Monday, April 24, 2006

Entry #11

“Exit Eden”
by Paul Nain

A single bed, a lonely house. Simply furnished, with practical kitchen and teak floors that creak at night. Small enclosed patio leading to quaint, well-maintained garden. One owner, for eternity.

The only thing that looks slightly out of place is the bedraggled recliner; circular indentations in the floor betraying its original location next to the large bay windows. His favoured chair, surveying all of creation. But not now.

He has since moved it closer to the large painting occupying the opposite wall and keeps the windows firmly shut. The curtains are drawn, their dark, red velvet a vigilant and unforgiving guard against the infiltration of light.

The orchestrator of these recent changes sits huddled beneath a thick blanket, his eyes fixed firmly on the painting. Just beneath it, two lamps infuse the room with a soft light. They are perhaps his favourite pieces; gifted existence by his own hands.

His gaze traces the intricate detail as the painter's brush might have, passing over the massive tree that dominates the background, the rich colours conveying an improbable tactility. Life bursts forth from this garden, barely constrained by canvas and frame. Yet in the foreground, beneath the sweeping branches of the great tree, an odd emptiness. A vague outline of what may have been two figures. A betrayal.

His eyes shimmering with the deepest sadness, the old man rises, lingers a final moment before the lamps, then exits. The echo, as a lock clicks into place, seems to ring out for eternity.

[Paul Nain is a religiously unaffiliated creature of the wheel. He'd like to think that he writes to get to the end of his first novel, but in actuality he writes because it's just so much fun.]


Jaye Wells said...

Wow, there's some tough competition in here. It's amazing to see how much emotion one can pack into such a short word count. Well done.

sandra said...

Lots of great stories, I'm glad I'm not judging this contest. I agree with jaye this is a very powerful piece.

Jeff said...

Good story, Paul. Very strong emotion.

Kelly Parra said...

Paul, so wonderful as always! =D

Kelly from FM =)

Jim said...

Excellent narrative! I felt the pain and hurt of betrayal.

Bhaswati said...

To borrow a phrase from your piece, in your depiction, "life bursts forth from" the photograph Jason posted. Truly inspired writing. Loved reading this :).

Kelly said...

That was so good, friend.

Luke said...

It's impossible for him to write anything other than excellent.

Fence said...

Wow. That was really great. Took me a while to find the time to read it, but I'm so glad I remembered to come back (I'm growing forgetful in my old age).

That final image is just perfect.

Lyn said...

Good writing. Nice phrase: "gifted existence by his own hands." I liked the flow and direction of the story, but I was uncertain as to who the "one owner, for eternity" referred to. The old man left and locked the door at the end - so who "owns" the house, the painting?
Also, I don't think the garden would have been well-kept - the man has evidently let things go in sorrow (bedraggled recliner, drawn curtains) so that would effect every area of his life (or it would mine :-) But those are quibbles. Over all, an emotionally moving tale well told with succinctness and color. Lyndon

LiVEwiRe said...

I wonder what really made him get up and leave. Moreso, I wonder what it is about it that will inevitably draw him back. You've done a wonderful job!

jason evans said...

Paul, great sense of voice. Unique and strong. The inanimate scene comes alive with personality. Also, I appreciated the novel use of the lights.

High marks for voice and storytelling.