27 May A Monochrome’s Melancholy
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"A Monochrome's Melancholy"Written by
Estimated reading time — 39 minutes
It’s was a chilly but sunny day in the middle of October. A little five-year old girl with short black hair while wearing her white Sunday dress was walking hand in hand with her mother. The woman’s name was Julie Fairbanks, and her little cheerful cherub daughter was a girl by the name of Mavis. It was a family of two, who always held smiles wherever they went and brought cheer to whomever they met.
Julie was a woman of radiance, tall and slender with subtle curves that gave her delicate frame a feminine elegance. She had long and silky black hair with the most beautiful green eyes that anyone had ever seen, with perfect porcelain skin. She was a performer. A singer if you may, who loved music and the sound it brought.
Her daughter, Mavis, had very fair skin that looked as pure as snow, with rosy cheeks and inherited her mother’s beautiful piercing green eyes. However, there was one small problem with Mavis. She had a rare defect when she was born, that only showed around the age of two. Her vocal cords were impaired and thus limited her vocal abilities, almost rendering her completely mute. So whenever she talked, she sounds like she’s whispering and if anything, she could only speak a limited amount in a normally low voice without wearing down her vocal cords any further.
But that didn’t stop her from enjoying the little things that life brings, nor did it keep her from her dreams of wanting to become a singer like her lovely mother. It was a hopeless dream, but dream with all her little heart she did.
Mavis didn’t have many friends, either. Other children didn’t understand her condition and would only tease her. The only ones who she called her friends were the dolls and stuffed animals that she had in her bedroom, which were the only ones who listened to her aside from her mother.
It was after attending church that they walked their way back home, with Julie leaving Mavis in the enclosed safety of their small front yard, guarded by a white picket fence. “Now wait here for a minute, Mavis. I’ll be back in a short while. I just need to get a few things and I’ll be back so we can go to the park.” With that said, Julie quickly made a beeline through the front door and into the bedroom. She made her way to the dresser and opened the top drawer, pulling out a polished black box that resembled a tiny treasure chest, embroidered with small white diamonds. Opening it, she pulled out its contents, which consisted of a simple but gorgeous necklace with a heart-shaped pendant, with half of it embellished in white diamonds and the other half in black diamonds.
It was a gift that she had gotten so long ago from her husband, long before Mavis was born. She smiled as she placed it on and looked in the mirror. “One day, I’ll give this to Mavis. Just as I’m sure he would have wanted.”
The father was nowhere to found. He was around up to the time that Mavis had only turned a few months old, then he mysteriously vanished without a word. Julie couldn’t understand how or why her beloved husband disappeared, and she never heard from him since. He was a man of little words and often came off as rude to others, but she didn’t see him that way and understood him better than most. She had loved him dearly, as he had loved her. She barely had any pictures of him around the house either, which made it even more difficult for Mavis to know that he was there or what he may have looked like. Now it was just her and Mavis.
Speaking of the devil, she remembered that she left her baby outside! Turning heal from the mirror, Julie ran down the hall and out to the front door, finding Mavis safe and, to her curious delight, singing a song. It was light, almost like a bird cooing.
“Mavie, what are you doing sweetheart?” Mavis turned to her mother and smiled brightly. “I’m singing, mama.” Julie smiled at her cherub. “Mavis, you must be careful not to strain your voice. Now let’s go to the park, okay?” Mavis nodded, still smiling ever so cheerfully.
On their way, Mavis asked her mother in a small voice, though it was still clear as day to Julie’s ears. “Mama, when do you think papa will come home?” Julie couldn’t help but stiffen at the question. That was something she didn’t have the answer to. She didn’t know when he would come back, nor if he was still alive. She looked down at Mavis with a small and sad smile. “I don’t know, sweetheart.” Mavis looked at her mother inquisitively before glancing down at the pretty necklace around her mother’s neck. “So pretty…” Julie noticed that she was referring to the necklace that her husband had given her and knelt down, showing it to Mavis up close. “Yes, it is beautiful, isn’t it? It was a gift from your daddy. And guess what?” Mavis looked back up at her mother with curious eyes. “Huh?”
Julie smiled warmly. “Someday, when you’re old enough, this necklace will belong to you. Just like your daddy asked me.” Mavis’ eyes widened that it looked comically adorable. A huge grin spread across her innocent face and she lightly squealed. She then calmed down and asked another question.
“Mama, does daddy love me?” Julie felt sad by this, knowing that her daughter will most likely never know her father, nor of the love he had for the child. “Yes sweetie, he did. He loved you as much as mommy loves you.”
Mavis then stayed quiet for another moment longer before popping the next, most unexpected question. “Will daddy be able to hear me if I call for him?” That stunned Julie. She didn’t want to break her child’s heart, so she went along with her daughter. “I’m very sure he will, baby. Now, why don’t we go into the park and you can play for a while?
Nodding, the little girl grasped her mother’s hand once more and made their way to the park, which was just right around the corner.
Upon arriving, Julie decided to sit with Mavis on a grassy area and pretend that they were having tea time. Mavis insisted on using imaginary cups and teapot, the two of them enjoying a nice cup of tea. The vendor just across the playground of the park was selling some ice cream and Julie smiled with a bright smile. “Wait here, Mavis. Mommy’s going to get us some ice cream, okay?” With a happy nod, the girl watched as her mother got up and headed off to the vendor. As Julie got to the vendor and asked for two cones of delicious sweet ice cream, she looked to the side and saw her daughter mouthing the words of song. She smiled, knowing her daughter dreams of becoming a singer like her. Sadly, she knew those dreams will eventually settle upon the little girl as an impossible reality when she gets older. Speaking of aging, she remembered that her daughter’s birthday was coming up in three days and had to think of something to make her little girl’s day. She remembered seeing a small piano the other day she was at the music center and how much Mavis was going crazy about it. Julie smiled secretly, knowing what to give her little girl.
While waiting for her mother’s return, Mavis got bored with her “tea party” and decided to sing. Her throat started to hurt a bit, so she mouthed the words rather than voicing them. She ‘sung’ “Mary had a Little Lamb” and was lost in her little world, until she felt the presence of someone standing next to her. She glanced up and saw a tall lean man, dressed in a white business shirt with a black vest and black slacks, with white socks and black dress shoes. He wore white gloves and had a rather pale complexion, with sleeked-back black hair with a prominent widow’s peak and dark eyes, bordered with black eye makeup and black paint on his lips. He wore a black top hat, which slightly hid his dark eyes so well and tipped it off to her in a silent and gentlemanly greeting. He smiled a friendly smile to the young child, flashing perfectly white teeth.
