Erica is doing a sketch. She squinted and trying hard to focus on the model's face in the middle of the class. It's a bit tricky, as she can't see his face. It seems everyone else can see it, but her. She saw something else on his face.
This is a Sketching event held by painting club. The club members made great effort to invite the model and coach- Professor Glenn. Professor Glenn is standing in the middle of the crowd, he is illustrating some sketch basics while modelling.
Erica has really good sketch skill, she has finished her drawing when other people are still doing drafting. Well, almost finishing. She stared at the blank face on the paper. " What is Professor Glenn looks like?"
Two girls in front of Erica started talking.
" Professor Glenn is so handsome, Justin is hotter. They are best looking father and son."
" They are not real father and son. Professor Glenn is Justin's step father.
Erica is getting curious, how good-looking is Professor Glenn. She stretched her neck to look at their papers. Then she saw two really abstract drawings. 'Hmm, they are majored in art, there must be a big gap between artists and copier like me.' Erica thought.
One of the girl saw Erica's move, she turned around smiled at Erica. She would like to see Erica's drawing. Erica covered the painting with one hand.
It is quite normal to check each other's drawing in the club. The girl looked confused. Erica apologized, " sorry, it's not personal. It's my problem. I don't like others see my painting."
The smile has disappeared from the girl's face. Professor Glenn saw this incident, he walked over. He saw the drawings of two others girls and didn't say anything. He glimpsed at Erica's painting. " Good drawing." He said.
"Thank you." Erica held the drawing book vertically, trying to avoid his sight.
Professor Glenn reached for Erica's drawing book. Erica got panic, she pulled her drawing book back. The book stayed in the air for two seconds, Professor Glenn's hand on on side, Erica's hand on the other side. Other students are looking over. Erica had to let the book go . 'It's just a normal sketch. He won't look at other drawings in the book. Should be no problem.' Eric tried to comfort herself.
Professor Glenn took a look then said, "Good techniques, why not drawing my face, am I such an eye-sore to you?" He said slowly, even with a smile.
Erica stared harder at his face, then said " I am a bit short-sighted, can't see your face clearly."
Professor Glenn smiled, " you have a wired kind of short-sight. It is obvious a lie, she can drew every folds on his clothes, but not his face. But he didn't push further. " You drawing is great, why you seems reluctant to share with us?" He changed the subject. He said it in a joking and friendly way.
Erica thought for a while then explained, " because I am not creative as others, I am worried my painting is not as good as others."
Professor Glenn seems not quite convinced. He started to turn to other pages.
Erica got super nervous. She was not lying, she doesn't like people see her drawing. She only draw people she saw. Most of the drawings are not pretty. And there are several drawings of students in this room. Especially, there's a drawing of Ellie. The girl who would like to see her drawing at the first place. Erica need her drawing book back now, but she can't figure out what to say.
Professor Glenn slowly went through the drawing book. At the beginning he just stand there casually. But after several pages, he got more focused, standing sprightly. Erica realised the next page will be Ellie's. " Can I please have it back? It's my privacy."
Everyone in the room stopped and looked at them. Professor Glenn stopped but he didn't return the book to Erica. " Are those original?"
There's a wired aurora in the air. Erica nodded yes.
Professor Glenn asked again, " What is your major?"
" Cyber security." Erica replied.
Professor Glenn said " I think you are really creative, maybe you should change major, you are really talented in drawing, don't waste it on computer."
People didn't expect Professor Glenn would give Erica such good comment. He is the star professor of school of art, and rarely appraise others. And Erica is a computer science major students. She is a nobody in the club. Always quite, rarely talk to anyone. Most of members don't even know her name. She is always sitting at the bench at the back of the room.
The appraisal from Professor Glenn can make all other students flattered, but not Erica. She lowered her head, looks like she's shy or diffident.
Students comes over with curious, they would like to see what kind of drawing can get such high appraisal from Professor Glenn. It is a strange or rather bizarre painting. The title is 542. There's a middle aged women, she looks quite weary. On her back you can see a lot of sarcomas, each of them have a face of a child. The sarcoma mountain seems really heavy, she can barely stand straight.
No one speaks at the moment. A tall guy had a chill then touches the goose bump on his arm.
Ellie stood next to the tall guy. She sticks her finger over to turn to the next page. The tall guy smiled at her. " Cheeky!" He said with no voice to Ellie.
Everyone looked at the next drawing. No one, other than the two guys who had a thing for Ellie saw this little flirting session.
The title for next drawing is 663. It was a young girl, But there's a big black zipper on her body, from face to lower abdomen. The zipper is half opened, so you can see a bloody baby-like stuff in her belly. The girl's face is not so clear, as she is looking down at her belly.
Ellies face expression changed, her eyes are wider. Erica jumped up and grabbed the drawing book.
" I haven't finished yet. " Some one complained.
" It's quite astonishing. Why hiding?"
" I got the goose bump!"
" I don't know, it seems quite pervert."
" You should post them up on line, you will get famous."
" If you call this not creative, then...." People started talking.
Erica looked at Ellie nervously. She seems at lost. " The last drawing 664, the girl who looked at her belly...."
It is a drawing of Ellie. Fortunately, her head is lowered. You can't tell who it is without closer look. But maybe Ellie had a feeling. Erica clamed down. " It's a random drawing. Nothing serious. "
Professor Glenn clapped his hands to sign students to be quite. He smiled, "what's your name?"
