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1. General</u>
- Absence of light in any part of the visible spectrum
- Hex triplet: #000000
- sRGB: 0, 0, 0

2. Psychology</u>
- Is mysterious by evoking a sense of potential and possibility
- Makes one feel inconspicuous
- Provides a restful emptiness

3. Found In…</u>
Culture:
- Color of prestige
- Color of seriousness and authority
- Ancient China: is one of the main five classical colors; symbol of water, winter, north
- China: traditional clothing color for boys
- England: traditional color of taxi cabs
- Kenya: associated with rain clouds
- Rastafari: seen as beautiful
- West: color of mourning

Holidays:
- Halloween: along with orange

Symbols:
- Auto racing: a black flag signals a certain driver to go into the pits
- Kenya: symbol of life and prosperity
- Japan: symbol of nobility, age, and experience

4. Companies/Brands</u>
- Chanel

5. Varieties</u>
Pigments:
- Carbon black
- Charcoal black
- Ebony
- Ivory black
A culmination of my research for Color Theory at SCAD.
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1. General</u>
- Combination of all colors of the visible light spectrum
- Hex triplet: #FFFFFF
- sRGB: 255, 255, 255

2. Psychology</u>
- Aids mental clarity
- Encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles
- Evokes purification of thoughts or actions
- Enables fresh beginnings

3. Found In…</u>
Culture:
- Africa: color of mourning
- Ancient China: is one of the main five classical colors; symbol of metal, autumn, west
- China: color of mourning
- India: mourning, peace, purity
- Japan: traditional color worn by brides
- Thailand: associated with Sunday on the Thai solar calendar. Anyone may wear red on Sundays, and anyone born on a Sunday may adopt red as their color

Religion:
- Christianity: white lily represents the Madonna

Holidays:
- Christmas: along with green, red, gold, and silver

Military:
- White flag universally recognized as a symbol of truce

Symbols:
- White rose represents innocence

4. Companies/Brands</u>

5. Varieties</u>
Shades:
- Cream
- Cosmic latte
- Ivory
- Magnolia
- Old Lace
- Seashell

- Cream *see Yellow: (#FFFDD0) (255, 253, 208); color of the cream produced by cattle grazing on natural pasture

- Cosmic latte: (#FFF8E7) (255, 248, 231)

- Ivory: (#FFFFF0) (255, 255, 240); resembles teeth and tusks of animals

- Magnolia: (#F8F4FF) (248, 244, 255)

- Old Lace: (#FDF5E6) (253, 245, 230)

- Seashell: (#FFF5EE) (255, 245, 238)
A culmination of research for Color Theory at SCAD.
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1. General</u>
- Color evoked by light consisting of a suitable mixture of somewhat longer and shorter wavelengths. Stimulates both the L and M cone cells of the retina about equally, but does not significantly stimulate the S cone cells
- Additive secondary and subtractive primary
- Complementary to blue (additive light); complementary to violet (subtractive color)
- Wavelength: 570-580 nm
- Hex triplet: #FFFF00
- sRGB: 255, 255, 0

2. Psychology</u>
- Stimulates mental processes and the nervous system
- Encourages communication
- Activates memory
- Happiest color in the spectrum
- Associated with cowardice

3. Found In…</u>
Art:
- Interior design: along with gold, two most popular colors for kitchens

Culture:
- Ancient China: is one of the main five classical colors; symbol of Centre and Earth
- Arab: a yellow smile, which is an ingenuine smile. A yellow smile is used when a person is concealing lack of interest, fear, or any emotion he wishes to keep hidden. It is sometimes used as a joke, by making a face of a crooked, ingenuine smile, when somebody tells a bad joke or is trying to make others laugh for something they do not find humorous enough
- China: associated with royalty, commoners could not wear yellow until modern times
- French: yellow laughter, which could be translated into English as "mirthless laughter", laughing without mirth, laughing when you don't find the joke funny, or when the joke is directed at you
- Italy: refers to crime stories, both fictional and real. This association began about in 1930 because the first series of crime novels published in Italy had a yellow cover
- Malay: term budaya kuning (lit. "yellow culture") is used to refer to lewd or uncouth behaviour, with the implication that such culture is an import from Western societies
- Near the end of the 19th century, the color yellow was often associated with mental illness, specifically including insanity, and with other sorts of mental problems
- South Korea: associated with jealousy
- Thailand: associated with Monday on the Thai solar calendar. Anyone may wear yellow on Mondays, and anyone born on a Monday may adopt yellow as their color

Mythology:
- Hindu: has the power to influence intellect

Religion:
- Seven Deadly Sins: Greed, Yellow
- Buddhism: commonly used in conjunction with red, orange, and brown by the monks. The Buddha wore yellow rodes after Enlightenment.

Sexuality:
- China: yellow movie refers to a pornographic film

Military
- United States Army: color of cavalry - cavalry uniforms often include a yellow stripe down the side of each leg

Symbols:
- Yellow flag indicates a quarantine
- In International maritime signal flags a yellow flag denotes the letter "Q". It also means a ship asserts that she does not need to be Quarantined
- In some countries, taxicabs are commonly yellow
- In Canada and the United States, school buses are almost uniformly painted a yellow color for purposes of visibility and safety
- "Caterpillar yellow" and "high-visibility yellow" are used for highway construction equipment
- In the rules of the road, yellow is a traffic light signal warning that the period in which passage is permitted is coming to an end

Mysticism
- In a system called the Seven Rays which classifies humans into seven different metaphysical personality types, the fourth ray of harmony through conflict is represented by the color yellow.
- Used to symbolically represent the third (Manipura) chakra
- Psychics who claim to be able to observe the aura with their third eye report that someone with a yellow aura is typically someone whose occupation requires intellectual acumen

4. Companies/Brands</u>
- Midas
- McDonalds
- Stanley Tools

5. Varieties</u>
Pigments:
- Cadmium Yellow
- Chrome yellow
- Gamboge
- Indian Yellow
- Naples Yellow
- Orpiment
- Titanium Yellow
- Yellow ochre

Shades:
- Amber
- Apricot
- Beige
- Buff
- Chartreuse yellow
- Corn
- Cream
- Dark Goldenrod
- Ecru
- Flax
- Gamboge
- Golden
- Goldenrod
- Golden yellow
- Golden poppy
- Green-yellow
- Khaki
- Lemon
- Lemon Chiffon
- Lime
- Metallic Gold
- Mustard
- Navajo white
- Old Gold
- Olive
- Papaya whip
- Peach-yellow
- Pear
- Saffron
- School bus yellow
- Selective yellow
- Tangerine yellow
A culmination of my research for Color Theory at SCAD.
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1. General</u>
- Any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting of one of the shortest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye
- Additive and subtractive primary
- Complementary to yellow (additive light); complementary to orange (subtractive color)
- Wavelength: 440-490 nm
- Hex triplet: #0000FF
- sRGB: 0, 0, 255

