The dim neon light shone bright within the cold regions of Bernadette’s basement. She had just finished her finest Avant-guard masterpiece.
“Voila! La Misère is finally done!” she exclaims looking over the stunning painting.
The dark, frightening image, that the painting projected clashed beautifully with its lively colors. The image portrayed a woman with dark red eyes holding a bloody knife and looking directly at the viewer. The woman was surrounded by a dark and gloomy background which clashed highly with her bright red dress and the crimson red roses surrounding her.
No doubt that the painting was beautiful, but there was something rather unsettling about it. Critics usually praised Bernadette for her usage of these beautiful color-conflicts, but found themselves often disturbed by the images that the picture represented.
Every detail on it was finely done, from the woman’s pale complexion and the red rings around her eyes, to the blood trickling down her silver blade and around her lips. It seemed almost too real. A sound mind could never portrait such a gruesome, yet irresistible picture. The only problem was that Bernadette was not of a sound mind.
She was most disturbed, to such an extent that she couldn’t even sleep at night. The frightening images, ranging from her mother’s death at the hand of Bernadette’s own father to the night when she burnt down her foster home.
She had a rather troubled childhood, but that is nothing compared to what followed.
At age twenty Bernadette’s mind became corrupt. Her foster parents held a tight grip on everything she did. The harsh control they had over her life made poor little Bernadette go insane.
So, at the cover of the night on July 13th of year 1998 while her foster parents went outside, she burnt the house to the ground and ran away, never to be seen or heard from again. She led a life in a small cottage, all by herself. But her mind was never the same again. She carried on her back more than most people will carry in their life.
At first Bernadette fought against her madness and her own demons. She even turned herself in for her crimes. At September 20th 1998 she was sentenced to be institutionalized in the Abrick Asylum.
But what she had seen there, could never be unseen again.
The screaming patients, all those insane individuals around her only made her sanity drop. At first Bernadette fought back against her surroundings. She would often scream at night and even act in such a way that the doctors had to isolate her from the other patients.
And it was in this isolation that Bernadette’s mind finally gave in. She stopped the struggle. No more lost endeavors. No more sleepless nights, no more fear. She had finally made peace with her inner madness. And everything now seemed easier.
The doctors that examined her noticed how she was progressively getting better. Bernadette was not as psychotic and aggressive as she was in the beginning. She appeared friendlier and more willing to cooperate with the psychiatrists.
But what no one could see was that Bernadette was only putting out a show for them. What they interpreted as calm and peaceful behavior was just the madness finally taking over. All those horrors were still there, but Bernadette learned how to keep them hidden from the watchful eyes.
Finally on July 5th of the year 2007, Bernadette was released from the asylum. The doctors claimed that she was ready to properly function in the everyday society. Bernadette bought a small cottage house, just in the suburbs of Paris.
“Ah this house will do us nicely. It has everything we could have ever wished for, doesn’t it?” she sighed as she observed the empty halls. “A very nice setting indeed, don’t you think?” Bernadette said.
“Yes, I believe it will be a great place for our little gatherings” Charlotte replied.
“Oh, I know. And look at what we have down here!” Bernadette replied rushing down a staircase.
“Don’t rush! I am barely keeping up with you!” Charlotte yelled after her.
“Oh, stop whining and just look” Bernadette yelled as she opened the doors to reveal a damp, dark and cold basement infused with neon lights.
“Oh this is absolutely gorgeous! So dark and mysterious… I am so happy we bought this house” Charlotte said in joy.
“Oh I knew you would like it. It is great we have such similar tastes” Bernadette exclaimed.
“I was thinking that we put our canvas right here in the middle of the room” Charlotte said.
“Oh yeah! And there will be still enough room to invite all of our friends over” Bernadette said with so much excitement.
“What do you say we go out for a drink tonight? To celebrate this moment?” Charlotte said.
“Definitely! I saw this beautiful café in Paris. It’s called Le ciel nocturne. We should check it” Bernadette said with glee.
“Let’s go!” Charlotte yelled.
While at a bar Bernadette and Charlotte were enjoying a nice glass of Bloody Mary, when they noticed a woman, looking at them flirtatiously from across the bar. The woman was beautiful. She had luscious dark hair, full red lips and green emerald eyes.
“Well what do we have here?” Charlotte asked excitedly.
“Please don’t do this tonight” Bernadette begged Charlotte.
“What? I am merely going to introduce myself to the lovely lady across. Is that so wrong?” Charlotte asked the confused.
“But this is supposed to be our time” Bernadette said with a soft whisper.
“C’mon. At least let me try my luck” Charlotte insisted.
“Okay, if you have to” Bernadette agreed.
