Sorry for my absence everybody. Since having finished the first draft of “Caged” I have been waiting for the edits to come back, and I have been increasingly lazy by ways of reading (Harry Potter series, again), movies (too many to name) and video games (CoD: MW2 look me up, SeryphPunk, if you play on Xbox360). I have been brainstorming ideas for my fantasy trilogy, and have come up with a few gems I’m kind of excited about though. In the near future, I’ll either just start trying to edit the story myself, scary thought since my grammar and punctuation are rather sub-par for person trying to writer a novel. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m more of storyteller than a writer. I have great stories ready to be told, I just lack certain fundamental skills that a writer would find useful. Either way, that story is getting finished and then I shall return to work on my trilogy. In the meantime, I leave you with one of my first short stories. It never made it past the first draft status, but it was fun to create and I hope you guys enjoy it. Being the former artist turned storyteller that I am I titled it “Paying the Muse”.
He could hardly contain himself as he applied the last stroke. It had taken him five years to complete, but he had done it. The painting, his life’s work, was complete. He took a step back and studied the portrait in contrast to his models, making sure he missed no detail. From the angle of their poised limbs to the smiles on their faces, pinned in a position of macabre happiness, he couldn’t find a single flaw, and the fact sent shivers coursing through him, which in turn sent his mind careening back in time to when he first began.
He had just finished his senior year in high school and had gone out to some club his friends had assured him was the best place to celebrate. After about an hour of partying and twenty beers he had started wondering where his girlfriend was. One of her friends said she saw her head off towards the restrooms. With that in mind he headed off in that direction stumbling the whole way. He didn’t find her on the way there, so he decided to wait by the restroom doors to see if she was still in there. Five minutes had passed and there was still no sign of her, however, he did take notice of the stick figure man on the men’s restroom door beckoning him, and he quickly realized that he need to relieve himself.
Therefore, with another fruitless glance for his girl, he headed in to the men’s room. Once he entered though all thought of relieving himself flew from his mind. There she was, hands gripping the sink in front of her with her briefs down around her ankles, while some guy with his head buried in her hair groped her from behind.
Stunned didn’t even begin to describe how he felt. It felt more like he had entered a state of paralysis. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, and he couldn’t even blink enough to close his eyes away from the disgusting spectacle before his eyes. As for the two of them, they were so far into their own little world they hadn’t even heard him come in. He had probably been watching them for no more than ten seconds, but each second seemed to drag on into eternity. It was only once she cried out in ecstasy that he was broken away from his horrid revelry enough to turn around and walk back out through the door.
The next moments had gone through his mind like fog in the early morning. Everything had been extremely hazy, and the alcohol hadn’t been helping matters much. He could vaguely remember pushing his way through the seemingly hundreds of people that lingered in the side hall where the restrooms were located, while the club’s music had blared deafeningly in his ears, before he had finally found the side exit to the club. He had made his way through the door slamming it open against the side of the building and nearly falling down the steps that lead down to the alley. He had continued to stumble his way down the alley, not really paying attention to which direction he had been traveling, until everything began to spin. He stopped in front of a window he had been passing and grabbed the sill with both hands to steady himself, but the thought of his position bent over holding onto the window had only reminded him of his girlfriend’s bent over form digging her nails into the ceramic tiles of the sink. The thought was too much and he had begun to vomit against the side of the building. Once he had finally stopped he had wiped the vomit from the corners of his mouth and the tears from his eyes, and that was when he had seen it, the drawing.
It had been the goriest, and at the same time, the most beautiful piece of art he had ever laid eyes upon. It had been a color pencil drawing of a woman in white gown with a vicious gash across her throat and a dagger sticking out of her chest. The gown was halfway soaked through with her blood. The drawing had kept him entranced for an indeterminable amount of time, until he heard a woman’s voice, soft and seductive, as it whispered his name.
Do you like my drawing, Marcus?
The young man named Marcus had spun around searching the shadowed alcoves and alleys for some sign of another person, but he could find no one.
“Where are you? Show yourself,” he had shouted out to the street.
I am here, Marcus. Look to my drawing… the little mirror on the nightstand.
Marcus had spun back around to the drawing where he noticed a small vanity mirror resting upon one of the pieces of furniture. And there in the mirror had been the image of the most beautiful women he had ever laid eyes upon. She had dazzling green eyes and her hair was darker than a starless night sky.
Yes, love, that is me. I have been waiting here for sometime now, waiting for a young artist to come and take me away. Won’t you take me away so that we can make as wondrous art as this together?
As the sweetness of her voice had drifted through his mind he watched as the visage of the young woman in the painting changed into that of his girlfriend. His hands had begun to tremble, while shivers slid up and down his spine.
“I have but two questions for you,” he had spoken aloud to the woman in the painting, never doubting that it was indeed her.
“Who are you?”
My name is Sarina. I am a muse of art. I seek out talented young artists and… inspire them to greatness.
“Very well then, but what do you get from all this?”
I ask for a payment of blood. Are you willing to make your subjects and yourself bleed for the inspiration and opportunity that I offer you?
“What must I do?”
The muse’s sensual laughter had filled his mind, easing away the tension and the drunkenness that had been lingering within him.
That makes three questions, my sweet Marcus.
She had given him a set of instructions, which he had followed to a T. He had entered the building that housed his muse and her drawing and took them both with him, along with an exquisite collection of knives. She had then encouraged him to then seek out his first subject that night, but he had already known who he wanted to be his first subject.
He had wasted no time getting to his girlfriend’s new apartment, a graduation present from her parents. Anticipation had rocked his body so much that at times he had to stop himself for fear of making to much noise as he snuck up to her room. However, when he had peeked in through the open door of her room, his anticipation had only doubled.
She was there, and she had brought the same guy from earlier back home with her. They had both been passed out on her bed, so he had held no fear as he slipped into the room. Both of them had been stripped down to the flesh and the room had smelled of sweat and sex.
My word, she is a whore, isn’t she, my love?
Marcus had been unable to disagree with her, but that had only made it easier to put blades to both of their throats. And so began his wondrous partnership with Sarina, his muse and as the years had passed by, his love.
Pulling away from his revelries, he brought the painting back into focus and studied each pair of skinless dancing couples that performed their macabre waltz within the ballroom that made up the painting. Each and every one of them had been a cheater and his or her cohort that he had studied and followed until he could bring them to justice, displaying their infractions upon his canvass. Satisfied with everything, his eyes drifted from his subjects to a small table in the corner of the ballroom where his Sarina sat, dressed in the beautiful scarlet gown that he had painted for her.
Everything is perfect, my sweet Marcus. I could never ask for anything more wondrous than this painting, except for one thing. I need you here with me, now. Offer me the payment of your own blood, and you shall forthwith be immortalized here with me.
“Of course, my love,” Marcus whispered to the caressing voice that spoke to him and only him. He walked over to a nearby cabinet and pulled out the gun that was housed within it. Walking back to the painting, he placed the barrel of the gun to his temple. “I love you, Sarina.”
He pulled the trigger and the bullet that ripped through his skull sent blood spraying across the room. All went quiet once the echoes of the gunshot finished reverberating around the room, until a soft and poisonously sweet voice began to chuckle from within the painting.
“The silly humans make it all too easy, but at least this one was a bit more fun.”
Copyright © 2010 Justin Beeman