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It was later in the evening, right at the time of closing, as a young man carrying a large portfolio hurries up the white steps of the gallery. He's greeted vigorously by the head at the door, nodding and forcing a smile on his face. He was glad they took up his offer to let him work after hours, more or less because he was desperate to find that spark again; that which he'd lost months ago. 

"So glad to see you. I'm a big fan of your work! Please come in." The man spoke as he ushered him inside. 

"I have to thank you for letting me do this. You can have whatever piece I complete before the sun rises." The painter replied emptily. That is if he completed anything... 

The owner beamed and began to lead him through the gallery. His eyes scanned the work of the college students, his jaw shifting as his sight came over a select few of them. Most felt static, void of meaning, though the ones he did take interest in had a life which he had yet to grasp in his pieces. A slight hint of jealously boiled lightly in his veins, he abandoned his pride to thoughts of work of improvement; thoughts that had run rampant through his mind for the past months in his absence from the canvas. He didn't believe his work was worthy of praise if it did not have that essence of life. 

"Sorry to break you away from your thoughts, how would you feel to working in this room? It has our most recent contributions on display." 

The painter jolted slightly. He'd fallen so greatly into his thoughts that he forgot both the man's voice and his presence. His eyes fell on the easel and stool left dead centering in this square room before they trailed across all of the images in this section of the gallery. It didn't take a second glance to feel the life off of their canvases; hours of painstaking work. 

"Yes. This is perfect thank you." 

"I'll leave you to it then. I've told the guards to not disturb you." With a hop and a step he was gone, locking the doors behind him. 

The painter sighed deeply, running a hand through his dirty blonde hair; his tired eyes glancing at the art around him again and again. He forced himself to tear his vision from such things; as it was he'd done this to find himself again. He set up his sketch book, running his hand over his filthy supply box; a light smile flickering across his face. His face fell serious as he opened it, setting his sketchbook onto the easel. He went to draw before his hand froze up, a repetition over the course of months that left him drained and exhausted the moment it occurred. 

"It happens again..." He scowled, letting his hand drop to his side. He discarded his new piece of charcoal for a more worn down, older piece. It had a memory to it; lasting from his very first box when he began as an artist. There was that smile again. An idea came to his mind.

"Perhaps... if I could attain life through memory... No." He scowled just as quickly as he felt he had something. What was that something? He forced his hand to set it against the sketchbook and began with a circle. He stared at it for a good long while before tearing off the page and letting it fall to the floor.

"What is it? What is it they can obtain but I cannot?!" He sighed heavily beneath his breath and rested his head against the sketchbook. An hour passes before it hits him. He's always needed some kind of reference point, as he had figured previously drawing from imagination was fruitless; or so he thought. Now he couldn't stop thinking of that factor. What did these pieces have? A life breathed into them, a unique life to the artist drawing them. 

He didn't even realize that his hand was already working out his vision on a canvas, his expression going blank as he focused instinctually rather than let his doubtful thoughts cloud his mind. It wasn't long before he was hunched over, charcoal staining his once white sleeves, his eyes straining in focus. He used his thumb as a smudge tool, his teeth to hold other pieces of charcoal. He could see it clearly in his mind, a false vision of a young child he'd created. He could practically consider it his son, the thought of which made him chuckle lightly. Yes, he could see the life in this one's eyes, not a dead copy. He sat back after three or so hours of constant work, setting the charcoal in his mouth back in the box to rest his hand; though as he glanced at the work again he felt it was finished. A bright smile danced across his lips. 

"I've done it. Breathed life into my work. You'll be called "The Charcoal Boy"." He beamed with pride. His eyes glanced up at the clock. Three AM. He sighed, his lips twitching slightly as he did so. A few hours he accomplished what took months to even attempt to devise. So easy... so unbelievably easy and he was blind until now to see it. 

"I don't want to leave it just yet." He muttered, turning to gaze back at it. He noticed something then. The boy was smiling. He didn't notice this at first, captivated with the texture the charcoal had created on the canvas. He did, however, spy the boy's shoulders positioned slightly up; his smile having grown slightly wider as if he were laughing. 

