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How to Paint a Picture (XIII)

By shadowmaven

Horror

How to Paint a Picture (XIII)

Sit in the chum…

Start with all the lies you tell yourself to keep the sea weedy darkness at bay. Mix them with a little time—not enough to muddy them, just enough to blur them a bit at the edges. Lay them on fast and thick in broad strokes. Don't think too much about little details either, a good falsehood's more David Hockney than Andrew Wyeth. Make sure to gloss them with enough repetition to make them stick, for while the truth changes every time we touch it, a well-made lie can last for centuries.

I should know.

After finishing that last piece at Duma, I burned my canvases, my brushes–everything. I knew the locals would say that freak barrage from the Gulf was "just another Alice," but I called her, still call her, by another name.

Painting: you will want to, but you mustn't. Why? Because art is not a diversion, not for dabblers, and not for the faint of heart; because what art really is, is creation—the act of creation itself. Not reinterpreting a likeness or an image but actually rendering something from nothing, willing form from formlessness, order from chaos. Turning water into wine. Playing God.

Even now, the gift is hungry, though I wish I could will time's brush to soak up every stroke of the past. To render nothing and through the act of erasure, create absolution.

But hunger gets what hunger wants. Water always turns to blood before it turns to wine.

I always knew she would find a way back.

Pick one…

Late afternoon. August. I remember the light changing from burnished orange to crimson on Lake Phalen's near-placid surface, because water always turns to blood before it turns to wine, and the gentle shush-shush of the waves as they lapped the shore. I remember the exact moment that the fingers of my right hand, my ghost hand, turned hot and started prickling, like I'd just grabbed a fistful of nettles. Then—

Orange says no, but apple says vamonos!

I wanted to fight it, but I couldn’t.

When I finally resurfaced, my watch flared three o'clock in Indiglo. I stumbled out to the porch for a bit of air, but when I snapped on the light,  saw what I had created on a canvas I had not purchased with paints and brushes I no longer owned.

I knew I could never refuse my baby, my favorite, my If-So Girl...

She'd grown more solid since our last meeting on the beach and though she was made of a million little pieces, she was still substantial. Her smile was coolly feral and the length of her arm exaggerated, extruding beyond the confines of canvas and frame, as though I'd created a 3-D movie still of her instead of a portrait. Something brittle-bright glittered in the hollows of her eyes and she held something polished, dark and heavy in her hand…

It was RED.

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shadowmaven: At first, the word "Dagon" threw me, making me think that this was going to be a story based on one of Lovecraft's, and was pleasantly surprised--no, make that thrilled--when it wasn't (honestly, I like your mythos more). Your writing is so lyrical, deftly capturing this tiny village and the rela...

Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.

Shannon Rohrer: This is probably one of the most imaginative stories I've come across in a long time. You have hooking down to a fine art; every chapter has been as engaging as the one before it, the story unfurling in a way that is easy to follow and paced perfectly for each round of events or backstory. Lookin...

Bradley Darewood: I really really really liked this. I just voted for you!The voice is flawless-- I can't write men as well as you do and I have a penis. Maybe I'm narcissistic but I particularly enjoyed the moment where he muses about how artists would do better in such a solitary job. But my favorite moment ...

MusketeerAdventure: Well - I really enjoyed this very much! The whole idea of a shared haunting really intrigues me. I thought you did a wonderful job; and I really liked the idea of hearing from the first ghost's point of view. It would be interesting to read more about these two - and the ghost-busters that inf...

Evelyn Alonzo: I was up till three in the morning just so I could finish the story! It just really grabs your attention and you can't stop reading it at all! Lol great job, Nick! Can't wait to read your other stories!

Frank Pilato: I wanted to be sure to comment on this, as I did not read the whole story through, but I am impressed with you.....very impressed. ......................................................................................................................................................................

IceWinifredd: Hello there!I have to say that i really enjoyed this story a lot! I'm a huge fan of the Zodiac Signs and the things that come with them or things that we can add to them in literature to make them more interesting. I never thought that Capricorn would be the bad guy. Maybe Scorpio or Gemini or Vi...

elssxa: I love everything about this story. I want more...more...more. This author is superb. I am fascinated by his amazing work. I give him five stars.

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Tobi Doyle MacBrayne: I was so impressed with this piece. The slow degradation of the main character into a dark and crazy place is beautifully written. I liked that the characters physical descriptions were not described because it gave me a sense that it could be someone I know or love. The grief that breaks the m...

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

Shayleen Seiberg: See, I wasn't sure if I'd like this story. But it turned out extremely well. It kept me interested the whole entire time. The only thing wrong with it is there are multiple grammatical errors. Not punctuation wise, but spelling wise and word placement wise. But overall, I loved the book.

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