Chapter Eight: The Occurrence (The Adventures of Jolean and the Magic Eraser)

“What’s going on?” cried Jolean, and she held fast to the rungs of the bed frame. 

Smiley floated a few inches off the ground, a terrible affliction on his doodled face. He turned to Jolean with such ferocity that she flinched.

“It’s happening.”

“Smiley?” Her voice shook. 

The eraser looked away from her, focusing on something beyond her understanding. Behind him, there was a blinding flash of light—purple—accompanied by a deafening screech.

Jolean ducked down and clasped her hands over her ears. Her face contorted in pain as the sound continued to reverberate around the inside of her skull. She couldn’t see. Her head was being split apart!

Then all was silent. Pure silence. Not even her heartbeat throbbed in her ears. Slowly, Jolean opened her eyes…and immediately closed them again. White. Blank. A vast, endless expanse of white is what had greeted her. Greeted; no, that’s not right. It mocked her. Though no sound trickled its way into her ears, she could feel it in her mind, chanting, begging, “Open your eyes again! Look at me.”

The girl stayed still. 

“Look at me!”

Motionless.

“Please?”

“Smiley?” she finally whispered. Even herself, she could not hear.

Her eyes opened. A void of darkness met her gaze. Jolean stumbled backwards, surely uttering a sob, but she honestly couldn’t tell. 

The void sparked at the edges; a large, circular, black hole that looked as if someone had spilled ink over a drawing. No light refracted off of it, no warmth emanated from it. It was cold and empty and… nothing. She could not tear her eyes away from it. Jolean tried, strenuously, to turn her head—to get some sense of where she was—but it was hopeless. Her feet were rooted to the ground.

Slumping over, the girl fell to her knees. The void was above her now. All she had to do was step into it. The darkness was welcoming; the silence, deafening. Why not step into it? The whirlpool and the trapdoor had led to a fun adventure, why not the void too?

“I’ve come this far.” She breathed, toneless. 

“And you must go further, still.” 

That, Jolean could hear. 

Her head snapped to the right. A boy stood next to her, a few inches taller, had she been standing. His hair whipped around his face, a pink mane which seemed to glow in lieu of the void. 

“Smiley?” Jolean asked, once again. She forced herself to stand, darting her eyes back and forth between the void and the child. “Are you-”

“The portal has opened, again.” The boy spoke musically, his voice seemed to echo around her body, finding a home in her brain. She wanted to wallow in it, have it lull her to sleep at night. It was blasphemy to have such a heavenly voice allowed anywhere other than within her earshot.

Taking a step forward, the boy approached the black void. Soon, his back was to her. He stood inches from emptiness; it was so dark that his color seemed to be siphoned from him, leaving a dingy, desaturated halo around his body. 

“Touch me!” A voice screamed in Jolean’s head so loudly that her ears started ringing.

When she came to her senses, the boy’s hand was reaching out towards the blackness. 

“No!” Jolean bolted towards him. “Don’t touch it!”

“Part of my design…” he whispered as if in a trance.

“Smiley!” Her hand gripped his shoulder.

He trained his eyes on hers, dark as the void itself. She could see her reflection in them; they were even darker than her own.

“Your pupils…” 

He blinked, finally seeming to notice her. “Jolean!”

“Are you okay?” He extended his hand, and suddenly Jolean realized that he was wearing the same outfit as her.

She took his hand without hesitation—like some unknown force had possessed her. As soon as their skin brushed together, she knew.

“It’s you.”

The boy nodded, solemnly.

“Hello, Jolean. It’s time you knew the truth.”