2. Psychology</u>
- Calms, sedates, cools
- Aids intuition
- Sadness, tranquility
- Trustworthy, dependable, committed

3. Found In…</u>
Culture:
- Blue is the color formerly used by the street gang Crips
- Least "gender specific" color, having equal appeal to both men and women
- Ancient China: is one of the main five classical colors; symbol of wood, spring, east
- Ancient Egypt: color of truth
- Aztec: symbolizes sacrifice
- China: color of good luck and success, and is used for decoration and wedding attire. Money in is traditionally given in red packets. Stock market gains are displayed in red, while losses are in green- German: word for blue is used for “drunk”
- Greece: believed to ward off “the evil eye”
- India: paintings of the god Krishna often depict him as having blue skin
- Iran: sacred color where it symbolizes paradise
- Japan: word indicates innocence and inexperience
- Mexico: color of mourning
- Scandinavia: expression used for people who are easliy tricked
- Thailand: associated with Friday on the Thai solar calendar. Anyone may wear blue on Fridays, and anyone born on a Friday may adopt blue as their color
- West: articles of clothing for male infants

Religion:
- Seven Deadly Sins: Lust; Cow/Bull
- Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth; Goat (light blue)
- Christianity: The inside of the open dome in Eastern Christian Churches is painted blue to give the impression of looking up into the heavens. During the European Renaissance, artists began painting Hell and specifically the Devil blue to convey the coldness of being distant from God. Blue is traditionally associated with the virtue, faith. In Roman Catholic tradition it is associated with the Virgin Mary.
- Hinduism: persons of a transcendental, or divine nature are displayed as being blue in colour to indicate their dark complexion
- Judaism: In the Torah, the Israelites were commanded to put fringes, tzitzit, on the corners of their garments, and to weave within these fringes a “twisted thread of blue.” Maimonides claimed that this blue was the colour of “the clear noonday sky”; Rashi, the colour of the evening sky. According to several rabbinic sages, blue is the colour of God’s Glory. Staring at this colour aids in mediation, bringing us a glimpse of the “pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity,” which is a likeness of the Throne of God.

Sexuality:
- West: blue movie refers to a pornographic film

Symbols:
- Associated with water
- Associated with cold, ice, snow, winter
- Denotes injury since it is the color of a bruise
- Denotes the working class
- Law enforcement and uniformed police
- Post office mailboxes are typically blue in the United States
- Symbolize honesty and trustworthiness
- South pacific countries: was often associated with scabies. More recently, wearing blue is considered a mark of shame because of its scabies associated heritage

Mysticism:
- In a system called the Seven Rays which classifies humans into seven different metaphysical personality types, the first ray of will-power is represented by the color blue.
- Used to symbolically represent the fifth (Vishuddha) chakra
- Psychics who claim to be able to observe the aura with their third eye report that someone with a blue aura is typically someone whose occupation is in social service work

4. Companies/Brands</u>
- IBM     
- Ford     
- Pepsi     
- Intel     
- Ford
- The GAP    
- Tiffany & Co.     
- Blue Cross Blue Shield

5. Varieties</u>
Pigments:
- Azurite
- Cerulean blue
- Cobalt blue
- Prussian blue

Shades:
- Alice blue
- Azure
- Baby blue
- Cerulean
- Cerulean blue
- Cobalt blue
- Columbia blue
- Cornflower blue
- Dark blue
- Denim
- Dodger blue
- Indigo
- Light blue
- Midnight blue
- Navy blue
- Periwinkle
- Persian blue
- Powder blue
- Prussian blue
- Royal blue
- Sapphire
- Steel blue
- Ultramarine
- International Klein blue

- Cerulean blue: (#2A52BE) (42, 82, 190)

- Cobalt blue: (#0047AB) (0, 71, 171); historically made using cobalt salts

- Prussian blue: (#003153) (0, 49, 83)

- Alice blue: (#F0F8FF) (240, 248, 255); light blue-grey; favored by Alice Roosevelt

- Azure: (#007FFF) (0, 127, 255); resembles the sky

- Baby blue: (#E0FFFF) (224, 255, 255)

- Cerulean: (#007BA7) (0, 123, 167)

- Columbia blue : (#75B2DD) (117, 178, 221)

- Cornflower blue: (#6495ED) (100, 149, 237)

- Dark blue: (#00008B) (0, 0, 139)

- Denim: (#1560BD) (21, 96, 189)

- Dodger blue: (#1E90FF) (30, 144, 255)

- Indigo *see Violet: (#4B0082) (75, 0, 130)
- Electric Indigo: (#6600FF) (102, 0, 255)
- Deep Indigo: (#8A2BE2) (138, 43, 226); also known as Blue Violet
- Indigo Dye: (#00416A) (0, 65, 106)

- Light blue: (#ADD8E6) (173, 216, 230)

- Midnight blue: (#191970) (25, 25, 112)
- Dark Midnight Blue: (#003366) (0, 51, 102)

- Navy blue: (#000080) (0, 0, 128); sometimes mistaken for black

- Periwinkle *see Violet: (#CCCCFF) (204, 204, 255); desaturated indigo; also known as Lavender Blue

- Persian blue: (#1C39BB) (28, 57, 187); name from the color blue used in Persian pottery

- Powder blue: (#B0E0E6) (176, 224, 230)
- Dark Powder Blue: (#003399) (0, 51, 153)

- Royal blue: (#002366) (0, 35, 102); deep blue with a purple tinge

- Sapphire: (#082567) (8, 37, 103); refers to the gem

- Steel blue: (#4682B4) (70, 130, 180); commonly used in theatrical lighting

- Ultramarine: (#120A8F) (18, 10, 143)
A culmination of my research in Color Theory at SCAD.
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1. General</u>
- Is a color which is a dark yellow, orange, or red, of low luminance relative to lighter or white colored objects
- Hex triplet: #964B00
- sRGB: 150, 75, 0

2. Psychology</u>
- Stabilizes
- Supplies a feeling of wholeness
- Provides a connection with the earth
- Gives a sense of orderliness

3. Found In…</u>
Culture:
- India: color of mourning because it resembles dying leaves

Holidays:
- Thanksgiving: in combination with the color brown

4. Companies/Brands</u>
- UPS
- Hershey’s

5. Varieties</u>
Pigments:
- Bistre
- Sienna
- Umber

Shades:
- Auburn
- Beige
- Bistre
- Bole
- Buff
- Burgundy
- Burnt sienna
- Burnt umber
- Copper
- Dark Khaki
- Ecru
- Fallow
- Khaki
- Light Khaki
- Liver
- Mahogany
- Maroon
- Medium Taupe
- Ochre
- Pale brown
- Pale Taupe
- Raw umber
- Russet
- Rust
- Sandy brown
- Sandy Taupe
- Seal brown
- Sepia
- Tan
- Taupe
- Wheat
- Zinnwaldite

- Bistre *see Grey: (#3D2B1F) (61, 43, 31); made from soot

- Auburn: (#712F26) (113, 47, 38); represents hair color

- Beige *see Yellow: (#F5F5DC) (245, 245, 220); light yellowish grey color; term originates from beige cloth, a woolen fabric
- French Beige: (#A67B5B) (166, 123, 91)

- Bole: (#79443B) (121, 68, 59); trunk of a tree

- Buff *see Yellow: (#F0DC82) (240, 220, 130); yellow-brown that got its name from the color of buffalo leather

- Burgundy *see Red: (#800020) (128, 0, 32); associated with Burgundy wine
- Vivid Burgundy: (#9F1D35) (159, 29, 53)

- Burnt sienna: (#E97451) (233, 116, 81)

- Burnt umber: (#8A3324) (138, 51, 36); made by heating umber

- Copper: (#B87333) (184, 115, 51); resembles actual metal
- Pale Copper: (#DA8A67) (218, 138, 103)

