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The Painting


He went to the museum every day it was open.  To stare.  Not to appreciate the art, to view the latest exhibit.  He only went to stare at it.  It didn’t start out that way of course, it began innocently enough, as these things often do, with the museum’s acquisition of Ivan Bilibin’s painting.  The man decided to go the the museum one day and view the Russian exhibit. But back then, he could view the other works and enjoy them. It’s a strange painting, the way He is depicted, viewed from the side, riding a horse, sword in hand, naked.  The man didn’t particularly like the painting, he just had to stare at it.  The museum staff didn’t know, he’d just wave and pay his fee and smile, but wouldn’t be able to relax until he got to the last area on the right, where it was.  That’s when the changes began.  One day he noticed that the background seemed a little dimmer than it had been, or perhaps the Subject a little brighter.  No need to worry he thought, it’s only natural that I should notice new things as long as I have been staring. A week or month later he noticed that the Subject sat up straighter and the horse had slowed pace.  He thought about pointing it out to the staff, but no doubt they would not see it.  The man slowly realized that he was seeing the gradual process of the horse stopping and Him sitting up, would he turn and stare back?  The thought of being looked at by Him was more than the man could bear, but he could not stop looking, he could not stop staring.  Gradually, His back got straighter, and the sword was lowered.  Odd no one noticed the changes. The horse stopped and He began to turn His head.  One day the man was found dead at closing time, no satisfactory cause of death was found by the coroner.  But I know how he died.  I am Koschei the Deathless, and I took his soul.


From → Fiction

  1. shannonelizabethhardwick permalink

    LOVE THIS! finally got round to adding you to my blog roll…now that I’m on vacation in sunny west texas, I plan on reading through EVERY one of your posts! I like your prose style.

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