Fiction Fragment Friday
This week’s story was inspired by looking over to my right and seeing the large Superman painting I have displayed. It was influenced by a Nathan Lowell novel I just finished called “The Wizard’s Butler” and by “The Picture of Dorian Grey.” The story is not similar to either of these works, but I think the influence is noticable.
As usual I don’t think this is one of my stronger works. I am again trying something new and that is part of the point of these Fiction Fragment Friday’s now. I started two different stories before deciding I want to do more with them and settling on this stand alone one. I hope you enjoy this dip into a different genre.
“That might be the creepiest picture I have ever seen. I mean seriously I think it’s eyes are following me.” Jen paced back and forth examining a wall length painting of an elderly man. He was sitting on an antique chair with his right hand raised to point his index finger at the viewer. The finger though was missing all of it’s skin revealing the bones underneath. “I don’t know what is more disturbing that someone painted this or that someone else actually bought it.”
Justin stepped up next to her. “Personally I think you should be more disturbed that you own it now. What are you going to do with this place?”
“I have no idea. I only met Uncle Roger once when I was little. I’ve got no idea why he’d leave me anything let alone his mansion and possessions. I didn’t even know he knew my name.”
“Well you must have made quite the impression when you met him.”
“I was twelve and bored to tears. It was a family reunion and I didn’t know anyone. You know what’s extra creepy though?” She pointed up to the painting. “That’s him. He looked exactly like that. Well not exactly he had skin on his finger.”
“Let’s keep looking. I bet there is a cool creepy old library here somewhere.”
“Yeah sure.” Jen turned away from the painting and followed her fiance. His enthusiasm was starting to get to her. She didn’t really know her uncle but he was dead and they were going through his things. She still couldn’t think of the house as hers even though all the paperwork was finalized. Her uncle had left her everything but in her mind it was still his and you should be solemn when going through a dead man’s possessions. Letting out a sigh she decided to let Justin wonder off by himself. She was more interested in finding Uncle Roger’s bedroom and trying to learn something about the man.
“Wow, this bedroom is bigger than my apartment.” She walked around the room examining the antique furniture trying to guess just how much it was all worth. Without thinking she opened the doors onto the balcony and looked out over the large gardens below.
“It is beautiful isn’t it?” She turned to find a middle-aged man in a butler’s uniform. “Sorry I didn’t mean to startle you. My name is Edward Batson and I’ve served your uncle faithfully for many years now. I suppose that means I server you now ma’am. Let’s just say I come with the house.” He chuckled a bit.
“Oh, I didn’t realize anyone else was here.”
“Yes ma’am, there are a few of the staff that live on premise. My apologies for not meeting you at the door, but I didn’t know you were arriving today.”
She looked out over the fields. “What was he like?”
“Oh he was an amazing man. Stern but fair. He wielded knowledge, money, and influence like they were weapons. When he set his mind to something nothing could stop him. I’m sure you will find that out for yourself soon enough.”
Justin was overwhelmed by the library so he didn’t notice that Jen wasn’t with him for about a half hour. When he did finally notice he got worried that perhaps he had said or done something wrong again. Feeling that he needed to find her he started down the hall, but froze when he saw the creepy painting. The painting was gone. In it’s place was a painting that looked like the exact same chair but without anyone sitting on it. He tilted his head and tried to find any other differences. “Ok, no it’s just a creepy painting and someone is playing tricks on us. JEN!!! Where are you Jen?”
“Up here hon. The master bedroom.”
Justin entered the room to find Jen stretched out on the largest bed he had ever seen. He didn’t recognize the middle-aged man standing next to the bed staring at him. “Uhm, hi. Jen who is this?”
She sat up in the bed and raised her hand. He couldn’t help but think of how much it looked like the position of the man in the creepy painting. “Oh we have so many introductions to make. Why don’t you come on in and we can discuss our future.” The door behind Justin slammed shut and his scream could be heard throughout the house. On the paining in the hall Jen now sat in the antique chair pointing.