He knelt down and placed his hand to his chest, acting as though he was clearing his throat. He mouthed the rest of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, which she left off at the lines of “fleece as white as snow”. Mavis was intrigued as he ‘sung’ with her and joined him in mouthing the words. After they finished, he clapped his hands but no sound came from them. Then, to her surprise, he picked up the imaginary teapot and poured them both some tea. Mavis smiled as this stranger before her came to join her for some tea. He motioned the invisible teacup to his lips, sipping inaudibly. She mimicked his movements, picking up her teacup and sipping from it.
Only to her surprise, she actually tasted the tea! It was lemony sweet, making her taste buds dance. Her eyes widened at the invisible drink before her before looking back up at the mime before her. He shook slightly in an act of chuckling, though as she listened carefully, she swore she could slightly hear the low hum of his voice as he chuckled at her expression in amusement. Placing down the cup, he stood up and tipped off his hat as he was ready to depart. But the girl panicked slightly, silently asking if she’ll see him again.
Though she only mouthed the words since her voice still hurt, it was as if he heard her as he turned to face her. He bent down on one of his knees and with a flick of his wrist, pulled out something unseen from his chest pocket and handing it over to her. Looking at his hand with curiosity, she carefully took the invisible item from his hand and held it in her fingers. It felt like a stem and as she moved one of her fingers up the stem, she pricked her finger on something sharp. She winced in pain, and closed her eyes briefly in pain. When she opened them she was surprised, for in her hand the invisible object he gave her was a beautiful white rose. She looked again at the mime, who was smiling warmly at her. His eyes, however, looked somewhat sad. He then gently took one of her hands and placed a soft kiss on it.
Mavis was captivated by it all. She was intrigued by the lovely white rose in her tiny hand, to the silent monochrome man who treated her like a precious princess. She snapped out of her reverie to notice that the mime was now gone.
Suddenly, she heard a voice. A male’s voice. It sounded like it was from far away, an echo bouncing from it. She couldn’t really make out the words, but to her, they felt rather comforting. One of her fingers absent-mindedly trailed up the rose and felt something rough among the soft petals. She looked down and saw a small piece of paper sticking out among the rose petals and pulled it out. Unfolding it, she saw in black writing the words in beautiful calligraphy “Happy Birthday”.
A light gasp fell from her lips. Her birthday was only a few days away, on the thirteenth to be precise. Just who was that man?
Little did she notice her mother returning back from getting ice cream, smiling brightly at her daughter. “Mavie! I’m back with some ice cream! I got your favorite, cookies n’ cream!” She then stopped as she noticed the way her daughter’s hand was propped. “Mavis, what are you holding?” The little girl glanced up at her mother innocently. “A white rose. A nice mime gave it to me. He wished me ‘Happy Birthday’.”
Julie looked at the invisible white flower, a bit stunned. She was only at the vendor for a few minutes, so there was no way someone could have gotten near her daughter. She let out an anxious breath, thinking that her daughters’ imagination was in play again. She left things be and they both ate ice cream together happily.
After leaving the park and arriving home, they spent the rest of the evening watching some movies and read Mavis a bedtime story before tucking the child to sleep. Julie sat at her vanity, looking down at her pendant one more time before putting it away in the black polished jewelry box. The thought of a mime giving a flower to her daughter was absurd. Comical, but absurd. They were like clowns but are always quiet, and they always do things or use things that were never there. She supposed that it was harmless though. She shrugged it off and placed her necklace back into the box before switching off the light and turning in for the night.
Meanwhile back in the bedroom, Mavis had placed her “imaginary” white rose in a vase with some cold
water on her night table, fascinated by her encounter with the strange black and white man. It was odd, yes, but she was entranced by his odd charm. As she scurried her way to her bed, a thought struck her. She pulled out the small wad of paper that had “Happy Birthday” scribbled on it and smiled. She might get to see him again next year for her birthday again! Taking out a small wooden box that had “Mavis’ Special Box” painted on it in silver paint, she placed the tiny message in there. She closed it and placed it under her bed, already giddy for the following time that she meets her mysterious stranger again.
About one year later, around the same time of the middle of October, Mavis insisted to go to the park.
However, it was gloomy and rainy that particular day and her mother didn’t want to risk her catching a cold. So she sat in her room, utterly bored and disappointed. Her mother told her that she was going to go to the supermarket real quick to get a couple of groceries for the week and left in a hurry, dressed in a raincoat and umbrella in tow.
Mavis was all alone in the bedroom, so she decided to play a small game of go-fish with her ‘friends’. The game was short-lived, for she then heard a small knock on her windowpane. It was light and barely made much noise against that pattering rain, but she heard it loud and clear. She got up and opened her curtains, shocked at the sight. A small checkered Dixie cup with two white roses sat on the edge of the windowsill. She carefully and quickly opened up the window and retrieved the cup holding the two roses.
Attached to the small arrangement she found another note, this time folded in the form of an extra rose bud. On it, in the same elegant black calligraphy was written “Happy Birthday”. This made the girl giddy with joy. He came back to her!
Like before, she ran to the small vase she kept by her night table and placed the rose in it, and like before, she took her little box and placed the small paper in it. Upon hearing her mother return, she ran to go tell her the news or her friend’s return. Julie listened to her daughter’s excited whispers about her returning mime friend, a little shocked to hear the tale. She saw the joy it brought her beloved child and felt some guilt over it. This mime friend of hers must have been some coping mechanism for not having her father around. She placed a hand on the pendant around her neck, the slight feeling of resentment towards her missing husband filling her.
Later that night, Julie tucked Mavis and bid her goodnight, while also taking a glance at the supposedly empty vase on Mavis’ night table. She clenched her fist tightly for a brief second before letting it fall loosely to her side. She hoped that Mavis would someday come to terms that her father wasn’t coming back to them. At least, that was what she hoped. Julie left to her room and sat on her bed, staring at the black polished jewelry box. She felt as though her heart was breaking, staring at the box with the small piece of jewelry safely tucked away inside. Life was certainly cruel.
She knew that unfortunately someday, one way or another, Mavis will have to see things for what they are in black and white, and face the world and its cruel ways. And that, Julie feared more than anything.
