The Artist by Tony Norton


A gentle confetti rain of dried out golden Autumn leaves pit pattered down from the forest canopy, crisp coating the floor with the sunshine of a yesterday’s summer.
Saul , pensive, thought to himself, “There is such a detailed delicate beauty in decay”
The car tyres crunched on the forest road gravel as the growling engine climbed up the snaking winding road.
For the last three years Dee had been dating Saul. She had first met him at Uni in one of the bohemian Gothic nights. He was gangly, geeky and painfully shy. Being in his peer group and also for most of her classes, she found herself getting closer to him. She soon found out that he was kind, sweet , gentle and an exceptionally gifted artist. Saul saw things in such intimate details and his artwork often painted a picture of an exquisite view of his subjects. His talents were off the scale. Otherworldly. Dee felt comfortable and safe in his company.
Comfortable that is until the last six months, Saul had been behaving oddly, going missing for days on end, becoming even more and more introverted. When Dee had asked him he said that he was “working on a masterpiece”
He had become disheveled, driven and had an obsessive compulsion about whatever was preoccupying him.
Dee, hoped that today, his revelation would put an end to it and the real Saul could return.
They drove through the forest, speckled rays of bright light dappled through the leaves as they passed the oak centuries lining the wayside.
They pulled up at the old disused mine works. Getting out of the car, there was an eerie silence.  No birds, no wind, just crystal clear silence.
Saul’s face, devoid of emotions .
“We are here”, he said.
“Here?” quizzed Dee.
Saul was already out of the car.
Dee, immediately feeling uncomfortable and alone, quickly followed him out.
Saul purposely bounded off.
Entropy had had its way with the old mine works. Rusty iron had adorned coats of venal green, and tendrils had slithered their way out of the forest, teasing their snake-like way all around the now jungle like complex.
There were windows, without any glass in them, long since smashed by stone throwing kids. Doors were swinging on hinges. The whole area in a state of derelict decay. It was hidden away in desolation.
Saul, obviously knew his way.
He darted, this way, turned left, ducked under a broken door frame.
Towards the rear of the complex. Dee hurriedly followed. Feeling more and more uneasy and uncomfortable with the surroundings.
Dee felt it in the pit of her stomach…something was not right.
It was then , BANG..the unmistakable smell of death hit her like a freight train.
At the back of the old works was an old miners infirmary. Six beds, that were there to serve injured miners whilst they waited in the woods for medical assistance.
In the beds, all handcuffed to the rusting metal framework were six bodies in various states of decay. Dee immediately turned to run, retching at the stench,
Saul blocked the door path.
“Dee, you have been chosen by the Goddess to bear witness in bringing forth the Rapture”
You are now here at her will, Welcome”
“I am THE Artist….Welcome to this…this is my Pallet”
“But, Saul…..tears welling in her eyes… They are all Dead!!!
No Dee, through Me, they live…they live to eternity….Don’t You see?
In the middle of the room was an artists easel, draped by a filthy white sheet.
Do you know what today is Dee… Do you know the date?
No answer as Dee sobbed uncontrollably, snot running from her nose in protest to the olfactory onslaught it was undertaking.
It’s Samhain…,All Hallows….Halloween…..
It’s time, to finish the masterpiece.
Let me introduce you to my Pallet.

In Bed One – Gangrene. Hues of Sage, Earthy Greens and Forest Moss.
Beautiful vernal shades of green in various stages of decadent decay.
A delicate swatch of all things green. The surface flesh twitched with the movement of fat gorging maggots. The dead body, crawling with life.

In Bed Two Charcoal….The stench of burning flesh and seared bone. The charred and burned body ravaged by the cruel flames that had danced it to death.

In Bed Three Umber. In The third bed lay a fat bloated body of a middle-aged man, his face contorted with the pain of death. He had a tourniquet tied tight around its middle. He had been cleaved through the abdomen, exposing the disembowelled large intestines. The intestines were split, revealing a large pile of brown dried caked faeces, being patrolled by fat zig zagging bluebottles. Dried stinking shades of Brown.

Dee’s gag reflex kicked in, bile retching into her dry throat.

In Bed Four Rosso Red. In the fourth bed lay the body of a young woman, that had been lacerated. She had had every major artery and vein severed. Blood had soaked the bed, obviously the kill was fresh. Thick clots of congealed blood lay in stark contrast to the grubby white bed sheets. In the red pool , lay the young womans life, outside of her young body.

This time Dee was physically sick

In Bed Five Yellow – In this bed there was a very old man, frail and painfully thin. He looked ravaged by disease, probably cancer. He was gaunt and yellow. Attached to his side was a catheter, with the tube ending in a clear glass medical flask. The flask had a tap off it into a dirty plastic washing up bowl, and there lay a dark yellow pool of urine, its stale stench overpowering. The man, was pitifully bearly still alive…

Dee’s revulsion was complete.

In Bed six- White. Here lay the bones of half a skeleton, all flesh had been stripped off. At the foot of the bed lay a tin bath full of caustic acid and the rest of the skeleton lay immersed in the liquid. Next to the liquid lay crumbly white brittle bones, and a mortar and pestle. In the mortar bones had ground to a dirty white powder

“This, this is my pallet” said Saul. In these poor souls death’s I give them eternal life… their colours live on in my artwork. Behold, I unveil the Rapture….
Saul walked to the middle of the room. There was a possessed look in his eyes….he walked to the artist’s easel, ripping off the White sheet.
He revealed the most beautiful portrait, exquisitely painted. Every curve, every line , every shade painted with perfect perfection. The picture was of a young woman laying naked in the forest glade. She was a pale alabaster, and the smile on her face belied the Goddess Gaia standing over her, her still beating heart in her one hand, ritual knife in the other. Dee, could see immediately that the picture was of her, in perfect symmetry.
“See, my darling Dee, there is no such thing as death… See here…. you are immortal”
Come the Goddess awaits….


Original written work by Tony Norton

Protected by The Freewill Writers Asylum Vaults since 2015

Protected by The Freewill Writers Asylum Vaults since 2015

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