Daily Creative Writing Practice - She Painted [Short Story]
My daily practice of bringing depth to simple sentences...
She knew no harm would ever come to her again, as the gaze from it stared down. Surveying all who entered the sanctuary of her home. Features stiff from having an intimate understanding of life and death.
She looked up at it giving a nod of approval. It simply grinned back in acknowledgment but kept to its task of forever watching. Forever watching her, as a personal protection against the ills of man. Especially being a now single lady and living all by herself in the flats of Priory Court. An area in Walthamstow that had received no such luck in being modernised like the surroundings of Walthamstow Central, which had been changed to attract a new demographics of flowing print dresses and tight fitting chinos.
Priory Court though remained unchanged. Hoods up and trousers low, the fatigue of a new generation of youth following the footsteps of idolised fallen soldiers. Here, Prosecco was swapped for Hennessy and the idea of owning a home filled with petty cash was dashed for a culture of shotgun ride out's and petty thefts.
For her though, her living had been day to day, the luxury of choice lost to her. Someday's she'd go without putting her electric on, just so she'd have enough money left for a warm meal. Though Tesco's ready made lasagna could hardly be called soul food. It was more something to distract from the hunger pains she'd get throughout the days.
The universal credit scheme meant that she'd found herself in the very difficult position of having to juggle one expense for the other. Choosing between a cold home or a warm meal. Or if the money saved for sanitizer pads should, in fact, be used to replace worn knickers with holes the size of Oreo cookies.
It hadn't always been this way though, as when he'd been around she'd had someone to share the burden of running a two bedroom home with. Someone who held her tight at night when the pressures of inner-city London became too much for her. A companion who thought the world of her. Who if she asked, would find a way to soften concrete streets and ease the burden of her feet tired from working 15 hour shifts.
Much of her time had been spent talking to herself. Thinking of her past with him. Scared of a future without him. He'd been her protector. Both mentally and physically. Mentally showering her mind with words of soothing empowerment when she felt at her lowest. Acting as her iron guardian to lurking hooded teens. Who'd hang around the entrance of the flats. Faces as masks. As they waited for a victim to who they could showcase too, their world of extreme violence and pain.
She'd witnessed many a time from her flat, as hooded teens would mask wicked intent under the disguise of youthful innocence. A transformation of sorts. Instead of Clark turning to Superman. 16 year old Danny and his friends would transform into supervillains. Dictating their own version of street politics on any unfortunate passerby who dared show the audacity of using a nice phone or to have necks and wrists awash with jewelry.
When he'd been around, she had felt safe, but now all she felt was a spiraling unease, that shook her core. Eroding the fragility of her mind as extreme anxiety took residence. Made worse through the hushed calls of "mad woman" as she shuffled past the dark faces of dark youths.
When he, or Dre as she so affectionately would call him, passed away suddenly from having an extreme allergic reaction to a snapper fish she'd cooked him. Guilt had engulfed her psyche. The positive ending she once envisioned was now a rotten dream. Perishing with the remains of her rotting lover. Two people had died that day, him physically, her mentally.
His funeral acted as a planted seed that developed into her fear of life. A fear of living.
Where she use to see familiar faces in crowds and public places, over time everything became warped to her. Everything resembling screaming dark shadows.Entities which at first would console her with soothing words of compassion, helping her to get through her most troubled of times. But as she deteriorated physically, so too did the soothing kind words.
Eyes with sorrow turned to shock. Shock turned to disgust. Her world quickly declined into a single table for one. Secluded from the rest of humanity. Now a talking point of hushed conversations, of what you become when you lose the will to live.
Passing by the mirror of her home that reflected the clutter of her existence, the clutter of her mind that had been unable to see for so long. 6 months of time standing still. Lost to a world that resembled only shapes. Colours faded to grey. But that moment spent in reflection, brought back his words of encouragement. She'd heard his words "Be strong, things will get better." She'd asked, "how?" The words of her mind simply replied with "you know how."
That was the turning point that had brought her back from the brink, brought her mind back from the snap, that statistically, she was unlikely to recover from. Guess she was proof of miracles.
She smiled up at him. Thinking how even now after death he soothed her. He was forever hers and she forever his. She saw a blemish to him that she disapproved of. As it wasn't a true representation of the perfection of his flesh. She brought out a ladder setting it up near him. Bringing out the small tin of caramel latte egg shelled paint. Bringing out the fine brush used for intricate small pieces. A skill she'd only improved on, as she'd went through the process of redecorating her home. Restarting her life with him as its centerpiece.
The head that use to kiss her with passion. Given its own special high shelf. His significance there for all to see. Her brilliant strokes with the brush. Her research on embalming doing wonders in keeping him fresh faced. Keeping at bay mother natures desire of returning all things to earth. Of feeding rotten flesh into the bellies of wiggling fat maggots that birthed into flies that fed further on the helpless and deceased. A cycle of life.
But she was adamant that mother nature would have to find some other unfortunate victim. As he was hers. Her protector, an Angel sent from above. To guide her and soothe her long-troubled soul.
She added the final touches of paint to the skin, long since cold and kissed him with a smile, cementing their love. Cementing her commitment to him. Even after death.
Jerry - A dark, gritty thought provoking look into our modern day crisis. Buy the ebook for just 99p by clicking here
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