- Dark Khaki *see Yellow: (#BDB76B) (189, 183, 107)

- Ecru *see Yellow: (#C2B280) (194, 178, 128); often used to describe fabrics such as silk and linen

- Fallow: (#C19A6B) (193, 154, 107); color of sandy soil in fallow fields

- Khaki *see Yellow: (#C3B091) (195, 176, 145); from the Persian word khak meaning “dust”

- Light Khaki *see Yellow: (#F0E68C) (240, 230, 140)

- Liver *see Grey: (#534B4F) (83, 75, 79); used to describe dogs and horses

- Mahogany *see Orange: (192, 64, 0); approximately the color of wood; not a standard HTML color with a standardized RGB value
- Very Light Mahogany: (255, 190, 164)
- Light Mahogany: (221, 109, 91)
- Medium Mahogany: (209, 102, 84)
- Dark Mahogany: (157, 60, 39)
- Very Dark Mahogany:  (143, 57, 38)

- Maroon *see Red: (#800000) (128, 0, 0); color related to dark red

- Medium Taupe: (#674C47) (103, 67, 71)

- Ochre: (#CC7722) (204, 119, 34)

- Pale Taupe *see Grey: (#BC987E) (188, 152, 126); also called mouse

- Raw umber: (#734A12) (115, 74, 18)

- Russet :: (#80461B) (128, 70, 27)

- Rust *see Red, Orange: (#B7410E) (183, 65, 14); red-orange color resembling iron oxide; commonly used in stage lighting

- Sandy brown: (#F4A460) (244, 164, 96)

- Sandy Taupe: (#967117) (150, 113, 23)

- Seal brown *see Grey: (#321414) (50, 20, 20); dyed fur from the fur seal

- Sepia: (#704214) (112, 66, 20); derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish

- Tan: (#D2B48C) (210, 180, 140); derived from tannum

- Taupe *see Grey: (#483C32) (72, 60, 50); most popular color for leather sofas
- Purple Taupe *see Grey: (#50404D) (80, 64, 77)
- Medium Taupe *see Grey: (#674C47) (103, 67, 71)
- Mauve Taupe *see Violet: (#915F6D) (145, 95, 109)
- Rose Taupe *see Violet: (#905D5D) (144, 93, 93)
- Taupe Grey *see Grey: (#8B8589) (139, 133, 137)

- Wheat : (#F5DEB3) (245, 222, 179)

- Zinnwaldite: (#EBC2AF) (235, 194, 175); resembles the mineral
A culnimation of my research for Color Theory at SCAD.
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An old woman walked down the street, it was late at night.  She had been out to the grocery store for some celery.  Unfortunately they were out so she was returning home empty-handed.

It was unusually dark that night, clouds had rolled in blocking out the moon, and a storm was coming.  She continued down the street, still quite a ways from her home.  The street was empty, save for an animal that may wonder by.

As she walked, using her cane to support herself, she thought she heard steps behind her.  Slowly turning around, she found that no one was behind her.  Continuing on her way home, the stepping noises picked-up again, even with her bad hearing they where very obvious to her.  Turning around again, more quickly, she still found nothing behind or around her.  She quickened her pace as much as her old legs would let her, hoping to get home quickly.

She turned down the next street, only 3 blocks to go.  Still hearing the steps, she just continued walking, trying to ignore them.  Perhaps they were only her imagination.  About a half way down the street, a bush rustled next to her, frightening her half to death.  Thinking someone had been stalking her, she raised her cane in defense but only a small cat jumped out.  She sighed in relief.  She looked down at the cat that looked back at her.  It was a mostly brown, though calico cat.  She reached down to pet it, the cat complied by lovingly rubbing against her hand.

Though she tried to leave the cat, it followed her down the second street.  After a few minutes, she began to hear the steps, stepping quicker this time as she sped-up a little more.  Aside from the steps she heard and the sounds of the night, the cat that had been following her had been meowing, but about a third of the way down the street, she suddenly noticed that it had stopped.  She turned around to find that it was no longer behind her.  Unsure of it’s where-abouts, she walked even faster, only one more street to go…

As she turned down the last street, she distinctly heard the steps behind her move quicker.  Almost to a run, though her old body could no longer allow her to run, she was about half way down the street, only a few houses remained between her and her house.  Suddenly she heard a crash and quickly spun around, a trashcan that had been on the curb had fallen, some of its contents in the street.

In full panic, she walked up the path to her door, still hearing the steps.  She quickly unlocked her door got inside and locked it behind her.  She stopped and put her ear to the door but could hear the footsteps anymore.

She sat worryingly in her bed all night until morning…
Meh, just something I had to write for Gothic Literature. I tried to be scary, but I'm not used to writing scary stories, so it may not be. >_<
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I remember the day we first arrived in our new home clearly. My father parked the car before the house, his gruff voice announcing our arrival. I was in the back seat, my sketch book open in my lap as I drew whatever came to mind. My younger brother Ben crawled right across my lap and pressed his face to the car window, looking out at our new home with awe. Irritated that he'd interrupted my drawing, I snapped the book shut and got out of the car, slamming the door in his face with no remorse.

I was scolded for my behaviour, but being sixteen years old, I didn't really care.

The house was old and worn, in dire need of repairs that my father promised to take care of. A double story building with a dark red, slanted roof and grey walls. My mother said it looked like an old Victorian mansion, especially since it was surrounded by a forest. I thought it looked like a rancid old mansion one would expect to find in a horror story, and yet somehow this observation drew me to it and I began to sketch it. Ben began to explore as our father carried our bags and our mother fumbled to open the front door.

"Josh! Josh!"

Ben's voice called to me from somewhere around the house. Groaning slightly, I closed my sketchbook and walked around the large garden to find my brother crouched at the edge of a very large, very deep looking pond. Ben waved to me excitedly, telling me to come and check out his great discovery. I warned him not to get too close to the edge of the pond; Ben wasn't exactly a very good swimmer. He just laughed away my warning and pointed to the centre.

"I think there's something floating there," he observed. "But I can't see what it is!"

I glanced out over the water, taking note that it appeared to be almost pitch black but for a light ring of sludgy green and brown around the edge. Seeing nothing in the centre, I lightly rapped my knuckles on Ben's head and told him to go help mother and father carry the things in. He ran off, and I intended to follow when I heard a slight splashing sound from behind me. Turning quickly, I stared out at the ripples emanating from the centre of the pond. Still, I could not see a single thing, but something had caused those ripples....but what?

Later that evening as we all sat around the newly crafted dinner table, I asked my father about the pond. He only shrugged and said it had always been there, apparently. He also warned Ben to stay away from it, and a pointed look sent my way let me know that my parents expected me to keep an eye on my brother. I could only scowl down at my food; why did I have to watch over him all the time? Ben was eight, surely he could obey a simple rule to stay away from the pond, right?

The days from then on were filled with unpacking and getting used to our new home. It was large and old, and naturally the house made plenty of noise every night. While I was perfectly fine with this, since I knew very well it was to be expected, Ben did not take these noises well. More and more he wound up running into my room and waking me from my sleep, frantically informing me that there was something after him. I told him to stop being childish, and that there was nothing wrong with the house at all.

