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Teen Scribes
Pixels...
By Sam Armstrong, Teen Scribe 
November 8, 2011 

The little bricks went together piece by piece, a section at a time, a small structure of a world, of the world, of a world he would have rather lived in. It was a universe on the living room floor, a testament to lives lived with larger pixels, so things weren’t as detailed and you had to look and squint to understand people and their places. People in their places, peepholes over faces. His fingers assembled the bricks in patterns only he could choose, because their colors had sounds and feelings, and the drums in his ears hadn’t understood sound since he’d been born. So buildings existed in larger pixels than the life around him, and even though his own hair seemed to be a dim imitation of the solid reds he used to assemble the Fall-coloured trees, he promised himself that one day he would live up to all the bold tones that he portrayed in his universe on the living room floor. And when the Silence overwhelmed him and the adults frantically moved their hands and shook their fists at him, like they were doing now, he would find a way to escape and live inside those blocks. 

He finally looked up and acknowledged his parents, who, after moving their mouths in agitated manners at each other, were spelling out words with their hands demanding of him to get up, to please just stop playing with the bricks for one moment and put his coat on to go outside, because his father was late for a meeting and his mother had wanted to take him to the park. The park, where the trees didn’t measure up to his blocks of geometrical plastic, where newspaper scraps and hot dog paper holders littered the ground like so many freckles on his face, and where the wind always rubbed itself against his ears yet he still heard Nothing. There was no getting away from this momentary loss in his building, so he donned his coat and ventured out the door with his parents. 

That had been three hours ago. He sat on a bench too afraid to move, too agitated with his mother to try to find her, while people whisked by his vision and vendors carted their Lego food stands away on miniature rubber wheels. After the gyro stand left, however, he noticed that a pixel had been left behind, a blue that could have fallen out of the key pattern border on the edges of the man’s cart. He crossed the path and curiously eyed the small block of life on the ground. It could have fallen from his own set. Gingerly, he retrieved the Lego from the aging concrete, checking to make sure he hadn’t left a hole in the space it had previously occupied. The piece seemed to come from nowhere. Then another block caught his eye, sitting on the edge of a park bench to his left. And further down the path, two yellow bricks lay in the grass like missing pieces of the sun itself. He followed the pixels. 

That had been two hours ago. The abandoned apartment that the bricks had led him to smelled of dust and pine. There was also an unmistakable aroma of plastic pixels, only slightly distinguishable from the pungent aroma of his nervous urine. Tall, thick curtains covered any light from two windows on either sides of him. They loomed over him, glaring while they demanded to know his intent in the apartment, their black blocks showing more than their greens, he thought. It was too dark, and the dark was too loud, and the heartbeat pounding in his wrists resonated all the way to the drums in his ears. He crossed an old wooden floor, and his eyes made out a spiral staircase in the corner. It was round and inviting, not like a typical staircase that he was used to building. He set his foot silently on the first step, and looked up, squinting to perceive the top of the staircase, where another block rested. 

That had been one hour ago. He had reached the top of the staircase and noiselessly opened a heavy door to a room decorated with extremely realistic scenes from nature. They covered the walls, they were the walls, they were doorways into new worlds, they were Exploration, they were everything that true living can and will become. Exotic animals of all kinds were sprinkled across the scenes, and they stared at the boy, their rounded eyes imploring him to just step closer, to please just step inside and see what their world had to offer. His mouth open, his eyes wide, he tried to absorb all of this new change, and how this kind of magic could even be possible. Their colours were so vivid, so varied and exciting that he struggled to comprehend how many pixels they must be composed of. And yet, this room contained no more blocks of his building toys, save for the collection that had long since dropped form his shocked hands onto the grass. These plants and creatures were unlike anything he had ever built, or seen built. 

Grass. The floor had become a sort of turf; a soft earth feeling under his feet that absolutely had not been there before. He fell on it, smelling it to make sure that what he was seeing was real. It smelled of worms, it hinted of cold clay underneath his feeble hands, its stems of grass tickled his palms while he continued to gaze at the animals in frightened wonder.  

Then came the Sounds. They started low and soft at first, but their very presence shocked him to his bones. Strange noises that he began to think originated from the animals, from the outside that was inside this room, seeming to come from the roots of the very trees themselves. He cried out, and for the first time in his little life, the boy heard his own voice. It was low and guttural, it was confused and amazed, and it was more Sound which added to the beating chorus all around him. 

And that is why, yelping in surprise, the boy swept up the fallen Legos in his fist, pushed himself up quickly, and bolted out of the door, flew down the stairs in a wild frenzy, and ran out the apartment into the street, where he felt the pixels underneath his shoes again. And the reassuring Silence swept over him once again, and he walked towards the park to start looking for his mother.

 


 
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