The Deadly Painting (Part 4)

The creator rested his elbows on his knees and grabbed his head in frustration, he shuddered at the feeling of his own hands and moved them to the front of his face. He looked at them, cold and ashen blue, he wiggled his fingers but there was something off about it, something that spelled death rather than life. He looked at his arms, lifted his trousers and looked at his legs.

“I’m afraid, Otto, that it is too late.” The creator said, “It seems I’ve been dead for quite some time.”

“Then it seems what I feared has come to pass,” Otto said, “I’m afraid. . .”

“It’s alright, Otto,” the creator said, “I must go to the grave and absorb the darkness I’ve wrought upon the painting. I must take responsibility for the life I’ve wasted and pay the consequence.”

The creator stood up, “I have no family, I have no friends. I only have my work and I would like to be buried in it.” He looked at Otto, “Can a dead man’s wish still be granted?”

Otto gave the creator a sad smile, “Of course it can, sir.”

Two weeks later . . .

It was a rainy morning as the gallery opened and people trickled in one by one, I looked at the rainbow painting on the wall and it looked more vibrant than it had in a long time. What happened to the creator and Otto? Well, the simple version is this: the creator, who I later found out was Vincent Vonnegut, an English artist who disappeared over sixty years ago due to mysterious circumstances. When Police and investigators showed up to his house it was totally empty save for the rainbow painting, they never found the people that took all his stuff and decided, after a good month and a half of investigation, to drop the case and donate the painting to an art museum that’s been closed since 1989. The painting was sent around from place to place because some owners believed it to be haunted and possess spiritual properties, some even said the painting penetrated their dreams. One said he heard a voice screaming, “Find me! I’m in the painting!” Sound familiar? Anyway, the painting landed here three years ago, about the same time I started working here to be exact, and had been quiet ever since, until two weeks ago.

The museum has decided to take down the painting after this week due to holiday season, my boss told me that they probably wouldn’t be putting the painting back up and were looking to give it away. I asked if I could have the painting and he said, sure.

When the gallery closed and I had finished locking up, I felt a temp increase. I checked the thermostat and it seemed to be working just fine, and if that was the case. . .

I ran to the painting to see if it was still there and it was, only it was glowing. The colors swirled around each other and morphed into different shapes until it formed a face, Vincent’s face. The droopy eyes, the long, straight hair, the pointed nose and thin lips, and that perpetual sage look he had about him. He looked at me with ageless, rainbow eyes and said,

“So, you’ve decided to keep my work,” he paused, “Why?”

“Well,” I said, “if you’d been sucked into a painting and lived to tell the tale, you’d want to keep the thing, wouldn’t you?”

Vincent chuckled, “That depends on your sanity.”

“Well, that hasn’t always been on point for me, so. . “

“Seems we have something in common.”

“So,” I asked, “How’re Otto and the others?”

“They’re doing just fine,” he said, “In fact, they wanted me to give you a parting gift.”

Vincent’s eyes glowed brighter than anything I’d ever seen; it was like encountering an angel. What came from the glow was a ring, and not just any ring . . .yep, you guessed it, a rainbow ring.

“And what’s this for, might I ask?” I slipped it on my finger and a ray of light shot out toward the painting.

“Should you find reality boring, feel free to visit through use of that ring.” Vincent said, “However, try to not to drop by too often, lest you get stuck like I did.”

“I’ll try to keep it to a minimum,” I said, “And thanks.”

“Anytime, Cameron,” Vincent’s face faded, “Anytime. . .”

The temp returned to normal as did the painting, I walked around the gallery one last time to ensure everything was locked and glanced at the painting on the way out. I figured since I’d get to look at it every day after the week is up there was no need to be sentimental, I put the keys in the bosses office, turned out the lights, and went upstairs to my room to get some well deserved sleep.

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