Worst week ever – Rabies

My S/O and I adopted a kitten. The kitten began to have seizures. We called the shelter and they told us just to keep an eye on her. The seizures got worse and one not she couldn’t walk straight after a five minute seizure. So, we took her into the emergency vet. The vet told us the shelter was full of shit and we should have brought her in immediately because seizures are rare in kittens. Epilepsy doesn’t show up until they are at least one year old, apparently. Given the kitten was a rescue, the vet was very concerned she had rabies. We made the hard decision to put her down and get her tested. Unfortunately we also had to go get rabies vaccines which made us both feel sick (I vomited for times after the IGG shots). My anxiety tempered the grief and convinced me it was too late and I was going to die of rabies.

The kitten didn’t have rabies, she had a rare brain infection. I think we did the right thing by putting her down, as she wouldn’t have made it either way, but it was a horrible week. This drawing is a representation of what it felt like.

Rabies6.jpg

 

Cheers,

Blu

More Cover Art!

A collaboration project with an old art buddy of mine. Been working on it over the past month or so and I think it’s coming along nicely. It’s primarily a digital painting but there are composite elements in the largest flower and the famous building I’ve forgotten the name of (both were free photos from unsplash.com that we reworked into the composition). The subject was also based on a photo which I masked over and painted/re-textured. That’s essentially the equivalent of tracing something, but it is still painted and I think she turned out well.

T-shirt8

copr Blu-art and Kochre. 

I moved away here from my normal hyper-textured/realistic style primarily because there isn’t enough skin to make it work. Most of the composition was just black…so we worked in little Easter eggs from the story.

I’m especially proud of the eye re-texturing I did specifically for this piece.

Capture.PNG

 

Here’s a closeup of the most recent addition. There’s some smoothing out to do still, but I’m rather fond of how it turned out.

Capture

 

Here is a close-up of the hands alongside a few of the more complex transitions:

Capture.PNG

I know it seems needlessly bloody, but the character depicted loses a finger during the act this heads, which is what it references. Furthermore, I did a questionable job on repainting the contour of the hand and messed up the skin color a little. The blood helps cover up the mediocrity.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The artwork displayed here is copyrighted and not available for any type of reproduction without explicit written permission from me. I’m pretty open to letting people use stuff as long as they pass along credit, so don’t be afraid to ask!

My Portfolio: https://arctic-ink.myportfolio.com/

My Deviant Art: https://arctic-ink.deviantart.com/

My Design by Humans shop: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/ArcticInk/

2

Cynic 34

Writing and creating artwork is pretty much the best thing ever. It comes to me whenever I need, and goes when I don’t. I love that. The hard part for me is sharing the products. It’s nerve-wracking putting a piece of yourself on display to be ridiculed or loved or even ignored. No, it feels much better to keep such things private, to hide them away from the toxic fangs of judgment and just enjoy them. That’s what I do most of the time, why most of my work never leaves this blog. It feels safer here than places like deviant art or even design by human.

Is it weird that I only find enjoyment in the act of creating? Even when it’s positive feedback or constructive…I don’t know. I don’t want these things to feel high stakes, I want them to be a medium for expression and emotion and a release. Maybe some of it comes from school, where I’m judged constantly during exams, quizzes, and projects. Maybe the arts an escape from that, and by sharing or submitting I end up falling into that same examination. I don’t like that feeling. I just wanna make pretty stuff and feel something.

I think that’s why I take so many hiatuses from blogging or posting anything at all. My art is just better when I don’t think about what other people will think about it. You know?

Anyway, happy hump day.

-Blu

Digital Painting/Composite reflection.

Sorry to anyone who clicked the first link that went out last night, I blundered and misc-clicked last Saturday instead of this morning 😦

Why can you even backdate things anyway? Feel free to enlighten me. 

Anyway:

I like to do these kind of reflections before I start working on a different major piece or project. It helps me kind of compartmentalize what worked, what didn’t, and what flat out failed. Furthermore, it’s an important step in working to understand what I’ve made; not always an easy thing to do. I mean that literally, I look at this and probably see something really different than what everybody else does, it’s like looking at yourself in the mirror. Hard to judge.

