As the rain thrummed on, I moved to stand by the front door. I wanted out. The sheer balefulness of the place disturbed me. My hives were hatching hives of their own and I kept glancing swiftly from side to side as if there were moving things on the edges of my field of vision. “True, could this place be haunted?” My voice had a shrill, tinny ring to it.
True looked at me, his big yellow eyes shining with excitement, “I suppose it could be. Might ‘splain why folks left it in such a hurry.”
I watched True carefully crunch his way through the rat turds to the dusty stone fireplace. Above the hearth was a painting that looked like it didn’t belong there. It took me a moment to realize what first gave me that impression, but then I noticed the cobwebs stopped short before reaching it. Apparently the spiders in this house had no eye for art. True clambered up on the hearth to get a better look, I was starting to shiver now inside my damp flannel shirt.
“Bernie,” he shouted, “Man, come and look at this.”
“No. I want to go home now. This place gives me the creeps. Come on, let’s get out of here.” My voice wavered to a scratchy whisper -- the longer we remained inside that house; the more hives erupted on my body. Only now I was too scared to scratch. I felt as though I needed to stay alert. Like there was something dangerous crouching unseen in the dusty corners of this old house – just outside my line of sight. Lurking . . . waiting . . .
“Man have you ever seen anything like this before? It’s the most amazing painting I’ve ever seen. It took me a while . . . but . . . well, com’ere and see for yourself.”
“What is it?” Eyes darting in all directions, I reluctantly scrambled up beside him. “What’s so special about it? Just a picture of Pancake Rock. You drew one yerself. I don’t see what yer so all fired worked up about . . . “
That’s when I saw them.
The painting, at first looked like an average work of art done in muted earthy tones of olives, golds, and browns, but when I looked just right . . . unfocused my eyes just a little bit . . . I saw them.
Hundreds of eyes were painted in with such skillfulness that to the average looker they melted into the scene with a watchful repugnance that made my skin crawl, hives or no hives.
Continued in the next post
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