"But Josh!" he cried out once as I tried to push him out of my room at twelve. It's a good thing my parents slept on the other side of the house, or else Ben's wailing would wake them up too. "The thing from the pond is after me!"

This made me pause, and I stared at my brother sceptically. Ben truly looked scared; but he'd always had an over-active imagination. Sighing, I grabbed his hand and walked with him back to his room, telling him to describe this supposed 'thing' along the way. He said that it looked like a person, but they were dripping wet and its hair was covered with slimy leaves from the pond. Its skin was ashy grey and slimy looking too, and Ben said that when the moonlight hit it, its face was revealed to have gaping holes instead of eyes, and a gaunt mouth that spewed water and sludge down its front. I listened with one ear as Ben continued to describe his fear.

"Perhaps now you'll stop watching all those horrors before bed," I said offhandedly once he was back under the covers. He looked devastated that I didn't believe him. He cried more, begging me not to go back to my room. I once more told him to stop being silly and left without looking back. As I passed by a window, I glanced out and saw the black pond. There was a perfectly clear reflection of the moon, and I felt that the scene was beautiful and worthy of a sketch. How could Ben imagine something so dark about something so lovely?

As the days continued on, Ben grew more and more afraid of his imaginary monster, and he refused to set a foot near the pond. This didn't bother my parents at all, who were pleased that they wouldn't have to worry about him drowning. But they were concerned about his nightmares. I simply ignored them and their worries; Ben was surely going through a phase and being foolish. Meanwhile I continued to sketch the pond and the surroundings, but the pond was my favourite. I would sit outside in front of it, drawing its black surface into my book with as much detail as my skills would allow. Soon, almost every page of my sketchbook depicted the pond from one angle or another. I added some things to it in some, such as myself sitting at the edge, and once I even drew Ben standing at the edge with a horrified look on his face. It was rather mean, but he didn't have to know now did he?

One week, my parents had to go away for a few days. A conference for their work or something of the like. They left me in charge, putting trust in me to make sure Ben got to bed on time. Since it was the school holidays still, I didn't have to worry about that. Ben was upset that they had to go, but I assured them I wouldn't ignore him the whole time. That first night alone, I made Ben's favourite dinner and he actually smiled for once. Once dinner was done, we played a board game and Ben managed to win. He was finally acting a little more like himself, and I guess I can admit that it was a relief to see. When it was time for him to go to bed, he got scared and asked if he could please sleep in my room. I don't know why, but I got extremely irritated. I told him to stop being stupid, to grow up and stop letting his imagination get the best of him. He screamed and cried that he wasn't lying, that the creature from the black pond was real and it wanted to hurt him. He sobbed and wailed about how he barely got to sleep, and how he had to barricade his door. I only yelled more, telling him he was being irrational and that he needed to stop this game. Forcefully, I took Ben to his bedroom and left him there in tears as I closed the door behind me.

Still feeling the lingering anger, I decided that I wanted to draw the black pond in the moonlight. I stormed to my room and went to my desk...but my sketchbook was not there. I searched through my drawers and my entire room, but it was nowhere to be found. I wondered angrily if Ben had taken it at some point, and was on my way to his room to yell at him some more when I glanced out a passing window. The black pond was still, but in the moonlight I saw it; lying beside the edge was a small white slab....my sketchbook.

Confused, I went downstairs and stepped outside into the chilly night air. My skin prickled and I shivered, rubbing my arms as I made my way through the slightly damp grass and to the edge of the black pond. The water was still and beautiful as always, the moon reflected clearly in the surface. I gazed at it for a moment before crouching down and picking up my sketchbook. I frowned; it felt damp....far too damp to be reasonable. The grass was a little soggy, but not to the extent that it could make my sketchbook like this!

Frowning, I peeled open the first page and groaned at seeing some of my earlier pictures were smudged and ruined. Sighing, I continued to flip through it, seeing more ruined images until I came across the first image of the pond.....

Something new was in the picture.

My eyes widened as I stared at the wet and slightly smudged page; in the centre of the pond was a gaunt face, almost shimmering with the water. My heart skipped a beat as I turned to the next image. Something was rising up out of the water in the image, but I had not drawn that! The next image held a similar addition, and the next showed another face with more detail. My heart continued to thud in my chest as I flipped through the pictures before coming to the more recent ones. The one where I was sat at the waters edge now held a dark figure standing beside me, looking over my shoulder. My breaths were becoming short as my heart continued to race, and the sudden chill around me seemed to get worse. With a shaking hand, I turned the page over to the last image; the image with Ben's terrified face.

The creature was behind him, one arm wrapped around his torso and the other covering his mouth. Yet I could still see the terrified eyes; eyes that I had drawn. I covered my mouth, feeling sick and horrified at once. The cold only got worse and I took a step back, almost dropping the sketchbook. Then something caught my eye...on the next page was a discolouring...the type that occurred when one used a too dark and too thick marker on the next page, and it showed through.

With great apprehension, I turned the page.

The sketchbook fell from my hands as I stared at the soaked page. In sludge and mud was a single sentence.

'You should have believed him.'

"BEN!"

I turned and ran as fast as my legs could carry me, bursting through the door. A yell escaped me when I slipped and landed hard on my back. Frantic and panicked, I pushed myself up and gasped when I saw muddied prints leading inside and heading down the hall...towards the stairs. A desperate mantra of 'God, please, no!' was running through my head as I scrambled to my feet and ran. Every step took too long, every breath came out too short, every heartbeat signalled a wasted second until finally, finally I was skidding around the doorway into Ben's room.

His room was calm and quiet, and his blankets were bulging; he was asleep in his bed. Panting from my sprint, I slowly approached him and tried to calm myself.

'He's alright,' I thought, 'He's perfectly fine.' I reached down, rubbing the side of the bulge mainly to feel comforted that he was indeed there.

My smile dropped and I pulled my hand back. It was wet.

With a gasp I tore the blankets off only to find a mound of sludge and seaweed piled onto his mattress. My blood was frozen in my veins as I backed away in horror, staring at the pile. Suddenly I heard a sound that would forever haunt me:

Something splashing in the pond outside.

With a speed I did not know I could possess I was racing downstairs again, my heart in my throat and panicked tears forming in my eyes. I darted out the back door, heading right for the pond. As I got near, I saw the top of Ben's head sink under and I screamed.

"BEN! NO!"

Without hesitation, I dived into the black water and started to swim. It was icy cold, chilling my already frozen body to the core. My shirt and my pants clung to my skin, weighing me down as I cut my way through the water, heading right to the centre. Sucking in a deep breath, I went under and began to feel around for any hint of Ben, searching...searching....searching for my little brother who had needed me.....

My tears mixed in with the black water as I continued to search, ignoring the screaming of my lungs for air, the ache of my limbs for relief, the cry of my body for warmth...I continued to go deeper, to search and feel and seek and swim until finally, finally....

I blacked out.



It was sometime later when I was roused from the darkness by the feeling of someone shaking me. A stinging sensation arose in my throat, and before I could even open my eyes I was coughing. The sound came out as a sputter, and something wet dribbled down my chin. I rolled over and hacked up more water, my body shuddering as I tried to get some air. Once more I felt the presence from before beside me, hitting my back with wet slaps. My ears popped as the water dribbled out of them, and I started to take deep breaths, trying to figure out how I came to be on land.

"Josh! J-Josh, say something!"