But that day came rather quick, and it was about to change everything for them both, especially for Mavis.
About a decade had passed since the incident with the monochrome man at the park and every year after that around the time of her birthday, Mavis kept receiving her white roses from the mysterious mime. After
Julie had bought Mavis a new electric keyboard to replace her old childhood piano, Mavis focused more on creating music, this time for her friend, who in turn for her outstanding performances, would leave small written messages for her with a rose accompanying it. Her mother would often hear the vigorous and lively music when she played throughout the house, her daughter’s vibrant energy and happiness coloring the small familiar home. Although she never questioned her daughter’s continuous connection with her secret friend that brought happiness to her, Julie grew more concerned for Mavis’s attempts to sing, fearing that she would stress and permanently damage her vocal cords.
It seemed that Mavis still had the hope that she would one day recover miraculously from her impairment, and sing to her heart’s content.
Although Mavis’s monthly routine of checking up with her doctor about her condition showed no improvements, it didn’t change the pretty teen’s colorful outlook on life.
But little did she know that the colorful world that she lived in was all about to shatter.
Not long after Mavis had started high school that Julie had met another man. They met when Mavis was around fifteen, and to Mavis’s displeasure, had eventually married after she just turned sixteen.
Despite Julie’s attempts to convince her daughter that this would be a good change in their life, Mavis refused to accept him as her new father. This caused great amounts of tension in the home, as well as starting to create a strain between mother and daughter.
This feeling between the young girl and the man, however, was mutual.
Stuart, or ‘Stu’ the man was called, was an audiophile. He specializes in music and sound quality, using studio-grade equipment. After Mavis’ mother started going into recording for her music once again, she met the man and snaked his way into charming her. In his home, which Mavis and her mother moved into right after the marriage was finalized, he used one of the lower level rooms for his equipment to listen to music, and since it was completely sound proof, it was all the more useful since he needed to hear every little aspect of music. If he felt like the confines of his home weren’t suitable enough for him to do his work, then he would leave late at night, barely mentioning a word to Julie about it, and many times, coming back home very late to almost early morning smelling of liquor and cheap perfume. This bothered Mavis a great deal, for she knew that her mother did develop some feelings towards the man, possibly seeing him almost the same as she saw her father. This, however, didn’t change the girl’s viewpoint towards the sloppy man. She figured him as selfish, seeing that he wasn’t willing to hear anyone’s work other than his own. Mavis also saw his careless and crude ways as the main source of fighting in the home, bringing more darkness into her life.
He took great pride in his work and was a very greedy and old fashioned man. He was also very old fashioned in a way where he took great displeasure in Mavis’s childish behavior and bright personality. But what distasted him the most, was every attempt that Mavis made to become like her mother in singing and even any noise made by her. In his point of view, she found her rather pathetic and an obstacle.
When Mavis had her small performances in her new room, she would gather her stuffed animals as her audience. The mime, who had somehow followed them to the new home, would manage to climb up to the second floor using a stepladder that he would conjure up just to be a part of the audience and hear her play and sing. Her mother, from time to time, would hear her play a tune, and go up to see her play. In fact, he had been making more and more frequent visits to her ever since the move, just after she had turned sixteen.
Ironically, it’s during those times that her wonderful mime friend would disappear for a brief time, only to reappear with his head poking through the window or somehow wind up in her closet, hiding until Julie leaves the room.
Mavis was curious as to why he would be gone when her mother was around, but had been embarrassed to raise the question to him. But he would more especially be gone when Stu would go upstairs ordering Mavis to keep it down, complaining that she was making such a huge ruckus that the whole world could hear her. Mavis would laugh bitterly at the notion of it. Her, making too much noise? Not even the neighbors could hear her or the kids down the street.
There were often times that he would grab her harshly by her wrists to get her to stop playing her piano, or even clamp his large hand over her mouth forcefully, almost bruising her but not quite just to get his message across. This scared the girl a great deal and when she tried to muffle out a sound for help, he would threaten her. On some occasions had the threats escalated, especially when her mother wasn’t home. She would try to call out to the neighbors or some passerby, only her cries wouldn’t reach them and when they would almost see her waving to get their attention, Stu would somehow be right there and pull her roughly aside, slamming the window shut and curse her out. He threatened that if she tried anything funny, that she would be sorry for it later and to make his promise clear, he went out of the way of confiscating her electric keyboard and ruined her stuffed animals by tearing their bellies open and removing all the stuffing from them. And sadly, Mavis had no choice but to believe him, feeling trapped by this monster.
She had thought about calling the police, but there would be no evidence to procure to say that this man was who he truly is. And the last thing she wanted, more than anything, was to have her mother involved, fearing that he would do something far worse if she went that far. There were times that she cursed how life had been to her, unfair to take away most of her voice and leaving her like a mouse.
It was almost quite crude of a thought. Her mime friend would drop by after he left, giving a rather distasteful look towards the door. This made the young teenage girl chuckle, for she wasn’t the only one who couldn’t stand her stepfather. To poke even more fun, the mime would start walking in a certain manner that imitates almost like how Stu walks and make gestures that reflect very much like how Stu is. Mavis would then laugh until she was hugging her sides. It was all fun and games as she and her beloved friend would keep silently mocking the man, until one particular cloudy day.
It was in the very late afternoon, bordering close to sundown. Mavis had just come back from private study with her tutor that her mother had hired after they moved in place of her old one from their old hometown. On any other day she would be wearing one of the classy outfits her mother would give her in hopes of keeping Stu from calling her “wayward” in style. Today, however, she wore one of the more stylish outfits that her mother had given her as a present for her seventeenth birthday, which was also ironically today. It consisted of a bright yellow oversized hoodie with what almost looked like folded cat ears on the creasing sides of the top of the hood, a vanilla colored crop top with a bold red heart pattern on the center, dark denim jeans with the new ripped hole style on the thigh part of the pant legs and white high tops with red stars on the sides of them. Her nails were painted a nice candy red, which was also a gift from her mother. These gifts had made her smile even more, bringing a little bit of light to her gloom.
However, not all was entirely bright in her kingdom.
What caught on to her as strange, was the fact that her mime friend failed to give her a rose like he traditionally does, as well as no ‘Happy Birthday’ note attached. In fact, she noticed that he had been absent for the last couple days, as though his visitations had come to a stop for the time.