First the good: I wanted to be realistic with this, and I accomplished that. If you look a little to the side, you can’t really tell it’s a drawing, and I’m really proud of that. My mom actually thought this was a photograph when she saw it (on her phone admittedly). And that just made me feel good. And then bad…in some ways. I had a bit of anxiety that people wouldn’t realize it was a drawing, even though it doesn’t really matter because it turned out scary, and that was what I wanted to do. A lot of this anxiety stems from the time investment, too. I worked over thirty hours on this and that’s around the point I start becoming protective of the art. I love it like I love my books and anything I’ve poured my heart and soul into creating. It was hard and obviously it didn’t turn out perfect, but it also feels like a part of me, and that’s why I even make art in the first place.

The mediocre: It may have turned out a little creepier than I intended. Yep, all over the board here, but hear me out. I think that the holes went a bit too far, made her just a tad to zombie-esque. Zombie wasn’t really the goal and the holes were meant to be complimentary to the cracked smile (Chelsea grin concept). The hair is meant to be dreads done up in a pony-tail but the limited details are confusing. Part of this is because Black hair is very easy to draw, it’s black, it gives you a great place to dump all the shadow balance (which means more HIGHLIGHTS <3).

Too bad it looks like multicolored sticks sticking out of a bush. Luckily it is very much not the focus of the drawing so it’s not a huge deal.

The bad: There isn’t really. The lighting balance between shadows and highlights is exactly how I planned and sketched it out to be, highlight heavy with weighty blocks of shadow to pull you into her eyes, which I spent a good three hours on texturing. The personal goal was to surround the pretty eyes with a bunch of chaos and discord and broken things, but have the viewer not really care because: Those are pretty eyes.

 

At least that was the goal and thought process. Whether or not it was successful is up to you 🙂

Bluv

Challenges moving forward: BLONDE HAIR. It’s evil. It is. So incredibly difficult to detail and balance (where do the shadows go?!)

The hair itself has to have shadows, mids and highlights. There’s a reason I don’t draw blonde hair. I want to stop being afraid of it, though, because I have a character that has blonde ends to her hair, and I want to draw her. So I will, and I will probably fail the hair a few times before I get it right.

PS: In the past I’ve gone kind of in depth on technique. I’ve found that most people don’t really care, but if you do, just ask in the comments and I’ll write out the entire process from start to finish and can even provide the layers and psd if you’d like to study how it was put together and layered to create various effects and smooth shading.

Cheers!

Lilith ❤

Chelsea Grin (Artwork+Poem)

Chelsea grins when Chelsea wins,

something thin and something grim.

Chelsea grins through fading skin,

taking lives while moaning hymns.

Taking time to carve away,

the very essence of her prey…

…Up the lips and through the cheek,

a torturous smile that haunts the weak.

No one wins when she grins,

No,

No one wins when she sins.

_________________________________________

Note: This poem and artwork are based on the Chelsea grin, or Glasgow smile. Wherein the perpetrator cuts a smile into the victims face with a sharp object or razor.

Digital portrait

7x20inches

Bluv

Saving Hadley Chapter 16

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/

XVI

May 25th, 2017-Simon

 

Simon waited, nervously tapping, for the car to arrive. In his left hand, he held a stuffed paper bag, in the other, a reinforced metal briefcase. After much thought, he’d decided on a black T-shirt, dark cargo pants, and black leather shoes. He also wore dark rimmed sunglasses under a black and orange cap. They’d picked a small and isolated road in the boonies to make the exchange. Simon checked his digital watch, 7:12 PM. He’s two minutes late. Did I get the location wrong?

A moment later, a black Sedan with blacker windows turned onto the country road where Simon had parked. Simon’s pulse quickened, his tapping sped, as the car slowed to a stop in front of him. This is it. An older man in a navy-blue suit stepped out of the drivers-side door. Gracefully, he slipped around the front of the Sedan and opened the back-passenger door, and motioned for Simon to get in. Eagerly, Simon walked forward, ducking to get into the Sedan. As Simon sat, securing his belongings on his lap, the driver closed the door.

A man sat to Simon’s right. He looked rough with his long beard and black pin-striped suit. I may have underdressed. Without looking to Simon, the man asked, “Do you have the cash?”

Simon handed the man his paper bag and said, “Yes. Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, all unmarked.” Simon felt a wave of anxiety as the man took the bag without response, opened it, and took out the money.  I suppose it’s natural for him to want to count it.

