The ripped canvas full of colour was shoved to the floor with a bang. The wooden, used paint brush was thrown, marking the wall of light oak with a splatter of deep carmine. Tubes of glass pigments broken on the floor. Blood seeping into the cracks of the floor bed.
Dean Clayton ruffled his full and wavy golden-brown hair to the point of destruction, leaving in faint pigments of the same carmine and Prussian blue. He cared not about it, usually forgetting about the paints in his locks.
He deeply inhaled as he lifted his head and stood up from his small chair. Slicking back his curls away from his worn face as he stepped on the same canvas to his only window. He opened the frames and lit a smoke he had, deep in the pockets of his brown trousers. The smoke floating up to the quiet, yet bright night.
He closed his eyes and lived in the scene of relaxation, trying not to think about another wasted canvas cloth. He willed his mind to empty, but it couldn’t. There was a pain on his soles, there he remembered.
Not minding the still open window, Dean made his way to his shabby toilet and sat there. His foot still stung from the shards of broken glass. He was calm and removed the two stuck with a quick pull. With a hiss from the jolt of pain, he quickly put his foot under the cold water of the tub’s sink.
He sighed in relief. He stayed there for a while, until the bleeding had stopped, then made his way back to his room of ruin. He laughed at himself of how filthy it was. There he knew, at that moment, he didn’t give a damn of the space.
He opened the buttons of his white blouse and pulled up his long sleeves, letting the cold air of the night flow through. He yawned as he laid himself in bed. Looking up his empty ceiling, covering his body with only a thin cloth for a blanket. It was cold, but he didn’t mind if he would freeze to death that night or get a cold to drive himself to heaven.
With that thought in mind, he closed his tired eyes and lost himself to the night. Quiet in a deep slumber.
Dean woke up the next day with a loud knock on his wooden door, disrupting his peace. With a groan, he willed himself to get up. Not caring of his propriety, he immediately answered to the knocking, wanting it to stop.
“Oy! What took you so long, hah? I’ve been knockin’ ere’ the past minute!” The grumpy voice sounded.
Dean forced his shut eyes to open up to the man looking at him, but his mind was still too blurry to understand, to look for an answer. Yet, his response to the yell was surely not needed as the greybeard continued to speak,
“Your pay has been late for three weeks now! I’m not havin’ it. Come along. Pay up boy, o’ else, no roof for you tonight.” Bill snapped.
Dean nodded his head in agreement, the words not fully registering in his mind. The landlord then gave him one last look before slamming the cranky door shut.
He gave out a yawn before sitting back down on his hard and small bed. He looked at the state of everything around him. He laughed, before turning towards the thoughts in his mind at the moment.
Again, he needed to wander the streets and look for someone, anyone who needed a painting. He didn’t care who or what the person would want from him, as long as at the end of the day, he had good pay. He was starting to get used to this cramped space, it would be a shame for it to go.
He let his mind wander. Wondering what if he would quit this stupid passion and sign up for the military recruitment just by the town centre. It would be a good experience, he would have a home, good food, great pay, and honour. Yet, he never truly enjoyed the thought of dying at the battlefield at his young age of Twenty-five.
So, he got up, and forgot about his reckless ideas of vanity and heroism. Gathering his supplies and cleaning up the used canvas cloth on the floor, he prepared himself. Wore his second, better shirt and combed his hair back, wetting the bristles with water.
After deciding he looked fairly decent, he wore his coat and cap, and headed out the door. Sighing, knowing fully well, once more, his search would begin.
It was already well into the afternoon. Dean had been circling the city the entire morning, yelling the same line of advertisement. Offering anything from commissions, pre-made paintings, caricatures, realistic sketches, hand-made postcards, letter envelopes; his variety was endless. Yet, even with this, his pocket was still empty.
The sky was turning to dark as the street cleaners slowly vanished, their shifts ending. Who followed were street lighters, bringing tall ladders and matches. Slowly lighting the city one by one.
Dean sat by the roadside, eyes fluttering, seeing this all happening. Along with this was a search for a good place to stay for the night. He laughed to himself as he imagined the burly old man throwing him by the collar out the door. Unconsciously touching his nape, wondering how much that would choke him.
Again, his eyes scouted the streets. Maybe the bed of grass under the dying oak, or the marble stairs of the city hall. Neither seemed pleasing, but it was better than nothing.
This continued on until a pair of tight trousers covered his view. He looked up to the sudden shade. There, a man dressed in a well-ironed and fitted grey suit, a dapper coat, and a tall top hat to finish it.
Dean was too tired and worn to give out any expression to the clearly anxious man in front of him. With his knees wobbling and the clear sweat dripping down his forehead, it was no secret.
Before Dean could stand up and greet him, a good evening, planning to leave. A voice spoke up too quickly for him to move.
“Good sir! I direly need a painter. Do I presume yourself correctly?” He says in a high aristocratic accent as he eyes the paint set and papers at Dean’s side.
Here, Dean stood up, so as to not let the noble look down on him. He never liked the power status held, but he knew there was nothing to be done. Society is the ton. No room for the decisions made by the low-born such as he was.
Dean wiped off the dust from his pants whilst replying, “You assume correctly my lord,” He looked into the eyes of the man as he asked, “So, what do you need for my services?” Now finally and truly smiling for the first time today.
A commission was in progress.