My eyes widened despite the sting of filthy water, and I turned sharply.

Sitting beside me on the grass, soaking wet and sobbing quite violently....was Ben. He clutched at my sleeve, tears joining the rivulets of water that ran down from his hair.

"I t-thought you were d-dead!" he wailed. "I t-tried my b-best to get o-out, and when you jumped in to g-get me I tried harder! B-but then you passed out and I g-got so scared!"

I couldn't stop myself, nor did I want to. I lunged and grabbed him, pulling him close in a tight hug as he sobbed into my shoulder. I didn't ask how he had managed to escape from the creature; I didn't ask how we were both saved somehow. I just held my little brother close, thanking the heavens that he was alive, that we were both okay. My own tears were hidden, but I didn't loosen my hold as I looked up. My eyes caught the sketchbook lying a few feet away.

It was open on a brand new page, and in that same, muddy scrawl:

'Now will you believe me?'
Just a random little horror/creepy story I wrote after listening to Cry's reading.....that man has a very, VERY good story-voice.......aah~ I wonder if he'd read this one? *wishful thinking*

As for the ending...well...I'll leave you to interpret it. :meow:
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For most of my life I had lived in the same apartment. It was on the third floor and overlooked the busy city. It was also directly next to another apartment, which means you could hear everything going on behind the right-hand side bedroom wall.

I would occasionally hear faint noises coming from behind the wall. There would be scraping, which I assumed was the sound of a chair being pulled along a wooden floor. Sometimes voices could be heard. I guessed they were either from the residents living there or from a TV or radio. And then there was the banging.

The banging was a rare occurrence, but whenever it happened it really annoyed me. Why wouldn't it? It always seemed to happen when I was trying to sleep and considering my bed was right against the wall where it was loudest, I was usually awoken by it.

It was loud and frantic usually, like someone trying to get attention. I always thought it was a young child doing its best to piss off its parents, but I was never sure. Mostly because I had never met the residents of the apartment. I would rarely go out and never spoke to or saw the residents of the apartment next to mine, but god could I hear them.

Like I said earlier, this banging was a rare occurrence, which meant at most times I would get a good sleep. But whenever I didn't, it was always because of that banging. However, I remained in the apartment. Its not like it happened all the time and it wasn't a major thing, definitely not a reason to move out.

There's a different reason I moved out. It was the tapping. I remember the first and only time it happened. It was late and I was trying to sleep. As I slowly drifted off, I heard the faintest of tapping coming from the other side of the wall. I simply shrugged it off and quickly forgot about it. Once again, as I was close to falling into slumber, there was more tapping.

It was slightly louder than the first time and prompted me to open my eyes. For a moment I just laid there, waiting for it to happen again. And it did. It had gotten even louder. I sighed as I realised it was going to be another night with hardly any rest. Despite this knowledge, I still tried to get some sleep.

Unfortunately, the tapping continued. There was always about three to four minutes after one succession of taps before another round occurred. It was like whoever was tapping was waiting for a reply from me. Like they knew I was there, listening to them, ignoring them. This freaked me out slightly, but I brushed it off as best I could.

After a couple more rounds of tapping, I finally snapped. It was two in the morning and it was obvious I wasn't getting any sleep until whoever was tapping got a response from me. So I gave in and participated in the childish game.

Lightly I tapped on the wall. There was silence, then knocking from the other side. I replied and waited. Whoever was on the other side knocked back. It was louder than before, much louder, almost like they were slamming their fist against the wall. I hesitated, but tapped against the wall once again.

Afterwards, the person on the other side of the wall took much longer to reply. I thought they had stopped and I tried to get back to sleep. But I was quickly brought out of slumber by extremely loud, frantic banging against the wall.  I shot up into a sitting position, my mouth slightly agape and my eyes wide.

The banging was so loud and frenzied I thought the person on the other side was trying to break through my wall. I sat there, frozen, just staring at my bedroom wall. It continued non-stop for a good couple of minutes and was beginning to give me a headache. I could just make out the sound of scraping behind the banging. Then it stopped. Everything went quiet.

I sat there for a while, waiting for more knocking or tapping. At that moment I wouldn't have even minded some banging. I just wanted to hear something that would tell me everything was alright. But there was nothing, just eerie silence. Placing my ear against the wall, I listened closely for something, anything. But there was nothing.

It took a while for me to get to sleep that night. I woke up the next day tired and still thinking about the night before. After a couple of days I managed to brush it off as best I could. But, the sense of normality and carefreeness didn't last long.

It was some time after the tapping incident and there was a knock at my front door. It was the police. They said they had come to question me about a murder that had happened next door. Apparently, at around two in the morning a couple of weeks ago the father of a ten year old boy killed his son with an axe. The police say he was killed with one blow. They also said the father was nowhere to be found, but the son's body was still in his room.

I was unnerved when I heard about the murder. The police said the boy had been killed a couple of weeks ago in his room. It all happened on the night of the tapping incident inside the boy's room, which was right next to mine.

I've never seen my neighbours, but god knows I've heard them.
Just a short little story I have decided to write as I cannot sleep. Enjoy!
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ARTIST ALLEY 101

Hi there deviantart guinea pigs! 8D I'm preparing an outline for a panel at A-kon! I have vast experience attending conventions and displaying my work. What I've written here are my total thoughts on how to do your first artist alley. It has not been made into an outline yet. What I'm needing is feedback, questions, and conversations about this information so I can decide what I might add or take away from this discussion before creating a final outline and hand out! Please help me! I'd really appreciate any comments you feel ready to leave! I am not really a comfortable public speaker, I only feel capable once I have prepared material extensively for the occasion.




Why to do an artist alley:
AA can turn a nice profit for a lot of people, but more often than not, First Con Ever is a learning experience more than a bountiful retail extravaganza. But before you shy away from losing money, consider that you'll probably pay more for a single college class and you'll probably learn just as much about art as a business and have a lot more fun doing an AA. Ultimately, an artist decides to do their first AA with the intent of learning a lot so that their SECOND AA will be better.

The professional side of WHEN to do an AA:
Most cons require you to be 16. Check the con's rules. If you're over the age limit, a good time is always now. Start by observing artists at AA tables. Consider how they display their work. Ask them before you photograph their display. You need to also consider the finances involved. Pick a local show for your first learning experience. Count on at least 100$ for the table, 100$ for printing and display material, and another 100$ for random unforeseen expenditures. You will hopefully make some of this back, but this needs to be 300$ you can live without incase everything imaginable goes horribly wrong (and it may not even be your fault. The shit. It happens.)

The personal side of WHEN to do an AA:
Are you good enough? Can you emotionally handle it? Artists are the biggest pile of self doubters the professional world has ever seen! It is because our work is more intimately associated with our hearts than, say, flipping burger might be. These questions are difficult to answer and may not be answered until you're in the middle of the experience. The best way to prepare yourself is to establish beforehand how you will react if everything ever is a complete failure. Having a sucky first AA is never a reason to quit drawing or to quit striving for a dream. Before entering into the challenge, confirm with yourself that your first AA is unlikely to be the beginning or end of anything. It is a middle rung in the latter.

