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Bob is a sketch. He was drawn by Juniper North during a school exam. As far as Juniper was concerned, Bob was just an inanimate drawing, but he was special. Bob could jump out of the paper and be part of the real world and back into the paper world as much as he pleased during the night, but in the day, he had to watch when he hops in and out of the real world as humans will think he is one of them and will discover his secret. He is the only one of his kind and scientists think that it is impossible for inanimate things to think and act on their own accord. When Bob is out of the page and is in human form, his name is Cobalt Starling.
Cobalt went to Sandalwood High School and never goes into his paper now. Cobalt went missing on the 14th of June this year. It is now the 30th of November and nobody has seen him once. Everyone thought that he was a normal person. There are many searches for him that have been taken out and called off with no results. He is presumed dead in many countries but one girl doesn't believe that he is. Her name is Aspen Shale. Aspen believes that if he can survive alone with no known relatives for who knows how long, he would be able to survive now.
Aspen was a normal 16 year old girl who went to Elk Creek High School. She was the only girl who believed that there was a chance that the mysterious missing boy was still alive. She was fairly popular in school and had a good group of friends and had respect all over her home town, Elk Creek.
Chapter 1 (General)
Today was a Saturday so Aspen Shale didn't have to go to school. She opened her laptop to check her inbox for new mail, she had two emails, one from a competition she had entered saying she had lost, one from a new sender- 5k37ch@mailbox. It had an attachment and was written in strange cryptic writing that she put into a decoder on her laptop. It said
"Hi Aspen, I am Cobalt Starling. You may be wondering how I got your email address and name, so I will tell you. As you already know, I am missing and most think I am dead. You believe me alive and you are correct. I have been in your area for a few weeks and I heard you telling a girl your email address. As for your name, I have taken old newspapers and I found an article about how you believe me alive and searched for you, going by the picture. If you don't believe me, I added a video of proof that it's me, the real me. Meet me tonight at 11 pm by the meadow.
Aspen watched the video attachment and saw that it was him. The 17 year old missing teen, presumed dead to everyone but her. She would go at 11pm tonight and meet him, but only once she had hidden in the bushes and made sure it wasn't an ambush.
That night, she snuck out an hour early and ran to the meadow to hide behind a bush. She was too late. Cobalt was standing, face pale against the moonlight,
"I didn't think you would come."
"So, how are you?" She asked, shuffling her feet awkwardly
"Fine." There was a pause. "I've wanted to ask you this for a while, how did you know I wasn't dead? What made you so sure?"
"Well, I thought that if you could survive this long alone, then you wouldn't die as soon as the public can't track you." I replied quietly.
"Well that's a loophole... Same time tomorrow? Leave a note to your family, I want to take you somewhere, bring stuff for 2 days in a bag."
Cobalt had dark eyes, almost black, dark hair and pale skin. He had a hard face and he looked tough, but less so when he smiled. He was the kind of person who you trusted without knowing why, and Aspen felt like she had shared everything with him although they had only just met.
Chapter 2 (Aspen)
The next day dragged on. I had art class, kickboxing and horse riding that day. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I was looking forward to tonight. I had informed my parents that I was going on a road trip with a friend and they didn't question me at all.
Finally the time came and I grabbed my bags and left the house to meet Cobalt. He was in the exact spot he was last time but he had a nervous look on his hard but caring face.
"What's up?" I ask, genuinely concerned
"Nothing" he quickly said
"What's wrong?" I say more boldly
"Fine, I had a rough day. A few people thought they recognised me but I told them my name was Kane Bale. I don't know if they believed me. I also had no food today and a girl caught me taking a newspaper from her recycle bin and I had to flee because she was shouting at me and it was grabbing a lot of attention."
"Take this." I gave him a bottle of water and a few sandwiches.
"You are a life-saver, thanks!" He said mid-chew.
"No problem, now let's go to wherever we are going." I giggled
Then we set off.
Chapter 3 (Cobalt)
I was taking Aspen to the Emptiness, the place I've been hiding in from society. We walk for a while then we stop at an old truck. My old truck. I climb in through the window and help Aspen in, she then asks,
"Where are we going?"
"The Emptiness." Is my answer
She said no more on the topic.
We drove for a while and stopped at a fence.
"Wake up," I whisper "We're here."
We climb out of the truck and crouch down.
"You know why I said to meet at the meadow, right?"
"Um, not really..."
"No CCTV." I replied "I'm trying to keep out of society. I think of it was like a holiday. No bills, no costs, but it does mean I can't just show up anywhere now
We walk on and continue this conversation. I reached the fence first and climbed over, Aspen followed and we continued walking, through the Emptiness. The air was full of fog and I could barely see past two inches in front of my face.
"Did you see that?" Aspen murmured worriedly
"I thought I saw... Never mind."
We kept walking and she just, seemingly randomly, stopped.
"Seriously, what is that?" She whispered
I strained my eyes and I saw what Aspen was talking about. It was a dark shape darting in and out of eyeshot. I could've sworn it looked humanoid in a way unknown to me.
The thing let out a horrible noise, it didn't sound human at all, but it didn't sound animal either. It was across between a scream and a yelp and sent a shiver down my spine.
"Cobalt, I'm not too sure about this..."
We keep walking, in a different direction until we see more darting figures and hear more blood curdling noises and I stop dead.
Aspen doesn't need telling twice, she turns on her heel, grabs my arm and runs, which is extremely uncomfortable for me because she can run faster than me when she tries, and she didnt give me the chance to turn. Aspen realises this somehow and lets go of my arm until i turn and grabs my arm again and we continue running. We don't stop until we are safely in the truck, I lock the doors and we drive.
Chapter 4 (Aspen)
"Can I just ask, what was that?" I ask once Cobalt manages to stop me shaking violently.
"I think... No, it can't be... I don't know."
"What was it that you thought?"
"Well, I've never shown this to anyone else but here goes. Pass me that sheet of paper,"
I pass him the old crumpled sheet of paper that he points to.
"Watch this," he said, and jumped into the paper, he transformed into a drawing on the paper.
"What.. How is that possible? That's impossible!" I am confused to say the least.
"I'm not even sure myself... By the way, in this form I'm known as Bob." Cobalt said from inside the paper.
"I prefer Cobalt." I reply "Well now the Email Address makes sense"
"Yeah" There is a short pause
"Back on topic, what did you think it was?"
"I thought that maybe there is more, there has been a lot more scrunched up paper strewn across the ground in here."
"Who would be stupid enough to make those things?"
"Don't ask me, I'm just as confused as you are."