Choice and Consequence (Artist)
Your parents tell you not to be artists for a reason. You must first ask yourself if you would want to buy drawings for a high price. Some people do for decorations for their house though others just hang up pictures of their family and moments in their life. There are few people that buy paintings and pictures regularly and even fewer that keep collections. This is why there are very few professional artists as why would you even think of buying a picture from a newbie? Sure it may look nice but you can’t do much with it. Drawings are less appealing to buy than something like a book, a movie, a video game, or even tickets to see a play. New artists will have to have a day job that keeps them going as they make art when they have time that may or may not pay off.
Alexander is a man who tries to draw as much as possible while he works as a simple teacher in a small rural community with nearby farms and hills. He teaches others how to draw art and gets paid enough to live in his small house and live equally as small. Though such a small life can give comfort to people due to its simplicity, others may not get the same experience and become warped.
On a spring afternoon as Alexander is about to leave to go home and draw, a student of his approaches him and says, “Excuse me! Can I ask you something before you go?”
“Of course. What is it Audrey?”
“I’m going to have to turn in an assignment late because of some important issues I must get done as soon as possible.”
“What’s so important?”
“I understand. I won’t count it as late as long as you don’t turn it in too late.”
“Thank you so much!”
“It’s no problem. Just come to me for help if you need help with your “issues” if need be.”
With his business with her done, Alexander goes home, picks up a pencil, eraser, and drawing paper and envisions a place, a moment in time that he wants to capture in paper. He closes his eyes to completely picture it and when he opens his eyes, he is in the place. A rusty old place that he feels a familiarity for. Questioning why he is here, he walks around it. Scratching noises are heard throughout the space then suddenly objects are placed in an area by an unseen creator. There are shelves, tables, and chairs that match the color of the area. Several draft drawings are scattered throughout with pictures of tortured souls in an uncomfortable space and places with objects like houses, plants, and glass cups that are drawn in a way that make them look alive somehow. They excrete an odor that starts to suffocate him. He tries to find a way out but can’t find a way. As he loses conscientiousness, he sees a woman with no facial features trapped in a painting, trying to claw her way out.
Alexander wakes up and sees that he’s finished another drawing. This one looks like the nightmare he just experienced though the woman trapped in a painting isn’t in it. He looks above on the wall and sees the painting of the trapped woman with her twitching in a spastic manner, which wakes him up again. He rubs his eyes and looks back to see the painting of someone special to him.
“Man I need to get some rest,” he says aloud to himself.
He gets a few hours of sleep before going to school later. Once there, he overhears that Audrey has gone missing. Her parents, the town’s police, and other townsfolk gather at the school to talk about this.
Her mother sees Alexander and asks him, “Have you seen Audrey?”
“She’s gone missing and any information you have will be useful,” a police officer says.
“I saw her last night. She told me that she would be turning in an assignment late because she had important issues to attend to. She didn’t tell you?”
“No, she didn’t even come home last night,” her father says.
“Well I don’t know anything else. I’m sorry.”
“You have to know something else, you were the last one to see her!” her mother says.
“Now calm down mam this is all Alexander knows and he’s trustworthy. We’ll check the school’s security cameras later to see where Audrey could’ve gone.”
“What about the town’s traffic cameras?” Alexander asks.
“There are very few in the town and we’re slowly getting more since our town is so small.”
The police and mayor get the town to calm down and reassure them that they’ll find where Audrey is and that they shouldn’t be too worried about her since the town is known to be peaceful with few violent incidents. Everybody goes back to their normal activities including Alexander who teaches his class like normal, but with a bit more nervousness due to the news of Audrey’s disappearance. His students notice this and worry for him as well as their fellow student. Alexander had an immense loss in the not so distant past and losing another girl worries him immensely.
After class, an officer goes to Alexander’s office in school and tells him that, “We found on the security cameras that she followed you after you left school.”
“She did? I didn’t notice.”
“You didn’t? You must know by heart each car everyone uses here since there are so few.”
“I’m sorry, but I guess I wasn’t paying attention. So where did she go after she followed me?”
“Don’t know. The cameras in town only recorded her following you and never straying away. Did she stop by your house by any chance?”
“Alright. We’ll investigate where she could’ve gone from the last point she followed you and search her room to see if she left something that could lead us to where she could’ve went.”
