Blake > Sketches



Trinity curled up on her bunk, teeth clenching together until her jaw ached. It did little to relieve the stress. It was a violent type of angry, but she swallowed it. She would rather slam her fists against the metal door, tear the thin mattress to shreds or scream until her throat was raw, but it wouldn't get her out of here any sooner.

They had locked her in her room. Through her door she could hear them walking around, murmuring. Her hands tightened into fists.

She'd knocked out one of the senior officers, one whose name she didn't know yet. After Morpheus had shown her 'the truth', something like a creature had stirred in Trinity. They'd pulled her out of the construct and she'd sat in her chair, shaking. Morpheus' second in command had come closer. He'd smiled and said; "There, there." Then his hand had brushed her shoulder.

Hypersensitive, Trinity had flipped. Anger at the injustice of everything mixed with all the shock and fear had bubbled up and she'd lashed out at the closest person, her fist slamming into his jaw. So they locked her in her cabin to cool off.

There was a tentative sound at her door. She uncurled and sat up, warily facing the intruder. It was a boy. He glanced over his shoulder, and with the air of a conspirator, whispered,

"Your file said you topped your Art class."

She searched for his name . . . Tank. She didn't answer him.

"Me'n my brother made this for you." He pulled something from his belt, a small object that resembled a Palm Pilot. When she made no move to take it, he placed it and the stylus on the bed beside her.

"You can draw with it."

She ignored him, turning her back. She heard the door close softly behind her.


Waking up a few hours later, Trinity opened her eyes to see the gift from Tank. One hand reached out and picked it up. She rolled onto her stomach, propping herself up on her elbows. A touch of the button and the gadget woke up, soft blue light glowing from the screen.

Her fingers curled around the stylus. It was heavier than a pencil, but about the same size.

Trinity closed her eyes. She imagined she was lying on her bed at home with a charcoal pencil in one hand and a large sketchbook open in front of her.

She lowered the stylus and began to sketch, slow at first then with more quick, violent lines. Rough, abstract shapes that eventually formed towers, pods, and machines. Her strokes became smaller, more detailed. Curves that turned into the back of a head, delicate legs and arms; the curled shape of a baby surrounded by mazes of black tubes.

Setting down the stylus, Trinity frowned. Then she deleted the image.


Trinity stared straight ahead, not seeing Dozer as he clipped her jack into its holder behind her chair. Her hands clenched the armrests as if she still held her guns.

"Trinity," a voice near her. Mechanically she sat up. Morpheus held out a hand to help her. She didn't see it, and slowly climbed out of her chair alone. On her way to her cabin, her ears registered the whispers of the other crewmembers.

" . . . first run . . . a bloodbath . . ."

"How many did she kill . . .?"


" . . . on her first run . . . my God . . . "


Some time later she sat on her bed, staring at the wall. Trying not to think, not to remember. Soldiers never got debriefing. Memories were never expressed, they just, festered. Like, like . . .

Old wounds.

Trinity reached for her sketcher. She moved the stylus with awkward strokes, trying to imagine how the picture should look. The basic white or black lines were not really enough. Closing her eyes, she saw it in watercolour, all faded greys and shades blending in with each other. Faces with eyes still open, bodies slumped on the ground. Reflections in puddles, and the way the rain blurred it all, turning the death in the alley to nothing more but shadow in the mist. In her mind she could see it like a huge painting in front of her, so wet that the colours bled in long rivulets down the paper.

Setting down the stylus, Trinity bit her lip. Then she deleted the image.


Trinity sank down on her thin mattress. Every part of her ached, even breathing hurt; it put pressure on her ribs.

And her heart.

Morpheus was so sure about this one. But Trin wasn't so sure what she wanted to believe about their new target.

Neo. What a name. But still, she liked the sound of it.

Out of habit, one hand reached up and took her sketcher out of the rack above her bunk. She twirled the stylus over and over, her eyes shut. Thinking.


Thoughts began to coalesce and form an image. The stylus began to move, slowly.


Lines formed in the shape of eyes closed in sleep, the arch of brows and the curve of a soft, relaxed mouth. Lines swept from the neck down, rose over his shoulders then dipped as they reached the small of his back. She saw it in pencil, with a soft, smoky feel, with tones blending together. In her mind the drawing continued. Shadows seemed to caress his relaxed form as he lay on his stomach, his head pillowed on his arms. Lines expanded, including the room around him, the bed, the rumpled sheets, the bookshelf, the chest of draws, the fishbowl filled with matchboxes.

Her hands put down the sketcher, as the image in her head became real.

And she was in the picture; she was there. Her hands reached out, her fingers traced over the lines and contours of him she had only ever seen in code. It hurt to do this, to let herself relax enough to actually show an emotion. It hurt to look at him. It hurt to breathe him in.

He stirred, eyes opening. His voice was a sigh.



She woke to find the finished picture in her hand. Setting down the stylus, Trinity sighed, then she saved the image.


Quietly she opened the door. He lay sprawled on his stomach, his head on his arms. The light above the bed shone with warmth.


Trinity closed the door behind her and crept in. She pulled her sketcher from her belt. Searching through the memory, she found an old drawing. Studying it, she almost smiled. Line for line, shadow for shadow; the pictures were the same. Memories surfaced of a dream she once had.

She put the sketcher aside and knelt down beside him. Carefully, her hands reached out, her fingers traced over the lines and contours of his face as if drawing or sculpting him. She smoothed the creases around his eyes, combed fingers through his still-short hair. She wanted to find the thing that made him exactly who he was so she could treasure and protect it. She wanted to let him stay asleep so she could watch and listen to his breathing. There was a word for the feeling that bubbled up into her throat and threatened to kill her in the nicest possible way. He stirred, inhaling. His face turned toward her. Her hands rested one in the small of his back, the other cradling his head. The word came to her.


His eyes opened. A faint smile.



It was some time later that she remembered the sketcher lying abandoned on the floor. Moving slowly so as to not wake Neo, she reached for it, and carefully studied the picture it displayed.

A memory of a dream. That night, she'd never thought the dream would wake up himself.

Over the years the sketcher had become her only outlet in a world that didn't have a time or place for her emotions.

She smiled at the crude lines of the sketch. How could a few lines sum up what this man was to her?

One finger hovered over the save button.

This machine had only ever served as a place to define and concentrate her anger, shock, and pain. But the feeling in her heart now was far too big for the sketcher.

She deleted the image, put the sketcher down and allowed herself to relax in Neo's arms. His hands rested over her stomach, and she folded her fingers through his. Fingers smudged with charcoal and smeared with paint. In the dim light the shape of them together was blurred like soft pencils.

He would be her canvas. He would be her outlet, her vessel in which to pour out her heart.

Why did she need a machine?

Neo's hands moved, holding her close to him.


"Shh. Go back to sleep."


End Transmission

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