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The Painting

By Doug J Robbins All Rights Reserved ©

Horror

Chapter 1

My son Connor and I came home one Saturday afternoon from a yard sale, where we bought a painting of a young boy for five dollars. Connor was an artist and was born mute. He would spend hours in his studio drawing pictures of imagined creatures. Some of them were winged, others were horned and some had elongated face and hydrocephalic heads.

Plenty of Connor’s drawings generally freaked out several of his teachers. I had been advised by a few of his teachers that he see a psychiatrist. On more than one occasion I had told several of his teachers to fuck off. Needless to say I’m not allowed at any future parent teacher conferences at Hillcrest Elementary School.

The picture I had been talking about previously was that of a boy standing on a sailboat. He had one leg hitched up like Captain Morgan and he was dressed in a sailor suit. Like I mentioned before, my son was born mute. He communicated by writing everything down. Wherever he went, Connor usually brought a small pad and a pen with him.

When we were in the car, Connor told me the picture was of him in a past life when he was a sailor in World War Two. He alleged that he drowned when a violent storm knocked him overboard and he drowned. Connor said he had been drinking heavily that night.

‘’That’s some story,’’ I said, chuckling uneasily.

He insisted it was true. We dropped the subject and returned home. What my son called his art studio was nothing more than a basement. To him it was much more than that. It had a chair and a desk and even a little sofa for him to sit on. He liked to wear turtlenecks. He said it made him feel like an artist. Connor would even wear them in the summer time, but I of course would never let him. The boy would relish it when the weather would cool down and he could bust out his beloved turtlenecks. I hung the picture on the wall of his studio right under the window. He stood admiring his painting.

‘’I’ll come and get you when lunch is ready in a little while. We’re having your favorite. Hot dogs. Sound good?’’ I said.

The boy ignored me. I shrugged and headed upstairs. I didn’t always care to answer people when they talked to me either. All he had to do was nod, but he was an artist, they aren’t always meant to be understood, just nurtured and loved.

When I came down to inform him lunch was ready, I saw Connor just gawking at the thing. I had to forcibly pick him up and carry him to lunch. He refused to eat. Connor began wasting away after a couple of days. All he would do was stare at that painting. I became increasingly concerned, trying to convince the boy to eat. I even resorted to bribery. ’’How’s five bucks sound?

When I tried taking away the painting, he charged me like some kind of wild animal. I placed it back on the wall and he became calm again, just staring at it. When I returned in the middle of the night, I found Connor dead on the floor. I gazed up at the painting and nearly froze. In the painting, I saw standing beside the man in the painting was my son.

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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 ...

Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...

E_W_Hemmings: First of all, sorry this review took so long: I've had science mocks recently and then when I came to read this, I made notes to put in the review like I usually do... but then I deleted them. Well done me. As a result, this review is a bit more general than most reviews I write, but hey ho, let'...

Natasha Jade Smail: a good read and keeps you interested throughout the whole story and has some gruesome moments that were well described to get you into the story.

Clarissa: Very atmospheric and descriptive language, with good character development. This is a complex and interesting story - definitely worth a read.

Shelley Miller: The ideas and the set up and this are amazing! The feel of the story goes from science fiction to horror to suspense all in a big, thrilling ball. I really like your character so far and her powers and the idea of the ark being a person. The world is intense and gritty and clever as well. While a...

C J Lawson: Nicely done. Good story with good characters, as well. I was very entertained by the story line, from beginning to end. I would definitely read more of this author's work.

heich: Excellent story and excellent writing style. I hope in the future read your works.The story you present is innovative, fresh, different from everything else and let a feeling that you know you want to read more of it. I hope you continue moving in the same, because he's smart and only you know wh...

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...

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Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

drainwater411: such a great read for me. I loved how you had to figure out who everyone was and kind of got a sense of who they were throughout the book instead of just telling all about the characters in the beginning, it helped you really get to know them and grow a connection with them. the relationships bet...

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