Mavis was quite upset and hurt by this, worried as to where her friend had run off to. She tried calling out to him, but he hadn’t responded. She thought about her friend, deep down pleading as to where he could have gone and longed for him to come back. Approaching the front door, she sighed sadly. The sky must have heard her, for it started to pour heavy pellets of rain, the humidity of the rainfall along with the mix of the cool October air making her short, frayed hair stand out on ends. Just great.
Shaking off the slight feel of goosebumps, she smiled a sad smile. After all these years, aside from her mother, the mime was the only one who ever made her day, no matter how gloomy it became. He was her best friend and confidant. The one who truly filled the empty void of her heart in which her father left absent all this time. Now she wondered if he had left her, too. Deep down, she could feel her heart break. She closed her eyes, whispering to herself about how she wished that he would never leave her and stay with her, no matter what. As if expecting for him to appear, she opened her eyes. Nothing. Shaking her head sadly, she turned towards the door and entered the home, closing it securely behind her.
Upon approaching the stairs, she heard her mother and stepfather apparently arguing in the kitchen, which was just a little further down from the base of the stairs.
She could barely make the words, but it sounded like her mother scolding him for his obnoxious behavior and accusing him of his late-night escapades only to come back home wasted and reeking of another woman’s musk. She could also hear the sharpness in his voice as well, calling her mother a liar and criticizing her of acting like a bitch for such ridiculous insinuations.
She then heard Julie raise her voice even further, her hurt and anger evident. “You’re the ridiculous one, Stu! Coming back home nearly at the brink of dawn just for your work?! I’m not stupid and don’t you dare make me think that you are too! I know you’ve been out ‘working’ your way through nothing but cheap bottles of alcohol and whores from the street!”
“Shut up, you stupid bitch! You have absolutely no idea what you’re even talking about! You’re just a batshit little jezebel with a lousy, handicapped wretch of a girl who’s a mute!”
Julie felt hot tears burning at the ends of her eyes. “Don’t you DARE bring Mavis into this! She has nothing to do with YOUR irresponsible and disgusting behavior, you uncultured swine!”
Mavis gasped as she peaked in and just saw her mother get backhanded by the volatile male. Some blood trickled down Julie’s nose, a huge red mark now slowly forming into a bruise on the side of her face. But that wasn’t it. To Mavis’ further horror, Stu pinned the woman who was still on the floor and began landing blows on her, fists colliding against her beautiful and delicate skin.
Grabbing a nearby bottle by the edge of the table, Mavis quickly acted and bashed the man on top of the head, knocking him over. Hurriedly, Mavis pulled her mother onto her feet. The young girl could only choke back a sob; her mother’s face was now a bruised and bloody mess. Her right eye swelling into a black bruise and her face a blend of blues, purples and greens, and her bottom lip split wide open.
She took a hold of her mother’s hand and pulled her out of the kitchen. Just as they reached the base of the stairs, they were tackled on by none other than Stu, blood running down from his messy brown hair.
His blue eyes were red with rage, which frightened Mavis greatly.
He grabbed Julie and punched her hard on the chest, knocking the wind right out of her and sending her flying towards the wall adjacent to the stairs, near the sofa.
Mavis wasted no time and lunged at the man, trying her best to hold him back. He was a guy of a tall stature with an average build, and Mavis was average in height with a slender build, making it very difficult for her to restrain him as well as dangerous.
With one quick move, Stu slung the girl over and threw her down harshly on the floor, her lithe body landing with a loud thud. She cried out in pain, her back feeling sore. However, before she could make any movement to get up, the brazen brute pinned her down with the weight of his body. He gripped her wrists tightly and placed his legs in between hers to prevent her from kicking any weak points.
As she adjusted her gaze up at the man, Mavis was petrified with fear. He leered down at her lecherously, a twisted and sadistic grin marking his features. “You little shit! You think you know me, huh? Heheh. I heard it’s your birthday today. Seventeen, right? Well, let’s just see how much you have grown up!” He then took both her wrists up with one large left hand and pinned them above her head, while his right one creeped up her pale flat stomach and under her crop top.
Mavis let out a screaming sob, her vocal cords straining ever so with every sound she could make as she cried for help. “N-No! Stop!”
Thankfully, the gruff man’s groping had ceased as Julie bashed him in the face with a stool that she nabbed from the edge of the kitchen doorway upon hearing her child’s screams for help.
He flew backwards, his nose completely broken and bloodied and two of his front teeth knocked out from the gums with blood oozing from his mouth as well.
Stu roared in pain, screaming obscenities as he clutched his broken face. Julie quickly pulled her frightened daughter up and started bolting up the stairs. Stu struggled to get up and as he staggered after them, he fell again. He felt a sharp pain, realizing that he sprained his ankle. He growled in anger. “YOU BITCHES ARE GOING TO BE SORRY!” He hollered from the bottom of the stairs.
Upon arriving upstairs, Julie and Mavis ran into Mavis’ room. Knowing it wouldn’t be long until Stu reaches the top, Julie concocted a plan. A risky one, but they had to take the chance if they wanted to get out of this alive. Who knows what that madman was capable of?
Julie took a hold of her daughter’s hand and placed the necklace she wore in it. Mavis looked down at her hand then looked back at her mother. She tried to speak up, but her throat ached with a stabbing soreness. Julie shook her head. “No, Mavis. Don’t speak. Listen to me carefully. He’ll be up here shortly. I need you to hide in the closet and wait until I give you the signal. When I tell you to go, you must run downstairs and call the police. You must try to tell them what happened and have them come here. I’ll stay and hold him off long enough for you to go make the call. If for some reason something happens and he comes after you, you must run out of the house and promise me not to look back. Understand?”
Mavis’ shook her tear-stained face, but her mother gripped her tightly. “Please, Mavis! It’s our only chance!”
Hearing her stepfather fumbling loudly up the stairs, Mavis nodded and hugged her mother, gripping the necklace tightly in her pale hand. She quickly rushed into the closet and waited, peering through the thin opening of the closet door.
Just as they heard the footsteps coming closer, Julie glanced at her daughter, mouthing an apology to her for all this mess.
The door burst open, Stu looking like a bloodied mess and fuming at his wife. “You… You are so done…” He threatened. As he slowly approached her, Julie gathered her willpower and lunged at him, clawing her nails at his face. “NOW! GO!”
Mavis bolted out the closet door, and sprinted down the stairs, not daring to stop. Once she reached downstairs, she turned the corner and picked up the phone. Her trembling fingers dialed 911 and anxiously waited for someone to pick up.
