Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Cold Artistry




colour3: complexion tint:  a : the tint characteristic of good health  b : blush
(a writing prompt from Trifecta)

They took him at wordpoint (the gun was not visible but had been mentioned) into the basement.    It was cold and well lit and there were shelves on which the usual basement detritus lurked dustily.  In the centre of the floor was a gurney on which lay a dead body.   That did not shock him, he had seen too many of them for the simple truth of meat-hood to bother him.  Guns bothered him and he was trembling.

“Do your thing,” said the unsmiling man who’d led him there.

“Yes, of course.”  He looked at the body.   She must have been beautiful in life, but death’s alchemy made all gold into base metal in time.   “Photograph?  From before?”

“Here,”

“Thank you,” he said.   He put it on the gurney by her head, and opened his case.

He massaged the dry skin of her eyelids to loosen them, make them close more naturally, rubbed dry lips with Vaseline until cracks vanished.    He took up a stiff brush and foundation cream and began to work.

He took pride in this.  His cosmetics could not cover enough to remove grief, but they painted over truth well enough.     A sponge and crème blush for the cheeks, a very subtle lip colour applied  delicately.   This took the most time, it’s hard to make cold lips look real, and any imperfection in art here stands out.    Eyeliner and mascara then, necessary to give the eyes definition or they would get lost in the unmoving matte landscape.  He worked precisely and carefully and blotted away excess with a dry white tissue.

He stepped back then and looked, nodded in satisfaction.

“What now?” he said, nervous breath in the cold air.

“We take you home,” said the gunman, “with enough money to erase your memory.”

A whisper then, soft and paper dry from the heart of the room.

“Has anyone got a mirror,”

The artist kept his eyes on the gunman.   “It had better be a lot of money,” he said.


27 comments:

  1. Oh is she dead or not? A beauty conscious zombie? Not enough money in the world for me. Wonderful job on all the prompts too.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

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    1. I think she has a certificate somewhere, but you know how things get mislaid.

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    1. Positively chilly. Thanks for the comment :D

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  3. Ha! And "wordpoint" is such a wry little word. Clever. (Dropping in from Trifecta)

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  4. Fantastic... drew me in right away from 'wordpoint.' What a unique take on the word. And the twist at the end is great. And as an added bonus you used last week's prompt word as well. I like this a lot. I'm glad you joined us!

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    1. Thanks Steph, I'm glad to have joined you, glad you like my story and really glad you appreciated the little extra :D Thank you for the welcome.

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  5. Awesome! Both wordpoint and meat-hood drew me in. The detail of him painting her is stunning. Some women really do come back to life after powdering their nose!

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    1. Thanks very much - glad you liked it.

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  6. I also like the 'word-point' usage - very nice! The scene was a bit creepy, but I had to chuckle at the last line - 'it better be a lot of money'. That's the truth! That's one memory that would be hard to erase at any price :)

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    1. It would take some doing indeed. Glad you liked it.

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  7. I look forward to reading more of your work!

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    1. Why thank you. Hopefully there will be more to come.

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  8. A touch of Death Becomes Her? Totally creeped out.

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    1. Creeped out is good, a very suitable response I feel

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  9. These lines were really too good-did not know which one I loved more!"She must have been beautiful in life, but death’s alchemy made all gold into base metal in time"or "His cosmetics could not cover enough to remove grief, but they painted over truth well enough" or "..it’s hard to make cold lips look real".Wow!What a chilling story with a macabre yet funny twist in the end,loved it,Thomas:-)

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    1. Thank you - I'm glad you did. And thank you for the feedback on the lines that worked for you, it's nice to know.

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  10. Painted over truth well enough - love it.

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    1. Thank you - I really appreciate that

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  11. Ah! Terrifying! I also like the use of "wordpoint."

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    1. Thank you :D Always nice to be able to terrify someone.

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  12. Nice! I loved the way you described her as you applied the make-up. "Has anyone got a mirror?" ----brilliant!

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    1. Thanks Yvonne - so glad you liked it

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  13. This is creepy and unsettling. Very well done!

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  14. Hmmm...what new devilry is this? This sort of reminded me of that movie Death Becomes Her, where Bruce Willis' character has to keep patching up the two women. Brilliant!

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    1. I haven't seen "Death Becomes Her" - so I hope this isn't too similar! Glad you liked it though.

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