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Bursting into my room and locking the door behind me, I threw my stuff down and laid on my bed. I rubbed my face with my hands. I was sweating, my hands still shaking. I really couldn’t understand a single thing that had happened.
“Did I really walk through a painting? Did Levi seriously have a gun? Why was Yukio there? What was going on?” I kept asking myself endless questions. Did that really happen? That was the one question I kept seeing cycle through my mind over and over. “And Yukio…that was your brother? What did Levi have to do with him?”
One thing that definitely confused me was how calm both Yukio and Levi were while inside that painting. Had they been doing that for a while? Was it a common skill to have or was it a secret I wasn’t exactly supposed to know? Moreover, why was I able to follow them with no problem?
I looked at my hand again and examined it like it was diseased or something worse. I was looking for even the slightest bit of paint. What I found instead was a small dot of red. Was that Yukio’s blood? A wave of guilt washed over me. I got him hurt…he was shot because of me. There was no guarantee Levi was going to hurt him, but I was afraid and acted on instinct. It didn’t matter either way. Yukio was still hurt because of me.
My thoughts became distracted by Yukio. Did he really transfer schools just to find his brother? Were they close? How long had he been searching? I admired the dedication, but I was more impressed by his determination. He gave up his position at one of the most prestigious schools in the country just to look for Haruka? That was amazing. I hoped more than anything Yukio was okay and didn’t hate me for what I did.
Regardless of that, though, I had to talk to him. I needed to know what was going on. No, that wasn’t exactly true. I didn’t need to know anything. I wanted to know. Between the painting, Haruka, the gun, Levi…whether I liked it or not, I was a witness. I had to know.
Then, my eyes shifted over to my collection of half-finished paintings on the ground. I scanned through them, looking for the “most completed” one. My sights landed on an azure and violet creation in particular. A swirling lake with water lilies during a rainstorm. I remembered making that painting around a year ago, but I never got back to finishing it completely. I wonder…what would happen if…?
I got up and rushed over to the painting and examined it closer. What was my reasoning behind this painting exactly? From the looks of it, it seemed to have been a peaceful memory. Then again, Levi’s painting gave off the impression of doom and gloom while the scene inside of it was a pleasant one.
So, I placed my hand on the surface. It was stiff and hard, as any canvas would be. Was I just imagining it, then? No, I was definitely in that painting! I pressed harder, but I wasn’t going anywhere quickly. Harder and harder, but all I was doing was creating an indent in the canvas. I groaned in frustration.
“It worked earlier!” I grumbled to myself. “Come on!” I took my hand back and tried again, but nothing happened. I sighed heavily. The most complete painting in my room and I couldn’t use it. Of course not, because that would have been easy! Did the painting have to be finished to be used, then? It was the only explanation I could come up with, but that wasn’t saying much with what little information I had to begin with anyway.
So, I looked all around my room again and scanned it thoroughly. Finally, I did find something. Hanging on my wall was a little project I had long forgotten about and hardly noticed. It was nothing special, but it was one of my first paintings I created upon entering the university. A maple tree standing in a barren field during a sunset of orange and yellow. That was my watercolor unit. It could definitely work if I gave it the good old college try.
I approached it and removed it from the wall. It wasn’t large enough to step through, so I was going to have to settle with just looking into it like a window. I took in a long, deep, and waning breath. I didn’t remember the inspiration for this painting either; it could have been anything.
Even so, I leaned in, gently placing my face on the surface. From the outside, I properly looked like a lunatic. And those outside observers would have been correct if not for what happened next. I began slipping past the hardened surface of the canvas and into the creation itself. I panicked and shot myself back until I was on the ground in shock.
“What the hell?” I exhaled, stunned. I swallowed hard and continued to lean in further. Before I knew it, I was in a new location I recognized immediately. It was my bedroom back home. My room was a mess, but what else was new. The bed wasn’t made and my wall was surprisingly barren. This must have been one of my earlier years as a painter, before I started turning the house into a gallery. Was I actually…looking into a memory? The memory that created this painting?
Yet, I could hear faint screaming coming from the distance. I knew the voices the instant they reached my ears. My parents…again, what else was new? Then, I watched a little girl come running into the room, slamming the door behind her. She was crying…it was me. I watched her rub her cheek as if it were in pain. She slumped to the ground in a fit of tears, her back against the door, and she was covering her ears as well.