“Thanks, Bernie, you are the best” Charlotte said and kissed Bernadette on the cheek.
Bernadette watched as her red haired best friend walked over to the mysterious femme fatale. To this day Bernadette couldn’t believe that she had a friend like Charlotte.
You see, during the last year of her stay at the Abrick Asylum she met Charlotte. She was institutionalize for the murder of her mother and sister in a blind heap of rage.
Coincidentally that was her last year and the two women immediately hit it off. They were inseparable.
Bernadette and Charlotte both shared similar views on life, on music and art. Both of these extraordinary women liked art that depicted something more gruesome.
Every night they would read to each other the works of such greats as E. A. Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and similar artists who shared their dark view.
In fact that was the only thing that got these two through the rough years at the asylum. Once they got out, they never separated.
Although they had a lot of similarities Bernadette and Charlotte were completely different in their personality. Bernadette was more silent and introverted. She was a bit more conservative with her looks. But Charlotte on the other hand was an ‘all out’ person. She was charming, energized and outgoing.
There was something about her that even attracted Bernadette. Charlotte was a fiery spirit, meaning that she could be your greatest ally, but God help you if you get on her bad side. The last man who did that is now six feet under, with most of his parts still undiscovered. Bernadette watched as the smooth talking Charlotte quickly seduced the woman sitting across them.
“Hey, Bernie. Natalia and I are going to go to her place to get acquainted better. You don’t mind, do you?” Charlotte said and winked to her ‘friend’.
Bernadette sighed and just gave her a sign to go. Charlotte left with Natalia.
“She always does this to me!” Bernadette thought to herself. She loved Charlotte but this habit of hers really ticked Bernadette off. She knew that Charlotte was never the same after her break up/homicide.
Not only did she stop chasing men, but she was also much more open to ‘variety’ of women she slept with, which got her in that fatal argument with her mother and sister.
This was the first time Bernadette saw what Charlotte was talking about, and she didn’t like it. This was supposed to be their night. So Bernadette sat there all alone. She was bored out of her mind. But then a mysterious stranger approached her.
He was a tall, well-built man. His beautiful, soft dark hair, was beautifully contrasted by his thin lips and green emerald eyes. At first Bernadette didn’t even notice him, until he spoke.
He said in a soft voice “What is a woman as beautiful as yourself doing all alone in a bar like this?”
Bernadette blushed to these words and observed the man from top to the bottom. He looked pretty nice, and she knew at first sight that he would be the one.
She replied “I am meeting a friend. A male friend. But he is running awfully late”.
“Well, I can keep you company until he arrives” the man re said flirtatiously.
“I guess you can do” Bernadette replied with a sigh “But I must warn you, I am a bit different than most women you have met”.
“That is fine by me. I had grown tired with these niais anyway” the man continued “My name is Marco Dupree. And what might be your name, mon cheri”.
“Bernadette Fou” she introduce herself. Marco took her gentle hand and kissed it ever so gently. Bernadette pulled away shyly.
“Pardon moi. I didn’t mean to be rude” he apologized.
“It is just fine” Bernadette smiled. The rest of her night was now fulfilled. She talked with Marc as they went sightseeing in Paris at night.
They walked through the Arc de Triomphe, watched the beautiful church of Notre Dame and even went up to the Eiffel tower. Bernadette felt so magical that night, and with Marco it was complete.
She found out that he was twenty four years old (which meant he was three years younger), that he was an orphan as a child, and that he had no relatives or adopted parents that were still alive. He was a young photographer who wanted to make it big in Paris.
At the end of this magical night, they separated near the same café they met. When Bernie got home she was ten feet in the air. Finally she found somebody that was perfect just for her.
With sweet thoughts in her head she fell asleep and dreamt of a better dream. The next morning she awoke only to find Charlotte has returned. She was sitting on the bed and smiling like a maniac.
“So, how did that night with Natalia went?” Bernadette asked.
“Oh, Bernie, it was wonderful. She is so perfect in every sort of way. I think she might be the one for me” Charlotte giggled.
“Jeez, calm dear. You only spent one night at her place” Bernadette tried to calm Charlotte.
But she couldn’t be controlled. Her cheeks were red as a rose bush and her pearly white teeth always showed a smile.
“Oh and what a night it was. Bernie, you know more about me than anyone else, so you know this the truth. I had the second luckiest night ever. When our bodies intertwined with one another, it was like heaven itself opened and golden champagne drops sipped down on me” Charlotte said with a smile permanently frozen on her face.
“Okay, I don’t need to know the details. To tell you the truth I had fun last night as well” Bernadette said slyly.
“Oh really” Charlotte said as her eyes widened with excitement “What happened?”