Where to do an AA:
A local show is always best to start out with. Something you can drive to. If you absolutely must fly, A-kon and Otakon are each huge, very well attended anime themed shows that are most likely to merit a plane ticket. Before signing up for a con, it is always good to visit the convention's forums so that you may read advice from veterans on how sign ups usually go. Some AA sign ups are incredibly fast paced and you will need to be punctual and organized beforehand.





HOW to do an AA: What to sell, which designs to sell, how to display it, how to sell it!

What to sell:
Items with varied prices and functions. 1$ buttons can prompt impulse buys, 10$ prints can pay for your entire convention. Having items with differing functions is a good idea, too. Buttons, prints, key chains, charms, postcards, stickers, shirts, and books are just a couple ideas. When starting out, you need to consider items that will give you the best unit cost without you having to order a giant inventory of things. Ordering large quantities will get you a better unit cost for a better long term profit, but in the short term, if you're only doing one convention a year, a large order might not be necessary. Especially if you're doing your first AA and you have no idea what's going to sell. Posters in varying sizes and buttons are good first time con items.  

Which designs to sell:
Deviantart popularity can be a good indicator of how well a design may sell ... but it can also be misleading. Consider what prompts a person to fav an image on deviantart vs. what prompts a person to make a purchase. A purchase is based on quality and longevity where as a fav is frequently based on the immediate gratification a lolcat gif may provide. A funny cartoony image might make a very good button, but it may sell less a poster which is meant to be a wall decoration. Pick a mixture of things, then! At your first AA, it is most important to experiment. Don't be afraid to print a few copies of a poster you personally like but think may not sell. They can always be good display items.

The Fanart Debate:
Currently a major point of contention is whether an artist should be allowed to sell fanart or not. Fanart is defined here as a composition and drawing of one's own making, not a trace of an existing image. It has to do with copyright laws, which protect things like character likenesses and licensed art, while leaving the realm of "parody" and "free use" open for exploration. The question is what constitutes as parody or free use? The answer is one that so far, most conventions leave up to the artist to decide based on individual morality. The best way to decide your feelings on the matter is to ask yourself if you would let a fan of your work sell a drawing they did of your character.
*** Please note that copyrights and trademarks are completely separate pieces of law. A character can have a copyright on it, but a logo is trademarked. If you draw fanart, you must not put the official logo on your fanart. Copyright laws are designed to encourage creativity. Trademark laws are designed to give absolute power when a case ends up in a court.

Whether to Sell Fanart?:
A good rule to follow might be the half n' half rule. Your works should be roughly half fanart, half your own intellectual property. Fanart does sell very well, and especially when starting out, the extra money can make all the difference in breaking even. But don't forget about your own brainchildren. It is more frequently your own original ideas with which you will be identified. Build your own brand, don't build someone else's. In the here and now, fanart can help you if you want to sell it. But in the long term, your own characters and stories will be what make you memorable.

How to display work:
There is no substitute for going to an artist alley and looking at the multitudes of displays. But here are some basics that every good AA display should have:
- 1. A tablecloth in whatever color makes you happy. Sometimes AA tables don't come with table cloths and you end up with a naked, beat up table that can give you splinters!
- 2. A binder of prints. 11x17 is the standard, 8.5 x11 binders are also common. It allows for a viewer to easily access your designs while not touching or damaging the posters inside. Some people have begun to use ipads as print binders, and that can help, but it is usually best to allow a possible buyer to get up close and personal with the real item they might actually buy.
- 3. Some kind of display that rises off the table so that you may display a few prints vertically in the line of site of viewers. This can be as simple has putting your favorite print in a mat and propping it up against a box (please wrap the box in a 2nd tablecloth, it will look nicer) or as many artists do, they create pvc pipe frames over their tables from which they tape prints. Wire storage cubicles are also used in place of pvc.

(picture of box. picture of pvc. picture of wire cubicle.)

- 4. It is ok to have some items loose around your table! Especially durable items like buttons, bookmarks, or postcards. Having a button bowl or pile can encourage people to rummage through and make a discovery. Not having a perfectly neat table can let people know its ok to handle the items. When a person picks up a thing, they are more likely to consider it theirs, which makes them more likely to buy.

How to sell work:
If you have ever worked in retail, you might have learned how to greet possible customers. AA is not dissimilar from that. As artists, we are frequently shy and lacking social skills from so many hours spent hidden in a dark cave drawing things. But being in the AA is going to challenge this and pull out the conversational human you didn't know you could be. You don't have to talk to EVERYONE. Wait for them to slow and register what they're looking at on your table. Then you might say hello and ask them how they're enjoying the con so far? Don't be TOO shy to admit you're feeling shy and this is your first attempt at displaying your work. There is a genuine human connection there. It is good to give a person a few sentences of talk and time to look around or to walk away before you offer up a sales pitch. Follow their eyes and listen to what they say so you can figure out what part of your work they're interested in, and then go from there. If they're looking at your pikachu print, tell them the cost of the print and then tell them why you drew pikachu. They'll need to know the cost if they're considering buying it. They'll need extra conversation from you so they can keep thinking while not feeling pressured. Some artists take commissions, which can hinder conversation, but they can effectively distract you and take the pressure off would be buyers while they look around comfortably and make their decisions. When a person is ready to walk away without buying something or maybe they say they'll come back later, you can offer them a business card to look you up online or to remember you by incase they decide to return. You should avoid offering up the free item before they're ready to leave as it frequently feels like a sale and is a queue for a possible buyer to now leave the table, transaction done. 

How to PRICE things:
The three most important aspects of pricing are firstly having prices that are easy to make change for, secondly having a wide variety of items at different prices, and thirdly having prices that can build on each other.
-1. Round numbers are a good thing. 1s, 5s, 10s, and 20s prices are easy to make change for. If you price an item at 6 dollars, you will run out of ones much to fast and run out of sanity counting out the ones because most everyone will pay with 10s or 20s for a 6$ item, so every transation will involve you giving 4 ones.
-2. You want a variety of items at different price points. 1$ buttons prompt impulse buys, 3$ postcards are impulsive, but a bigger commitment for a bigger, better item. 15$ 11x17s are for the people who love the work too much to get the small thing.
-3. Your prices need to build on each other so that you can offer good deals for multiple item purchases. A postcard is 3$, but TWO postcards are 5$. A poster is 15$, but TWO posters are 20$! A buyer could even pair up with their friend and split the cost. 4 out of 5 people will take the upsell because they had a hard time deciding which item they wanted, anyway.
-4. This is optional, but having one or two items around at a higher price point can be a good thing. The large, 50$ 20x30 poster in a mat, for instance. The big, beautiful display item usually serves to sell its smaller counterparts, but those one or two giant purchases can make a huge difference for your profit margin. Don't be afraid to have at least one Big N' Shiny at your table.

How is your customer going to take that print home?
The more a customer pays for an item, the more important it is to them to take that item home in mint condition. So don't worry too much about having a bag for every button. They're just going to rip the button out of the bag and pin it on their shirt. A durable item like a postcard can probably make due with an average business sized envelope. But the 11x17 and larger prints would benefit very much when you tell your customer "the 11x17 prints are 15$ or 20 for 20$, and I even have an archival bag for you to take it home in." This is especially pertinent information when doing an artist alley during winter or in a city prone to bad weather. Also consider the free advertising you gain by putting posters in clear bags. That buyer is going to be your personal walking billboard. If clear bags are hard to come by, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, and other stores offering printing are usually willing to give you more than one paper bag with your purchase. Or you can offer to pay for extra bags with your printing. Paper bags make excellent Bags of Desperation, when necessary.  

