Art for the soul

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Dark And Suspenseful

Latest in the collection "From beyond the shadows".

Submitted: August 10, 2018

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Submitted: August 10, 2018



Penelope Horan stood on the porch of her house and surveyed her fiefdom, everywhere she looked freshly painted houses and well maintained gardens met her gaze. Not as much as a stray leaf was to be seen on the sidewalks of the estate, nodding satisfactorily to herself she returned indoors to check on George. She just needed to make sure he was properly turned out for his work, and then she would be free to do her rounds of the estate. Penelope was the chair of the local resident’s association and she took her position very seriously indeed. Any householder that was foolish enough to allow the maintenance of their property, to fall below her lofty standards would be treated to her legendary fury.

The whipped puppy expression on George Horan’s face only served to infuriate his wife even further, leaning forward she grabbed the collar of his shirt with her ham like fist and yanked as hard as she could. Momentarily the small thin little man was lifted from his feet and dangled in mid-air, then the material ripped and he landed in a whimpering heap at her feet. “Get upstairs and dress yourself properly, you sorry excuse for a man” The colossal woman screamed at him, her massive bosom expanding even further as she inhaled and her face went puce with anger. George got shakily to his feet and hurried upstairs, in his mind he wondered just how long her heart could last with the obesity and her violent outbursts.

Penelope leaned forward and presented her fat jowls for the customary kiss on the cheek, George had to go on his tippy toes to reach her. “Have a good day at work my love, that shirt is so much nicer on you, don’t you think?” It was as if her earlier violent outburst had never even happened, George attempted to give her a smile but all he could muster was a grimace. However his wife did not even notice, her whole attention was now turned towards one of her huge collection of home décor magazines. Pausing by the front door George turned to his wife, “I hope you die a painful horrible death, you fat bitch” he muttered. Penelope never lifted her head from the magazine; instead she waved distractedly over her shoulder.

Penelope paraded around the estate with her pen and note book inspecting her domain; every now and again she would stop and meticulously make an entry in the note book. A hedge in need of trimming here, a small portion of paint peeling there, everything was noted and would be taken up with the relevant offenders. Any of the residents she met would greet her, then quickly hang their heads and hurry off before she could engage them in conversation. If she did hear some of the muttered comments, such as “Dictator or Stalin” it did not register with her. For surely none of these comments could be aimed at her, after all she was a very important member of this community.

The beady little eyes shone brightly through the rolls of fat and her lips turned upwards in a rare smile, standing on the sidewalk staring at the “For Sale Sign” gave her a tingly feeling that she had not felt for a very long time. It was difficult to restrain herself from screaming “Yes” at the top of her voice, she had finally succeeded in driving that awful family away. The colour they had chosen to paint their house was the final straw in a difficult relationship, they were just not good enough for the area and she had let them know that in no uncertain manner. A warm feeling was now emanating from her very centre, heading towards home now; she decided it was past time that George took care of one of his neglected husbandry obligations again.

That familiar feeling of panic and nausea settled over him again as he turned off the ignition, George did not know what was worse? The initial euphoria she had exhibited after seeing the “for sale sign” had brought its own problems; her insatiable appetites had prompted her to subjected him to her more perverse needs. When that phase had passed she took to being obsessed with who would move into the vacant property, and the longer it remained vacant the fowler her mood became. For a brief moment an overwhelming urge came over him to turn on the ignition and drive away from this hellish place, turn the car and just keep driving until he was far away from Penny. Then the reality set in, his wife controlled all the finances and she had long since driven away any friends he once had.

The sound of her crooning voice drifted softly from the kitchen and George felt a renewed sense of panic, perhaps she had finally lost the last vestiges of her sanity. He was under no illusions as to what she was capable of, a brief image of his battered and bloody corpse on the hall floor flashed through his mind. The urge to turn and run was almost impossible to resist, however he found himself rooted to the spot with fear. In the end he deposited his brief case on the hall table, and with trembling legs made his way to the kitchen. The smell of pot roast drifted out to meet him, his favourite food. Something was had lifted the dragons spirit, more times than not he had to prepare his own meals.

“Hello darling welcome home, I have made you a special treat for supper. Later I am going to give you an even more special treat in the boudoir” Her lurid wink caused his blood to run cold; perhaps she had finally tipped over into complete insanity. George tried to concentrate on his food and ignore the nagging doubts in his head; he had to admit that the old bitch was an excellent cook when she wanted to be. Later she even allowed him two generous measures of brandy, before she went upstairs ahead of him to prepare for their special night. George dallied as long as he dared savouring the last of his brandy, before bracing himself and following her up to bed.

