Jo could see faces where there was nothing but dots on the cealing. Everything had a face, the walls and beds, even the particles of dust in the air had faces. Sometimes they were crewl and angry, other times they were smiling and happy.
Once, just before a storm, Jo looked up into the sky and saw millions of faces in the dark clouds. None of them were happy. What was really strange, was that all the faces put together in the clouds made one giant face, it's mouth open wide in a cry of sadness and shame.
"Why are they so sad mommy?" Jo had asked once.
"What is sad, Jo?" her mother asked confused.
Jo pointed up into the dark clouds as they began to poor down rain. "Why are THEY so sad."
Her mother still hadn't understood, but thought she did. "They're not crying," she said with a small smile, "It's just rain. Water evorpaorates, that water turns into clouds and then it rains."
Then Jo knew that she was alone. No one knew what she knew, they couln't see what she could see. But she kept quiet, becuase teachers thought she was just silly and friends made fun of her. No one believed she could see what she could see.
One day, Jo's class went to a feild trip to a museum. Jo looked at everything. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw something. It was a picture, but yet not a picture. She got closer and then stopped, her eys wide with amazment. It was a hand, a giant hand with long grey claws, reaching out as it to catch her very soul and snap it in two.
Jo backed away, right into Beth, one of her friends.
"What is it Jo?" Beth asked.
"That hand is terrible." Jo said, her voice nealrly above a whisper.
"What, those blobs of paint?" Beth laughed. "That's not a hand at all! It's just a blob of lightbrown paint with some grey dripped on top."
"No!" Jo shook her head. "It's a hand. Really!"
Beth was trying not to smile she didn't really believe Jo. Beth walked up to the painting. It did feel a little crepy this close, but Beth told herself to ignore it.
To Jo it looked as if Beth was trying to be caught and snapped in two by the hand.
Beth read the inscription: "mano" it said.(hand) Beth eyes opened wide in surprse when she remembered what it ment. Jo is right! she thought. It is a hand, but it can't be. Beth took a step back and stared, trying to see whatever it was Jo saw, but she couldn't see anything more than she did before:blobs of paint scattered randomly on canvas.
"Jo," she said, "you're right! how did you know?"
"Look," Jo said. "You see that grey spot right there?" she pointed a finger in the direction.
"Yeah," Beth confirmed.
"Well, that is the tip of the fingernail on the pointy finger..and see, that peice of grey at the bottom is the thum nail." Beth squinted her eyes in concentration and then suddenoly she jumped back.
"Ahh!" she yelped. "It's aweful, just like you said."
Jo nodded. Beth looked back at the picture, slowly this time. It wasn't nearly so hard to see now that she knew what to look for. Wow, this could be a better feild trip then she thought. "Let's look at the other art stuff," Beth whispered. "I bet you can tell me what they all are without even reading the names."
Jo shook her head. She really didn't want to see anymore terrible pictures.
"Why not?" Beth asked. "We're already seperated from the class and..." she looked at her watch, "it's free time anyway."
Jo just stared at Beth, not moving.
"Come on!" Beth said, pulling Jo's Arm.
"No," Jo said.
"Aw, Jo! why not? You're acting like a baby!"
"They're..." Jo paused, wanting to close her eyes becuase she was starting to see faces on the floor.
"Well?" Beth insisted.
"They're scary!" Jo suddenly blurted out. yes, too scarry. A shiver went up her spine. She closed her eyes, but still saw that hand, wanting to feed off her mind.
Beth really wanted to go. "Oh come on!" she said, "They're only paintings, they can't hurt you!"
Jo sighed and nodded, "Alright.." Jo said, her voice full of a strange morbid curiosity. "I'll come, but I don't promice to look."
Beth smiled. "Come on."
Down the halls they went. Jo kept her eyes on the floor, seeing only the patterns on the carpet as they walked by painting after painting.
Beth read the inscription on one that was so obvioulsy a butterfly it couldn't be anything else, but it still had an odd look about it. Beth stared at it again and again. It was a picture of a butterfly, it had to be. Sure, it was a little strange, but at least it was see-able. "Jo," she said, "can you please look, I can even see this one. It's just a butterfly."
The title didn't say anthing about butterflys, but it was obvious that it was a butterfly.
Jo put her hand over her eyes and opened her fingers just a crack, peering through them causiously. The crack between her fingers became wider until she could see the untire picture. Her face turned pale and she sucked in breath.
"Well, what is it?" Beth demanded.
"It's.." Jo took a deep breath, "It's a moth." She scratched the side of her neck with her hand.
"That's it, a butterfly, a moth whatever-- I told you!" Beth grinned.
"What's it called?" Jo asked. The picture just felt evil. As if something sticky were climbing your spine, waiting for the perfect moment to bite.
"Aw, The name dosenít have anything to do with it." Beth said.
"I think it does," Jo said, She stared at the floor hard. Beth waited and Jo was silent so she read the title.
Fortune it said simply
"Now Jo," Beth came over. "Please, tell me what you see. Is it a dead moth or something?"
"No. It's Just..." Jo spoke very quitly. "There is a man behind the moth. He is the moth, but heís not the moth." She peaked again. "Heís stareing at me. He wants me to forget I can see him.
Beth was getting a tiny bit scared. "Um, have I ever told you that you are crazy, Jo." Beth laughed, trying to cover her fear. "Come on free time is probably over."
They scurried through the painting until suddenly Jo stopped. Staring at a picture until she walked closer and closer too it. Not frightened at all by itís strange curves. it was all green, light, dark, but all green. Beth was totaly confused.
"Itís a picture of a forest," Jo was saying. "Look, there are all the trees and look, there are the people, look!" Jo's hand was almost touching the paint.
Beth couldít see anything. "Come on Jo." Jo came, but took one glance at the painting and knew that if people could paint like that, both good and bad, then she wasnít alone.