Chapter 1 - The Crying Boy

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Chapter 1

The Crying Boy

I open my eyes and I see no fire. I’m still lying on the ground, but it’s not on the road in front of the museum. There’s dirt under my back, and I’m in between two buildings, in a dark alley, with barely any lights. It’s cold outside. I can see puffs of fog every time I breathe out.

I’m confused. Where am I? What happened? Has the explosion propelled me way further than I had calculated? Jarvis ran away the second the fire started to really take. He was brighter than me. I should have done the same thing because I have no idea what happened here.

I sit up, trying to clear my head and stop the buzzing in my ears but stop moving immediately.

There’s a boy standing right in front of me. A little boy no older than eight years old. He’s wearing a scarf and a tattered coat, pants with holes and boots that have seen better days. And he’s crying.

Now, I’m really confused.

“Hey, are you alright?” I ask my voice cracking.

“No,” he utters in between sobs.

“What’s wrong?”

And as I say those words the little boy stops crying and glares at me and there’s something inside of me, telling me this is not normal, the way he’s looking at me. Little boys should not look at people with so much hatred.

“It’s your fault,” he whispers.

I frown, confused and rub my eyes. Maybe he’ll go away when I do so. Unluckily, he doesn’t. “What?” I all but groan.

“All the painting, all the art… gone.”

The paintings, the art? Why does he care? “Look, it’s just some shady museum and I’m not the only one to blame for it. And those paintings were crappy anyway.”

“I was one of those paintings.”

“Excuse me?” My hand goes to the back of my head and I can feel blood there. I must have hit my head hard. It’s probably why I’m seeing things and hearing this, because this is the only logical explanation for whatever this is. That or I just stumbled on the street of a psychotic delusional little boy.

“Before you burned us down, I was one of the paintings in the museum. The curse painting. It had a nice ring to it. But now it’s gone, I’m gone, and so are all the other paintings.” He shouts at me and I can almost see fire in his eyes as he does.

“Kid, I think you need to see a shrink.” I should probably too while we’re at it.

“You’re the one who’ll need to see a shrink after this,” he sneers.

“Yeah, right kid. I wouldn’t be threatening the bigger person if I were y—” I can’t finish my sentence because suddenly, my lips are sealed together, and when I say seal, I mean I run my hand over my mouth and it isn’t there anymore.

I must have hit my head a lot harder than I had anticipated, or maybe breathe too much smoke because this is definitely nut-case crazy. Or a very creepy dream that feels way too real for my own good. I can pat my subconscious on the back for that one, but at the same time, it might be a little over the top.

“You didn’t hit your head that hard. You just picked the wrong museum to burn. I was the curse painting. Now, it’s your turn to be the curse painting.” Suddenly, he laughs and it sounds like it’s bouncing off the walls around us and that a dozen more boys are laughing with him.

Yeah. Really hit my head hard.

“Oh you’ll wish it was the case. But the truth is this will be much worse. Because you burned art without consideration for it or for the artists, Melody Orsay, you are condemned to roam from one painting to another, never resting until you understand the weight of your actions and the importance of art.

Oh wow. This is grand. I had no idea my imagination could run so wild.

“Even you aren’t that imaginative Melody,” the boy whispers close to my ear and then there’s a loud noise, close from the sound of thunder, coming from the top of the buildings and I barely have time to lift my eyes before I see the huge burning crate fall right on top of me.

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