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Ophelia

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

Today's Prompt:

He's determined to make this his finest piece yet. Every other work has been practice to get to this point. All the failures, all the setbacks, all the discarded attempts would be justified by this piece. He'd learned his lessons, this time it would turn out how he envisioned it.

The first step was finding the right canvas. He'd learned the right canvas was key. It didn't matter how good his handiwork was, if the foundations were wrong, the piece was doomed to fail. It wasn't just the shape, as he'd assumed. The shape was, of course, important but it needed to be the right shade, the right complexion. It needed to be smooth, well-treated. Any imperfection would spoil the purity of his vision.

It would take him weeks to find it but he was patient. That was another lesson he'd learned. Patience is key. Too many pieces had been ruined by his breathless excitement to get started and it had led to many imperfect attempts. And he was tired of having to drive out to the forest every time. So he was patient.

He would drive around every night in his van, in the late hours when all the bars would close and people were heading home. These were the times that gave him the widest selection, where he would find the material he needed. His needs were particular. He wasn't even completely sure what he was looking for. He trusted he would know when he saw it. In the meantime, he would keep looking.

His luck paid off on a cold, November night. It was 4am, he was gearing up for yet another disappointing drive home when he saw it. Flawless. She was stood alone, some ways down from the bar, smoking a cigarette. Pale, but not too pale. Large, striking cerulean eyes. Elegant, straightened golden hair. Her long black winter coat draped down to her knee-high leather boots.

He gripped the steering wheel tightly as he felt his cheeks flush. He worked hard to keep his breathing under control as that familiar excitement began to roar from his chest. But before he would allow himself to lose himself to it, he knew he had to make sure. This is where it had gone wrong so many times before. He didn't want this to turn into yet another discarded piece.

He watched her finish her cigarette from behind his tinted windshield, never letting go of the steering wheel for even a second. She dropped the cigarette into the snow and stepped on it with the heel of her boot. Then, placing her gloved hands into her coat pockets, she walked down the street, away from him. She walked with a purpose, with a confidence and assuredness that made him more and more convinced he'd found the right canvas for his work.

Upon reaching the street corner, she hailed a taxi and got in That was when he realised he couldn't bear her leaving his sight. That was when he decided she was the one who would finally allow him to fulfil his vision. He followed the taxi, hardly able to contain his thrill, shifting about in his seat.

The taxi dropped her off in an upscale residential street. Expensive, high-rise flats. The street was deserted. After paying the taxi driver and watching him drive away, she walked to the front door of her building and lit up another cigarette. This was his moment.

He parked his car down the street and pulled a cigarette out of the glovebox. He liked the smokers. They were so much easier to acquire. He put the cigarette between his lips and stepped out the car. She was halfway through her cigarette when he approached asking for a light. The half cigarette went flying through the air as he suddenly and expertly pulled the chloroform rag out of his other pocket and covers her nose and mouth. Less than a minute later, the only sign that she was ever there is the slowly dying half-cigarette lying in the snow.

He's determined to make this his finest piece. As he gazes upon her figure tied down on the gurney, he can feel a sense of responsibility on him. He won't let this go to waste. The first step is to inject her with the paralytic. He doesn't want her struggling when she wakes up. But he does want her to wake up. She should know what she's a part of. He owes her that.

He opens her eyes. Those large, gorgeous eyes. He applies the eye dropper and makes a note to apply it regularly. He can't allow them to dry out. Not those eyes.

He gets out his other materials, to create his piece. The sewing kit. The fish bought fresh from the fishmonger that morning. The flowers and vines straight from the florist. He has it all. He has everything he needs to make his Ophelia.

He sews the fish into her skin. He starts on her waist and moves his way along her ribs, into her neck, her cheeks. He can see her toes tensing up. She's awake. He applies the eye dropper again and smiles lovingly at her. He knows she can't understand what he's doing but at least she can know she's making him happy.

He glues the flowers along her body and drapes her with vines. Finally he places the bouquet on her chest and rests her hands on them. He steps back to admire his work. It's perfect. Even perfectly still, she looks so very alive. He traces a loving finger across her cheek, admiring her alabaster skin. He can't believe he's finally done it. She just needs to be displayed.

He rolls the gurney out into his garage and into his van. As he drives out to the outskirts of the city, he can feel himself tearing up. Years of work were finally about to pay off.

He parks his van alongside the creek and pulls Ophelia out of the van. He also pulls out four straw bags filled with rocks and ties one on each corner of the gurney. He pushes the gurney out into the creek and watches it slowly sink. The last thing he sees before she sinks into the depths are her great, big, wide eyes staring back at him from under the water.

He sits on the edge of the creek and calls the police. It was time to see what the audience would think.

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