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"We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
Shakespeare (The Tempest)

The gallows pole. A snakelike rope bound on it, quite stretched. The victim hanging by the neck wasn't present in the picture yet, still to be drawn. Spike sketched the scene he had stirring in his mind for some days now, a living picture from a half-remembered dream.

The work in the arts class that morning was about drawing a picture with the theme of free will. Normally Spike would avoid sharing the content of his thoughts with a teacher, but he couldn't get rid of that image and was urging to put it on a paper, it didn't matter if somebody else would see it. The teacher would probably tear the picture apart, but fuck it; after all it wouldn't be the first time he presented morbid pieces of art. "No artist is morbid", he remembered Sam saying to him in some occasion, "an artist can express everything. Oscar Wilde said that." Though Spike didn't consider himself an artist, he was pretty much agreeing with this Wilde guy's points of view, until Sam mentioned that the man was a fucking fag who got arrested and lost everything for that. "Why on earth did he let everybody know he liked other guys, if he knew he would be disgraced for that, anyway?" Spike questioned. Instead of answering, Sam laconically asked him if he wanted some water, and in one second was gone to the kitchen for several minutes.

The mortally stretched rope. A short fall, no doubt. Spike started drawing the head of the hanged inside the tie. Still alive – the agony in the eyes revealed it – but in the very last moments of consciousness, shaken by the spasms of choking. The wind blowing through his hair? Perhaps. The air that would reach his lungs no more, gently caressing his terrified face.


Later on, as he walked towards Sam's house, Spike had the complete drawing within his backpack – the teacher had already evaluated it and allowed him to keep it. He wasn't proud of the picture (as he wasn't of anything he did, for that matter), but he liked the idea of keeping it for a while to reflect about its meaning. It could help him to remember that dream more fully. All he was able to remind when he woke up was a sight of a large windy shore, an indistinct conversation with Hatred about fear, and then the hanging. He woke up when the dreamself died on the gallows.

Being unable to record the whole dream was indeed frustrating. He remembered that it felt like watching the most beautiful and emotional movie ever produced; but now it was dissolved, and he wouldn't be able to watch it again. Would I? Where do our dreams fly to when they end? I wonder what matter they are made from, that they are so purer than this dirty flesh and this rusty world.

Still occupied with such thoughts, he rang the bell of Sam's house, hesitant. Saunders opened and greeted him with surprise:

"Ah, Spike! Sam didn't tell me you were coming."

"I'm sorry, sir. If it's inconvenient, I'll get going now."

"Oh, nonsense, come in already. I think Sam is taking a bath right now, but no problem, just sit down and wait a couple minutes. Don't you feel cold? Would you like a hot coffee or something? I'm making some."

"Yes, thank you, sir."

"So I'll be right back."

Spike left his backpack on the floor, sat down on the sofa to wait, and spotted a considerable amount of books on the table – should be the ones that Sam was currently reading, all at once. He would never admit it aloud, but he was tremendously jealous of how literate and studied Sam was; Spike always felt dumber than usual when they talked about literature and arts in general. In spite of that, he enjoyed discussing with Sam about those other worlds inside the pages. Sam used to say that all writers, even the realists, plunge themselves into literature to escape from this world into their own, and invite their readers to follow them on their journey.

In a few moments, Sam rushed out from his room wearing only a towel curled around his waist, and not having seen Spike, he yelled to the kitchen:

"Dad, have you seen that underwear? The blue one, I left it on the…"

He spotted Spike, froze solid for a second and ran back into his room. A minute later, he came out properly dressed but still blushed, and greeted Spike timidly.

"So, what did you call me here for?" Spike asked, indifferent to how embarrassed Sam was.

"Well, I… you know" uttered Sam, "There's a stage audition open, I thought about signing myself to it."

"Hold on. Let me get it straight. You want to play theatre?"

"Y-yeah. For a while at least, it may be interesting, you know, to develop my abilities and meet new people and stuff…"

"I don't know, this theatre thing sounds like fag stuff to me, but it's up to you. What do I have to do with it exactly?"