She could hear screaming from upstairs, her nerves wracking her body. How could no one hear them?!
Finally, someone picked up. “This is 911. What’s your emergency?”
Mavis gathered as much strength in her voice, speaking as clear and loudly as she could. “H-Help! M-My mom… H-He’s going to kill u-us!” There was a brief pause before the person on the other line answered. “Hello? Ma’am? Are you there?” Mavis screeched, her throat feeling like it was ripping open. “CAN YOU HEAR ME?!”
A sudden high pitched scream scared her followed by the sounds of a body falling down the stairs, the sounds of bones cracking before a loud crunch indicated that it landed on the floor base of the stairs.
Mavis peered around the corner, her breath caught and her eyes wide. There at the bottom, lay her mother’s broken and battered body. Her left arm positioned ever so that you could see it twisted out of place and her legs crumpled against the wall. Julie’s head was turned in a way that was beyond natural placement of a human head, a pool of blood flowing around her silently on the marble floor. Her eyes were wide, the look of horror frozen on her broken and dead face.
It’s like time had stopped all at once around her, all noise slowly fading away into the background. She dropped the phone, not hearing the crashing sound as it hit the table with a ‘clank!’. She couldn’t hear the faint sound of the operator on the other line relaying a reply that units are being sent on the way right now, now apparent that the scream was heard from the other end. Her body shook as she continued to stare at the sight of her beloved mother’s mangled corpse, her grip on the necklace ever so deathly. The dull echoes of Stu’s panicked footsteps seemed so far as he arrived to the bottom of the stairs, looking down at the dead body of his wife before looking at Mavis.
Mavis slowly moved her attention to the bulky man before her, her empty stare registering him before trying to make a mad dash towards the door. Her attempt of escaping was in vain, as the man grabbed her hood roughly and yanked her back. She tried to scream, kicking and bashing her arms at him with all her might. But no sound came out of her mouth. Her voice had finally gone from her attempted cries for help.
Stu struggled to keep a grip on the girl, unable to avoid her hits as her arms smacked him through her struggle. He made his way back down the hall, dragging the girl with him. He opened the door that lead to the small, soundproof room that he used for his work, which was under renovations since a week ago and remains now as a soundproof black room with a small white light lingering above and grey looking furniture that consisted of a metal fold up chair and a plain metal table.
Her nails managed to scratch one of his eyes that he jerked back with a howl. As he briefly let her loose, he violently shoved her into the room. Mavis’ body landed hard on the cold concrete floor of the room, the only form of visibility was the single white light fixture on the ceiling above her and the light of the illuminated hallway where her stepfather still stood in. “You little brat. Now see what you’ve gone and done?! Cops are sure gonna come here, now. You will stay here and STAY QUIET!” With that final remark, he slammed the door, locking it.
She got up and ran towards the door in a desperate try to get it open. She opened her mouth and tried to scream as much as she could. Despite her futile efforts to scream at him and scream for help, it was no use, as no one would hear her through the room and no one would hear her as her voice was now long gone. After what seemed like hours to her of jamming the door and shouting through her mute mouth, she felt her willpower die down. The warm tears no longer flowing from her eyes and the vibrant life that once filled them were now but a dull shade of bottle green.
She slowly walked to the back of the dimly lit room and sunk by the wall surface, hugging her knees. Why? Why would no one hear her? Why couldn’t they hear her? She screamed. She shouted. She made all the noise she possibly could, but it was all for naught.
The only one to have heard her was that bastard of a stepfather and her now dead mother… And him.
Her cold pale fingers clenched tightly into a fist, nails digging into the skin and drawing small drops of blood.
Why? After all this time, he never came back. Had he never left, none of this would have happened. What kind of man would leave his wife and child behind without notice? She looked down at the necklace in her bleeding hand and threw it across from her, landing perfectly in the middle of the light.
She hated him! She wished that he was dead and that the other man would die! That they would ALL die! How dare they go on about their lives and not suffer! Why does she have to be the one to go through all this?! She thought with bitter resentment and hatred as her face remained stone cold. Why should they be heard when they refused to hear her???
Just as though all seemed lost as she thought away the hatred that she bore, the sound of footsteps could be heard in the room with her. Her gaze settled in front of her, as in the shadows of the dark, came out a familiar figure.
A tall lean man, dressed in a white business shirt with a black vest and black slacks, with white socks and black dress shoes, and on his hands he wore white gloves and with skin so very ash pale. He wore a black top hat, which hid his features so well. The only visible feature that she could see was his black painted lips, which formed into a smirk.
He bent down and picked up the necklace that lay abandoned in the middle of the dimly lit floor and closely inspected it before looking down at Mavis.
After a few moments he opened his mouth, and for the very first time, he spoke. Mavis felt her hairs stand on end, as the voice sounded very close to the one she heard years ago when she was very young, only it had a deep eerie echo to it.
“So now what, Mavis? Are you just going to wait here and have the whole world become your folly? Are you willing to just let him get away with it and have him kill you as well?”
She opened her mouth, but as she then remembered she couldn’t speak, she closed it back again.
He stepped closer to her, the sounds of his footsteps echoing throughout the entire room. “Come now, silly girl. Are you?”
She silently shook her head, her eyes cold and resilient. He hummed as he continued to smile. “Good girl. That’s what I like to hear. Despite your silence, I can hear you clear as day. I heard it all; your happiness, your anguish, your misery, your sorrow… your HATE. But tell me, how DO you plan on carrying out such thoughts, Mavis?”
The young woman stayed quiet, her mind reeling about all the possible ways that she would kill the bastard that was now frantic about the police and the whole situation. How she would torture him in ways that he would have tortured her, and worse.
The Mime’s smirk formed into a wide grin, bursting into a cackle that echoed hauntingly throughout the soundproof room as he heard her silent thoughts. “My, my. You certainly have quite the imagination, dear! It’s one of the things I’ve always admired about you. It’s what I’ve always wanted to GROW. Now…”
He bent down, being in close proximity of the girl with his grin receding back into a smirk. “I have a proposition for you, my dear. You see, I am the only one who can leave this tiny prison anytime I so desire. You, on other hand, are trapped like a rat and will remain so until the pusillanimous, pettifogging moron of a stepfather comes back and kills you… or leaves you here without anyone’s knowledge of you ever existing.” His eyes were still hidden in the shadows beneath the brim of his top hat. But Mavis had a feeling that they were glinting with his monochromatic mischief.