“I met this charming guy. Oh and he is such a gentleman. All night we just walked and talked. It was beautiful” she said completely delighted.
“Really?” Charlotte said “Maybe we should do that thing we talked about back at the asylum” Charlotte hinted.
“I don’t know. Do you think we are ready for it?” Bernadette asked in a scared voice.
“I think they are perfect for it. We can bring them in tonight, under the cover of it being a double date. It will be fun” Charlotte said in a mysterious voice.
“Okay, but do you think it will work?” Bernadette asked in a skeptical voice.
“You saw the results we got in the asylum. Think what will happen if we do it here. And we can start with Natalia, if you want” Charlotte smiled suggestively.
“Alright, but what about her family?” Bernadette asked.
“They are all dead. She has no family, no relatives. Nobody will know. And what about your boyfriend?” Char asked.
“Same thing. I wouldn’t have chosen him otherwise” Bernie replied.
“Great. Then it is all settled. I just know this will be a great night” Char said and went to her job.
Charlotte worked as an art consultant at an art museum, and Bernadette was a painter. A lot of Bernadette’s work was featured in the gallery where Charlotte worked. But one complaint Bernadette felt about her work was the color red.
It was always too bright or too dark. There was only one shade of red that could fit Bernadette’s work, and to her it was almost unachievable. There was only one way, and tonight she would try it.
That night Natalia and Marco arrived at Bernie’s and Char’s home. They talked all night and laughed. It was all going great. At around midnight Bernie gave Cher the signal to initiate their little plan.
When Cher returned from the kitchen she brought four glasses of champagne (two of which, unbeknownst to their guests, she drugged with sleeping pills).
When they drank the champagne, Natalia and Marco began to fall asleep. They said it was too late, and that they needed to go, but the girls insisted that they should stay in for the night. Natalia and Marco accepted their generous offer. At the cover of the night Bernie and Char took the unfortunate duo out of their beds and relocated them to their basement.
“Are you ready for this Bernie?” Char asked.
“Do it sweetie” Bernie winked to her friend. Charlotte pulled out a contraption underneath the bed. It was a liposuction machine with a needle on it. Charlotte stabbed the needle into Natalia’s jugular vein. The contraption started to suck Natalia’s blood out and store it in a tank.
Natalia awoke from the sharp pain, just as the hellish machine was nearing its completion, and screamed, when she saw what was in store for her. She screamed and tried to get free, but there was no use. In the next minute Natalia just went cold, as her blood was sucked dry. Her screams awoke Marco, who just witnessed Natalia’s demise.
“What are you doing to her?” he screamed out.
“There, there darling. It is all going to be alright. Just go back to sleep” Bernadette said and proceeded to slit Marco’s throat. He started to scream as Bernie finally finished her sadistic ritual over his mangled corpse.
“Take a picture of me. I will want to remember this” Bernadette told her friend. Charlotte took her camera out and snapped a picture of Bernadette with her bloody night over Marco’s dismembered body.
“This will make a great painting don’t you think” Bernadette said as she watched her picture with pride.
“Oh it will be beautiful. Just like you are” Charlotte replied looking into Bernadette’s face. There was just something in Bernadette’s appearance at that moment that made Charlotte’s pulse beat faster.
Under the neon light, Bernadette’s pale complexion mixed with her bloody white hair made Charlotte do something she always wanted to do. She looked into Bernie’s dark eyes and kissed her passionately. Bernie replied the kiss and soon enough the two were caught in a flaming passion.
After they moved away from one another’s face Bernadette said “You told me that that night with Natalia was your second luckiest night. What was the first?”
“Isn’t it obvious? It was meeting you and your beautiful deformed mind” Charlotte replied. Bernadette blushed, but then she remembered something.
“How are we going to cover up these bodies?” she asked.
“Oh, don’t worry. I have an idea” Charlotte replied.
They had Natalia’s and Marco’s body privately exhumed by a man they knew as the “Dollmaker”. He was an escaped lunatic, whom they helped to escape.
Before he went mad he was a surgeon, and a mortician, so he knew exactly how to make people into lifeless dolls (this was also the reason he went mad).
After that they posed the two as life sized dolls in the corner of their basement, as trophies.
With Natalia’s blood, Bernadette finally got that shade of red she needed to perfect her newest painting collection she entitled “L’art sanglante”.
This collection was a big hit amongst critics, as they appraised it for its usage of these visually grotesque images and beautiful color.
One critic asked Bernadette why she uses these images in her work to which she replied
“C’est ainsi que je le vois. Pour moi sang n’est pas seulement le sang. Il est une pièce déformée de l’art”*
*This is how I see it. For me, blood is not just blood. It is a deforemd piece of art