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The Impressionst's Piece (Unreviewed)[]

Title: The Impressionist's Piece

There was this painting on my Parents' home's wall that I couldn't stand to look at. It's not particularly poor or without effort, a lot of effort went into it as clear as day. A use of impressive short and long strokes alike, a wide-ranged, but fairly well-blended palette, and angles pleasing to the eye. The way it turned out is what irks me. It depicted a man who looked as if he was blood related to a camel or a horse, rather than a human being.

His face was long and had a mouth with thin lips that would be more adept for a cartoon character to fit in, but it was in the place of someone trying to be depicted in the style of French impressionism, so it just looked out of place. The eyes in general irked me most in terms of the character. They were like wet blackberries in the sun, just a weird cluster of slightly differing black shades with a split-shine in the reflection of its soulless eyes. I liked to call him the “Camel-face” when I was young.

Thanksgiving rolled around, and my mother wasn't taking the process of going into her older years well. My Dad had told me she had been hallucinating all sorts of bizarre creatures every night, whether in her nightmares, night terrors, or weird and brief hallucinations as she would wake up. She was under the conviction every day as she lived that she was going to go to Hell after she died, and the Devil himself was tormenting her in some sadistic glee to rub it in.

She seemed to have started to believe in some sort of weird predestination theory despite being a Catholic all her life. It was hard to watch when she would freak out about it, very hard. Dad, on the other hand, was no different, if not, healthier despite his age. That dinner, there was an elephant in the room between me and Dad over it as my Mother kept her disposition to herself.

I noticed a few new pieces on my Dad's wall. They were some pleasant-looking looking set-pieces of fruit and farm tools across the wall. My Dad seemed to be trying to cultivate an old, nostalgic atmosphere in the house for my Mom, as they had modeled the room to a point more akin to her earlier life. I had noted how much it looked like her own childhood home before my Grandma on my mother's side passed onto her eternal life.

Dad told me in a whisper that he hoped with the state of her worsening schizotypal delusions mixed with her fatalistic beliefs about her own damnation, the home would remind her of when she was a young child when she was surrounded by a loving Catholic mother when Priests would be commonplace at family gatherings, and when she would play in her little agrarian world, amongst the hay bales and would tend to horses and pigs like they were household pets.

That night I sought to tweak my worsening sleep schedule since the drive. I had to get up very early that day, about 1 AM, to go from Indianapolis to New Hampshire. I had slammed at least 2 C4s and a Zero Sugar Sprite in just 1 hour when I was in Vermont and had to make constant restroom stops as a result. Before I faced my childhood bed, I passed by the long, rectangular canvas I used to ritually jerk my head away from like I would be blinded just giving it one glance.

It was the portrait of the ‘Camel-faced’ man in all its uncanny glory. All these years later, I still was enraptured with the same primal abhorrence I had gotten looking at it. It would always sit adjacent to the wall outside my room in the hallway when I was a kid. It creeped me out with the door open the few nights I would accidentally leave it open to the point I’d pass out hiding under the blankets. Although these days, I acknowledged then such irrational childhood fears weren’t likely to manifest now with the mind of a developed-minded adult.

An old childhood impulse came second nature as I shut my door and placed a heavy chair in front of it, from years of paranoia the door would swing open and the Camel-faced man would stare me down or get me in the middle of the night. It was about 10 pm, 5 hours after dinner had passed. It was a little too late for my usual schedule, I would usually go to bed around late 7-8 because I would have to be up at 5 for work, at least that pulse lingered on in my vacation. Nothing good would ever come out, mild or severe, of keeping an inconsistent schedule these days, even if it was a vacation, the drowsiness that would ensue in the morning irritated me. I felt myself slip into the darkness of REM sleep 40 minutes after hopping in bed.

An indecipherable amount of time had passed by when I woke up, but if I had to judge, it had to be mid to late early morning when I awoke. The room was dark, like a thick coat of factory soot blew over everything in the room.

There was little sound to be picked up by the ear when I came to the strange consciousness I did. I could hear the house settle, little noises of groans and creaks I had been used to, but always used to attribute to the "evil" painting outside my door when I was a kid. I couldn't smell anything, my nose was clogged due to the dust in the room, so I was mouth-breathing as I awoke in this state.

