By Benjamin Banerd
Every artist dreams of a renaissance. This is yours.
You’re stuck inside a body. Eyes plastered to the stipple ceiling. You hear dripping water from inside the walls as they begin to melt, beads of paint oozing to the floor. A portrait you’d sketched, centered on a lyre easel, rests unfinished. The empty man glares down at you, at your pallid body, and your bludgeoned head. A coarse, judgemental glare. You’d think him envious of a man who’d felt, least, the touch of colour.
Green eyes. Blonde hair. Red blood.
Dried blood – now covering your bedding and binding your flesh to the sheets. Across the room, slipping through the French doors of your closet, something viscid: a congealed, phthalo green sludge. It pools on the floor at the foot of the walk-in. You hear it sliding across the floorboards. Closer and closer. It paints a steady, glossy trail in its wake.
It reaches your bedside and stops.
On your bedside table, a still of your family: a child, wife, and brother at the market, smiling. It’s been weeks since you’d been able to smile. Weeks of being bound to this purgatory devoid of sensation and motion. The warm blood pumping through a living heart – colour for an empty shell – is the only fixation you have left within you. Colour. Life.
One of your arms, splayed across the embroidered duvet, hangs halfway off the bed. The sludge climbs up the bed, along your arm, then disperses across your body. It becomes your skin. Soon, every toe, finger, and ears covered. In moments you feel warmth. Your toes begin to twitch. You can move a finger. You can pinch the duvet.
You turn to the photo and smile. You put a hand to your chest – you can put a hand to your chest! And you feel the pulse of a beating heart.
Benjamin is a writer of dark, horror fiction. His gingerly, key-board stomping kitten who he loves to bits, should be accredited, instead, as the main author of each and every one of his works. Though he lifts and games, he also makes one wicked omelet. “Live by the pan, get fried by the pan!” Oh, and he’s a flash-fiction writer and editor in this strange magazine you’ve found yourself reading, if you’re wondering...