Frieda led Cleo to where she had lost the cards, she had been at the library. The building was ancient, they walked in through the massive arched doors and into the musty, dusty library. Frieda took a deep breath, she loved the smell of old books, it calmed her down. Their footsteps echoed against the stone floor. Frieda stopped at the last table, there were a few scattered books on it all splayed in different places, it was a scene of chaos.
“I was here” whispered Frieda, the library always echoed even the softest noises, she had to be careful, the librarian Nodu was extremely strict and cold towards everything and everyone.
Cleo touched the table and closed his eyes, he waited for the image to come. He pressed his hand hard onto the different books, he never opened his eyes. He saw what had happened.
The world went backwards, it was an odd feeling, Cleo saw everything that had happened in reverse. There were several people that had stopped at the table, touching the books, moving them and there at last was the painter. The world stopped and went forwards at normal pace, Frieda was at the table reading one of the books, she flipped through the pages, Cleo walked towards her, she didn't notice him he was in a different plane.
Frieda stood up and wrote something on a paper that was beside the book, she walked away. There on the table were the cards sitting by themselves. Cleo waited, there from the back came out the painter. He was tall and very thin even in Cleo's eyes. The painter walked oddly, he had a limp. The painter had long silver hair and matching silver eyes. He resembled a ghost, he wore only silver and gray. He appeared to be a hole in the colored world, like he lived in monochrome. All of his clothing down to his shoes were monochrome. He looked very out of place, there was one dash of color on him, a paint splotch in blue on his sleeve.
He noticed the books, he walked towards them, it was more of a hobble. He touched all of the books, he was odd. He saw the cards, he must have felt the power in them, he picked up the box and looked at them. An odd flash of color went over his eyes, it was a flash of purple, it was unearthly, Cleo had only ever seen it once before, when Frieda had used the cards. The painter looked around and hobbled as quickly as he could out of the library, he had great power, the power and greed took over him, he had lost all control.
Cleo looked for Frieda, she was returning to the table. She saw the hole where the cards had been. There was a terrible sound as the book hit the floor, it hit with and echoing smack. She saw the painter running, she followed. Frieda ran through Cleo, it felt odd, the time went back to normal. Cleo moved his hand off of the table and looked around.
“That was definitely the painter, he could feel the power in the cards” said Cleo, he looked around at the books and felt if there was anything else they could tell him.
“Where did he go?” asked Frieda, she was frightened of what might happen when the power got to the painter and drove him insane.
“He went out and to the left” said Cleo, he began walking towards the exit, Frieda followed him out of the library.
The sun was burning down on them, something was wrong. The world seemed to be the wrong shade of color, it was too blue. The villagers walking around looked ill, they appeared to be suffering from some odd disease. The movement of the people was off as well, they seemed to be moving in slow motion. There were burning tracks in the ground that led to the mills, they followed the path of destruction. The world moved slower the closer they got to the painter, the wind was swirling around. They could see the color of the wind, it was silver. Dust was whipping around, the painter had accessed the power, doom could only follow.
They moved closer, with each step the atmosphere was thickening, it was becoming harder and harder to move. The air was thicker, they could smell fire and burning flesh. Cleo covered his eyes as he walked closer and closer. He was coughing blood, the invisible fire was burning his lungs. The painter was not far away, only steps more.
“Drop them!” shouted Cleo, his voice was harsh from the air around him.
The painter looked at him, his eyes were glowing purple, he looked at Cleo and shook his head. The painter could feel the power, he wanted it, all of it.
“No, this is mine!” shouted the painter, his skin began to split, there was a purple light growing from beneath his skin, it tore through the skin.
“It will kill you!” shouted Frieda, she was trying to plead with him. She knew there was nothing she could say that would stop him, he was a lost cause.
The painter looked to the sky, it was grey now all of the color had been sucked into the painter, he was glowing now, the color was tearing him apart. With a flash of light, his skin tore into millions of little pieces and there was nothing left. The light dissipated, the color slowly went back to normal. On the ground where the painter had been there was nothing left but a pile of dust and the box of cards. In the place of the painter stood a monster, it was massive, like a bear without fur. It was covered from head to toe in spikes. The monster saw them and his jaw seemed to dislocate as it unleashed a roar of pure evil.
“Cleo back away slowly” said Frieda in a calm monotone voice.
Cleo backed away slowly, he didn't even turn around. He stepped evenly and carefully, he tripped over a branch, the monster turned its face towards the noise. It unleashed another roar, it had no eyes but thousands of teeth.
“Hey!” shouted Frieda, the monster turned its head towards her unleashing another roar.
Cleo slowly stood up and continued walking away, he had no chance in hell against this thing, Frieda was the only one that stood any chance. Frieda pulled something from the sleeve of her coat, it glistened in the light, Cleo couldn't figure out what it was. The glistening object grew in length, it looked like a whip made out of metal but, it had its own mind.
The whip was an odd purple metal that flowed around Frieda, the monster was drawn to the power in the weapon, it moved closer and closer. The whip continued to flow around Frieda, her eyes closed she could only sense where the monster was, the monster moved into range, Frieda twitched her wrist, the whip responded, it turned from purple to red, it moved with anger hitting the monster in many places. The monster shrieked in pain it backed off and charged again. Frieda slashed with the whip, it moved with fury cutting into the monster's thick hide, it shrieked again and collapsed to the ground in a cloud of dust.
“That was interesting” said Frieda, she turned and glanced at Cleo, her eyes were glowing the same color as the whip, a dull pink.
“There is an explanation needed here” said Cleo, he walked towards Frieda, the monster had simply turned to dust as the painter had.
The sky slowly returned to normal, the color was back, the monochrome the monster had caused dissipated. A strange wind blew through the village, the dust piles that were the monster and the painter went with the wind, no trace of either remained. The cards remained in the middle of where the dust had been. Frieda walked over and picked up the box, she put it in her sleeve with the whip.