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Portraits

The door of the room creaked open slowly, as if in warning. In warning of what, the woman didn't know, nor would she have payed any heed if she did. She was too old for such things. She heard whispers of a voice long forgotten as she lit the candle on the small plate. Or maybe it was just her imagination, reminiscing the demons of her past.

She brushed back a strand of white hair that fell across her eyes, then walked slowly into the dark room, holding the plate with the candle tightly in her frail hands. The flame flickered, sputtered for an instant but held true, and the light allowed the woman brief glimpses at the eyes staring down at her from the walls. Some were angry and glaring, others happy and content, and still others, searching and demanding. All of them were the same shade of ocean blue.

The old woman gazed fleetingly at each pair of eyes as she passed, vague wisps of memory surfacing and disappearing again with each stare. She felt a sense of being young again, the warmth of a loving mouth on her neck, but when she turned, there was not even a ghost of a presence. She was alone.

Finally she reached the end of the long room. She reached out, groping for the window cord. She could see faint cracks of light coming from the window, creating stripes of illumination on the otherwise dark floor. Her wrinkled fingers grasped the cord, and she pulled gently, raising the blinds. Warm sunlight flooded the room. The woman turned slowly, and looked at each of the walls in turn, the remnants of a long broken smile on her face.

Each wall was completely covered with hand drawn portraits, sketched and shaded perfectly with fine colored pencils. They were taped up, in a desperate effort by an old woman slowly losing her grasp on the lines between her dreams and the waking world. Several layers of pictures covered each wall, overlapping each other. They all portrayed the same young man, handsome, with a length of curly blonde hair, his eyes blue and face full of the flush of youth.

The woman stood rooted to the spot for what seemed an eternity, looking at each picture one at a time, trying to take in as many as she could, staring into the blue eyes. Remembering the pencil strokes of each curve. The shading of each pupil. The pictures, and the way she drew them were all she had left to remember in the old and empty house.

With the utmost care, she set down the candle on the window sill, and unrolled the paper clutched in her other hand. She used the tape already sitting on the sill to hang it up among all the others. It was a near perfect likeness, much like its brethren. The old woman contemplated it for a few precious moments, then carefully picked up the plate on which the candle rested, rolled down the blinds, and quietly exited the room, the door creaking shut behind her.

As she walked slowly down the hall, she was suddenly struck with a thought. She froze for a full minute. Then two. Her eyes wide, she turned around, pulled open the creaking door once again and rushed to where she had hung up the picture. She held up the candle to it, careful not to light the paper. The face of the man was as she had drawn it. Lips full and perfect. Bridge of the nose fine and strong. With a trembling hand, she held the flame so she could look into the eyes. A gasp escaped her, and the plate and candle fell to the floor and shattered. The woman took a step back and a tear leaked down her face. The eyes were green.



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MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm:
Ooh. This is very chilling. Contains some Stehphen Kind elements. 
 
MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm :
King. My bad.
 
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