What about sales tax?
In the US, each state has separate departments for issueing temporary sales permits. Remember, your sales tax goes to the state in which the sale is made, not the federal government. You should refer to the convention's artist ally FAQ to see if the convention you're exhibiting at requires a tax permit. If the show does require a temporary permit, the show will usually provide extra information about how to get the permit. Usually the process is pretty simple. If reporting your sales tax is necessary, it is easier to take that tax out of your gross sales total at the end of the con than calculate individual sales tax during each transaction. Maybe that means you make 9% less per sale, but time is money, and you could be missing out on new sales if you're preoccupied with typing in tax decimal points on your calculator.

Are commissions important?
At your first artist alley, you should experiment! If you find all your time is consumed with talking to possible customers, don't take commissions. If the convention is slow and there aren't many buyers, absolutely offer commissions! They are a service in high demand, for sure, but they are also an extremely time consuming service to render. Here are some pros and cons associated with commissions:
Pros: They don't cost you much of anything to produce. They can challenge you as an artist.
Cons: If you're so consumed with commissions, you might miss out on the conversations that will prompt purchases of your prepared merchandise.
Whatever you do, don't take so many commissions that you can't sleep at night. Some freshness the next morning is necessary if you don't want to scare people away with your panda eyes.

check list of stuff you wouldn't think about:
besides all your merch and display materials, there are other things you probably won't think to bring! But you'll find yourself wishing intensely for them halfway through the con. If you're driving, pack extra food and water, you're about to be trapped behind a table for possibly more than 12 hours strait. Packaging tape AND skotch tape AND artist tape, you just never know. A sweater, even if it's hot outside the air conditioning inside might be its own weather pattern. A swiss army knife if you have one, scissors, blades, bottle openers and tweazers all in one place can be handy (put it in your CHECKED luggage if flying.) Wet wipes to sanitize your hands or clean your print binder after a child with candy fingers has pawed all over it.

Consider also the con you might be attending, always read the con's rules carefully! Most cons have different rules! Some have bans on stickers, some ban fanart, some categorize you by what type of merchendise you specialize in and if you're selling prints, you can't sell 3D items like buttons or shirts. Just read the rules carefully and ask questions in the con's forum if you need to. Also consider the theme of a convention. If the theme is My Little Pony, your recent fanart of Deadpool may not sell so well. Anime cons, fantasy cons, and American cons can all be similar, sometimes its good to be the artist selling the slightly different variety of art and sometimes its a death mark, but from con to con it's almost impossible to say until you've been there and done that. The best thing to do is to find other artists who are selling work that targets the audience your work also targets. Follow what those artists say about shows. Attend the conventions they are repeat visitors to.
 




Some printing resources:
It can be worth it to order online from printers that are far away. Some items can easily be accomplished locally, like posters and stickers from places like Office Max, Staples, Office Depot, or Fedex Office. But for specialty items, paying shipping might save you money and get you a better product from a specialized printer.

Online Art and Frame Supplies: Jerry's Artarama, Daniel Smith
Printed books (short run digital printed): Kablam
8x10 + 11x17 prints: Printkeg (sometimes bad print quality, but customer service has always replaced bad prints,) Cat Print, Fedex Office, Office Max, Costco, Jakprints (email for specialized quote)
screen printed shirts: jakprints, brunetto's
postcards, bookmarks, business cards: Overnightprints (warning: slow production, allow at least a month, but good quality,) Gotprint
vinyl stickers: standoutstickers (expensive, but all stickers are gloss laminated), stickeryou (no minimum order), jakprints (Holy Crazy Sticker Papers Batman)
Paper stickers: Office Max, Staples, and Fedex Office all carry sticker paper for printers.
pin back buttons: purebuttons
canvas prints: Costco
20x30 or larger posters: El Co Color (GET THE FUJI METALLIC PAPER. I'M SERIOUS.)
clear bags for posters: Unique Packing's Ebay Store, Clearbags, Jerry's Artarama
business envelopes for postcards: just about anywhere, but Costco has some good prices on bulk
pvc pipe for your display: Home Depot. They have many sizes of pvc and many sizes of utility clamps. A common choice are irwin quick grip clamps + 1/2 inch diameter gray pvc with threaded ends.
grid walls for display: hold up, I need to ask some people where they buy these, I've never used them.

Many of these suppliers offer an email subscription. Do it. There are coupons.

I really hope this pile of information is helpful to you! Please please please leave comments if you have complements or criticisms! It would help me very much in creating a panel for the good attendees of A-kon ~

thank you!
WHY IS MY PREVIEW IMAGE SO SMALL I DON'T UNDERSTAND! D8 I DON'T UNDERSTAND DEVIANTART'S TEXT FILE UPLOADYPREVIEWIMAGYTHINGSTUFF.

Yep, pretty much wrote everything I needed to write up there.

Hopefully the final hand out to attendees at A-kon who come to the panel will include at least one amusing illustration. I'd like to draw the three major types of displays. The minimalist, the cubist, and the quilter. :P

AAAAAAAAAAAAA between now and A-kon I'll also be at Fanime, but being that Fanime doesn't include me doing any public speaking except idle conversation at my table and BSing it at other peoples' tables, Fanime will practically be a vacation compared to A-kon. T_T

Thank you very much for your comments and for helping me with your feedback on this document that is probably much more crucial to me than it should be. ^^;
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I could remember moving into this neighbourhood like it was just yesterday. Actually, when I think about it, it wasn't that long ago. Must've been about seven months ago when I first arrived. It seemed perfectly normal. I had friendly neighbours, a nice house and a fairly decent job at the gas station in the nearby town.

Although all of my neighbours seemed cheerful and friendly, there was one specifically who seemed kinder than all of them. Her name was Amanda Robinson, and she lived in the house opposite mine.

She looked about twenty, the same age as me. Her long hair was a light brown colour, just like mine, and her eyes were a moss green, also like mine. We both had fair skin, although hers was slightly paler. A warm smile was always present on her face and for some reason, she always had a few peppermint sweets in her jeans pocket.

I remember first meeting her on the day I moved in. She offered me a peppermint and I gladly accepted. I noticed she didn't eat one herself, but thought nothing of it. As we talked about the neighbourhood, I noticed someone standing in the open doorway of her house.

It was a man. He looked around the same age as Amanda and me. He had short, light brown hair and dark green eyes that had black bags underneath them. He was staring at me intently, almost like he was trying to tell me something. His skin was pale, just like Amanda's. However, he did not have the same cheerful look about him like all the other neighbours did. I put it down to the fact that his right arm was in a sling and a brace was around his neck. There seemed to be something off about him, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Amanda seemed to notice that I was staring at the strange man, and she informed me that it was her brother, Stephen. I asked if he was OK, and she told me he was in an accident recently. She didn't give me any details, but then again I had only just met her. She bid me a farewell before walking back to her house. I watched as she ushered her brother inside, and he limped into the house. The door closed, and that was that.

Weeks passed, and I came to love the neighbourhood. Everyone was still so friendly and helpful, it all seemed like one of those neighbourhoods that you see in family films. However, there was something odd about it. A strange feeling seemed to emanate from the house opposite mine. It was an uneasy feeling, like a calm before the storm. Whenever I asked about the Robinson's, everyone went quiet and only said a few nice things about them. Every time I looked over at Amanda Robinson's house, it felt like someone was looking back at me. All that the strange feeling made me think about was Amanda's brother Stephen and his piercing gaze that I experienced on my first day.

