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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The pieces make up the masterpiece.

Submitted: March 22, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 22, 2018



The officers stood with solemn faces. I readied my camera and looked into the device. Time seemed to slow, and the room seemed to whisper. The crimson soaked carpet muffled the truth, preserving the past with its uncleaned stains and tears. On it was a patch of wine from a week ago, when a date had gone sour and hearts were broken. The wine painted a picture of a couple returning from a night out. They were happy, holding each other in an embrace. The woman walked into another room out of sight as the man retrieved a bottle of wine.

Moments passed before she returned, and she did, screaming and shouting at the man. He offered a glass of wine, but she refused and continued to scream. The man insisted, growing more demanding, and the fight escalated. The woman pointed back to the room, then to a pile of papers, then to a pill bottle still full. There was more shouting, then the shattering of glass, then the slam of a door and a man on a porch, standing in the rain as he looked at his red sedan.

On the canvas sprinkled about were the strands of a cat’s fur, painted on before the splash of wine. Its artist was the woman’s beloved sunset coated tabby. The fur seemed to dance as the air gave its applause. In the strands stood a man, stone faced and silent next to a red sedan. He was looking at something, processing, contemplating. Then like a machine he whirred to life and retrieved a box. He knelt to the ground, scooped something in front of his car into the box, and walked inside. He took the box to a room out of sight, fur falling as he walked.

Shoved into a corner of the carpet was a small stack of papers, so seemingly unimportant, a smudge in the picture, but looming with importance. Printed on the pages were the words “eviction” and “overdue” in big red letters. They seemed to mock the woman, like hounds biting at the heels. It was understandable that when the man had come to her a few weeks ago with promises of help that she accepted. She allowed him to move in, with hopes of a happy future.

On the counter there was an empty pill bottle, toppled on its side, its contents now part of the painting. The medicine it had once contained had never been touched, preserved like an artifact in the small orange bottle. It was the man’s medicine, but he did not want it. He had seen the shrink for her, not because he thought he needed help. He did not see the wrong when he killed animals and strung them up for display. He only saw his passion, embodied by the red sprayed upon him and the tendons strung about like party streamers. His episodes were his creative moments, his time of enlightenment.

And thus when the woman had told the man to leave, that she did not want to see him again, the man seemed to become mechanical. He did not see the wrong when he mutilated animals, and again he did not see the wrong in this act. He was an artist creating a masterpiece, preserving what he loved. I was the one capturing his atrocity, staring at it through the lens of my camera. As I looked around, I noticed a glint of shiny red through a window, reflecting off something metallic. I clicked the button on my camera. It was only after an officer had crumpled to the carpet and donated his own crimson paint that I realized the flash had not come from my camera.


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