“My offer to you is this: I am your only salvation out of this mess and only I can help you escape… But it isn’t for free… You see, one must give, Mavis… In order to receive.”
Mavis looked up at him with that same childish curiosity that attracted him all these years ago. He grinned a little wider, a low chuckle rumbling from his being. As though hearing her asking what she must give.
“I just so happened to have heard your little birthday wish earlier, and so my question to you is this: Do you wish to join me and be with me for all eternity, forever as one entity? Or remain in this shoddy little shithole and die from brutal murder or die slowly and silently, forever alone?”
He offered her his hand to the girl, his smile not once faltering. “So… Which will it be?”
Mavis looked at him, his upper half of his face still blurred in darkness, but his mischievously wicked smirk remained transfixed in front of her. Not wasting time to even bother thinking about it, she made her choice. She took a hold of his slender gloved hand, which in return, firmly and possessively took a hold of hers. From the fingertips of the glove, protruded black razor-sharp nails.
The Mime let out a ghoulishly howl of a laugh, his closed-lip smirk now an earsplitting, razor-toothed grin. His once perfectly white teeth now looked like an alignment of pointy and jagged blades of a shark’s mouth, oozing with a black liquid substance from his black gum line. Mavis’s glance switched from their connected hands to his face. Her eyes widened, still enraptured in the same childlike innocence that he so craved after all these years. His pale face was now ghastly and haunting, the hollows of his cheekbones ever so prominent and his nose was pressed in to resemble that of a snake’s snout. The black around his eyes looked like deep hollow holes, with silvery white eyes floating in the center or them, gaping wickedly and sinisterly back into Mavis’s.
His voice has now become distorted, almost like a shrieking banshee and his deep garbled voice mixed together at once. “Good! Now the price I request from you… Your pure innocence.”
SHINK! … Drip… Drip, drip…
Mavis suddenly felt her remaining body heat leaving her and a sharp pain in her chest. She looked down and saw that his free hand had shot through her chest, exactly right through her heart, through the heart imprint of her crop top. Her eyes remained transfixed as she still somehow felt her heart still beating, the pulsating rhythm of the pumping organ resonating through her ears. Her stoic face still hadn’t changed form as she also started to see the color of her clothes and skin fading… into black and white. The red heart was now a pitch ink black, with blood still dripping freely from the printed design. The blood had also turned black, resembling to look a lot like ink. The color continued to fade, and at the same time, so did the Mime. His let out a final eerie titter, almost high in pitch as he faded into Mavis.
Her body began to shake violently, her hands now ash white and her once red long nails now black razor-sharp claws gripping her chest. After a few minutes of what seemed like a severe seizure, she stilled. The silence settled in once more… followed by a faint, sinister giggle.
Stu was in a panic. He had just finished locking the girl in the only room he could think of where she won’t cause any commotion, but now his only remaining problem was the dead body of his wife. A loud knock could be heard from the front door.
It was the cops, and he knew that there was no way out of this one. Preparing for the worst, Stu approached the door and opened it. The rest, as you know, was practically history. The officers and commanding chief took one glimpse of the home and saw the mangled corpse and within seconds, had handcuffed Stu.
The Chief then ordered the officers to scatter and search the home clean. Two officers went upstairs to investigate and looked in the rooms, finding signs of struggle in one of the rooms, presumably the daughters. As they further investigated the bedroom, one of the officers felt their foot kick something beneath the bed. The officer bent down and saw a box. Pulling out the box, they blew off the dust and opened it. There were pieces of paper all tucked away in it, and upon pulling out the first slip and reading it, the officer’s eyes widened.
As two officers held on to a cuffed Stu, the Chief looked on the wall and saw some pictures hanging on it. One of a family portrait and two others. One of the deceased wife, and the other of a smiling and happy looking girl. The Chief took down the photo of the girl and glanced at Stu with a look that could kill. “This is the girl who made the call. Where is she?” Stu knew it wouldn’t be long since they were searching the place and motioned his head towards the hallway past the stairs. “She’s in the last room at the end of the hall. It’s locked from the outside.” The Chief grimaced at the man before ordering one of the four officers that were with them one the first floor to come with him.
As they turned around the corner of the hall, they saw the door that the gruff man spoke of… unlocked and ajar.
The Chief and the officer glanced at one another with alarmed looks on their countenances and nodded in silent understanding. Armed at the ready, they carefully approached the door and opened it. The officer and the Chief flashed their lights around the small room, only to find that it was absolutely vacant.
The girl was nowhere to be seen. The Chief called in the restraining officers to bring in Stu. Upon arriving to the room, Stu was in complete disarray and shock. How could she be gone? The only way the lock can be undone is from the outside!
Despite trying to explain to the Chief, nothing but sputters came out. More footsteps were heard from the front of the home, indicating that the search unit finished scouring the upstairs. They walked back to the front, where the officer holding the box looked at the Chief grimly before handing the contents carefully to him. The officers shot glares at Stu, who shrunk back at the sudden reaction. The Chief took the box and saw the name of the girl painted in silver paint on it. “Mavis”. He sounded sad upon speaking her name aloud. He opened it and saw the scraps of paper. But once he read one of the sheets, his face contorted into that of disgust and anger. On the sheets were scribbled in frantic writing small-handed phrases like “molester” and “abusive”.
He turned to the other officers and barked. “Get this lowlife into a car! I want him booked! Now!” Stu was even more shocked, finally able to speak out some sense of words. “W-What?! Hold on! What’s in that box?! What am I charged for?!”
The Chief merely looked at him dead in the eye, intimidating the beat-up man. “What do you think, tough guy? Child molestation? Abuse and battery? Not to mention murder? You’re looking at a pretty demanding sentence once you’re settled in court. Now you better pray that we find that girl, buddy. Otherwise, there’s going to be hell waiting for you.”
Closing him in a squad car, the units sped off to the station. After booking him for prints, identification, changing him into an orange jumper and interrogating him with a series of questions, they took him to one of the holding cells in their detainment building.
The Forensics team had arrived shortly after they took Stu to the station. The body was bagged and brought back to the station morgue, where autopsy was preparing to clean and dissect the body in search for cause of death.