Just thinking about it made me shiver. Those dark eyes staring at me like they were looking directly into my soul. I couldn't shake the feeling that he was trying to tell me something, something gravely important. Maybe it was about the neighbourhood. Or maybe it was about the people in it.

Whilst Stephen was still creeping me out, Amanda was still making me feel welcome. Almost everyday I would see her exit her house and check her mailbox, or she would get in her car and drive somewhere, or sometimes she'd just walk to her destination. On weekends she'd tend to her front lawn and sometimes I would offer to help. She always accepted my help and whenever she saw me she would offer me a peppermint. I always accepted the small sweet and I always noticed that she herself never ate one. Not a single sweet. However, it still didn't bother me.

A couple months had passed when it all began. The day started off as any normal day. I woke up, got ready, had breakfast and started to relax in the living room. It was a Sunday, which meant no work for me. As I was flicking through the channels on my TV, there was a knock at my front door. I wasn't expecting anyone, so it made me curious.

I headed to the front door and opened it. Standing there was Amanda, a smile on her face. I asked why she knocked on my door, and she quickly told me, ''I hate to be a pain, but I need some help with all my shopping. You couldn't give me a hand could you?''

I said I wouldn't mind, and she lead me across the street to her car, which was loaded with shopping. She thanked me for helping her and told me to take it in to her kitchen. As she spoke, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Looking through one of the house's windows, staring right at me, was Stephen.

Whilst Amanda unpacked her shopping, I directed my attention to Stephen. He was just standing there, watching me. His skin seemed paler than what I remembered, almost like all the blood had run from his face. His eyes were wide, like he had seen a ghost. For a second, I could've sworn he was shaking his head at me.

Amanda seemed to notice my lack of helping, and she followed my gaze to the window. Obviously she saw her wide-eyed, sick-looking brother standing there and her smile quickly faded. I thought I heard her mutter something along the lines of ''He shouldn't be up'' before storming into the house. As soon as I saw her disappear into the house, my eyes returned to Stephen.

He looked panicked and alarmed as he looked from me to his right and back again. I saw him mouthing something to me, it looked like he was shouting ''Go, get away!'', like he was urging me to run. Run from what?

I watched on like it was a television drama. It wasn't long before Amanda appeared in the window. She grabbed the frantic Stephen by the shoulders and seemed to be trying to calm him down. I couldn't hear what either of them were saying, but she seemed to be reassuring him whilst he shouted panicked words. Amanda probably knew I was watching, and she drew the curtains, obstructing my view.

For a moment, I contemplated what to do next. The front door was still open, and the shopping was still there. I couldn't just leave it, could I? Picking up the nearest bag to me, I carried it up the front steps, through the neat house and into the clean kitchen. That was when I noticed something unusual. Very unusual.

The shelves in the kitchen were lined with large jars filled with peppermint sweets. They were filled to the brim with the sweets. It unsettled me slightly at just how many jars lined the wooden shelves. There were enough jars to last for a lifetime. And then I thought back to every single time Amanda offered me a peppermint. She never at one. Ever. And if she didn't eat them, why did she have so many?

I headed for the front door. On my way, I noticed a small photo frame hanging on the wall. Looking closer at it, I saw the photo was of two children, a boy and a girl. Both looked around the same age, both had light brown hair and both had moss green eyes. They were smiling happily at the camera. The boy and girl instantly reminded me of Amanda and her brother. It must've have been taken during happy times, as it was the first time I had seen Stephen smiling.

I was brought back to reality by the closing of a door. It was Amanda emerging from what I assumed was the living room, where I last saw Stephen. Her smile was not on her face, instead she wore an emotionless expression. She was not looking at me, her eyes focused on the wall to her right. More specifically, her eyes were focused on the jars of peppermints. I went to speak, but she spoke before me.

''I hate peppermint sweets.'' She said, her voice almost a whisper. ''You love them though, don't you Stephen?''

Her eyes were now looking at me. Why did she call me Stephen? Did she mistake me for him? Maybe she just mixed-up our names, no big deal. I went to speak again, but once again she got in before me.

''I missed you for so long. That day you went missing all those years ago was the worse day of my life. All those other people, they looked like you. But they weren't you. I know it's you Stephen, I know this is the real you.''

She gave me a crooked smile and I noticed she was slowly advancing on me. My eyes went from her to the picture of the two children. The boy...he did look remarkably like me, but surely Amanda didn't think I was him. 'All those other people'? What did that mean? As I stood frozen, I noticed the shiny metallic object in Amanda's hand. It was a knife, covered in blood. Now I realise what Stephen was telling me, he was telling me to get away from his sister. She was insane!

I ran for the front door and she chased me. I was only a few steps away when I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my upper back. Amanda had sunk the knife into my flesh and had covered my nose and mouth with a strange-smelling rag. I yelled in pain, but it was muffled by the poignant cloth. My hands flailed and reached for the open door, but to no avail. The world around faded into darkness and my body fell limp. The last thing I heard was Amanda's voice telling me ''We'll be a family again, Stephen.''.

It's been a few months since I moved into my new home. I sit in my comfortable chair, resting beside the living room window. The sun is shining brightly outside like a beacon. It's been ages since I went outside and it shows with my pale skin. I look at the house across the street. It's been empty for a while, but apparently new neighbours are arriving today. That's what I heard anyway.

I feel an itchiness in my arm underneath my cast. It irritates me, but I try my best to ignore it. My fingers move up to my throat, and I feel the sloppy needlework that closes up the wounds there. Suddenly, a sweet voice calls out from the doorway.

''Don't touch your stitches! They won't heal otherwise.''

I don't even try to answer the brunette standing there. There's no point anyway, it's difficult to talk without a tongue. The young woman marches over to me and hits away my hand from my damaged throat. She beams down at me and I give a faint smile back. She still scares me today, but what would you expect after what happened? Although, I have to say she's not as crazy anymore. Not now after getting her 'brother' back.

The young woman reaches into her jeans pocket and pulls out a handful of peppermint sweets. I feel sick just looking at the things. It's all she's fed me over the past few months. I give her a sort of pleading look, but still she beams down at me, her hand extended towards me. Giving in, I grab the sweets, and it seems to make her happy.

''How are your injuries doing, Stephen?'' She asks as she goes to check my bandaged back. Before she can, a noise outside catches her attention. It's the sound of a moving van pulling up outside the house across the street. My old house.

Both of us stare out of the window at the van and the people coming out of it. There is also another car parked just in front of it. A family of four exit the car. There's an elderly-looking man and woman, a young girl and a young man. The young man looks around twenty, has short light brown hair, moss green eyes and slightly pale skin.

I look over at Amanda and see her warm smile turn into a wide, manic grin. Without hesitation, she sprints to the front door of our house and steps outside. I watch through the window as she enthusiastically greets the family.

As I watch, an unfamiliar emotion washes over me. I'm unsure whether it is worry for the young man's sake or worry for myself. Another feeling takes over my body like a virus.

It's the feeling that I'm no longer necessary.
A short story I quickly wrote out of boredom. Don't expect much...
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