Two minutes later, the man greedily stuffed the money back in the bag before saying, “Good.” He gently rapped the divider twice and the Sedan started to move. The man opened his small briefcase, stored the money inside before looking to Simon, “Your mark has been prepared, as per your request. Currently, he is sedated at a small farm-house within two miles of this area. I will, as we discussed, remain at the location with you to dispose of the corpse once you are finished saying what you need to say, Mr. Sheffield.” Smiling, he continued, “Please don’t hesitate to let me know if something is out of order.”

Meeting his gaze, Simon responded, “I’m sure I’ll find everything to be in order.” Simon turned away from the man. This is so casual to him. It’s like I’m buying a car, not a person. Unnerving. The pair rode in relative silence for another three minutes before the Sedan came to a smooth halt. Simon and the bearded man both got out of the car. Simon examined his surroundings. For miles, all he could see was meadow-like grass and weeds, uncouth life flourishing in the warm summer sun; infecting his resolve. How can such beauty and horror collide? And no one will notice. In front of the Sedan was a red barn. Behind the barn was a fence that stretched for at least three acres. A few large horses were running from one side to the other, as Simon walked towards the entrance of the barn.

The bearded man, walking ahead of Simon, reached the barns two, large, sliding doors. Looking back, he smiled enigmatically, before theatrically sliding the doors apart. This is the circus my life has become, apparently. Stepping back, he motioned Simon forward, not unlike a sales man emphatically revealing his product. Simons jaw tightened as he saw the limp form of Bud Clifton. The fires ignited Simons senses, all trepidation slowly trickled from blazes embrace, freezing or dying as it was caught in the blackened and glutinous soul-fire. Simon walked into the barn, liquid rage distorting his vison, frost exciting his nerves to the point of numbness, as he pictured Hadley’s cold and limp frame on their bathroom floor. This is the man who ruined my life.

Clifton was bound by leather to a wooden chair with an ambiguous IV trailing from his right elbow to a saline-bag. Low dose anesthetic. Time to wake him up. The entire floor of the barn was covered in two layers of material. The bottom was an opaque white, while the top was a clear, thin, and unapologetic plastic. Simon moved to the small, wooden, table to left of Clifton’s IV stand. Clifton was a short man with a muscular build. He looked to be in his late twenties and had a handsome face. He can’t be older than me. He looked older on the news.

Rumbling, a deep voice whispered, “He’s the one, his age is irrelevant. He must be made to pay.” You’re right. I can’t falter, I’ll do this for Hadley, for Adam. Simon set his reinforced metal briefcase on the wooden sill, unclicking each latch before opening it. A shiver of dark anticipation chilled Simons back, fraying his sense of self. He moved to where Clifton’s IV stand and cut the flow of the sedative. Just a few minutes now. A chorus of voices whispered sub-audibly, encouraging Simon’s dissociative haze of vindictive-lust. The briefcase contained several chemicals, neurotoxins, nerve agents, and laxatives.

Smiling, Simon grabbed both laxatives and placed them beside the briefcase. The vials were labeled  and .  Next, he grabbed a mid-volume syringe with an oversized needle. Simon opened each tube of laxative, then drew half of  into the syringe. I do love this one, if the math is right, and it is, his large intestines will reabsorb around 700% more water. That’s roughly equal to taking six medically effective doses of MiraLAX. Carefully angling the syringes needle into the air, Simon compressed the laxative a tad, too much of  could kill a person, so it was important to get the dosage right. Simon drew approximately four milliliters of  before compressing the rest of the needles volume and checking for air.  was a bulk-forming laxative that ensure Clifton’s discomfort would be maximal. By combining the two laxatives, Clifton would almost immediately empty his entire bowel, solidly, and be forced to sit in his own filth. He may also vomit shit, a nasty side-effect. Intestinal spasms are a bitch. He’ll be fine though, as long as I keep him hydrated enough to keep the shock away.

As Clifton began to stir, Simon went to loosen his restraints, syringe in hand. Not so loose that he could escape or wreck his IV, but enough to struggle. The bearded man called out “What are you doin?”

Annoyed, Simon shouted over his shoulder, “Remember when you told me to tell if you if anything was out of order? Please stop commenting.” The bearded man didn’t respond as Simon pulled Clifton’s shirt over his head. He palpated Clifton’s abdomen, feeling for the duodenum of the small intestine. Cruelly, Simon forced the large needle into Clifton’s skin until he felt the intestine rupture. Carefully, he released the solution as Clifton groaned, starting to stir. As he removed the syringe, careful not to damage Clifton’s intestine further, Clifton began to shout in pain and confusion.