After a few short hours, just after Stu was placed in his cell, the autopsy of Julie’s deceased body was now complete and the cause of death was identified. She had multiple fractures, a couple broken ribs, her face was left with a broken jaw and multiple bruising all over her face and body. Her left arm was entirely broken and displaced, as well as both her legs. Her neck was also completely broken, the final blow being the top of her spinal cord snapping. As they were about to leave out of the autopsy room to give the chief the file, a shadow silently approached the body. A small clattering noise made the mortician turn around, gaping in shock. The vault where the body was resting was left open, with the body pulled out. Slowly approaching the resting corpse, he was even more bewildered to what he saw. Placed on top of the body where the chest plate rested, was a simple white rose.
Back at the detainment room, Stu and the guarding officer that kept watch were in silence. The cell was a little spacious, with a cot laid out for him for the night. The rain was still falling hard outside in torrents, making pelleting noises on the ceiling above. The detainment officer merely glanced at the clock every once in a while from reading his latest digest of Playboy, as well as making sure that Stu didn’t try anything. Not like he could do anything to begin with.
Just a little bit into the night to about near midnight, the guard yawned and placed his magazine down. He got up, stretched a bit and briefly turned to face Stu. “I’m going to the restroom, so you just sit tight and be a good boy, ya hear?” Within a few moments, the guard left the room and closed the door, leaving Stu all alone. He glanced up at the security cameras that were facing him, his eyes heavy with guilt and shame.
He sighed and muttered to himself. “Well, at least it can’t get any worse than this right now.”
As if on cue, the lights started to flicker slightly. Stu glanced up and noticed something. He looked at the clock and heard that the ticking was sounding slower and further away. Then the sound faded into nothing.
He heard nothing, not even a pin drop. He felt a bit uneasy, but figured that it was just nerves from all that’s happened that night. He got up and called for the guard to tell him that the clock might be broken.
Only to his surprise, no sound came out of his mouth. He tried to shout, but nothing again. He then started to panic and shouted again. Nothing. Stu was left completely bewildered. He couldn’t even hear the rain pounding from outside.
Then he noticed something else. Something that he didn’t expect at all. The entire detainment room was starting to fade of all color. It was slowly going all black and white, with some shades of grey. The yellow walls of the holding cell, the light fixtures, and even the damn Playboy magazine was turning monochrome.
A cold sweat ran down Stu’s body. He could feel his heart racing as the panic began to surge through his whole being. He looked up at the security camera and screamed, hoping to get someone’s attention. Again, he was mute, proving his efforts to be fruitless. Then the room slowly started to vibrate around him. It was like a heartbeat, pulsating through the walls, floors, and ceiling. Stu’s eyes widened in fright, as the pulsations started going faster and faster, before slowly coming to a resting halt.
He waited a few moments, waiting to see what would happen next. At that instant, the only door in and out of the room slowly opened, not making a sound. What he saw next made his blood run cold and thin like ice.
Stepping into the room, footsteps echoing throughout the room, was his stepdaughter. Mavis walked in, only the sight was beyond his expectations. Her skin was ash white and at the tips of her fingers were razor sharp black claws. Her once yellow hoodie was now a pure snow white, with black in the interior and bottom border of the oversized hoodie, with black stitching embroidered on the rim of the hood. Her white high tops had black stars in place of her red ones and her deep blue denim jeans now a pitch black. Her crop top was also white like the rest of her, and dead center where the heart pattern was, pumped a pulsing but dull beat with black thick liquid oozing through the design and dripping off the edge of the bottom of the shirt. He slowly glanced up, his breath caught in his throat as a horrified scream threatened to break through. Her hair no longer the glossy feathery black it was, but now charcoal and frayed on the ends as if defying gravity itself and black shadows surrounding the hollows of her eyes. Her eyes themselves, a silvery white like that of a risen ghoul, staring right back at him.
Shortly of making direct eye contact with her, she let out a whisper. It was a shrill whisper that almost sounded like a banshee’s shriek. “Can you hear me now, Stu?”
Just as he was trying to step back, within seconds she was in his cell. Facing him directly. Without so much as touching him he fell back onto something hard. He then felt his limbs being tied back, as if on a propped-up gurney for insane asylum patients. He tried to speak, but his voice was nowhere to be found.
Mavis smiled a small cynical smile. “Good. So you can hear me now.” He was mortified. This girl who could barely utter so much as a sound and seemingly lost her voice, was now speaking at an entirely normal range. Well, close to normal if it weren’t for the phantom-like echo in her voice that bounced off the room. “So tell me, Stu. How does it feel? To be hopeless… scared… voiceless?” She said the last one with a venomous tone. “Well, now you know. Feels terrible, doesn’t it? To be trapped in a world where you can scream as much as you can, to shout out in hopes of maybe someone hearing you, only to find… that you’re unable to be heard. Like a mime, right?” She let out a soft chuckle. He opened his mouth to scream as much as he could.
“Oh, don’t you fret. Your voice is intact, at least to my ears they are.”
He stopped, his eyes gaping at her in horror. She continued to look at him with her dead eyes. “That’s right. No one can hear you except me, and the only one, the only thing that you’ll be able to hear… is me.”
She circled around him, quietly in thought. After making a full circle around him, she stopped. “I got it! Why don’t we play an imaginary game? You know, like how real mimes do! And I have just the perfect game in mind… Let’s play a pretend game of doctor.”
He felt a sudden jolt as the invisible mechanism lowered him backwards laid him floating in the air in front of her at waist level. His silent screams of protest fell on deaf ears, except for hers that is.
“Now, now. That’s no way of being a good patient, Stu. You’re forty, right? No longer a child. Time to see how much of a grown man you are…”
She lifted her hand and posed it as if she were holding a scalpel. With a swift swish of her sharp nails, she cut open the front of his orange jumper. Stu was mortally scared out of his wits now, sweating bullets and mouthing out screams of anguish. He could feel something sharp poking the top of his skin looking down at the invisible object that she was holding. He was beyond paralyzed with fear once the invisible blade was smoothly gliding down, cutting his flesh wide open.
Stu continued staring at the atrocity, as she slid a clawed hand into the open orifice and feeling around his internal organs. “Hmm… Now how am I supposed to know what I’m touching if I can’t see through the cut clearly? My, my. This is troublesome. Well, I guess I’ll just have to make a change of plans. Time to play a game of Forensics.”
His eyes snapped right towards her, vigorously shaking his head while weeping tears and begging for her to stop. Mavis glanced at her handiwork and took the scalpel once more, only this time she started to peel away the edges of his entire epidermis and muscle tissue.
