This week, I am pleased to feature guest author David Fulcher, who has written some flash fiction for us to enjoy.
David Fulcher is an author of horror, science fiction, fantasy and poetry. His major literary influences include H.P. Lovecraft, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allen Poe, Fritz Lieber, and Stephen King.
His first novel, a historical drama set in World War II entitled Trains to Nowhere, and his second novel, a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories, Blood Spiders and Dark Moon, are both available from www.authorhouse.com and www.amazon.com. His work has appeared in numerous small press publications including Lovecraft’s Mystery Magazine, Black Satellite, The Martian Wave, Burning Sky, Shadowlands, Twilight Showcase, Heliocentric Net, Gateways, Weird Times, Freaky Frights and the anthologies Dimensions and Silken Ropes. His passion for the written word has also inspired him to edit and publish the literary magazine Samsara, located online at www.samsaramagazine.net, which has showcased the work of writers and poets for over a decade.
David Fulcher resides in Ashburn, Virginia with his wife Lisa, a native of Stony Brook, Long Island, and their rambunctious cats.
by R. David Fulcher
Samuel Gray studied the dripping wax of the candle as it burned low. The hour was late, and little sound reached his loft high above the Baltimore Harbor. He loved this time of night, for only late in the evening would the harbor winds fully blow away the smell of the fish markets on the street below.
He was the grandson of the late Dorian Gray, that unfortunate soul bound precariously to his own portrait. While the lavish lifestyle of his grandfather was not present, the love of art was readily evident. Paintings covered every wall from floor to ceiling, and stacks of them leaned all about his large wooden desk, as if somehow additional wall space would appear from the ether.
Although his years numbered only thirty, he carried the demeanor of a much older man, and this impression was reinforced by his reclusive nature. While many of his peers were consumed by gambling and drink, Samuel was content to simply study his collection of artwork until the small hours of the morning.
It was during one of these reflective moments that the accident happened. It would have been considered a minor event had it not altered the course of all that was to follow. Samuel had fallen asleep when his elbow slid across the surface of the desk, knocking over a can of red paint that spilled on to a picture leaning there.
With a gasp of dismay Samuel awoke, grabbed the canvas and threw it on the desk to review the damage. He hadn’t had the opportunity to review this particular painting before, and was struck by its raw beauty. The piece was called “The Huntress,” and featured a woman riding a white horse. She wore a silver crown adorned with leaves and rode the horse side-saddle as she blew on a golden hunting horn. She had green eyes, red hair and pale skin.
A streak of red paint flowed diagonally from the base of the painting across the horse and the figure. The picture was ruined.
“Don’t fret,” a voice called across the room.
Samuel bolted to his feet, knocking over his chair in the process. The woman from the picture was reclining on his bed. He rubbed his tired, bloodshot eyes and she was still there.
“About the painting I mean,” she continued. “Don’t fret. You have set me free.”
“Are you real or am I mad?” he asked.
The woman laughed, the sound like tiny bells chiming. “I am one reality, just as I was another reality when frozen in that portrait. Now let me paint you.”
Not sure if he was dreaming, Samuel replied, “Me? There is nothing special about me at all! I am simply an artist, nothing more.”
“Must I persuade you?” she asked, rising as softly as mist from the bed. She stepped over to him, her forest green tunic rustling like the breeze from the open window. Once at the desk, she knelt down and kissed him. Her breath was like autumn leaves and moss, and her lips like fresh strawberries.
He felt dizzy, and she laughed again, that laugh that seemed to descend from all of the cherubim in heaven itself. She took his hand and guided him to the bed. Laying him down, she whispered softly in his ear in an ancient tongue while stroking his brow. He swore he heard the night music of crickets and toads in the distance but suspected that his senses deceived him. He was wonderfully sleepy.
Hastily pushing things aside, the lady moved over towards an easel, canvas and paints in front of the bed. She hummed a strange sing-song tune as she worked. Although Samuel tried to get up and put an end to this foolishness, his limbs were heavy and did not respond.
“I’ll be done soon,” she promised him.
Later that night, no one noticed the pale lady in the green tunic as she left the apartment and disappeared into the harbor docks. Several days later after receiving no word from Samuel a family member insisted that the police break down the door.
Samuel was gone, but there was a new portrait the wall. In this portrait a man having Samuel’s likeness sat at a desk staring with a haunted expression at a picture of a white horse.
David Fulcher’s most recent book is entitled The Lighthouse at Montauk Point and Other Stories. It is available on Kindle here.
He is also writing an online series about the historic Dracula entitled Vlad the Conqueror hosted on Channillo.