It’s a Matter of Time
Aubrey made one final sweep with the piece of chalk she had in her hand, then smooched back and leaned against the tree and looked at her brother.
“Is it finished?” he asked.
“What do you think?” Aubrey asked. “Doesn’t it look finished to you?”
“I think most of them look finished many times before you say they are done. So, I ask.” He tossed one of her rags at her head, barely missing it.
“Well, we shall see how I did shortly.” She replied.
“You really don’t think they will notice? I don’t see how they can’t.”
“People see what they want to see. They’ll see everything else. So no. I don’t think they will see. Now, let’s go back by those trees over there and watch.”
The street was always a busy one. Today was no different. The clouds in the sky didn’t affect it in the least. But, the people did slow. They slowed, many stopped, all stepped around the amazing chalk painting on the ground. Large, luminous clouds covered the area, the buildings poking through and parting them in fits and bursts, the clock tower standing out taller than all the rest. On the ground were people, hundreds of them. Fleeing and screaming as the clouds unleashed a hellfire volley of lightening and rain at a velocity that pinned them to the ground.
The pedestrians began to start in horror as they saw themselves in the figures in the chalk. Some tried to wipe their image off. But, the chalk held. More terror rose in their throats at the discovery of this. They began to swarm around the scene like hornets to a nest. An elderly lady began laughing at them and their behavior. A few people stopped and glared at her.
“Look at you all!” She said between giggles. “Afraid of a little paint on the ground. Thinking that some brightly colored chalk will usher in the Armageddon. Such Nonsense.” She laughed a couple more minutes, then opened her umbrella, pointed its tip at a spot in the painting that made her snicker, then lifted it over her head after giving a quick glance at the skies and wandered on her way.
Some of the other people began laughing as well. Pretty soon, almost all of them were in peals of laughter at their silliness. In the lightening of the spirit, they made note of the images they thought looked so like themselves. Most began taking pictures and all began talking about the incident.
The bell on the clock tower began to toll 11 PM. As it reached the last bell, the clouds overhead erupted into a barrage of lightening, hail and rain, driving all below to the ground. A few tried to make a break from the storm, but a bolt of lightning stopped them in their path. The storm ravaged for a few moments, just long enough to put an end to those below.
“I told you someone would notice.” He said before taking a bite out of the apple in his hand.
“But, no one took note of her. So, in the end it is the same.” She said as she began packing her chalks into their case.
“Doesn’t it ever bother you? All those people dying?” he asked
“No. They don’t have to. They just need to look and really see. Had they noticed, they would have left the area and gone somewhere safe. Maybe not all of them, but at least some of them.” She snapped the lid shut on her case and stood up. “Its the job. We need to cull those that lack the sense for them to survive. Besides, this one was too easy for you to feel sorry for them.”
“I suppose you’re right.” He took the last bite of the apple then tossed the core behind him.
They walked off, skirting around the painting, streaked and fading, but still intact. Aubrey glanced once more at it, the clock tower looming high above the clouds. Its hands read 11:00.
What Lovely Roses You Have
How long was he going to stare out the window like that? Sadie wondered. He had asked about Nathan. She hadn’t thought about Nathan in years. It was all a closed or cold case file, she thought. And isn’t he ever going to speak?
Suddenly, he turned and faced her sideways. “What lovely roses you have? My wife would be so envious. Whatever do you use to fertilize them to get them to grow so full and lush?”
She stared at him, bewildered. “Huh?” she asked. “I’m sorry. I thought we were talking about Nathan.”
“Ah yes.” The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a small notebook. “I just wanted to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind.”
“Of course.” She said softly. “But, I think I told them everything before. Has something new come up? Have you found Nathan?”
“Oh, no no no, nothing like that. I just wanted to go over what you remember about the last time you saw him. Can you go over the details again?”
She told him what she had told the detectives the last time. The man nodded as she laid out the details, his gaze frequently turning to the window again. What was his fascination with her roses? Finally, she finished and he flipped the notebook shut, then slipped it back into his pocket.
“I think I have it all” he said. “Thank you again for your time and patience.”
“But, of course.” She replied “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“No. I should be on my way.” He stated flatly and turned towards the door. As he opened the door, he paused and looked again at the garden, then turned back at her. “The roses, Sadie. Please tell me what you do to grow such beautiful roses.”
She stood there a moment, confused at the man, then she smiled brightly. “But, of course.” She responded. “Its just a simple blood and bone meal mixture my mother gave me the recipe for.”
“Any chance you could be persuaded to share that?”
“Alas, no. Its been a tightly held secret in my family for generations. We have actually won numerous awards for our roses. But, I am sure you could find something similar if you did a search.”
“Of course, I understand. That’s too bad though. My wife will be so disappointed. Thank you again for your time.” And with that, he walked down the path to his car and drove away.
Sadie walked out and strode over to her roses, her hand gently petting one of the luxurious blooms. She leaned over and took a deep whiff of its intoxicating scent, then a smile formed on her lips. Mother always said the only thing husbands were good for were fertilizing the roses.
“Good night, Nathan.” Sadie called behind her as she walked back into the house. “Sleep well.”
New Acrylic on Board – 12 X 16