Stu screamed in pain, hot tears flooding down the sides of his face. She took some invisible pins and pinned his extra skin to the sides, but still felt unsatisfied with her work. “No, like this won’t do. Wait, remember how you tore my stuffed animals and ripped their bellies wide open?” Stu was mutely screeching this time, his body shaking uncontrollably. Mavis’s stoic face remained stony, though her voice was sharp like the blade that she cut him open with. “Ah, music to my ears. I guess this is what it’s like to be able to listen to every sound in that small little soundproof room, right?”
Stu continued to sob and scream mutely, his pathetic efforts only giving Mavis a sick sense of satisfaction. However, his constant trembling was now annoying her. “You better stop shaking or I will make you….” He stopped screaming, only to have his body wracking with sobs. “Very well. Let’s do this my way.” She took an invisible syringe and with a sharp pinch, Stu had slowly stopped moving, his body no longer shaking. “Good. Now, on with the program. Let me see if this works.” She took the scalpel and sliced off the extra skin clean off, making Stu howl and sob in undeniable and excruciating pain. Although he can no longer move, his body was still responsive to the stinging of his sliced body. His broken nose was now oozing out blood and mucus from the sinus build-up of his crying.
“Hmm, I supposed this will do… Oh, stop with that infernal sniffing, will you? It’s so annoying.” Seeing that Stu wasn’t stopping his sobs and sniffles anytime soon, Mavis let out a sigh. “Guess I’ll have to take care of that too. Hold on…” She motioned to pick up another object, which by the way she was holding it looked like a giant pair of sheers. Stu’s eyes were downright wide and red, sputtering silent nonsense only for his ridiculous pleas to be ignored.
One cut was all it took, and his nose was sliced clean off his face. Stu couldn’t bring himself to scream anymore, feeling his throat becoming painstakingly sore. This didn’t sit well with Mavis at all.
“What? Giving up already? You’re no fun being quiet, Stu. Unlike you, I rather like your screams. It’s music to my ears.” Stu merely glanced at her, mouthing the words “Fuck you, sick bitch”. Mavis nodded.
“Right. Okay then.” She grabbed another tool from her small invisible worktable, this time what may resemble to be pliers. “Time for a small break of a game of dentist. Let’s see if you have any nasty cavities.” She took a hold of one of the incisors and with one tug, ripped the tooth right out from the very root. Stu screamed as he felt the warm blood flooding through his mouth. However, Mavis didn’t stop there. She continued to move on to each and every one of his teeth, ripping one after the other until they were all gone. Stu merely moaned now, his head becoming light and drowsy from the useless screams and blood loss.
“Hmm, guess your mouth was all messed up anyways. But your lips don’t look so hot, either. Let me fix that.” She took the invisible scissors and sliced off the lower and upper lips, a huge bloody black hole left as his mouth.
Mavis paused for a minute. “You know, you’re not looking so good, Stu. Are you anemic? Because you’re pale as a sheet. Come to think of it, you almost look like a mime! But there’s one problem… you’re eyes. They need to be black, too.” Stu’s eyes widened one last time, before that last thing he saw was a hammer like object bludgeoning both of his eyes into jelly mush. His body was now completely black and white, as well as his once orange jumper now monochrome as the rest of him.
The young girl felt proud of her work. She could hear his heart rate starting to slow. It was still not finished yet. He was still making noise by breathing and his heart was still pumping life.
Her eerie voice dropped down near his ears, which were still left intact. “You see, Stu? How much you screamed, how much you wanted to cry out for help, for anyone to hear you and yet, you’re completely ignored? Insufferable. Now imagine that for years. Years of not being heard, to be ignored right when you know there are those who can definitely hear you when they are right there just as you are. The only one who listened, who was there for me… was my mother… and you took her away. So now, I will be the one to do the taking. I took away what you relied on the very most… your senses. Your sight and what you see, will deceive you. Your hearing will all be but for naught, and your voice… is gone from the world. But not all is lost. No… I left you with one sense, at my generosity. And that is your sense of feeling. To feel the pain, to feel powerless, to feel fear… and I can hear it gloriously.” The man didn’t reply, as though he even could, but he heard her every word and finally couldn’t voice his agony anymore.
Mavis looked up at the clock, seeing that it was getting close to midnight. The dark blood now gone and clean from her hands, she straightened up to face his mangled body entirely. “Looks like our time of bonding is up, Stu. Wish we could pretend more, but I have other things to do. You see, you’re not the only one who wouldn’t hear me. You know how that saying goes that you said to me before… The whole world can hear you..?”
She stepped back, looking down at the open cavity where all of his organs still lay. “Oh well. Guess this is good bye. But before I go…”
She abruptly shot the invisible mechanism upright, his organs flying out of the opening of his abdomen. The lungs and heart were still clinging, though entirely in shades of black and grey. She could hear his wheezing, as his lungs and heart continued pumping whatever life they could left into him. Her gaze rested on his ribs, the remaining obstacle. “So annoying.” With a firm grip of both her hands, she ripped his ribcage clean out, heart and lungs ripped out with it. He stopped breathing entirely and was quietly still.
She glanced down at his still pumping heart in her hand, before that too, died down. She dropped it carelessly on the floor and glanced towards the door before looking back at the lifeless monochromatic corpse. “Even in death, Stu… Can you still hear me now?” Walking right behind him, she dipped a finger in the black blood pooled on the floor and began to write on the cot. Once finished, she let the body fall onto the cot as well without a sound. Allowing the color to return back into the room and noise to slowly warp back, the sound of footsteps echoing through the hall indicating that the guard was coming back from his restroom break. By then, Mavis was long gone.
As Mavis disappeared into the darkness, she could hear the guard’s screams of terror of finding the body. She smiled a small smile, holding the black and white diamond heart shaped pendant in her hand before tucking it away into her pocket. She looked up at the darkness and grey clouds above her one more time, then was gone like a whisper in the wind.
Back in the cell, officials were already examining the corpse. The Chief had just received the news from autopsy, only to have rushed back into the cell where the accused was being held at. He was grossly mortified at the sight of the place, seeing black entrails all over the floor and the body looking very much like a mime. What stumped and irked him the most, was the message that was left behind next to the body on the cot. Unidentifiable as to what the liquid was (he could gruesomely guess, however), read the words in a messy effort of fancy calligraphy: “Happy Birthday”.
CREDIT : InsanityManagerie