Substance by Snowflake7

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a boy in a very abstract art show.

Submitted: April 28, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 28, 2012




Today is the big day; today is the annual art show. Little boy Ash has a chance to show his talent. This isn’t your average art show, at this art show children create wonderful works of art but not with paint or clay or other conventional art supplies. In this world the children make works of art with Substance, almost the look of a glob of clay but to the touch is like a liquid jello, like how mercury would feel. Its solid white in this glob form but can be changed into any shape and color imaginable.

Ash rushed to his seat along with the other young children. He is only nine so this will be his first art show and the other kids competing against him are also first year artists. The show was beginning soon and Ash was already nervous. He worried he wouldn’t win, what would happen if he lost? What would happen if he won? Ash was still very young and there was still lots he had to learn. He didn’t pay attention to the announcer who was reading the agenda of the show to the audience. Quiet frankly, Ash wasn’t sure at all why the man had to read aloud.

“Ash, honey,” the boy heard his mother call out from within the crowd. Ash excitedly peered above the boy beside him in search for his mother. He would need her support to accomplish such a great feat which lies ahead. He waved bubbly to his mother as he found her in the third row sitting next to his dad and brother. They all smiled and waved as they gave supportive compliments to their young artist.

“First is Jacob Dougan,” the announcer said softly through the microphone, “come on Jacob show the people what you got.” Everyone in the crowd went silent, they all knew the children would need to concentrate as much as possible. The boy sitting down on the first mat got onto his knees and bent over the Substance, almost looks as if the boy is praying over it. Jacob placed his hands out in front of him, hovering above the white glob laying two feet in front of him. The small boy began to move his hands gently around in the air, making designs with the movements. The small ball of white Substance began to levitate and lose its original shape. It wiggled and began to shape into something new. Ash was curious to see what it was the boy would create. He also wondered what he would create when it was his turn.

After a few minutes of the boy shaping the Substance with his hand movements he rested his art back onto the ground. Jacob had created a sculpture of a dog catching a frisbee. The color began of the white substance began to morph, the dog became an assortment of colors. It’s underbelly fur was white, from the nose down its back was a light shade of brown and there are now patches of black spots covering the dog. The frisbee in the dogs mouth changed to a vibrant green. There wasn’t a great extent of detail in the sculpture, the audience must remember the artists are still very young. Ash smiled, he liked the sculpture a lot, it reminded him of his dog at home. Ash envisioned his dog, Yogi, chasing a cat around the yard, running into all of his moms flower pots. He chuckled to himself about his clumsy dog and focused his attention back at Jacob.

He smiled as he put his hands behind his back to show he was done working and the crowd began to cheer for him. Ash could tell Jacob was proud of his sculpture and was confident Jacob’s parents were proud too. The announcer stepped back up to his podium and began to read aloud again.

“A job well done Jacob!” The audience clapped again.

“Next we have Sophia Marx, the daughter of Angela Marx, a three year consecutive winner in her time, let’s see what she has to offer,” again the crowd went silent as the man stops reading. Sophia inches forward while sitting cross-legged and rubs her hands together as if preparing herself. She closes her eyes as she hovers her hands over the Substance. Just as before, the white matter levitates and disfigures, all done by a process by the mind. The mess of Substance levitates higher into the air, Sophia clenches both her fists and pulls her arms away from each other. The confused ball of matter begins to spread apart, like dough, as if Sophia’s hands are gripping the goo in front of her. She lets go of edges, in her mind, and pulls the center from the top and bottom, creating another pulling effect to the Substance. Ash stops paying attention to what Sophia does and decides to just enjoy the show by watching the Substance work its magic. It didn’t take long for the large butterfly to take shape completely. The wings were massive, and almost symetrical to each other in size. The antennas stuck far out of the head, gently moving in random directions like the butterfly was actually real and living. Ash was awestruck as the colors in the large butterfly began to appear, so many bright and vibrant colors. The wings held majestic blues, pinks and purples. The wing’s inner design was not like anything Ash had ever seen before, as the wings began to slowly flap the color inside the wings began to shift like water, creating a very entrancing effect.