“Ok. I hope you can find her officer.”
Another day of work passes and Alexander goes home a bit earlier to draw to calm himself. He turns on some music, gets some pencils, eraser and a piece of paper and begins to imagine something to make. A simple plain forest. Now of course making a simple plain forest good to look at is something easier said than done especially if you want to make it as realistic as possible so he uses different techniques his teacher and best friend taught him. She taught him that you can make your mistakes help the drawing and even make them the best parts of it. Erasing can be used as a tool to draw details in and being confident while drawing is better than being tense and constrictive. After finishing the drawing, Alexander steps back from it to see what to fix and add, but when he does, he steps into the forest he made. It’s black, grey, and white because of the pencils he used. A strong wind blows through the leaves and gives Alexander a chill. He touches the trees and grass which feel like the rough paper he used but this is when they start shaking and screaming. Their screams slowly rise in pitch while their leaves fall to the ground and their sap bleeds from their bark. Frightened by this, Alexander runs away through the rapidly decaying forest and into the arms of the trapped woman which wakes him up.
The drawing is now redrawn into the decayed forest with a wandering woman in the distance. He sets the drawing aside, sighs, and wishes he could be in the arms of that familiar woman who loved him. He wishes he could have someone like that in his life. Despite spending hours on the drawing and daydreaming, he still has time to get at least four hours of sleep. After which, he does his daily routine and goes to work. At work, he sees the officer from before and questions him about Audrey’s disappearance.
He says, “We haven’t found anything new.”
“Oh, that’s disappointing.”
“By any chance, did you call Audrey while you were driving to follow you or something?”
“No. Again, I didn’t know she was following me before and what would I tell her to?”
“Just wondering. I’m just making up theories and scenarios to make sense of her disappearance. You’re the last one who she was with so you’re the only one we can question.”
“But you know I’m a trustworthy person. I would never do anything harmful to anyone.”
“Of course of course. Don’t take any questions I have for you too seriously. I’m just making stuff up in my head.”
“Well you better keep your head straight for the job. I’d like to know if you find her or not.”
“As does everyone else in town. I’ll do the best I can.”
Alexander is still worried about Audrey’s disappearance which shows to his students who feel the same as him. They try to comfort him as much as they can but there’s a problem with him that’s deeper than this. He appreciates their efforts with a welcoming smile and even pushes the due dates for some of his assignments further as a reward though the grading for them still remains strict. After school, he returns home feeling a bit better and ready for another drawing for his personal collection.
This time he thinks of the far away city he’s only seen in person a few times. The rest of the images come from pictures on the internet. He draws the buildings and skyscrapers in charcoal to capture the shadows they cast and the greyness of their structures. Despite being somewhat simple, this drawing takes him a while so when he’s done he exhales and makes himself dinner in the kitchen. When he finishes, he walks out of the kitchen and now he’s in the city he drew. He watches shadows of busy city people walk to places they need to be and the passing of endless cars in the streets. This place makes him feel so alone despite the high number of people in a single area. There’s no one who knows him here, no one who cares, no one who would think to care for this lost man. There was only one person who cared for him especially and she’s gone. She’s been gone for a while and it pains Alexander every day. There she is in the city, wandering the streets like he is though she seems to be entranced by it. She acts like she’s in a magical forest, spinning, smiling, and laughing like a child. This is to be expected from someone from the same town as Alexander and who can see beauty in all places like she has the eyes of God. Alexander could never really see things like she does so she needed to help him, she needs to help him now. He chases after her and she runs away. She giggles and laughs as if they were playing a game of tag. He is lead to a subway system which turns into a dark basement. A dark basement that lights up into a room made of skin and females with featureless faces stuck in the walls trying to get out. This wakes up Alexander again who wishes to purge these nightmares from his mind.
He checks his basement just to see if the dream was telling himself and can’t find anything out of the ordinary though he can’t help but always stare back at the humanlike female mannequins he keeps down there for sculpture drawings. Again, he does what he always does and goes to work. At the school, he meets Audrey’s mother who continuously bothers him about her daughter’s disappearance. He tells her what he told her before and she still insists for more. Audrey’s father takes his wife away to calm her down and apologizes for her actions.