Sam blushed further still, but answered without turning away his face: "I'd like…"

"There you go, Spike" intervened Saunders, bringing him a large cup of coffee.

"Thank you, sir."

"By the way, here are the underpants you were looking for, Sam."

"Dad!" yelped Sam, taking the piece and putting it out of sight.

"You're welcome" smiled Saunders and went back inside.

Spike sipped the coffee briefly and asked:

"You were saying?"

"I'd like to perform something for you, and you can say if I'm good at it or not. Even if you don't like theatre, you opinion is important to me."

The importance attributed to his judgment softened Spike's mood. He replied half-benevolently, half-skeptically:

"All right, give your shot."

"Okay, watch this."

Sam stood up solemnly and started:

"To be or not to be, that is the ques…"

"No, fucking Shakespeare, for fuck's sake!" interrupted Spike. "Can't you use something simple for a start? I'm an ignorant screwhead, remember?"

"I – sorry, but I've been practicing… I know the lines, that's why I chose this one. It's a beautiful soliloquy. And you're not an ignorant!"

"So you say. Fine then, carry on."

"That is the question" followed Sam. "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them? To die, to sleep, no more; and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep… to sleep, perchance to dream."

As Sam went through the soliloquy, Spike was hit by the meaning of those words, the doubt, the conflict between will and fear, between putting an end to his own life or not. "For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come." Would it be why people hesitate to end their own pain? The fear of a possible another world bidding them to remain in this gruesome world? He wasn't afraid; and he willed to sleep and descend, if he could, into an endless dream.

"Soft you now" concluded Sam. "The fair Ophelia. Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remembered."

A sharp moment of silent thought. Then the verdict:

"Not bad. I guess you've got talent for this stuff, after all. One of your many" Spike grumped.

"Really?" cried Sam, like if Spike had said he was match to Olivier himself.

"Yeah" confirmed Spike, dry. "But I have to disagree with the lines. I don't think that fear is an essential obstacle at all. I, for example, don't fear death."

"You don't?" Sam asked.

"Why should I? I mean, what in that 'undiscovered country' could be worse than here, anyway? If there is something after death, it must be the same than before life. If there is nothing, so what's all the fuzz about it?"

"Ah, in my case it's not about fear itself of the other side, it's about losing everything you have, and all the experiences you could have had, you know. Things you could have learned, people you could have met, dreams you could have seen come true. How many possibilities."

I have nothing. I will never have anything, Spike thought, and he would like to say it aloud, but he knew Sam wouldn't be able understand it. You can't expect me to see life the same way you do, Sam. You're such an ingenuous creature. How could a lucky bastard like you ever get the difference between us? If you die, you lose the joy of life. If I die, I flee from its torment, from this world of pain.

"Too bad, Sam, you won't convince me that life is beautiful."

"I'll keep trying" insisted Sam.

"Good luck then" said Spike, put the empty cup on the table and picked his backpack. "I have to go now, or my uncle will ask a lot of questions."

"Aaaw" mumbled Sam in disappointment. "Can you come again tomorrow?"

"Maybe. Don't know. I'll try."

"Please do. I'm so happy that you liked, I'll rehearse another scene for you. So, see you tomorrow, right?"

"Yeah. See ya."

But tomorrow seems to be so many ages away, Spike thought as he walked out the door.


Earlier, at the school, Spike deposited the drawing on the teacher's desk. At the first sight, she quickly hid it under the mass of papers before some other student saw its content.

After the teacher dismissed the class, when the students were noisily walking off she called Spike back. He expected she would squash his work and scold him in front of everybody like the previous art teacher usually did, but when the room got empty and silent, Mrs. Griffin showed him his drawing and asked quite politely:

"Can you explain the meaning of this?"

"Did you forget? You chose the theme yourself: free will. Like, 40 minutes ago… remember?"

"I'm asking you a serious question, Mr. Shaffer, please don't be so defensive. I didn't fully understand your work. I'd like if you explained it to me, so I won't misjudge it."

Against his will, Spike lowered his defenses. He sensed the difference to the usual attitude of teachers treating him vertically as a stupid hopeless brat, and realized that Mrs. Griffin was, in fact, almost taking him seriously. Or she was just worried about something.

