She painted with broad strokes, making loud statements in bright colours. Stepping back, she wiped her fringe away from her eyes with the back of her hand and squinted at the canvas. It didn’t feel right. She glanced at the open windows, wondering why the sunlight seemed to have dimmed when it was too early for dusk. The horizon seemed to have blurred – was it her eyesight, or was it the haze? She put down her brush and closed the windows, drawing the curtains before turning on the studio’s lights. In the harsh fluorescent light, the painting looked even more garish.
He watched her pacing from the couch, counting her steps. One, two, three, four, pause. One, two three, turn. Her steps were unsteady, unlike the rhythmic tick of the pocketwatch lying on his bare chest counting down the seconds of his life. How long more did he have? He wriggled his fingers, trying to get blood into them again.
“Why won’t it come out right?” she threw the brush down.
He watched the paint splatter; a bright red that started to streak towards him as the brush rolled across the floor. “What’s it supposed to be?” he asked, his voice cracking a little from disuse.
“My soul.” She turned to him and flushed. The thin blanket had slipped to the floor, exposing his naked form.
“Use more black.”
“As if you’d know. You’re not an artist.” She crossed the studio floor, bending to pick up her brush where it had stopped right in front of him. She leaned over and kissed him, harshly, desperately.
“I’m hungry,” he said sullenly when she finally pulled away.
She rolled her eyes. “All I have is cereal.”
“I haven’t eaten all day.”
“Neither have I and I’m not complaining.”
“You’re not eating by choice. I’m not.”
She patted his cheek, leaving a smear of paint. “You won’t be hungry much longer.” She got up and went back to her painting.
He listened to the tick of the clock as he struggled against the ropes that bound his hands and feet. He was running out of time.
This prompt, "The Evil Within", comes to you from The Writer's Tower.
Why do I keep freaking myself out?