“I’m sorry Alexander,” the officer from before says to Alexander, “The town isn’t used to things like this happening so please forgive them for jumping on you. You’re the only one they feel they can place any blame on.”
“Why’s that? I didn’t do anything.”
“Because you didn’t ask Audrey where she’s going or tell us why she was following you.”
“I told you, I don’t know that she was following me at all.”
“Ok, I get that. I’m just under as much pressure as you. The mayor of the town is also feeling it for not getting those other traffic cameras up in time for a situation like this. I’ll try to keep them off your back as much as I can while I talk to the neighboring departments to find Audrey.”
“Thank you so much.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Alexander feels even more under pressure today and yet again his students try to help him though some feel as if he’s holding something back, something that might relate to Audrey’s disappearance, however, they don’t press this on him. He leaves work the same way he did yesterday and feels the need to finish his perfect drawing. A drawing of the woman he loved.
He brings up a picture of a featureless woman and a special female mannequin who he forces upstairs. The mannequin fidgets and even makes creepy crying noises.
“Now stay still,” he says to it, “I need to make you perfect.”
He paints the picture while the world around him slowly decays into the world he used to know before he met her. She is who he thinks about all the time. She is who he thinks about when he sees his students. She is who he thinks about when he sees other women. She is who will be captured in all her perfection in this painting. She is also the featureless figure fighting his marks to give her back her amazing features. He sweats because of all the effort and emotions he puts into the work. The mannequin contorts and screams out in pain and sorrow though it cannot move from its place. He keeps the picture of her in his mind and capture the figure of the mannequin which gets sucked into the painting. It can’t fit into it so its limbs and body is broken until it is. All he needs to do to capture her, is to take one of his numerous photos of her and put them into the painting. Some of them show the pain and suffering she went through before she died. He can feel the same pain when he touches the photos and can even see her call out for help and his hands. He puts those away for happier pictures and captures all the details of her as he can and finally, he’s done. The picture is somewhat imperfect, but that’s how she taught him to draw.
He takes all the drawings he’s made so far and puts them in the car for later today to put in his studio which he transformed into his art exhibit for her. He goes to work and sees a few people outside it who accuse him of several things.
They say, “He kidnapped Audrey!”
“He told her on his phone to follow him so he could trap her in his basement or studio!”
“He’s acted strangely to his students after his wife died!”
“He’s a creep!”
“He’s always been a creepy loner until she entered his life so now he’s gone back to his old ways.”
Shocked and scared by this all, Alexander says in a quiet voice, “What are you all talking about? I would never do that!”
The crowd continues to yell at him until the officer from before drives in with someone they didn’t expect. Audrey is with him and explains to everyone where she was.
She says that, “I left the town for a surprise for everyone. I talked to a few people in the nearby city to spread the word about our wonderful town and bring more jobs and business here. It took me a while to get back because of the traffic and the amount of people I had to talk to and times I had to meet them.”
The town is in surprise, but thankful of Audrey’s commitment to the town and safety most of all. Alexander is freed of all guilt and is given apologizes by the many that accused him. He forgives them easily and the town throws a day long party for Audrey. With that pain out of the way, Alexander leaves the party late after helping to clean up and heads to his studio to drop off his drawings.
When Alexander was a child, he was alone in the town and would escape it to feel complete in his loneliness. This is when his wife, Rosalinda, approached him and took away his loneliness and showed him the beauty of the world. Alexander questioned her on how beautiful it is when such horrible things happen outside the town. Rosalinda said that these mistakes are what enhance the beauty of the world. She showed this in her drawings which she couldn’t do well, but she used her tendency to make mistakes to her advantage to the point where people mistook the mistakes for the best parts of the drawings. These two lived happily together until she unfortunately passed away early.
Her last words to Alexander were, “Out of all the beautiful works of art I made, you are the best one. Your mistakes and shortcomings give you great challenges that you overcame to make you into the great person that you are today, the greatest piece of art I could ever make with your help.”
After she died, Alexander dedicated his life to making artists like his wonderful wife. To honor her memory, he dedicated their studio to her with pictures of the beautiful world she saw surrounding her ashes. Everything that was beautiful, everything that was good, and now the mistakes that make the best parts stand out. He sets the painting of her on the floor next to her ashes.
He lays next to it and says, “You gave me eyes to see a beautiful world and now I give you the world you saw.”