Absent Mind

Absent Mind

A Story by AbyssalDiadem

A young and lonely child turns to the silent divines for comfort.

Knock, knock, knock.

A small five year old quietly tapped their knuckle on the doorway dotted with colors and smelling of paint, and leans on the door with their ear to it. They listened carefully for a few moments for some kind of response, but all they heard was a sigh and the quiet sound of a swishing paintbrush. The child moved their head and lifted their hand to try again, until their wrist was taken and held back from the door by a much bigger hand.

“Come now Canvas, you know your father is busy and you have work to do,” their tutor sighed. The small child pulled on their arm to set it free from the adult’s grip anyway, but she held on almost a bit too tightly in annoyance and brought them back over to the dining room table covered in papers. Not all of them being schoolwork, but Canvas wasn’t allowed to read the critiques and bills.

“Finish your math and then you can go play, that’s about all we have time for after your dilly-dallying.” The tutor grumbled at Canvas who simply huffed in reply when they went back to staring at the numbers on the page. This was easily their worst subject as it was for most kids, they could do the basics of math but it was hard to remember all of it for them. The teacher smiled when she noticed her student had lifted their pencil anyway, and in the silence she brought out papers from other children from her bag and began writing in grades and comments.

It was only when she looked up again that she noticed the child had begun drawing over the math problems, and she snarled. “Canvas! How many times have I told you to not draw on your work?!”

She took the pencil from their hand and looked over the paper, they had made at least an attempt at the top of the page but they reached something they couldn’t solve and instead decided to draw birds in a tree, with some even pecking at the numbers. Canvas stared up at her with wide broken-hearted blue eyes, but her hard stare in return made them turn to look down at their lap in guilt. She let out an aggravated sigh and grabbed her bag, “you can tell your father to not expect to see me anymore. If you won’t be serious about your classwork, then you can find a different teacher.”

She stormed out of the house, slamming the front door behind her on her way out. But there was a soft creak behind them of the studio door opening, and another tired sigh that made Canvas stare down even more with guilt. Their father wandered over to the table, where he tried to play with some of the more curled locks of Canvas’ blonde-brown hair to attempt to get a smile out of them. But they didn’t budge, and he placed a hand on their shoulder instead.

“This one didn’t work out either, huh?” He asked, and they shook their head. “Well it can’t be helped, if it’s a bad teacher then there’s no use in keeping them anyway.”

The painter attempted to smile down at his child, but they let out a whine that quickly made him frown. Getting down on one knee to be on level with them he lifted their head up to look at him, and with tears streaming down their cheeks they softly said,”I’m sorry.”

He quickly brought them into a hug, “you have nothing to be sorry for Canvas, it’s okay really. We’ll find you a better teacher and then everything will be fine.”

They hugged their father back, but couldn’t help but think of the names and faces of several other teachers they’d had who gave up on them. They felt like they’d disappointed him over and over again even though he never said it, but when they worked they were only good at art and bad at everything else. Teachers got fed up with their lessons just not getting through to them or their papers getting doodles all over the place while the work was avoided. All of that and here was their father, looking for them to do well and they simply didn’t know how.

He backed out of the hug to say something until he noticed an unopened letter on the table, and the painter was already sighing again while he got up to grab his letter-opener and see what it had to say. Canvas followed him, going to hold onto his sleeve as they watched him furrowing his brow at the message. They heard him mutter ‘I just need more time’ and tugged on his sleeve, the painter looked down at his child and gave them a soft pat on their head. It was only in this moment that Canvas really realized how tired their father really was, his rose-colored eyes had bags under them and his brown hair was a fluffy mess from neglect. It felt like he never stopped working, and judging from the sad smile he was giving them now; they gathered that would continue today.

“I’m sorry Canvas, I guess it’s back to the studio for me but… we’ll play a game together later, okay?” He tried to keep smiling at them, but they always looked so sad in these moments that it was hard to believe. They nodded anyway however, and the painter reluctantly disappeared behind the closed door of his workplace.

Canvas on the other hand, quietly whined while they made their way upstairs and into the hallway. The wall was full of artworks of the gods that disappeared years ago, or so people had said at least. For eleven days now Canvas had tried to pray to these gods below their pictures in hopes of getting a response of some kind, but of course there was nothing but silence. There was only one left for today and it was one they had really not wanted to bother, Clocked, the God of Time and God of Gods. In the books that Canvas read he’d been described as a fairly benevolent god, but given his status as the god who mattered the most above all else he was the last one they wanted to bother with their problems.

But they had run out of options as the rest of the gods weren’t answering, their father might as well be working himself to death, and Canvas had no one they could talk to in the world. So they sat down in front of the painting of the God of Time, closed their eyes and bowed their head to pray.

Hello, my name is Canvas. I’m sorry for bothering you over something silly Clocked, but I hope that you’ll listen even if you don’t reply. My daddy works all the time and he’s always so sleepy, he doesn’t really have time for me and neither does anyone else. And I’m not really anything special, just someone who doesn’t want to be alone anymore I guess... it just feels empty in this big house, and… I just hoped for a sign that someone is still listening out there. At least if someone could hear me, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad? Maybe we could be friends even, or maybe I’m just too hopeful… I’m sorry again for wasting your time, I know you have lots of it but you probably need all of it being so busy. Thank you for listening to me anyway, really.

They weren’t really expecting anything, so when they opened their eyes to see nothing you would think it wouldn’t be a surprise. Yet their eyes welled up with tears yet again as their last attempt at communication had finally failed them. Or had it really? Canvas suddenly noticed that they were hearing the soft sound of a clock ticking very close by, and looked down at the floor next to them. They gasped when they realized there was a small but intricate antique clock sitting by them, ticking away quietly while Canvas looked on in surprise. 

They picked up the small clock and looked up at the artwork on the wall with the brightest smile they’d had in months. “Thank you for listening to me, a-and I’ll take good care of the clock, I promise I will!”

They were already behaving recklessly by racing down the stairs again but they kept a tight grip on their new treasure as they ran. They knocked on the door to the studio while excitedly holding out the present to their father. “Look Daddy! Look! Clocked’s still here and he heard me!”

© 2019 AbyssalDiadem

Author's Note

Hellooo again WritersCafe! I hope you like this small backstory segment for a one of the main characters in a universe owned by MurderousCrows on dA and I called Among the Ashes.
The Painter and Clocked both also belong to MurderousCrows.

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Added on February 2, 2019
Last Updated on February 2, 2019
Tags: paracosms, amongst the ashes, among the ashes, clocked, the painter, painter, canvas




Hello, I'm Reo and I tend to write about my original characters in short bursts now and then. more..