The Van Gogh Painting

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Back in the day it was a crime for a black man to court a rich Caucasian female. But when you fall in love, deeply in love, you become blind and insistent and time seems to fly by too fast.
This is a short about a black soldier and rich caucasian female who fall in love. Her father and his people try anything to keep him away from his daughter. Even if he had to kill him.
Michael and Terri have more up their sleeves, and a beating will do nothing to prevent them from taking the late night train to France.

Submitted: December 02, 2011

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Submitted: December 02, 2011

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Michael was cleaning the clients’ skates when Terri sneaked up to him. They both looked around; making sure nobody could see them together. Her father was the owner of ‘Flynn’ a skater hall for young and old citizens to have fun. He was strict, and it was a crime for a black man to be talking to a white girl.

“The coast is clear.” Michael whispered in her ear. When she looked back he caught a glimpse of her beautiful smile before it vanished away. Her eyes glowed, she was happy to see him, to touch him.

“Have you been practicing your French, Michael?” he looked up at her holding her blue French book as he sat on the wooden bench, wiping down dirty spots on the white leather skates. As he said something in French, Terri’s eyes opened wide in amazement and huffed.

“I cannot believe you’ve learned it in weeks!” she moved closer to him, only a slide away. He looked around to make sure nobody was snooping on them. “It took me almost a year to learn French. I wish I could go to France, but alone wouldn’t be a wise thing to do.”

“I listen well, Miss Terri. Don’t worry, I’ll go with you.” Their eyes connected. Her breath caught when his eyes roamed the shape of her lips. When he looked back to her eyes he found her doing the same. They both knew that it was impossible for him to go with her, they knew. But deep inside of Michael, he truly wanted that; to leave to a faraway place with Miss Terri.

 She licked her lips, closing in to share a kiss when she heard familiar steps coming from the entry hallway. She abruptly moved away from Michael, taking four steps away from his seated form. By the time her father’s form appeared from the shadows, in Michael’s hands was her blue French book.

“Here you are, Terri. I’ve been looking all over for you.” Her father smiled at her as she giggled. But when he looked down at Michael, in his eyes you could see a hatred so pure and thick you could cut it with a knife.

“Oh, daddy! I was practicing my tunes and was about to run out of here when I bumped into Michael’s shoes. He caught my book!”

“Yes.” He scoffed. “Such a hero. Come along now, we have dinner to eat.” They both left together from Flynn’s Skating Ring, but before she was lost in the shadows of the hall she looked back at Michael and winked at the young man. His heart skipped a beat, his smile was strong. He knew Terri felt the same way for him as he did for her. It was clear as day.

He wanted her.

##

On the next night, Michael was mopping the floors when Mr. Flynn walked towards him a gang of Caucasian men at his back. Michael kept mopping, ignoring the sudden feeling to run away from them. But he stood his ground; his mother had taught him better.

“My first and last warning black man.” Michael stopped doing what he was doing and looked up to face his attacker. The smile of confidence on his pink face was sign enough for trouble. “Leave my daughter alone.” When he was done speaking, one of the bullies from the gang walked forward and punched Michael in the abdomen. He bent over in pain but didn’t shout or grunt in pain. Another came from behind him and with a metal baseball bat he attacked him across the back. Still he didn’t cry, shout, or grunt.

Mr. Flynn left but the gang stayed behind trying to break Michael. The towns’ sheriff came towards them shouting for them to stop. Gun pointed towards his attackers, he looked up and down Michael’s body to make sure he was alright.

“Go on. All of you.” They all left to a speedy run without looking back. Sheriff Anthony helped Michael to the bench, and shook his head in disappointment. “A piece of advice kid?” Michael nodded his approval. Sheriff Anthony sighed. “Forget the girl. She’s too good for you.”

“Is that because I’m black?”

The sheriff shook his head again and smiled. “Yes.”

Michael watched him walk away. A sudden rebellious thought crossed Michael’s mind. Locking the door behind him, he walked out into the cold night determined to do anything to make it all go away.

##

Terri ran looking for Michael the next day. The place was packed with couples and friends and families. Everybody was laughing and having fun. But something deep inside of her was off, like something was wrong. When she reached the bench nobody was there. She looked around, and seeming to become frantic, an employee touched her shoulder.

“He’s not here, Terri. Rumor has it that he enlisted and departed by midnight.”

Terri nodded and walked out of the building, a feeling of losing a part of her, a dagger deep inside of her heart.

##

“Places!” Sergeant Capriolli shouted at the uniformed men as they left the truck behind. Guns at the ready at any sign of trouble they marched the dirt road towards the closest base camp, when suddenly a French woman in scraps face hidden in a red scarf ran towards them screaming.

“Descendez!”

The soldiers looked around at each other, and shrugged. “Somebody translate!” Sergeant Capriolli screamed from the right side of Michael’s shoulder. “Now!”

“Descendez, ya un soldat cache derriere les arbles!” the woman reached the soldiers who were pushing her off believing she was crazy. But Michael knew what she was saying.

“Get down, get down!” by the time they heard him shout, four men were shot in the chest. Michael shot the French soldier in the chest killing him instantly. Sergeant Capriolli pulled him into the bushes for cover.

“Nice shot, soldier.” Michael nodded. The man kept staring at him, and suddenly spoke. “Is she worth it?”

Michael was caught off guard, but answered any way. “Yes.”

There was silence between them as the cacophony died out and were called for a clear view. “Take this. You’ll need it.” Michael opened the folded paper and gaped in horror and gratitude at the image before him. “You saved my life, soldier. It’s the only way I believe to repay you.” Michael couldn’t say he saved all of their lives with one shot because of his skin color. None of the other Caucasian soldiers would feel gratitude towards a black man.