The painter's face pales, nearly falling backwards out of his stool as he beheld his work moving. It wasn't quick, as if it'd been set in slow motion, however it was still mildly disturbing. He was in shock. He kept his eyes glued to the canvas, not even breathing as the boy's smile contorted ever so slightly into a crooked grin; his shoulders falling back into place. His eyes widened then, the painter shifting back over to his canvas and setting a hand on the side of the easel. A slightly hysteric grin broke across his face. 

"If I... didn't have my senses. I'd say I've breathed too much life into my work." His lips twitched nervously as the charcoal boy's head turned to stare him down directly. 

It was then, he realized, that he had accomplished just what he desired. A life in his art work. The boy reached out from the canvas, a low leveled laugh echoing across the gallery. The painter didn't react, he was too stunned to. This was unreal, he thought as he was dragged into the canvas. 

He blinked several times as his shoes collided with chrome tiles; his back pressed against the cover of his sketchbook. He jumped forward from the wall, glancing around at the alienated place he'd come to. A hand tugged at his sleeve, catching his attention immediately. His heart caught in his throat. It was the charcoal boy. The greyscale child snickered and smiled broadly up at his creator; his glistening eyes now hidden behind his messy bangs. The painter slowly knelt down to face him, reaching out a hand and running it through his hair. He ruffled it, watching charcoal dust drift down to the floor before removing his blackened hand. He turned it over, gazing at it before glancing quickly back at the child. He mimicked its grin, a sharp laugh escaping his lips. 

"I've done it... I've done something no one else has. My God what place have I discovered?!" He grinned manically, jumping to his feet and hurrying down the hall, the charcoal boy in tow. He had to see this place, this world he'd been dragged into. 

Outside he was met with a cold wind, signs marking places, a sky looking as though it'd been painted with watercolors. He breathed in the fresh air, drunk on the enlightenment of his discovery. He laughed, running around the vicinity, running his hands through his hair. He felt as though he was reborn once more as a child. Everything was so unbelievably vibrant, so full of life this "Painter" World as he'd come to call it. 

Those were his feelings during the duration of the first month he'd spent there. As time went on, he'd come to take up residence in a house the charcoal boy had lead him to, showing no signs of ever wanting to leave this place. He'd nearly died his first week, when he discovered the charcoal piece still in his hand was his lifeline. The charcoal boy had again stepped in to save its creator; making him something new as well. The charcoal had become apart of him, the boy supplying the artist with canvases and paints alike. He'd come to stain his clothes entirely with the art tools, not caring in the least that he'd fallen into a degenerate state. 

He fell into a state of unease, his creativity waning. He wracked his hands through his hair, a panic setting in that after months and months of inspiration from the world around him that he'd succumbed to an artist block once more. The charcoal boy watched him from the other side of the room; tilting his head curiously as he watched the man go into a fit. 

"No... Not again... Not again damn it!" He shouted in a fit of rage, knocking over his easel and spilling the little jars of paint all over the canvas. He brought a hand to his head, breathing deeply as he tried to calm himself. 

There it was again, a familiar little tug at his side. He glanced down at the charcoal boy, who was grinning up at him. 

"What is it?" He inquired. The boy never replied verbally, he knew this well. The child simply pointed from his creator, to the ruined canvas, to his creator. A light went off in the painter's mind. 

"You're right... Absolutely right. Ahah.... How could I be so blind." He smiled broadly, beginning to pace his work room. 

"Why... keep this discovery to myself? Surely there are others in the same fit. I can pull inspiration from them. Something new. Life that this world needs to be fueled." A maddened grin was working its way across the man's face. It was clear he was completely dismissing the truth of his notions. 

"Go. Retrieve other artists. Bring them into this world. I wonder... how long they'd survive. Yes. Let's make a game of it." He ruffled the boy's hair, laughing lightly as he went to set his canvas back up. "Fill the empty gallery... with life." He added on to no one in particular, aiming this at any unfortunate artist unlucky enough to be crossed by the charcoal boy. 

