The spread of the claw marks was wider than his hand. The imprint from phantom jaws was enormous. He looked up at the cheerful jungle scene and pried open the white paint he bought to touch up the baseboards. With broad strokes, he painted over the mural.
This was the very first post on my blog, stbirdblog.wordpress.org, on October 24, 2016. I have grown so much in the past five years. I will repost many of my short stories and comics with new illustrations or coloring. I hope you enjoy them!
Where had he been before? He remembered water. Nothing more.
“What are you doing here?”
Isaac turned and his heart jumped. There was someone right next to him. How did he miss that? “What?” he asked.
“Why are you here?” the boy asked again. He was just as tall as Isaac, but his legs were furry and he had two bumps on his head, just where his forehead met his hair. His feet didn’t look the same as Isaac’s either.
Isaac thought for a moment. “I don’t remember. I don’t even remember my name.”
“That’s normal here.”
It was a little scary, not being able to remember anything. Did he hit his head? He nervously patted his head, his arms, his legs. All was fine, until something made a crinkling noise. He found something folded and flat and covered in markings. What was it for?
“What’s that?” the boy asked. “Can I see it?” He held out a hand.
Isaac handed him the paper. “I don’t remember what it is.”
“I think I’ve seen something like this before, but I don’t remember when.” The boy gave it back to Isaac.
Isaac folded it up and put it away. “Why can’t I remember?”
The boy laughed. “No one can. Not here. We have to go that way.” He pointed towards a darkly shadowed path.
Isaac didn’t like the look of it. “Why that way?”
“To remember. It’s too bad you don’t remember why you’re here. Sometimes people remember.”
“What people?” Isaac asked, looking around.
“I don’t remember.” The boy started walking. Isaac followed him.
Isaac wasn’t sure why he felt nervous when he couldn’t see well. Would he know when he could remember? “What am I scared of?”
“I don’t know,” the boy said. “If I can’t remember me, I certainly won’t be able to remember you.”
“Will you remember me when we can remember?”
“Will I remember what?”
“Will you remember the things I’ve forgotten?” Isaac asked. He couldn’t remember if that was normal or not.
“Not here and not there, but maybe somewhere,” the boy said. “Who knows?”
“Are you scared?” Isaac asked.
“I remember… I remember that I like to laugh. Can you remember anything funny?” the boy asked.
They walked a little further through the patches of light and darkness, stumbling over small obstacles and skirting around larger ones. The patches of light grew larger and larger. Suddenly, Isaac remembered. “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana,” he said suddenly.
“What?” The boy looked confused.
“It’s a joke. My name is Isaac, and I’m looking for a party, and I remembered a joke.” He grinned and looked at the boy. “Are you a goat-boy?”
“I’m a faun, not a goat-boy. My name is Timmons. Your joke isn’t very funny, you know.”
“That’s because it wasn’t the whole joke. Just the ending. That’s what I remembered first,” Isaac said. “The joke really is funny. Well, it might not be as funny if you already know the ending.”
“You’re not very good at telling jokes. You should tell the beginning first and save the ending for last.”
Isaac felt his face heat up with embarrassment. “I know that. If you’re so good at telling jokes, you tell one.”
Timmons shrugged. “Fine. Why did the doe give the faun an umbrella?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
“In case of reindeer.” Timmons laughed.
Isaac looked confused. “I don’t get it.”
“Well I won’t explain it to you. That ruins the joke. Maybe you’ll get it later.” The faun stopped walking and turned to face Isaac. “Unless you’re looking for a party of one, your party isn’t here.”
“How do you know?”
Timmons smiled. “I can remember things here, outside of the jungle, and I know you’re the only new person I’ve seen here in a while. I think I would have noticed a party.”
Isaac took the map out of his pocket. There were now three islands marked with an x. “Do you know how to get to another island?”
Timmons looked at the map. “When the tide is low, you can walk over to that island on a sandbar.” He pointed to an island at the center of the map with a picture of two houses.
“When will that be?” Isaac looked out at the water. It looked just as deep here as it did anywhere else.
“In the evening. Would you like to come to my house for lunch while you wait?”
Suddenly, Isaac was starving. “I’d love to. I can tell you some jokes while we wait.”
The faun smiled. “That sounds like fun. As long as you remember to start at the beginning first.”
“I told you that I know how to tell jokes!”
Timmons laughed. After a moment, Isaac laughed too.
I want to learn to play the piano. Okay. Thirty minutes later… …and that’s how you play a C major scale. This is taking too long. The talent show auditions are next week. I think I’ll just finger sync.