Wayland’s War – a novel by STGrimes – 02 Blank Canvases part 1

Continued from 01 – Beginnings

Blank Canvases part 1 

Pounding anvils assaulted my eyes. I palmed them hard for some relief. It didn’t help. I ripped off another piece of cardboard pizza, chewed it a couple of times, and spit it back out. My stomach raged on. I welcomed the discomfort that I couldn’t assuage. I deserved it.

Her words thundered in my ears. “Anna, you really aren’t coming back.”

My eyes were drawn to the hunting eyes of the five foot long painting of a white bengal tiger in the midst of a kill in a tropical forest. “Talk to me Samson. What should I do? What would it be like if I was free to hunt like you? To have claws for hands and razors for teeth. What would it be like? What do I do now?”

I pounded my palms back into my eyes and created a new surge of pain.

A foreign sound reached my ears. I pulled my palms away from my eyes and forced a shallow breath through clenched teeth. The sound didn’t make sense to me. I jerked to my feet and sent my chair flying across the room. Anger surged once again and I punched one of the fake trees that I surrounded myself with. The tree left a streak of green across the blue tinged white walls. “My whole world’s as fake as these stupid trees.”

The sound reached me again. ” Damn it! I’m an idiot! A stupid, stupid idiot! That’s the front door bell.”

I struggled mightily to put holes in the wood floor as I stomped to the front door. I flung the door open. No one was there. I looked down and saw a large white cardboard box. I picked it up. “Pretty heavy. For me? Let’s see. Wayland ‘Jack’ Jackson, 10 Falling Acorn Circle, Skeueland. Addressed to me. No return address. No postage.”

I looked around outside and saw no one. “Weird.”

I put the box on the kitchen table. “Man, someone’s in love with packing tape.” I picked up a knife. It felt good in my hands as I sliced the packing tape to ribbons. I opened the package and thoroughly inspected the fancy blue-ray disk player player before putting it on the kitchen counter. The package also had a letter. I picked it up and scanned the first paragraph. I couldn’t put it down.

I read a myriad of things about me that no one was supposed to know about.
“There’s no way anyone could know these things.”

The letter ended with “Plug the player into your computer and it will change your life. All you have to do is install the software.”

I searched my house for hidden cameras and microphones. I didn’t find any.

I spent the next week trying to decide what to do. I did enough to get by at work, doubled my running routine, played loud music to an empty room, spent a lot of time at the sports bar, and totally ignored my computer. I threw the player out five times. I retrieved it 6 times. I hit the enter key.

The software installed quickly, the lights dimmed, and my speakers crackled to life.
A melodic computer voice, filled with passion, identified herself as Eve. “The canvases of history glisten with the brush strokes of lines and curves expertly crafted into words that jump out of the pages at us. Their insatiable desire is to kindle the fires of our imagination. There are stories of swash buckling adventures … and crafty pirates … and of true love found … and lost.”

“Our heroes, each and every one of them, have made their indelible marks. We hang those cherished masterpieces, with care, on the walls of our lives. We can look at them, at any time we want, and experience them all over again. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Romeo and Juliet. Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr. to name but a few. Those stories are magical.”

To my amazement, the player was a holographic projection unit. The room went completely black and a painter’s canvas was slowly circling in front of me.

Eve continued. “Within each one of us, lies a master craftsman who takes history’s masterpieces and expertly recreates those works of art with the express purpose of hanging them in the walls of our memories for our own pleasure. Welcome to Blank Canvases, Wayland Jackson. What story will you be creating?”

For a moment I thought about turning off the computer. I had no idea where Eve was going with this, but I was totally impressed with the program and I wanted to see more. So, I played along. “How about the Shot Heard Round the World?”

“Which side of the canvas will you choose for your work of art, Wayland?”

“Does it matter?” I arbitrarily poked at one side of the canvas floating in front of me.

“Wayland, it is important to note that I will be pausing the program at designated intervals for you to relieve yourself and take sustenance. Module begin.”

Suddenly the room filled with light. I gazed upward and gasped at the river of twinkling lights that flowed across the nighttime sky. I tried and failed to remember the last time I witnessed the beauty of the sky without the influence of city lights.

“Where are we Eve”

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