Black paint like tadpoles

Norman stood back and shook his head.

The girl smiled at him, eyebrows raised from behind the easel.

“Lovely my dear,” he lied, “just lovely”.

The girl giggled then resumed her serious stance.

DCF 1.0

Norman resumed his position, and dipped the Windsor & Newton sable brush into the cool water, sending swirls of black paint like tadpoles in a pool, before patting it into the skin-pink oil. He dabbed at the girl’s neck then touched the canvas lovingly with a finger as if touching her skin.

He shuddered and closed his eyes.

“You alright, Mister?” the girl asked in her broad East London accent.

Norman opened his eyes and fixed a smile which she replicated and straightened her neck, wrapping the red velvet cloak tighter around her naked frame.

She was a similar age to Evie but slightly taller, thinner and he couldn’t get the proportions right. He should have waited, found the right girl, found Evie. But he knew that would never happen, there was no coming back from death. So he had to make do.

He watched her look around the room.

“You like blondes then,” she said, monotone, neither statement nor question. Norman watched her chest rise and fall as she let out a sigh.

As he made the finishing crimson touches, she started to fidget, rotating each shoulder discreetly in turn.

“Mister, are we…?” she started then stopped as Norman nodded.

He watched impassively as she let the cloak drop to the ground, stepped out of it then dressed into her servant’s uniform. His eyes followed her as she walked towards him and the painting.

“Oh,” she said, staring at it, mouth open as if waiting for medicine. She then shrugged her shoulders, took the money he offered and left the room.

Norman added his signature, placed the brush reverently on the palette and followed her, vowing to never paint again.


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