-----------------

It'd been years since the painter had first set foot into the gallery, leaving behind his work of the charcoal boy. The owner had gone to check in on him in the morning, to find the artist gone and a masterpiece left behind. He didn't question his absence or a lack of farewell; simply pleased he'd retrieved such a grand work to display in his gallery. Indeed it had drawn the attention of many college artists and tourists alike. Some even mimicked what the painter had done; seating themselves near the work in the center of the room and working away on their own canvases or sketchbooks with their own tools of choice. 

Rumors began to spread, most believing they were made up just to get a scare out of the other students. Strange happenings in the gallery where artists would come in and never leave. Some said that the charcoal boy from the canvas on display would drag helpless victims into their own canvases; taking them to a strange world unknown. 

Darren Grimm was one of these students, and the only one to figure out how to escape the world. Unfortunately, just like many before him, he'd fallen to the madness of the "Painter" World as soon as his artist tool broke and became utterly useless. For you see, anything drawn in this world would come to life; as it was a world behind the canvas. He didn't want to leave, as much as he had done so a few times. The world was like an addiction, dragging him back to it countless times as much as he'd tried to remain in the world he'd come into existence to. The longer he'd stayed in the "Painter" World, the more he realized he was a part of that world. He was too alienated by the people on the other side of the canvas. Much like the painter, the Original Artist, his tool had become a part of him. He decided to act like a guide, letting the split between worlds severing his mind into two distinct personalities; his original mindset and the one the painter world had forced upon him. He works to aide those new artists entering the world, though I don't see how much assistance a pathological liar can provide...

"Oh I see you've come here too? Have you seen the charcoal boy? I bet you have." Darren spoke snidely to the newcomer standing before him; drifting in the air with a cheshire-like grin spread across his face. The child clutched their tool in their hand and took a rough step back from the man; Darren simply chuckling in response. 

"Let's try this again, I'm Darren Grimm and you are~" 

The boy shuffled his feet, finally allowing his eyes to meet the stranger's. 

"C-Charlie....Grove." 
About time I wrote an introduction for this world of mine. This is the story behind what happens to the Original Artist, how he came to discover the "Painter World" and the events that followed to lead Darren Grimm into it. Begins as a light Horror and rapidly dissolves into a more macabre state. 

The "Painter" World and all characters stated here: (c) :iconlhs-princess: 

Want more information on the world? 
The Painter World
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:iconavocadoafro:
AvocadoAfro Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
This is really cool! :love:
I can actually relate to this; having a split personality between my artist side and my regular(?) side ^^;
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:iconopalesqueprincess:
OpalesquePrincess Featured By Owner Edited Sep 28, 2015  Student Filmographer
Ah thank you. quq 

The world has a maddening effect on the artist's trapped within it. So in the case of their entrapment, it's liable to drive them insane from the stress of it all. o-o
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:icondimensionaldragons:
DimensionalDragons Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
This is awesome!!!
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:iconopalesqueprincess:
OpalesquePrincess Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Student Filmographer
quq Thank you <3
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:icondimensionaldragons:
DimensionalDragons Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
You're welcome. :3 I wonder how long I would survive the painter world.
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:iconopalesqueprincess:
OpalesquePrincess Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Student Filmographer
Depends on how well you preserve your artist tool. I think my pen would run out of ink too fast. quuuuq
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:icondimensionaldragons:
DimensionalDragons Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
What if you asked Darren Grimm to lend you some ink?
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:iconopalesqueprincess:
OpalesquePrincess Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Student Filmographer
He'd probably take it one of two ways. He could be generous and help, though the ink would end up being too thick for the pen... considering it's tied into his bloodstream. The other factor is simply flat out refusing and or attempting to break my pen. 
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:icondimensionaldragons:
DimensionalDragons Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Whatever you draw in that world becomes real right? What if you drew a ink fountain before your pen ran out of ink?
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:iconopalesqueprincess:
OpalesquePrincess Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Student Filmographer
Potentially, for a brief moment. It would be thinner than the ink you came in with and since it was created in the world, nothing you drew with it would become real. Unless you're a "painter" though at that point you wouldn't be leaving...
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