The Story-Teller-Painting

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
An old painting has some very weird details ....

Submitted: October 28, 2009

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Submitted: October 28, 2009

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Eve got very surprised when she found her late uncle Peter's painting "The Churchyard" stacked away in the attic. It even looked like he had taken great pains in hiding it behind the old, derelict sofa.
'That's strange,' she thought, 'he always liked it so very much.'
Her sister, Becky, who was helping her sorting out their deceased uncle's belongings, also found it very strange that he had hid his favourite painting, face-to-the-wall, behind the old sofa in the attic. "I remember some of those uncanny stories he told us when we were small. All of them had to do with this painting as each grave seemed to contain a very strange and dangerous individual."
Eve smiled in her fond memories of all those stories. "Oh yes, sometimes I suspected that he also scared himself by telling them."
They brought the painting down from the attic and put it in the heap of stuff for their nephew, George. His father, i.e. their brother Stanley, had died some years ago and they found that his son should have some memoralia from the old uncle who had been loved by him for his stories.
"A pity that we don't remember the first ones of all those stories too well," Eve said. "They might interest George who is so artistic.
Becky didn't answer her and when Eve looked at her she saw that she was scrutinizing the painting. "Hmmmm," Becky said. "Somehow I remember it differently. It looks altered." When Eve took a closer look she had to agree. The painting looked different from her childhood-memories.
"Yes, it's as if it's darker and as if those graves are closer to the gate. I remember them as being much closer to the church, but that must be a slip of my memory. After all, graves don't move ..."

A few days later George came to fetch the painting which by then had been moved to Eve's apartment. When he came he found it face-to-the-wall behind her sofa in the sitting-room. "Oh," he said, turning it around to face him as he sat down in his chair, "you've made sure not to have it scratched by Mr. Cuddly."
Eve loved her cat, Mr. Cuddly, and he loved her, but all of a sudden he wouldn't sit with her in the sitting-room. That she didn't tell George so she only smiled at him. However, when the cat heard them take out the coffée and cookies he all of a sudden came in to say hello. "There he is," Eve said, a stone falling from her heart.
As the cat passed the painting his back went into a perfect arch and he shot out the room like an arrow. "Gosh," Eve said, annoyed, "he is acting up these days."
George smiled and then started to touch the paintwork as if to find out whether the stuff stuck or not.
"You may think, I'm crazy," he said, "but to me it looks changed, a lot darker, so I think I shall have it cleaned up by an expert."
"Oh, is that the reason it looks so changed?" Eve exclaimed, quite relieved.
"So you see it too?"
"Yes, it looks changed, much more dark, but plain, old dirt can do that."
George laughed: "Yes, paintings don't change if we don't change them and this looks like the outcome of many years of neglect by uncle Peter."

They talked a little more before George left with the painting. As he was going away some weeks they decided that she should fetch it and bring it home to her flat after the clean-up. So she did and when she saw it again in the studio of the expert who had worked it over she once more got shocked. Now it looked much lighter, but still it was as if the graves attempted to move over to the gate of the cemetary. 'Strange,' she thought, 'but that can't be, unless this so-called expert is a dabbling idiot who has changed it.'
She mentioned her impression that the painting had changed since her childhood and the expert, Henry, told her that that was quite normal in old paintings. "They get small cracks in the paintwork and the canvas which make them look changed."
She decided not to mention anything more about the changes, but she noticed that he too had put it face-to-the-wall behind an old sofa, just like it had been found. Also she noticed that when he had taken it out to show it her he looked startled, watching it. That surprised her, but she let it go.

When she returned home with the painting she too put it behind her sofa, face-to-the-wall. She didn't talk to Becky about it and didn't move it until det day when George came to fetch it.
"Wow!" he said, it's amazing how changed it is. Looking much better."
"Ok, where do you intend to put it?" she asked.
"Well, that's the question because we are going to have the flat redecorated. Actually, we have to ..."
She didn't look at him as she knew what the next question would be, i.e. one she abhorred.
"Ahem .... I know I'm asking a lot after all you've done already, but could you keep it for me for some more weeks, until we are finished?"
Still without looking at him she said "yes", but with no attempts at enthusiasm.

The days passed and the painting was still placed face-to-the-wall behind her sofa. Mr. Cuddly, who loved that sofa, didn't come near either her nor the painting and he shunned his former favourite sleeping-place, the old sofa. The day when George was to come for the painting Eve decided to give its frame a brush-down with the vacuum-cleaner. As she turned it over she nearly fainted with shock: By now almost all the graves had moved up to the gate. Two of them even had escaped from the churchyard. As she stood staring she saw another grave with a very large headstone. She had never seen it before, but now, to her utter terror, she saw it move from the church area towards the gate and she got the distinct impression that this was the grave that all the others were fleeing from. What's more she felt that she knew this headstone, but wasn't quite sure whom it belonged to. As it came nearer she tried to read the name, but couldn't.

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