When she had finished using him she sauntered off to her own room, he watched her leave with a certain sense of relief. At least he knew now what had lifted her spirits, the vacant house had been sold. Penelope had witnessed the new resident moving furniture and crates inside it, very expensive antique furniture she had told him. A pleasant thought suddenly occurred to him, she would hopefully turn all her attention to the new arrival now and leave him alone. He drifted off to sleep with a faint smile on his lips, but it was a fitful sleep. It was haunted by dreams of her enormous white body shining through her new black lace negligee, and the meat cleaver in her hand.

George hated Saturdays; too much time spent in her company was never helpful for his peace of mind. So it was a mixed blessing when she handed him the home baked apple pie and ordered him around to their new neighbour. He had strict instructions to garner as much background information as he could about the new arrivals; also he was to make sure that he got inside the house. Penelope was determined to know what way the house was decorated inside, and what had been inside those big crates she had seen being unloaded. By the time he had reached the front door, George was in a state of high anxiety. If he failed to carry out her instructions, there would be hell to pay.

 A sense of relief had begun to settle over him, three times he had rung the door bell and no one had come to the door. Even she could not hold him responsible for the fact that no one was home, he had just reached the front gate when the voice stopped him in his tracks. “My apologies sir, I was in the basement and did not hear the doorbell at first”. The voice was softly accented but he could not determine the origin, he turned to find a tall gaunt man with a goatee smiling at him. George walked slowly to the door and hesitantly handed the pie to the stranger, an embarrassing silence followed as George struggled to find something to say. The tall man leaned forward and placed a skeletal hand lightly on his shoulder, “Relax my friend you appear to be very anxious”.

The next number of minutes was somehow lost to George; the next thing he remembered was sitting in the drawing room opposite the stranger with a glass of whisky in his hand. He had not felt this relaxed in many years, well at least not in all the years he had spent with Penelope. George looked around the room in awe at all the magnificent furniture, ornate antique side boards were adorned with strange antiquities. Without ever consciously deciding it, he turned to the stranger and began telling him his life story. George spoke uninterrupted until his whole life had been laid bare to the man.

Walking home George had a feeling of euphoria he had never experienced before in his life, for the first time in as long as he could remember there was light at the end of the long dark tunnel. Penelope was pacing up and down the floor inside the drawing window when he entered; before he could open his mouth she had man handled him into a chair and was firing questions at him. By the time George had finished telling her about the new neighbour, she was actually dancing on the spot and laughing with delight. It was the first time he could honestly say the woman looked happy, and for that matter he was actually happy himself. This particular Saturday would live long in his memory; he would remember it as the day his life changed for the better.

“What exactly is a living sculpture” she asked as she practically dragged him in her wake towards the stranger’s house. The over powering scent of her perfume was chocking him; she had gone the whole hog for their visit. New dress and hair do and dripping with jewellery, she looked ridicules he thought. “It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen” George replied and he meant every bit of that. “He even told me he would do one for our home” The silly bitch giggled in delight like an adolescent school girl, he could scarcely prevent himself from laughing out loud. “I can’t wait to get it” she replied. “The neighbours will be beside themselves with envy”.

Half way through the second glass of sherry, George noticed the change in her. She had been hogging the conversation up till then, rambling on about herself and flirting outrageously with the man. Then she had grown quieter and quieter, her movements now looked robotic when she lifted the glass to her rouged lips. In the end the tall man took her glass and placed it on the coffee table, and then he led her by the hand to the cellar to see his work. George thought he heard her scream once through the closed cellar door, but he could not be certain. In the end he just finished his drink and went home, leaving the stranger to complete his work.

George whistled happily as he walked in and dumped his brief case on the floor, ignoring the slippers by the hall stand, he strode across the drawing room carpet with his muddy shoes. The brandy bottle was almost empty now and a small pile of cigar ash had accumulated on the carpet by his chair, but these things went unnoticed by George. He just sat there with a broad smile on his face as he contemplated the sculpture; every detail had been outlined in the finest detail. But the most striking thing was her beady eyes, they stared frantically back at him in anguish and fury. Yes those eyes were the best feature; they even shed a few tears when he kissed her on the fat cheek as he went to bed.  It really was the most amazing piece of art he had ever seen; a piece anyone would sell their soul to own.








© Copyright 2019 Patrick G Moloney. All rights reserved.

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