But Michael didn’t care about the win, the prizes, or the awards.

It was time to go back, and take what was his.

##

“Michael!” she ran towards him deep into the shadows. She hugged him the minute she touched him. He hugged her back not wanting to let go. But time was running and he had a plan to act on.

“Let’s go to France, Terri. Now.” At first she thought he was joking, but the look on his face told other stories.

“But I have to perform tonight, everyone will be there.” She was nervous, but all she wanted was to be with him.

“They’ll have something else to look at.” Because a black soldier and white rich girl running away to the train together, would be like running with a sign of ‘kill me’ on their backs.

She nodded and agreed to meet him at the train station. They separated ways, not wanting to leave one another again.

From the other corner of the room, her Aunt walked towards her pulling her to the side. “What are you thinking Terri?”

“I’m going to France.” Tilting her head up in confidence, she stared at her Aunt. She nodded and handed Terri some bills and told her to wait for her while she went back to the Flynn’s mansion and collect some of her things for the travel. Terri, grateful as ever, agreed and waited.

When her Aunt took over of the performance handing Terri her things, she ran towards the back exit door and pushed finding it closed. She tried again and again but nothing worked.

“It’s locked from outside.” Sheriff Anthony said as he walked towards the door. “I don’t know what you and my wife are up to but I want her out of this!”

“Please, you need to let me out!” her cried plea was silent but he understood all to well for he took her into his arms and hugged her tight.

##

Michael began to walk towards the hidden tree bark where he was to meet with Terri. A flash of a light blinding him, and he greeted her with relief in his voice. “Terri.”

“Sorry kid, she wont be coming tonight.” Mr. Flynn walked out of the shadows his men close behind him. Michael pulled his back tighter to his back, not wanting to go through this all over again. “What do you want with my daughter? Do you think you are enough for her? You are a black man. You are vermin.” Mr. Flynn spat on his face making Michael cringe in disgust. “Now be a good boy and give me the painting.”

He reached for his bag, and was about to pull something out when one of the men walked forward to pull him back. “It’s in my bag, man!”

“Let him get it out.”

His hand was back in the bag, but what he pulled out wasn’t the painting; it was a grenade. Preparing for an explosion he ran back towards the train station. When he reached the coming train in time.

“Michael!”

##

“It’s a bomb!” the bald man with the bomb screamed. But nothing happened, no explosion. They looked at each other when Mr. Flynn shouted irritated.

“Get him! Don’t let that nigger get on that train!”

They almost reached Michael and Terri, if it wasn’t for one little mistake.

##

“Let’s go Terri, this is our train!” but Terri didn’t move. She smiled at him and taking his face between her fragile hands and kissed his swollen lips. He kissed her back, anxiously but also needy. He wanted them to get on that train and leave to France far away from this town.

“No.”

He pulled away from her, a look of disbelief in his eyes. “What?”

“I’m not leaving with you. It’s too dangerous. Go.” If something bad would happen to Michael, Terri would die and so she decided to save him. “Go!” her father and his men were close.

Michael stole another kiss with a promise. “I’m coming back.” He kissed her again, the train ready to leave. “I’m coming back for you Terri Flynn.” He gave her the painting of Van Gogh. She pushed it away but he pushed it back. “You’ll need it.”

She smiled up at him a nodded. He got on the train, her father just feet away from her. She kissed her finger tips sending kisses towards his lonely lips.

“I love you Michael.”

A tear rolled down Michael’s face as he had to watch Terri’s father attack her from behind. When she looked up and began to run with the train he screamed back to her with such sadness in his voice.

“I love you Terri.”

The train went faster. The black smoke blinding his sight of her limp body on the ground and her father’s men lifting her up from the ground. He will come back, and this time he won’t leave without his Terri.


Epilogue


Michael walked into the Flynn’s Skating building looking for a familiar face. The building was empty, abandoned, and uncared for. It was dusty, and gray.

“Mr. Shelly?” when he turned around he found a lovely young girl with blond locks and brown eyes. She had her smile and her skin tone. But she did have her father’s eyes and hands. “I’m sorry to inform you so late, but I couldn’t contact you sooner.” She walked with Michael to the room where Terri used to practice her tunes in. Everything looked the same except the frame on the wall. “My mother died two years ago. I’m sorry.”

“Oh child, it’s alright.” He walked towards the frame on the walk, and sighed in relief.

He heard her footsteps come closer and halting next to his. “My mother used to tell me that her very first love gave her this painting. She made us all promise not to sell it. I always kept it here where prying hands couldn’t touch it.”

“I promised her I would come back for her.” The girl took his hand in his and squeezed.

“Before she died she mentioned your name and smiled into the light of the sun, closing her eyes sighing her last breath. It was beautiful. She loved you.”

“I’m sorry Terri. I love you.” Michael began to cry, not caring for the company to see his weakness. The girl hugged him and didn’t let him go until he could breathe again. Ashamed he apologized and asked for her name. “Michelle Rose Flynn.” A knowing smile appeared on that beautiful face. The face of her mother; Teri Rose Flynn.

“There is a close coffee shop around here; would you accompany me for breakfast Mr. Shelly?”

He smiled sweetly at her and nodded. “Call me Michael.”

They both walked out the front door locking it behind them. The sun was blazing light though all the windows illuminating a smiling Teri by the painting of Van Gogh.


© Copyright 2017 Luna Hades. All rights reserved.

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