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In the Eyes of Canvas

By @KABernhardt

Chapter I

I opened my eyes to the empty room I guess I would call my “bedroom.” I don’t know what else I would really call it, really. I just slept in there. I had a twin size bed in the corner that I never made. 

Okay, side tangent. Why would anyone make their bed? I’m talking even pre-Invasion here. You’re just going to get back in it and mess it up again. 

Well back on topic, next to my bed I had a little inn table thing. And I have a dresser across the room. It’s really not that big, I don’t know what you expected from me. I walked over to the dresser, threw on some clothes, and walked out of my bedroom, down the hall to the bathroom. 

Once again, it wasn’t a big bathroom. Do you need a description? There was a toilet, a mirror, a shower, and a sink. Happy? Anyways I walked over to the mirror and looked at my reflection. 

I’m going to be frank. I’ve always been skinny. I was always that kid at school that got called in and interrogated about their home life because they thought my parents were starving me. On top of being extremely underweight, I am also unusually pale. I’m talking the color of paper type of pale. I’m pretty sure half of my class in first grade thought I was a vampire. Yeah, I’m that pale. 

If you’re already picturing a loser, guess what? It gets worse. I have rust red, wavy hair. I’ve let it grow out a lot recently, so it’s not as wavy as it used to be. As of now, it hangs just above my eyes, which are black by the way. And I’m not talking about dark brown. They’re black. That probably contributed to the vampire myth in first grade now that I think about it. Well, my birthmark probably helped that rumor along too. Underneath my left eye, I have a small, dark, crescent moon birthmark. 

Now I know what you’re about to tell me. “But Todd, that’s a really unnatural shape for a birthmark!.” Yeah I know. In fact once people realized I wasn’t a vampire and started getting brave enough to talk to me, they told me that I drew it on my face for attention. 

Another quick side tangent. I don’t like attention. At all. So this was entirely false in a lot of different ways. But, yes, I was deemed “desperate for attention,” and as an extension “unfriendable.” 

So, yeah, that’s what I look like so that’s what I saw in the mirror. I splashed some water on my face and looked into my own dark cold eyes for a bit, before heading into the kitchen. 

Now, when I say “kitchen,” you’re probably picturing a place where food is cooked and prepared. That’s not what our kitchen is. Our kitchen is a refrigerator in one corner and a table with two chairs in the other. I walked to the fridge and looked inside hopefully, though I didn’t expect much. I closed the door with a sigh. Of course we’re out of rations. 

I quietly went back down the hallway I came from and entered my mother’s bedroom. She looked up when she heard the door open and smiled, 

“Good morning Todd. How are you?”

Her mask of a smile hurt me almost as it would to see what she actually felt. She had been so sick for ages, but there weren’t any doctors around anymore. Everyone tried to stay at home as much as they could. 

“Hi Mom. We’re all out of food. I’m going to go get more. I’ll be back soon so don’t worry.”

“Okay sweetie. Be careful and safe. I love you,” she said with a small smile. 

“I love you too Mom.”

———~———

I walked down the rainy streets, my dirty red hood pulled over my head. Luckily we didn’t live too far from a rations office, so it was pretty easy to get food. Well, easier than it was for most people. I made my way around the corner and began to walk towards the large, white building.

I entered the rations office and noticed that I was the only human in the building. The rations offices were set up a bit like banks, with large windows and tellers behind those windows that decide if you need food or not. The windows were quite high off the ground. I’m guessing it was some sort of power trip type thing to put the humans in their place. 

I walked up to one of the windows and immediately wished I had chosen literally any of the other windows. The Canvas woman behind the counter was short and fat, her wispy hair styled up like someone’s grandma. Her crusty lips creased into a thin smile at the sight of me, and I knew that we are going to have some problems. 

“Number?,” she asked, her bulging indigo eyes meeting mine. 

Oh yes, the numbers. Since humans were “unworthy” of names, we were assigned numbers. Basically everyone knew it was a bunch of crap but we had to play along and give them our numbers when asked for them. 

“25623,” I said quietly, “but I also need to pick up my mother’s rations. Her number is 13047.” 

I knew I had messed up when the Canvas woman’s lips parted, revealing a set of nasty yellow teeth, the canines coming to that signature sharp point that all Canvas seemed to have. 

“I’m sorry,” she said extremely unapologetically in the thick Canvas accent, “from now on all humans must pick up their rations in person. No exceptions.” 

“My mother is sick! Please, I always pick up her rations for her,” I tried to plead, knowing it would go nowhere. 

“If a human is too weak to come and pick up it’s own food, it doesn’t need to live at all.”

I felt some color coming into my pale face and knew that I needed to leave. But my legs wouldn’t move. My hands curl into fists and I knew immediately that I was about to do something I was probably going to regret. 

“JUST BECAUSE SHE’S SICK DOESN’T MEAN SHE DOESN’T DESERVE TO LIVE YOU VILE PIECE OF WASTE!”

She opened her mouth and some sort of incomprehensible screeching came out. I’m guessing it was some sort of Canvas alert because out of nowhere the Canvas Patrol flew into the rations office, breaking through the windows with their booted feet. I felt my legs go numb as I fell to the ground, hitting my face on the counter. I could feel something warm and sticky coming from my nose as the Patrol grabbed my arms and put strange metal-like cuffs on my wrists. 

They drug me out of the office, my legs dragging limply behind me, one of them gripping my head and two more on my arms. I began to understand the severity of the situation as I began to slowly regain feeling in my legs. What had I done?

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