A truly stunning sculpture in Ash’s eyes. Sophia places her hands behind her back and wears a large, cheerful grin triumphantly. The audience goes wild, for any child such detail was tremendous, it takes an outrageous amount of concentration to make anything with Substance, every detail on the sculpture is made first in the artist’s mind. There are five more children to present, including Ash as well as the child behind him in order. Ash grew bored of the man’s continuous reading and began to look for something to entertain him as he sit and wait for his turn. He looks across from him, behind a table where four older people sit and write, was a large plaque with gold names inscribed on it. He looked through the list and found what he was looking for, Preston Sunders. Preston was one of the greatest Substance artists, he won seven art shows in a row, everyone knows who Preston is but Ash knew him differently. Ash was Preston’s little brother, and his biggest fan. Ash always dreamed of this day, the day he could finally show his brother how much they were alike, how great he was. He loved his big brother and wanted his big brother to be proud of him. But Ash was worried, he didn’t know what he was going to create when it was his turn. By the time Ash realized it, the crowd was cheering again, he’d almost missed Jon’s show. Jon’s statue was of a red bicycle, the detail was good but it was a simple design. Ash assumed it was a bike Jon had seen in a store window and really wanted. Ash liked it anyway, he admired Jon’s confidence and attention to detail, like the grooves in the bike handles.

Ash continued to sit impatiently, thinking of what he would create for his show. He could make a big water fountain, he thought, or maybe some ocean fish he’d seen in a book. These ideas were nice, Ash thought, but it wasn’t what he wanted for his show, he knew he’d know which was the right idea when he finally would think of it. The other ideas just didn’t feel right. Ash sifted through thoughts as the other children had their shows, after Jon was Kate, she made a small house with light blue shudders, a porch and smoke coming out of the chimney. After Kate was Tina, she made a small sail boat, which was neat because the sail looked like it was being blown by the wind. Finally, it was Ash’s turn.
“I’d like to go sailing on that boat somewhere warm,” the announcer filled time with small talk, “now we have Ash Sunders, brother of Preston Sunders, the record holder for the most consecutive wins for The Shows, let’s see if any of the art craft rubbed off on Ash.” The crowds silence became so loud and obvious, Ash felt everyone’s eyes on him. What if he can’t make anything because of all the pressure? Ash tried his best to ignore them, he knelt in front of the Substance and took a deep breath. His hands hovered over the white matter and in his mind he imagined himself grabbing the goop with his own hands. As he did the Substance began to levitate, it was now in his control. He began to move his hands and disfigure the ball of Substance. His mind began to fall off track, he wasn’t sure about what he was making. He didn’t even realize it but his eyes were closed, as he opened them he could see his art was nothing more than a giant mess. He became disappointed, he knew he wouldn’t be able to continue without an idea of what to make so he let go of the Substance and dropped his head in shame.

“It seems little Sunders has some stage fright, we’ll give him a minute to relax and come back to him. Randal Jennings, you can perform your show now,” the announcer converted the attention away from Ash, which Ash was grateful for. Randal began to perform and everyone watched, except Ash, he was upset and worried he let his brother down. His attention was changed by a tug on his shirt sleeve, Ash quickly turned to see who it was. It was Preston, in an instant Ash was nervous and timid.

“Come on bud, I know something that might help,” Preston held out his hand for Ash to take, little boy Ash didn’t hesitate. They walked off the stage and talked quietly in the corner.

“What’s wrong bud?” Preston asked kindly.

“I didn’t know what to make, I was worried,” Ash admitted with embarrasement.

“Hey,” Preston grabbed Ash’s hand, “I know it can get scary up there, but I know you’re strong. You’re a big boy aren’t you?”

“Yes,” Ash replied with a hint of more enthusiasm.

“Then why are you worried?”

“I don’t want to make something stupid and lose, I want to be like you big brother, I want to win,” Preston smiled but was concerned.

“It’s not about winning Ash, it’s about being creative and proud of who you are. Real art comes from the heart, its an expression of your true self. But you can’t be worried about losing or what everyone else does, you just have to know you’re doing your best at all times and know that only what you believe about yourself is true. You’re a great artist, Ash, you just have to concentrate on who you are and let it all out for everyone to see. Your imagination is your only limitation, remember that. I believe in you bud, now go knock ‘em dead,” Preston smiled to Ash, he knew his little brother would take what he said to heart and give him the confidence he needs. Ash, now filled with enthusiasm, sits back in his spot, grinning from ear to ear. Randal had already finished his show by the time he had finished talking to his big brother. Everyone was waiting on him now.

“Are you ready Ash?” The announcer asks. Ash nods his head happily, he was more than ready now. He had the perfect idea, the best one yet. He took a deep breath and put his hands over the Substance, lifted it up and began to morph its shape. He closed his eyes, with purpose this time, and thought of nothing else but his brother’s advice. He focused hard and dwelled in the emotion of comfort, support and love. He heard the crowd awe, he was almost finished now. His heart began to pound with joy, he knew he was doing a great job and he knew there was no one who could tell him any different. He finally finished, after all the anticipation and waiting, it was finally over. He kept his eyes closed, put his hands behind his back and smiled as the audience roared.

© Copyright 2018 Snowflake7. All rights reserved.

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