Hiya! The name's Jane. Mary Jane. I live east of everything, and I'm a mere eight years of age. Yes, yes, I know, pretty good grammar for an eight-year-old. Let's just say, I've been through school a couple times. Anyway, I've been locked in this house my whole life. I've never even been outside. I lived with my mom for a while, until - never mind. My point is, I've never been outside of this household. It's relatively sad, but it has its advantages, really! I mean, I know everything there is to know about this old place: the creaky floors, the measurements of each room, literally everything. My mother - bless her soul - taught me everything I needed to know to survive. She literally dedicated her life to teaching me how to stay alive. Out of everything, I only remember one thing she said, "Stay here." I don't even know what it means! Like, does she mean stay in the house, or stay in my happy place? Eh, it doesn't matter. I'm staying right here.

There's only one window, and it only has one place that's not covered with the nasty shit from outside. When I look out, all I see is a sign that my mother put up.

"Look to your left." When I look to my left, there's a big heart on the wall. I remember when she carved it there. It was a weird day, I should probably explain.

On that day, day number 69420, is the day that mom... left. I woke up, she said she had gone outside. She was different, she had red stuff in her hair, and her voice was cracky. She had big spots on her face that looked gray, compared to the rest of her. I offered her an herb we grew here for her spots, but she slapped it out of my hand. She was insane. I tried to back away from her, but she grabbed my arms and pulled me close. She said, "Never go. Stay here. It's safe here. I promise, I'll stay here with you for as long as I can." I felt her hair, and the red stuff was a thick liquid. She slapped my hand once more, and tightened her grip on my arms.

"Listen to me. We don't have any time. Or, I don't, at least. You have to listen. Never go. Never ever. It's a bad place. Stay here," she screamed. She looked exhausted, like she only had moments to spare.

"I don't know if I'll ever see you again, but I know you'll see me. Keep me safe. Please, never let me go out there again. I love y-" She stopped talking in attempt to gasp for air, but she couldn't inhale whatsoever.

I tried to help, but she slapped me for the last time, covered her mouth, took me with her other arm, and hugged me. She then got up and picked up the scissors from a small, wooden table that we usually ate on. I was worried she would hurt herself, but she ran to the wall to the left of the lone window and carved a heart. I ran to her and looked at the heart, as if it was looking at me too. I heard complete silence, and looked to mother. She was done. She was cold, her eyes were black, and her whole body was the color of those damn spots... I used the last of the herb to make medicine for her. I thought she was dead, but lord, was I wrong.

She laid in that spot for exactly a day, and she woke up while I was sleeping, on day number 69421. She was so happy, so peaceful... so pretty. She was exactly the same, except she couldn't speak. She was completely unresponsive. Her smile was so pretty, like a painting. She was sitting at the wooden table. I tried to get her attention, but nothing worked. I knew I should have been worried, but she was so beautiful. Her face still gray, her body still cold, and where she got the red lipstick, I'll never know.

It's been almost a year now. She seemed as though she couldn't walk, but wherever she was, she stared directly in front of her, with that wonderful, scarlet smile on her face. It was like when a child gets his dream gift on Christmas, or when a girl finds her true love. I just couldn't get over how magnificent it was. Just like a painting. I drew pictures of it, but I'm not much of an artist. I loved her smile at first, but it seems to get... bigger. A lot bigger. It isn't normal. Hell, none of her was normal. But this stood out. She couldn't go back outside because she couldn't walk, we don't own any lipstick like that, and the width of her lips grew by the centimeter.

I should be worried, but she's so beautiful. So calm. So still. Like a painting. I spend hours at a time just looking at her and looking at the heart on the wall. They were both so perfect. It wasn't until a few days ago that I found the sign she put out front, telling me to look to my left. I never tried looking any other way. I always follow mother's orders. Always. The same day I found the sign, mother looked different. Her eyes were looking to the right now. When I looked to where she was staring, I don't know, I felt so... weird. She was staring at only a space in the wall, but I don't think I'll ever look back. I just stuck to looking to the left. It was never the same after that, I never tried to touch her, talk to her, or interact with her at all. I just couldn't do it. Weeks after that, I still hadn't done anything to mother. She didn't even feel like my mother now. I was so distant from her.

She needed some comfort. I touched her. Everything went white. The walls, white. My body, white. Mother stayed gray and black and blonde and red, but her smile went back to the way it was. Her eyes were still staring at that space in the wall. It stayed the same color it was, too, a dingy beige. I looked at it. I looked at mom. I looked at everything around me. I had that same feeling I had when I looked at the space the first time. Just... weird. I looked back at mother. She was looking up. The space on the wall was above her. I looked back down. She was gone, and the sign that read "Look to your left" took her place. I looked at it. As long as I stared at it, nothing bad could happen. I thought about if I should look to the left or the right. If I look to the left, I would either see the heart mother had carved in the wall or the space in the wall mother was staring at. To the right, who the fuck knows.

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