The consciousness I had awoken to, the real world, felt odd. I felt like I had been pressured down by invisible concrete blocks onto my bed, I couldn't move. I could feel nothing in my arms or legs, it was like I didn't even have them. I wanted to speak as I panicked. I couldn't in this compromised state, all I could let out were little, slight squeaks, as if I were a mouse.

I couldn't even feel my eyes move. I could see the world before me but couldn't move my eyes. It was as if someone had lobotomized me. I couldn't feel life anywhere in my body, consciousness, yes, but no life. Here I was a limp man over his old childhood bed. The average person in sleep paralysis, in consolation of their inability to move and communicate, would know what they were seeing would probably not last long, and that none of it was real. I had thought the same as I had seen the door open.

There it was, the damned painting of Camel-face, over in its dark shroud. Even in the pitch darkness its murky and mute tones of blacks and dull, lifeless strokes of dark green and maroon surrounding the man, stood out like a sore thumb. The man's face had a skin tone that was so very dark orange in where it was shaded, and pale yellow, nearing on white like a pneumonia patient where it was light, all holding onto dark, black eyes without the white of the sclera. He still held his expression of contempt in his vale of inhumanity. Forever to judge and be beholden to the real world in his canvas. My brain was in dissonance with what I wanted at that moment as it began to attach to the intrusive thoughts and imaginations about the eerie piece.

Within what was like a blink of an eye that didn't happen, I was stuck in place as I began to watch the likeness move. It blinked once, and slowly lunged forward as if the canvas were a window-frame. It proceeded to crawl down from the canvas, leaving behind a trail of the same colors he was depicted with. He slid down the wall like a lifeless man thrown against the wall by some violent force. As soon as I could catch a glimpse of the hallucination's full self, I saw it had no legs, its entirety was as depicted in the painting.

It didn't move as if it was without life, sitting in a leaking, puddle of the mixed oil paints across the cold, wooden floor before it jerked upwards like a defensive caterpillar being touched. It came to face me and stared, with those same soulless eyes, into mine. It began to crawl violently towards my unmoving self, like an angry infant, with the same puddle trailing its every grip forward.

Every slam of its hands into the ground was as loud as an explosion. Slowly, but surely, it made it from the cold wood floor of the hallway, to the rug floor of my childhood room. As it moved, I vividly watched how it was like a projection of some surreal animation in the real world, it didn’t look like a real-world molded entity with visceral, coherent movements, it was almost like a cloudy blur of brush-strokes and dull colors nearing me with each pull towards my position.

It disappeared for a moment before I saw its clammy, cold-paletted hands, slowly quiver over the bed before clutching onto the mattress. There, in the moonlight of the early morning sky, the giant face of the man in the painting, long, thin, humanoid, and staring with its blackened eyes, rose over the horizon of my bed painfully, but slowly upward. It began to crawl over me, leaving its trail of dark browns, pale reds, and blacks darker than the night of the room, and straddled my arms and legs down. At that moment, I felt like I would be possessed by it, or have my jugular ripped through as if the creature was a bear. It only proceeded to stare into my eyes before opening its mouth.

God, its mouth was horrid, there were no teeth, and it expanded large, almost like a basking shark's, but I couldn't see any detail within, it didn't even have a gradual shade from the innards of its cheeks to wherever it had, if it even did, have a throat. It let out a scream that didn't sound like one voice, but a collective mass bewailing of angry, despairing, and frightened voices. They had no words to speak to my limp self, they just screamed, before the thing lunged into my face. The last thing I remember before going dark again was the smell of sulfur and linseed.

In what felt like hours as the world went to black, like clockwork, the world was, to my relief, blue-skied and sunny again, unshackled from the dark of the night. As I stared upwards at my wall, once dark from night, I could feel a sense of relief knowing whatever happened last night was surely not real. I caught my breath and felt my beating heart. I could feel as it went from what felt like a beat so fast I thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest, to a moderate pace, no longer tainted by the fright of a bizarre and early death.

As I could feel the movement of blood to my arms and legs again, and could feel the crust in my eyes go away from being able to blink, I placed my eyes onto the door before me where the painting would lay. I was frozen in place as I could see that the portrait of the Camel-faced man was without its central figure as depicted, and a trail of muted and dull colors, black, pale yellow, and vivid orange splotches, going from the floor below it to the edge of my bed, and all over my clothes I had slept in. To my left, the trail of paint had been smeared up my wall and out an open window…

ETibiPater22 (talk) 17:54, 28 April 2024 (UTC)This is my signing of this draft, I think.

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