blood painting

8/7: “First there was the void, and then there was you.”

From a story I’m working on, trying to coax Ty into sharing some details with me and I’ve always been best able to do this with random little scene sketches like this. Ty is agender and honestly I want them to use ‘they’ pronouns but they seem determined to use masculine pronouns so idk, I’ll figure it out. Part of me just wants to get more comfortable writing with gender neutral pronouns since it’s an important issue for me!

It began, as it always did, with a blank page and Tyler sitting at their desk. Often they’d try to sit in a chair and paint like how they’d convinced themself normal humans performed art. Then the creaking chair as they pulled their legs up and leaned forward. Then the inevitable shift onto the floor.

It began, as it always did, with paints and a palette, the way Ty had convinced themself normal humans performed art. And then, sitting on the floor with their legs crossed, eyes a little bloodshot from withdrawal, they’d put their hands in their shock of neon green hair and stare. Then the knife, weighted in their hand, the blade drawing a delicate line of red from the forearm.

Painting with blood felt romantic in a way Ty couldn’t explain. Intimate, almost. For the moments–minutes–hours that the painting engrossed them, all of their attention shifted outward, away from the twisted knot of self-loathing they nurtured eternally. They’d smile a manic little smile and twist the blood into shapes–a silhouette against a window, a lighthouse with shattered windows and the sea rushing in against it. Ty had stopped trying to remember the last time they’d felt happy, but in these moments, they felt content. At least they could have that.

It began, as it always did, with a blank page and Tyler sitting at their desk. They felt–fractured, today, pieces falling when they shifted in the creaking chair. In a matter of minutes Ty had given up and moved to sit on the floor, where they sat and stared at the paints Sean had bought them and fidgeted. The front door opened and Sean stood in the doorway for what felt like too long.

“What are you doing?”

Tyler dropped the knife they hadn’t realized they’d picked up.

“Nothing. Painting,” they said.

Sean’s forehead crinkled in that way that sent Ty’s brain twirling into eddies of anxiety–the concerned expression on the face of the man they loved instantly making them feel guilty and indignant. Nobody had ever made them feel more like a child than Sean did.


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