Claude is stunned when a young man who has featured frequently in his imagination appears in real life. How has this come about? And what could be the intentions of the power responsible?
Introduction - Acceptance
A tall, striking figure silhouetted against the bleak, grey backdrop of the rainy London streets. Head partially covered by a top hat, cast down as he stands beneath the streetlamp and waits. Long, sweeping tailcoat, so black that man almost resembles shadow. Black trousers and black shoes with string tie ups complete the party suit which makes him almost resemble a Victorian gentleman. Under the hat, spiky black hair can be seen: hanging down like icicles. Eyes are not visible but face is pale, bleached of colour by overhead light. Nose and chin are sharp, almost cutting air as with a blade. Thin, pale lips form a slight frown though the man seems unperturbed by the weather. Faint greyish aura surrounding man, indicating mystery...
Claude regarded his drawing and gave a slight nod of satisfaction. He glanced around furtively though he knew he was alone in his room and tucked the sheet of paper into a compartment at the back of a notebook where he stored all the pieces of art he intended nobody to see, as well as accounts of dark and haunting dreams, and secret confessions.
He rose from his bed and hit the play button on his CD player. He couldn’t concentrate on drawing or writing while listening to music but afterwards it was always pleasurable to be immersed in another world. He supposed it was the equivalent of the fun of escaping through reading though Claude had not yet found a genre he liked, though he could not say he had put all of his effort into trying. As the songs by the female pop artists who Claude liked filled the room, he returned to his bed and lay down, clasping his hands behind his head. He closed his eyes, imagining himself floating in vast blankness, the air around him as blue as the sky. A short amount of time had passed before footsteps on the landing forced him to open his eyes in curiosity. His younger sister Jenny was disappearing into her room.
“Claude, turn your music down,” she called, not bothering to come and tell him to his face.
Claude sighed, his perfect bubble burst. He got up and turned the volume down. Jenny didn’t even thank him. Though... he supposed that Jenny may want to pretend that he hadn’t been playing his favourite music, since it disconcerted her that their tastes were so similar. Every time he went to sit with her to watch a TV programme she left the room without a word and whenever he agreed out loud with her about an actor’s handsomeness she shot him a glare that told him she hated him for speaking.
In fact, she had such a problem with their shared likes that she scarcely spoke to her brother at all. He wouldn’t confess it to her but this upset Claude intensely. He couldn’t help but feel that his sister should be the first person to accept him. And his feeling seemed to be right since none of the friends he had made at school seemed to care that much about him. He tried and failed to form a bond and he was always unsure of what was inhibiting the process. If only someone would tell him how to act! Then he could improve, then he wouldn’t be so infuriatingly lonely all the time.
He thought to the young man he had just drawn. This was not the first time he had appeared in Claude’s imagination - he had frequently cropped up in dreams and daydreams - a sort of silent, watchful presence. Claude wished that someone like him existed in the real world - he always felt such a sense of security and ... closeness as the movie scenes played out in his head. He was sure that this character would accept him completely and that Claude and he would be the best of friends.
If only dreams could become reality...