Chapter Two: The Voice (The Adventures of Jolean and the Magic Eraser)

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Katelyn Styborski, Writer/Designer

Jolean slowly opened the door to her house. She slipped her shoes off her feet and took a deep breath.

The house was quiet. A beam of golden light shone through the circular window above her makeshift kitchen. It bounced off the walls, illuminating her drawings haphazardly taped on the wooden slats. The girl smiled at her artwork, admiring how she had improved over the few years she’d been drawing. Her fingers traced the edges of the crinkled papers.

Jolean lifted her new eraser up to the pictures. It fit perfectly in her hand, the exact width of her palm.

“You see this pretty drawing, big guy? It’s a strawberry, like the kind I keep in my garden.” She then ran over to the back window, holding the eraser up to look out. “Ignore the mess. It’s kind of hard to take care of the yard by myself.”

The girl stood silently for a moment, tapping her fingers on the windowsill. “I’m really excited to have a friend.”

She smiled down at the eraser. “We can talk for hours, and make dinner together, and I can read you my books and play games with you!” She spun around, holding the eraser out as though it were a babydoll. “And the best thing of all, you’ll help me make even more masterpieces! I can’t wait!”

Jolean sprinted over to her coffee table where she slipped on a hand-woven rug and went skidding into the wall.

CRASH! 

The girl lay sprawled on the ground, her eraser inches from her hand. The potted plants which had been sitting so comfortably on the shelves above her head, bathing in the warm sunlight, were now scattered around her; one sat atop her head, covering Jolean in a solid layer of dirt. With a sneeze, she shook the dirt off of her and surveyed the mess.

“Oh well,” she sighed. “I guess drawing will have to wait.”

 

A heave, a huff, and a heap of dirt later, all of her plants were back in order. Each one sat in a little paper container, color-coded by their flowers.

Clapping the dust off her hands, the girl finally sat down with her eraser and the rest of her art supplies, ready to draw.

“Finally! Now what should I do?” She hummed under her breath, looking around the room for inspiration. Eventually, her eyes landed on the smiling, doodled face next to her. “What do you think, eraser?

Just then, Jolean’s stomach let out a thundering growl. She laughed loudly, holding her hands over her torso.

“Looks like it’ll just be a little bit longer. I’m starving!” Jolean hopped out of her chair and grabbed her apron from off the coat rack. Effortlessly, she tied the flower print fabric around her waist. Then, she picked up her basket and was out the door.

Or… she thought she was. Her feet refused to leave the first step. Something pulled her back. Whether it was a shadow that passed over the sun for just a flicker of a second, or the immense loneliness that suddenly sludged through her body, seemingly pulling the saturation from the world around her, she didn’t care to wonder. She just knew that something had changed.

Then she was back in her house. Without a word, she scooped the eraser into her pocket and slipped out the door.

“Let’s go pick some strawberries,” Jolean joyfully sang to her pocketed companion. “I would absolutely love to have a strawberry sweet tart. I can show you how to make ‘em!”

Finally, they arrived at the strawberry patch. Immediately, Jolean sat down and started picking berries. When she counted twenty-two, she was interrupted by a quiet singing.

“Strawberry tart, strawberry tart. All I want is a strawberry tart!”

Jolean looked around. She was alone.

“Hello,” Jolean called out. “Is someone there?”

“Of course, silly. I’ve been watching you.