The door whispers. A woman speaks, ‘Ethan is so busy building his empire, he forgets his manners,’ The crow circles. Darkness between the couple. She takes the young woman’s arm, ‘Come my dear, I have something to show you.’

He is young again. Hesitant. His face hidden behind soft ribbons of hair.

‘Hurry up child!’

He remembers her hands. Rough on his. Lifetimes. Mapped out, drawn, painted, sealed beneath the yellowed varnish of this hallway. Just one word. An oath sworn.

A soft hiss of tapestry on oak. A dagger through his thoughts. He runs at her, taking her shoulders. Forcing her back against the wall, ‘I told you never to follow me.’

‘But you were gone so long,’ she moves her body into his anger, ‘and I got tired of waiting,’

‘I’m sorry,’ he tempers his strength, steering her towards the concealed door. Guiding her way back. Holding the leash of his rage tight.

But she slips away from him. Dancing. Pirouetting into the long room, ‘I thought you had a dungeon or something hidden back here,’ the tips of her fingers are curling a smile around her mouth, ‘but it’s just a gallery, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.’

‘Did I say I was ashamed?’ He grabs at her. Playfully. Deliberately. And she folds into his body.

‘Are they all paintings of your family?’

‘No… Yes.’

‘No and Yes? You drive me wild with your enigma, Ethan.’

‘Yes, they are my family.’

‘They are all so…’ she tilts against his chest, ‘I mean usually there’s something like a massive nose or receding chin in common, some blood born connection. But these look more like a bunch of random strangers that someone pulled off the street. That’s so weird.’

Frozen in time. Another. Another. Unmoved. Untouched by her words.

‘Weird and dead, that’s my family all over.’ He wraps his arms tight around her, ‘Come on, let’s go make some noise in the music room.’

‘Except for the peacock blue of their eyes,’ her smile lights slowly, ‘and I thought you were the only one.’

The first wave of panic. Biting. Breaking across his chest, ‘No,’ he whispers, ‘I won’t let this happen.’

‘So strange…’ she pulls away, caught by the shimmer. Blue to green. Green to blue. And she sighs.

‘Sarah, I mean it, we need to leave before it’s too late.’

‘What do you mean, too late?’ Her fingers still held to her mouth.

And he feels it. Bite in him. Drag in him. Burn in him. Ropes. Chains through his blood. Just one word. An oath. The last to rot here is the first to rot here. The culmination and the destruction. It curls in his throat. Growls at the moon. The sum of it all. Just one word.

‘Too late to leave,’ he says.

But his words come late.

The door whispers.

He whispers.

‘Yes.’

 

 

 

 

 

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38 thoughts on “Gallery

  1. Love the creepiness of this piece – I’m someone who generally battles to picture scenes and characters (especially my own creations!) but I find whenever I read your stories I’m part of it as they are so vividly told. Enjoyed this a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Kindra. I’ve had a strange week, just unable to write at all, not even hopeless ramblings. I knew there was a bridge being built, still being built. But I can’t tell you how good it is to write again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ash, you are always so sweet and supportive with your feedback. Thank you. It felt like a long time to be away. But I also kinda trust the process, and all I have to do is show up at the end with popcorn.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Struggling a bit myself this week. Sometimes the noise created by news and social media throttles the creative flow. I might try and sketch to create the hermit’s bubble I seem to need to be able to write. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I drew the scorpion first, then some sour grapes, and then I merged them together. Mad, isn’t it just? Seemed to do the job though and unleashed the beast. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank YOU. My blog is mental health focused, so my last post, beginning with a bit of my reaction to what just happened politically, is a-typical.

    As time passes, much of my own anger is dissipating – and NOW all any of us in America can really do, besides pray for peace for ALL, is resign ourselves to what happened and move forward with as much grace as we can manage, even if we never really reach the place of positive acceptance.

    Grief is a process, and millions of Americans are grieving. Anger is an expected piece of it. I hope that phase passes before it tears the nation apart.
    xx,
    mgh

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Grief is pretty spot on, and so useful to identify that. In the UK, we’re awaiting the potential horrors of Brixit following a similar unexpected poll result. It’s so easy to be dragged under by this ship of hatred, but as Akong Rinpoche once said, “When half of the world is going crazy, the other half has to stay sane!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Absitively!

    Love the name of your blog, btw. I am counting on the Crones of our world to set things right – as we seem to be the only ones with enough time on earth to have developed some wisdom and enough concern for what we are leaving our collective children to do it.
    xx,
    mgh

    Like

  9. I got lost in Liverpool last night as I’ve not been here before. It was freezing cold and mildly bewildering. I guess it’s the losing of ourselves as opposed to being lost that’s so appealing in a story.

    Liked by 1 person

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