Smiling unkindly, Simon pulled the smaller man’s shirt down before taking three slow steps backwards and observing his prey. Clifton looked at Simon, eyes wide, and half choked, “Where the fuck am I? Who are you, what’s wrong with my stomach? It hurts!” Simon felt an unapologetic rush of euphoria, reveling in his own perversion. “Ugh, my stomach, what is that feeling?”

“Well, that’s a lot of questions, Clifton, how about you answer some of my questions first, then we can consider yours, I think that’s fair.” Simon responded, flatly, eyes dead, and lips snarling.

Desperately, Clifton said, “I’ll answer anything you want me to answer, man, I don’t know anything though.” Clifton suddenly screamed in pain. “My stomach, help me!”

Shaking his head condescendingly, Simon said, “You do, actually.” Clifton blushed as he released a large amount of gas, violently soiling himself. “Does the name Adam Sheffield ring a bell?” Clifton’s face froze, suddenly stoic.

Jaw tight, he responded, “Yeah, he’s the kid that lady buckled into the car seat wrong.” How dare you.

Simon spit on Clifton and shouted, “You ran the red! Your blood alcohol content was point two-six percent!” Clifton shouted in agony as another stool passed. “You killed my son, Clifton…You can’t even take responsibility for that? My wife slit her wrists because of what you did!”

Shaking in fear, Clifton stuttered, “So…wh..what are you going to d..do to me?”

Scowling, Simon answered, “I’m going to teach you how resilient the human body is to death.” As Clifton started screaming at the bearded man for help­–Help that will never come–Simon moved to his briefcase, removing a small vial of an augmented muscular neurotoxin he’d labeled . Simon set the  on the table before removing his smallest syringe, the one with a child’s needle attached. He drew exactly point three milliliters of the  into the syringe before compressing the syringes remaining volume. Clifton had quieted considerably after the first thirty seconds of screaming for help. He hung his head in a mixture of defeat and exhaustion as Simon approached.

Pleading, Clifton said, “I’m sorry man, I fucked up, I shouldn’t have been driving. I never meant to hurt anyone, I had a problem.” He suddenly looked up to Simon, eyes wide. “It was my friends twenty-first and we were showing him a good time, you…you gotta believe me, I never meant to hurt you or your family.” His eyes were streaming tears.

Simon’s mouth curled into a disgusted grimace, as he spat, “Now if only you’d told the court that, you wouldn’t be here, would you?” Simon walked around the right side of Clifton’s chair, syringe in hand.

“What are you doing, please man don’t hurt me!” Clifton shouted, struggling against his restraints.

Chuckling, Simon said, “If you keep struggling like that, Clifton, you’re going to hurt yourself more.” Simon grabbed Clifton’s under-chin, forcing his head backwards, and brought the syringe to Clifton’s left eye. Clifton, understanding, stopped his wild movements, and screamed as the needle entered his iris. Unapologetically, Simon injected the neurotoxin, before removing the needle. Simon walked back around the chair to get a better look as Clifton’s eye started to dart in random directions. Clifton was still screaming, his voice cracking as his chords chaffed. Now he understands what he’s done. A thin stream of blood started to trickle from Clifton’s spasmodic eye.

Four minutes later, Clifton’s eye had slowed its seizure-like spasms. His screams had dwindled to scratchy gurgles, his voice near death. Shivering, he looked to Simon and pleaded, “Please, just kill me now.” His right eye was looking, pleading into Simon’s eyes, while his left eye had rolled down, ceasing any coordinated movement.

Grinning malevolently, Simon responded, “But, we’ve only just started. And to be honest, I paid good money for our appointment here today. You still have to experience at least two deaths to make up for what you’ve done.”

“You’re fucked!” Clifton screeched, mournfully. I know.

Daily Blog 9/15/17

Had to take another day off because of school, work, and volunteering. This chapter kicks off Act 2 as we find out what happened to the drunk driver. It’s a very symbolic chapter, in that we see Simon outside of his happy-go-lucky state. He’s descending.

Enjoy!