"It's a hanging" he answered with a slight note of mockery, but serious at the whole.

"Yes. Now, why was he hanged like this? What crime did he commit?" asked Mrs. Griffin patiently.

"He…" Spike hesitated; a strange feeling that was both anguish and excitement shook his body with a sudden energy. "He didn't commit any crime. He did nothing, as far as I know."

"So, he was innocent?" the teacher assumed.

"No. But that's not the point. He hanged himself, if that's what you want to know."

"Oh dear" Mrs. Griffin gasped. "You say he is exercising his free will, by taking his own life in this horrible way?"

"I should say so."

"Don't you think it's an act of desperation, not of free will?"

"In some cases it may be" Spike explained. "But I've heard, in the History class some days ago, that the enslaved captives could turn against their masters through violent revolt… or by killing themselves, and thus showing that their bodies still belonged to them, not to their captors. That's the idea I've tried to reproduce in this drawing. He's a slave and he's seeking his liberty, in his own way, you see."

"Now I understand" said Mrs. Griffin, more relaxed. "Some images of History impress me as well, there's so much cruelty in it. But in the end, this grim picture is just an image from a distant historical fact?"

"Yeah, that class inspired me" lied Spike. He didn't know if she was fully convinced with that justification, but she seemed considerably less concerned. Though Spike had made that up, he noticed that the victim in the drawing indeed looked like a slave, the half-naked body scorched with lashes; a rope around his neck casting his conscience into nothingness.

"Well, then", she continued, "I'll give you a good grade because of your concept, but I hope your next work will not be so… disturbing. You may go now and take it with you if you like, I'll fill your grade in my files right away."

Without more words, Spike put the drawing inside his backpack and walked to the exit.
"Oh, just one more curiosity" sounded Mrs. Griffin before he left. "Why does the boy of your drawing have the form of this kind of… half-human wolf?"

"I like wolves" he answered sharply. More than humans, that's for sure.


'To die, to sleep. No more.' He walked home reluctantly, as if his spirit had stayed in Sam's and was calling him back. My spirit, wounded with shame by my sins. Could it be cured with a bare blade? Why not, if my father did so? Sam would never understand it, ingenuous creature. Flesh is still flesh, vain and vulnerable. I have no use for it. My body exists only to humiliate my soul, further and further. If I get rid of it, what next? 'To sleep; perchance to dream.' I am not even worth it. This cursed body has no use even to feed the scavengers. Of course, there's not enough meat on these bones; what a poor, tasteless, nasty banquet you would be, Spike. I know. Say, did you struggle to come into this world? Maybe I did. So, you wasted your mother's life in exchange of your own insignificant existence, and led your father to shuffle off this mortal coil as well; now you would throw it away too, expecting to relieve your moral pain? Yes, I would. You're more stupid than I thought. Sure I am. Then, what keeps you linked to this thin, brief life, if you want to escape so badly? I don't know, Hatred, just don't know, leave me alone for one moment, will you? I will, but you can't deny, Spike, you have so many doubts popping in your little defenseless brain, and every doubt brings a thousand fears; that is why you fear every moving shadow, isn't it? Shut up. See, you are childish and so are the many fears you try to hide; you may want to imagine yourself as a splendid alpha-wolf, but right now you are a fearful cub cringing against the earth, pitifully unable to face your surroundings, afraid of dying but also afraid of living, just because you understand neither death nor life. Shut the fuck up, demon! Too late now; your doubts are rising like ghosts from their tombs, this demoniac force is gripping your pulse and pulling you to hesitation, breaking down your resolution, you can't fight against it anymore; I see you are paralyzed and shaking.

He was. Spike stood still and tried to take a deep breath. The wind blowing through his hair, the air reached his lungs heavily. His trembling hands withdrew the drawing from the backpack and he looked at the picture of his hanged wolf self for some long minutes. To be. Clinging even to his endless insignificance. His accelerated heartbeats were slightly painful, but every little stab of pain was suddenly dear to him. Spike barely realized he was crying and sobbing when he tore apart the drawing in minimal pieces, letting the wind carry away the tiny fragments of paper. Hatred bade him farewell, which Spike corresponded friendly, and then he was gone, his work fulfilled. The demoniac furor in Spike's soul was replaced by a sheltering solace.

