“I don’t know what you are doing to me, Mon Cherie.”
They always spoke to him at night. Some spoke in whispers, others in shouts. Some laughed, or cried, joked or threatened, but the end result was always the same. They would bleed into his dreams, and in turn his dreams would bleed onto the canvas, and the whole process would start anew the next day. His paintings sold, though not quickly enough for him to make a living from it. And they certainly did not sell quickly enough to give him any peace.
After one particularly loud night the painter took his four noisiest pieces (he recognized them by the color of their voices) into the marketplace and walked from stand to stand offering his wares to anyone who would take them. He didn’t ask money for a single one, and before long he had discarded each one at a different stand.
The next few weeks went by uneventfully for the painter. He would rise in the morning, dress, work, eat a meager meal, and when he could afford the materials he would paint. But no matter what one routine always remained the same: every night before bed the painter would carefully and quietly lock the door to the room that held his paintings. They were always quieter through a locked door.
My fascination with horror, twists, and thrillers began with the story “A Rose for Emily”, by William Faulkner. For those of you who haven’t read it, the story is about a woman still mourning the death of her husband after ten years. The story maintains a consistently spooky theme, until the twist is revealed: the woman kept her husbands decomposing corpse in her bed until the day she died and was found lying next to his skeleton. I remember slamming the book of short stories shut with a loud gasp and rushing from my room, goose bumps forming on my skin with a delightful shiver. Faulkner wove a fascinating tale, using several simple elements to formulate a gripping thriller.