 

XIV

February 22nd, 2017-Simon

 

The funeral had been a quiet affair. Simon’s extended family had come to Adams funeral, leaving for their respective states a day or two later. They were all so, terribly sorry they couldn’t make the trip again, not for Hadley. The excuses had all been the same, I can’t take off work, I can’t afford another plane, can’t you have it closer to us? Each call, each message, had reinforced the icy fire, a brutal tyrant reigning over Simon’s esophageal cavity. The ice festered outside the tyrant’s region, pulling its tentacles into every part of his being, erasing any emotion that previously resided. The fire, well the fire never left his throat. It burned, slowly consuming his soul, his thoughts, his mind.

Simon stood, alone, over Hadley’s open casket. He wanted to cry, he couldn’t, not anymore. She’d left him, sparking an ever-growing void inside of him, a void, that was winning. Softly, Simon asked, “Is this what you felt when Adam died, Hadley? Is this why you did it?” Moving closer, Simon took her right hand in his, turning it over, examining the scar. “You know, they really did try to clean you up, but you didn’t want that, did you? You needed to do something, anything, in retaliation for what had happened to Adam. You needed to send a message, I’m sorry I never listened, never understood. But I do now. You see, I need to do something too.” Leaning down, Simon brushed her cold cheek, softly kissing her ice-dead-lips before standing back up. “I’ll make him pay, for Adam, for you. I’ll make things right, no matter what.”

Simon closed Hadley’s casket. For a moment, he stood there, letting the fire deepen its roots. Simon turned towards the small mausoleums entrance, and walked. This…hate. I’ll use it to make things right. Simon nodded to the short coroner, signaling Hadley’s decent into the cruel and murky earth. As Simon walked toward his black McLaren, he flipped open his family phone. There was a new voice-mail from his brother, Tom. The verdict of the Bud Clifton trial was set to be reached this morning. Chest tightening, Simon pressed play, and listened.

Tom’s sullen voice played over the phones small speaker “Simon, not great news. They hit Clifton with the DUI and revoked his license, but the jury bought the defenses argument. Their claiming that Adam must have been in his car seat incorrectly, the way it flew forward.” The fire raged, pulsating like a malignant tumor that’s found its way into the lymph, fraying Simon’s nerves. “They used Gia’s survival against us. He’s not going to prison, Simon. They’re going to let him off. I don’t understand it. I’m sorry.” The fire, metastasized, consuming Simon, utterly. Immolating, Simon roared, throwing the phone into his car. World turned red, he punched the passenger side window of his McLaren, shattering it. His hand bled, but the ice numbed the pain. It was nothing, not compared to the blaze.

A voice whispered, we need to take matters into our own hands, the court is useless.

Another voice chimed in, let’s hurt him, bad, like he hurt Hadley. Let’s kill him, like he killed Adam!

A chorus of voices, now, we need to isolate him, torture him, hurt him like he hurt us, we will teach him that actions have consequences, choices have meaning, teach him what pain is.

Feeling empowered, Simon walked around the front of his car, opened the door and got in. Flatly, Simon whispered, “Bud Clifton, I find you guilty of murdering my son, and driving the one person I loved more than life to suicide.” Simon turned the ignition, and sped out of the parking lot, tires screeching as drifted right onto the county highway. “May whatever god you put your faith in have mercy on you, because I won’t.” The voices egged him on, feeding the vindictive, sullied, blaze.

Born of Frost

The PDF has the intended formatting: Born of Frost——>Click for PDF Version.

____________

Born of frost,
Through winter’s cross,
And summer’s burning moss.
They laughed and jeered,

Twelve foot tall,
A thousand thrall,
Skin an ice-plate wall.

Now they cry in fear.

Deathly glacier,
A cruel-dawn’s slaver,
Draconian martyr,
Rapturous erasure.

Beware my dear,

The towering eolith,
No man or myth,
Fear our moiré; WinterSmith.

_______

Thanks for reading!

Read the related short story here: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/12/wintersmith-updated/

WinterSmith (Updated)

Karl Wight felt a smile creep across his face as the orderly undid his restraints, moving to open the old iron gate. Today’s the day. Freedom. The wind flew into Karl’s old bomber-jacket with reckless abandon, needling his flushed cheeks. This is what the world feels like. Alive. The old gate complained loudly as the orderly struggled to push it open, muttering “Damned frost…Just had this thing fixed last week.”