Erica answered reluctantly.
Professor Glenn smiled " I am happy to know you, Erica." He grabbed a name card from pocket handed over to Erica. " I like your drawing, my son is doing a game project now. They are looking for some one for designing characters. I think it might fit you. Please do contact me tomorrow." He even winked at Erica at the end. "Let's go back to the drawing now.." He turned away and walked back to the centre.
"He is talking about Justin, right?"
"If I know I can work with Justin, I will practice my drawing more!"
" Wow, I am so jealous!"
Some girls turned around, looking at Erica with envies. Ellie is staring at Erica too, but with some confusion. Erica pretended she doesn't know anything.
A lot of members stayed after the session and tried to talk to Erica. Some of them even asked her for lunch and talk more about drawings. Erica replied, " I am doing cyber security, I actually don't really know a lot about drawings. Sorry."
Some other girls trying to talk about the game project Professor Glenn mentioned. They seems really interested in this Justin guy. Erica replied, " I am not going to join the project, I don't think I can help you to contact this Justin. Sorry."
Erica was just talking about the truth. She didn't mean to be impolite. But other people may not think so. After they left, Ellie came over asked, " are there any meaning in your drawings?"
Erica tried to calm down, "No."
The meaning of drawing 664 is abortion. Ellie is a really popular girl in the club. Lots of guys likes her. They think she is lovely and cute. She sometimes getting blush when talking to guys. Girls doesn't hate her either. But only Erica know her secret. She had an abortion before. Ellie didn't tell anyone about this. But Erica can see it. Erica didn't lie to Professor Glenn, she is not a creative person. She just draw what she saw. The world in her eyes are bloody and eerie.
Erica got this power since 10. When she was on a road trip with parents, their car was crashed by a truck. Their car was knocked off from the highway. When it smashed to the ground, she saw her dad's body severed by a iron plate, his inside organs smashed all over her face. Erica can't stare away, she can't make any sound either. Her mother turned around from the passenger seat, covered Erica's eyes with bloody hands. " Don't look." Mum said.
That's the last memory Erica had of her parents. When she woke up, she lost her parents. For half year she lost the ability to talk. Her guardian found her a psychiatrist named Dave. He was a really gentle guy, but his appearance scared young Erica. His mouth was cut right open on both sides, the scar stretched almost to his eyes. Just like joker's smile. And the wound seems been there for a long time, with a lot of inflammation and black blood around. When he talks, Erica can see his gums from the wound.
Erica gained her talking ability back the first time she saw Dave. Because she can't stop screaming. The staff worried she might hurt the doctor or herself, so they tied Erica to bed for a while. During her struggle, Erica realised that, only she thought Dave looked horrible. She thought maybe she is crazy. After several sessions with Dave, he suggested drawing might help her recovery. Erica drew what she saw with her shaking hand. She handed over to Dave. Because she is not good at drawing at that time, Dave looked at her abstract drawing and said it's pretty good, and encouraged Erica to keep drawing.
That drawing is no.1. Erica started to record her illusion since then. It is her habit for 8 years. Not everyone around her have this kind of abnormality. She met 665 of them till now. Her mental disorder was never cured, but her drawing technique was significantly improved. Her uncle joked that they actually paid Dave for her drawing classes.
Gradually, Erica realised those scars, blood, mutants are real, not just her illusions. They connected to dark secrets people trying to hide. Erica didn't tell anyone. Not even her uncle and Dave. Everyone has secret, but only those darkest, agonizing secret will cause these abnormalities. And the abnormalities are not random, it normally has meanings. It is quite easy to deduct the conclusion.
Erica turned to drawing 542. That weary woman is her math teacher at high school. She loved bragging about her three sons, said they are working at investment banks or research institutes. But the truth is her sons are around 40s, and neither of them had a job. They stayed with their mum and when they get grumpy, they will even hit their mother.
Erica turned to the latest page. The drawing of Professor Glenn. She looked at the blank face, then started drawing. After 3 minutes, the drawing finished. But it is not a face, it is a mask on Professor Glenn's face. The expression on the mask is smile. By first look, you will think this guy is really friendly. Took a closer look, you will see the mask is made of rotten skin and pustule. It melted on his face. Actually, when he stand next to Erica in class, she can feel the rotten smell. This is the face Erica saw.
Everyone in university likes Professor Glenn. He looks perfect. As an artist, his painting won Alexander Lecher Award. As a teacher, he is erudite and witty, students loves him. He also have a rich and well-educated family background. His parents are local big guns. He also have a loving wife and step son. He posted lots of their photos online. Justin is study art at the same university. People seeing them play football together a lot. Such a harmonious father-son relationship.
It looks like Professor Glenn is a perfect human being. But there's no perfect human being. So it is easy to guess that Professor Glenn is hiding under this perfect mask all this time. He must have a darker real self. It is not super interesting. At least Erica is not curious.
Erica looked at the drawing once again, then added 17 dark lines under his eyes. She marked the drawing 665. 'Who will be this unlucky 666?' Erica wondering. Before she left the room, Erica threw Professor Glenn's name card in the rubbish bin. She is not going to contact Professor Glenn. He looks perfect, but who knows what he's hiding.