'Soft you now.' Spike shed his tears and continued walking, his eyes turned at the ground, his thoughts aiming at the dreams he could have next night. The eager wind felt sweet.
Characters Elise M. Syvertsen :iconoomizuao:

[EDIT] Thanks a lot to all of you who liked it and commented :]
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cdrake66 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
OH MY GOD I love this :) Its one of my favorite stories mixed in with one of my favorite pieces of work in literature. This reiminds me a lot of the story that I did about Spike and Hatred :D LOOOVE IT!
Sphynx-SN Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012
Aw, thanks a lot. I didn't expect a comment after all this time~

By the way I've read yours too, very cool :]
cdrake66 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012  Student Digital Artist
AAW thanks :) ya i actually read yours a while back I just totaly forget to favorite and comment it and then I couldnt find it again for the longest time for some stupid reason :b So when I saw it again I favorited and commented without hesitation :D
Kiba987 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
:clap: Amazing.
TheNameIsWater-Wea Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow... That's a great fan-story. Actually, because I'm looking at this from my messages, I thought this was oomizuao's work. It confused me as a beginning, because it didn't seem like a continuation. Great job. You're writing and concept is something grand and I would be interested if you were inspired for your own work. I would gladly read it.
dalatorabvon21 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2011
That was excellent. I don't know if I can even judge that. Grammatically it was almost flawless, with very few mistakes. I think the most impressive part was the concept and it's relation to Elise's novel, Spike. You found, and used, Spike's personality and background flawlessly, clearly demonstrating his tortured past. I think what I liked the most was the use of Shakespeare, and one of his most famous lines "To be, or not to be." These perfect phrases are applied to Spike's drawing, the hanged man, in the sense that Spike sees freedom as death. This was perfectly executed and did the story of Spike proud. It makes me happy to see this kind of talent, and i'm sure that oomizuao would be proud of it.
Sphynx-SN Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2011
Thank you so much. Feel free to point mistakes, so I can fix :]

I may add that I was, in fact, motivated in great part by Oomizuao to write directly in English. I mean, I had translated to post in DA some things previously written, but I wasn’t sure if I was able to elaborate a narrative in an English original and make it well written. When I saw that she was writing the whole novel in English rather than Norwegian, I thought it could be an interesting writing experience and started trying too. This one seems to have worked after all~
dalatorabvon21 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2011
Well I found it to be very good for a non native English speaker. Im from Connecticut so Im a native speaker (still not perfect at it). As for being inspired by Oomizuao, I know how that is. I'm trying to work on my rather pitiful story after seeing her novel going so well.
vikstalovingsum1 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. Just wow. You are one inspiring writer, you have done well in capturing Spike and Hatred's characters, almost as if you we're in Spike's head, a definitive piece of artwork if I do say so myself. :)
hiperanimefreek Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011
Shit. That was beautiful, Iv never understood Shakespeare better.
LiversOnTheMoon Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011
That was very impressive, and I'm sad there's not more. :iconclapplz:
vegiboy3000 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011
interesting piece.
hellohellooo Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
written similiar to Elise herself; be proud of this, because it was very impressive.
I hope to see another fanfic! :)
DemonLiza Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011
That was really beautiful, and sad. :clap: I love how everything really tied back into the lines from Shakespeare. Nicely done. :thumbsup:
TheRealKittyboo Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
i felt a tear trying to come out at the end :D
beautiful, gorgeous details and everything.
Hirui Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
This was amazingly well written, and though everyone's said the same, i still must commend you for bringing the characters to life in much the same light as they originate.

You writing style is quite entrancing. Thank you for sharing this piece.
klauszee Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
I loved your fanfic. Very good indeed! You understand and reproduce all the internal conflicts of Spike. I just loved! *-*
FOXSUSENKO Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
farrick Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
absolutley beautiful
LightOrangeFur Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Student General Artist
Love it~ You did an excellent job <3
spring-sky Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow !! I really liked this . I'm glad that *oomizuao had featured this in her journal , or else I would have any chane ,nor motive ,to read this .

