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Schpilkies: A Profile

He is an old man, droopy and silent and sad. He wanders through the crowds and hallways and streets people face each day, and whomever he touches is suddenly affected with the most horrible...most horrible...

See the young girl, finishing up her homework for the evening. Her hair is brown and wavy; a pair of dirty purple glasses balance on her nose. She yawns, stretches--and at that moment, the old man brushes by her, coming from nothing and going nowhere. She suddenly shivers, pulls her sweater more tightly around her. Closing her binder, she looks around and immediately becomes horribly...bored. No, not bored really. Just...as though she has nothing to do, nowhere to go, no way to kill the next few hours before bed. And that's it, really: they are no longer hours to spend, but to kill. This girl suddenly has no idea what to do with herself.

Hating herself for it, she switches on the TV and flips channels listlessly, restlessly. Of course, there is nothing on. When is there ever? She jabs the On Demand button, ideas for other activities running through her mind. But each is less interesting than the last, and soon (there is nothing on demand, either) she finds herself in front of the computer, checking her Facebook page and inbox and searching desperately for something to do. No such luck; the computer yields nothing to her. Yet still she perseveres, trying and failing to come up with an alternative. As with every night, she is stuck--with no structure, no set activity (though she hates it when there is one), she is reduced to slumping over her father's laptop all night, eating frozen yogurt and looking at nothing.

No one knew where he came from, or how to fight his effects; most didn't even know who he was. Many just knew him as an emotion, or a group of them... Some misinterpreted him as depression. But no, he wasn't that, wasn't an emotion--simply a quiet old man, forever wandering through people's lives. How he came to be, or where he was going, no one knew, nor would they ever... Not even he knew.

After a few minutes, exasperated with her own lethargy, the girl heaves herself up and wanders into the piano room, closing the door behind her and switching the lamps atop the piano on. Sighing, she cracks her knuckles for a moment before placing her fingers on the keys. She bangs out a tune she has played many times before, restarting halfway through when she thinks she is playing it badly and stopping, as always, at the same impossible point. If only she had learned to count decently, she could get through, but at the moment all she can do is play, over and over, until she finally gives up and slides herself off of the piano bench.

She plops herself back down on the computer, hoping that in her few minutes of absence someone, anyone, has logged on and is willing to talk. But, of course, there is no one online, as though the computer is punishing her for her laziness. She ignores her protesting thoughts now, for what else is there to do? Her mind is wiped out from a day of studying and working, and feels squeezed out; writing when she's in a mood like this would be futile. She has no good books; they have either been read too much, or are too boring. She could knit, but unless she was watching TV simultaneously, she knows she would feel like she's wasting her time (she knows this state all too well!). Sighing, she finally submits to the thought pecking at the back of her mind: watch a movie! Lazy as it may be, it is a way to kill the next few hours, and though she scorns herself for it, she has come to terms with the fact that it is most probably the only way to content herself. Anyway, a movie will give her something to think about; though she loves to read, books just don't do that for her. Sighing again, she makes her way upstairs, slumping into the chair in her mother's office. She is lucky her parents aren't home for the evening; her mother would surely send her into her own room if she found her there, to isolate herself more thoroughly as she settles down for the evening. No, instead this girl seats herself down in the chair and pulls up a movie, enthralled and freed of her guilty feelings in minutes. Before she knows it, it is 10:30, and she must go to bed. Disappointed as she is, she also feels relieved; only sleep will make her calm.

She stretches, pushes herself up off of the chair, crosses the room, and turns off the light. As she starts down the hall, she once again brushes up against the old man, back her way on his path of aimless wandering. She hardly notices, however; instead, she quickly brushes her teeth, changes, and gets into bed. Now the unknown interaction affects her; this old man's touch causes her to be lethargic while up and about, and wide awake while trying to fall asleep. Thinking about anything and everything, she lies in her bed, watching the minutes go by and praying for sleep. When it does finally come, nearly two hours after she has gotten into bed, it is fitful; the old man's touch is still in effect. Tossing and turning in the night, she waits for morning, undoubtedly for another day like this one... Is it just her, or is the old man especially attracted to where she lives? Does she cause it to be so? Does anyone else feel, day after day, as she does?

The old man turns randomly, heading towards the girl again, before taking a sharp bend in his seemingly invisible path and wandering off to places unknown... Unaware of what he does, he continues to walk, until he is fading, fading, fading... And gone, into the invisible mist that surrounds him.



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