Karl liked the frost though, reminded him of the good old days. God, I miss that old farm. Preparing the fields for every harsh winter was more fun than harvesting ever was. The cursed, familiar, tightness choked Karl’s Heart. He’d felt it, craved it, every night he spent in Bridge-Brook Asylum. Nostalgia. He’d been trained to forget the old days, encouraged to destroy the memories by his physician, Dr. Crest. Flashbacks of Crest’s office started to seep into Karl’s periphery. Hand’s shaking, he pushed the bad thoughts away, looked forward to the orderly motioning him out the gate, and walked forward. What now?

Karl knew how Crest would answer that question. He’d speak sternly, executively, trying to hide the fact that Karl disgusted him. Karl heard Crest’s voice echo “Now Karl, you must simply move forward. What happened in the Great War is over. Your friends will never come back, and to accept this truth is to be cured. These harmful delusions are crutches, a bridge to a past we must burn, together.” But I don’t want to lose my friends, lose the good times. They make me feel, something, anything. But Karl had nodded, accepting Crest’s words,

accepting Crest’s pharmaceuticals,

and accepting Crest’s apathy.

Anything to feel the breeze on my face, just one more time. Two years of swallowing Crest’s orders had led to this day. Was it two or three? No matter, I’m out now. The January forest surrounding Bridge-Brook was breathtaking. The leaves, long dead, had vacated their summer homes. Leaving the simple, frail, and beautiful skeleton of each monstrous tree to dream alone. Thousands of branches hibernating under a viscid coat of fresh snow, layered over older, frozen snow. That old snow, frozen into long and perilous icicles, could fall at any moment. When will I fall? Have I fallen, just now rising?

A brown flash of movement caught Karl’s eye as he continued down the snow-caked drive. A lone fawn? Poor thing. Where are your parents? Who cares for you now? As quickly as the fawn had appeared, it retreated into the icy kingdom, leaving soon-to-be-filled hoof-prints. How can something so beautiful, this Winter-gust, be so destructive? You, who designed this crystalline palace, what was your aim?  The asylums drive widened as Karl continued, revealing a little-traveled county road. The village lies beyond. I’ll go find a phone, dial my Pa. Tell him the good news, let him know his son is better.

Karl paused, examining the small village before him. It looked near-deserted, a thick frost enveloping most aspects of the village. The modest homes had the same layers of snow and ice. It’s different though, this human forest can never compare to nature’s. But, I suppose human creation is a type of nature. Karl continued his walk towards the village, setting his sights for a small tavern at the top of a hill, near an elaborate Victorian-style church. Something just feels different about it, the layers of snow resting on the trees, were beautiful, natural. Here, it screams death, life-lost, cold. It was cold before, but it was ordered. Now it’s attacking these homes, imposing its icy-reign. Is that the point, WinterSmith? Do you hate Humans, do you wish to desecrate our hovels, the way we desecrated your sister-summer? Maiming your trees, hunting your denizens to extinction?

Karl reached the log-built tavern, hesitating outside the door, anxious. What do I say to him, say to mom? They left me here, said they’d come back. They didn’t, but I understand, I forgive them. Will they want to talk to me now…now that I’ve been fixed?

Karl steeled himself, and swung the carved-oak door wide, exposing himself to what lay beyond. As Karl walked in, one of the two men at the bar looked up, scowling, before quickly averting his gaze. No surprise there. Karl studied the homie interior of the pub, looking for a phone. The hostess approached Karl, and said “Hey, you’re going to have to leave. Your kind ain’t welcome here.”

Karl nodded, responding “I’m sorry, I really need to use a phone, I’m stranded out there.” The hostess bit her lip, looking Karl up and down, before nodding to her right towards a small payphone. Karl smiled, gratefully, and turned to the phone. Karl checked his pockets, pulling out two nickels. Reaching the phone, Karl inserted the two nickels, picked the phone up, and dialed his father’s land-line. (843)732-1228. Karl shifted away from the patron giving him a dirty look as he listened to the phone ring.

On the fourth ring, a man picked up, asking “Hello?” That’s Danny. He sounds…older.

“Hey Danny, it’s Karl. I’ve been released, was hoping I could talk to Pa, if he’s around.” Danny started, stuttering, and falling silent. “What was that? Is Pa there, Danny?”