Though i didn't understand every word ,Because English is my second language , but I was very touched by some of your phrases.

I'll quote the ones that I liked the most .. Since I believe that the phrases ones like tell something about them .

"Where do our dreams fly to when they end? I wonder what matter they are made from, that they are so purer than this dirty flesh and this rusty world"

"Sam used to say that all writers, even the realists, plunge themselves into literature to escape from this world into their own, and invite their readers to follow them on their journey."
[ I LOVED this one ]

"If you die, you lose the joy of life. If I die, I flee from its torment, from this world of pain"

"My body exists only to humiliate my soul, further and further"

"His accelerated heartbeats were slightly painful, but every little stab of pain was suddenly dear to him"
[This one was very lovely .. I liked the feeling of hope in it ]

Thanks for the entertaining piece .
karelwolf Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
nicely done my friend, think you've got spike and sam down pat
MrKoisu Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
FlyWire2 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
What an beautiful writing, the characters were portrayed as if oomizuao herself wrote this and the emotional impact of Spike's thoughts left me shocked.

Even, I'd say that in some parts it bests oomizuao's writing!

SuperAnimeGuy Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
Wow! amazing writing... you interpret Spike's thoughts so well =) very well written!
It seems that you know Oomi's characters very, very well.
I can't wait to read more short-stories about SPIKE.
Krusnik03 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautifully written. I love how you portrayed Spike's conversation with Hatred, it's very poetic in a way. When I finished reading this, I let out a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding.
37Nieninque Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
Just one thing to say:

This IS what art is proposed to do: other art.

Goooooooooo[...]ooood job! ;D
SonicWolvelina99 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Very well done. :3
GiveMeMoonlight Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Student General Artist
Well written, and fits in well with the original nicely. Good job
Masteraar Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
Absolutely fantastic piece; not only does it fit corresponding to each character, but it still grips that emotional tension, that, too, pulls in the audience and gives them an overwrought sensation of responsiveness towards the character and how they feel. The characters from Oomizuao's "Spike" had always managed to portray such, and you've most certainly done the same.

tl;dr, A fantastic fan-fiction piece!
Mikeious Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
Truly amazing fan art! u guys should write a novel together (when spike is finished of course =P)
DesireeVonWolf Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing and the characters were perfect. Your style is also amazing, I love it :heart:
Guy-Staring-At-You Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Wow, that was fantastic. And so true to the characters too.
aannttee Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
This was just magnificent. The sheer weight and emotions. Just phenomenal.
doldendraco14 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is absolutely amazing! I wish I could write at this quality... I love the way you kept them in character the whole way through, and using the Shakespeare to relate to Spike's situation was genius.
BlueMoonOwl Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
This story is really nice and well written.
Doctor-Twi Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You did a great job with this. The story is really well written and Sam and Spike are kept perfectly in character. =) I really enjoyed this.
Vespillo-Cruentus Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011
that's beautiful.. what inspired it?
Sphynx-SN Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011
Thanks :]

It sort of just ocurred one of these days, and I had to write down, hehe.
Vespillo-Cruentus Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011
i used to write a lot, a fair chunk was stuff like that. but it's been a damn long time and i don't think i ever made a reader think much when they read it. you did. bravo, my friend.
Sphynx-SN Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011
Aw, thanks a lot. It's greatly satisfying to do something that’s appreciated by other writers :)

(which is all I can do here in Deviant, since I can't draw, hehe)
Vespillo-Cruentus Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011
if you like, i could draw something to go with that, since i'm all inspired and whatnot and my wonderful funderful sketchbook is right next to me. i'm not so great myself, but i'd still love to do something.
Sphynx-SN Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
That's nice of you :]

Feel free to do it~
(if it's up to me to say that since the characters aren't mine; but anyway, if you haven't yet, you could check out *oomizuao's gallery, which is greatly inspiring)
Vespillo-Cruentus Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011
i just did. i think i saw some of those before, and not known who made them at the time. definitely pulling out a sketchbook now :3
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