by Amanda Farough
His brush strokes danced relentlessly across the canvas. His brown hair hung limp at his shoulders, the shorter pieces matted against forehead and cheeks. They would notice him now, thanks to the palette and technique that had been laid before him. This was the pièce de résistance of his life's work; the greatest creation and the lowest moment of his existence. There would be nothing after this painting was finished. He understood that the inevitability of genius was to perish in the pursuit of perfection.
He picked up the brush and dipped it in the thick, dark-red substance. If he waited, the medium would dry and there would be nothing left to satisfy the canvas. And so, he continued. His sweat served as a paint-thinning agent, allowing the brush to move more fluidly in its fevered rush to finish. But his emerald eyes were drawn to the colours of the splattered studio corner.
A willowy young woman was crumpled against the far wall, her blood creating pools and rivers of sticky-red. Her life began to falter. She went limp. His eyes returned to the canvas and he suddenly realized what had been missing. The edge of the palette knife glinted seductively in his periphery. He stood directly in front of the canvas and ran it across the fragile flesh of his throat. The arterial spray and its movement across the painting had proven to be the perfect ending. He smiled and gurgled a laugh: yes, they would notice him now.