Slowly, Danny responded “Pa’s dead, Karl, he’s been dead for six years, you know that.” No. Six years? No, he can’t be dead.

Burning tears welled in Karl’s eye’s as he asked “Danny, I don’t remember that, how…how did he die?”

Karl could hear Danny stifling tears over the line, “Karl, you locked him in his shed, the frost got him. Remember? That’s why you went to Bridge-Brook.” Danny’s voice faded, cruelly morphing into a dial-tone.

The man from the bar called to the hostess, shouting “Look, that Negro ain’t even talking to nobody, I can hear the dial-tone from here! He’s probably one of those Bridge-Brook nutters, escaped or something! Kickem out, I can’t stand the smell of them.” Karl dropped the phone, before falling to his knees, tears falling. Why…WinterSmith?

The hostess approached, wearing a concerned, not un-kind expression. She helped Karl to his feet, ushering him to the tavern-door. Face flat, tears streaming, Karl said “I’m s…sorry. Thank you for your kindness” before exiting. The hostess closed the door behind Karl, as he looked around, assessing his options. Freedom isn’t as easy as you’d think. Eyes fixating on the dense forest to the right of the village, behind the old cathedral, Karl walked.

Half-way to the forest, Karl’s tears froze, mouth parting into a small smile. It’s not so bad. Pa’s still up in heaven looking down on me. WinterSmith couldn’t have meant to hurt me, he wouldn’t. Smile widening as his face numbed, Karl walked past the first set of trees, admiring the kingdom’s gates. Every part of this forest, every detail, is perfect. If only I could have been perfect, like this. Teach me, WinterSmith. I know you won’t leave me. Karl sat against a large oak, then, unzipping his bomber-jacket, letting WinterSmith’s frost enter him, engulf his senses. He looked up, examining the dense web of snow-layered branches, forming an indescribably complex pattern. Not even Michelangelo could make sense of that pattern. It’s the ultimate painting, the only reality. Today is the best sort of day.

Then, the world shattered. The sky shifted from painted blues to a deep, malevolent, purple and black. A half-smile crept from the left corner of Kurt’s mouth as his eye’s widened in anticipation. He’s here. Karl heard thunder to his right, turning in surprise, he shuddered, taking in the gigantic husk-like creature pulling itself out of a tree. It was at least twelve feet tall, with tight metal horns curling behind each of its long ears. Thick and glossy wood-ice veins traced up and down the creature’s skinless frame. As it struggled to free itself from the tree’s bark, blood-stained white fur started to grow, covering its wounds. Freeing itself from the tree, it roared, mouth opening unnaturally wide, cracking, as its eyes folded into themselves. WinterSmith…you came!

 Suddenly, as the creature turned to Karl the forest grew eerily quiet. Silently, it’s long legs covered the twenty-meter distance in a few strides. Euphoric, Karl pushed his knees under his core, looked up to WinterSmith, and let his arms fall limply to his sides. Reverently, he asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” WinterSmith’s dolichocephalic skull fell left, resting on his left, bulbous, shoulder. Am I good enough? Is he judging my sins? WinterSmith’s arms were now covered in the beautiful and glistening snow-colored fur. He raised his left arm, extending his long and pointed claws, and gently rested them on Karl’s shoulder.

Abruptly, Karl’s elation morphed to a rotten, scathing, pain. What’s happening? My…my bones…they’re moving! Karl let out a scream accented by tears and a clawing agony, as his insides started to re-arrange. The pain blinded Karl, as his ribs expanded, inverted, and broke through his burning flesh. Thick brown fur started to replace his gouged and broke flesh as his heels extended and became one with the balls of his feet. The pain stopped, momentarily, and Karl rested on his back, looking up at the portal-like black sky. Is this what you needed, WinterSmith? Okay. Karl convulsed as all ten fingers simultaneously broke and started to shift forward, elongating. The bones pushed through his finger-tips, forming sharp points, as his jaw unhinged, shattering. Make me the instrument of your will, please…

 

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Thanks for reading, part 2 and original artwork coming soon!

A Serious Question #1

Is there anything more frightening than looking in the mirror, only to find a shadow cast?

The last of a mass where you lost your past, hoping against hope you can forage a new path.

Do you burn who you were,

rise through pain,

with nothing but hope to lose,

and a life to gain?

Do we need more?

 

 

The first step is always the hardest.