She was lost in holding the painting with its frame this way and that and couldn’t stop admiring it. While she was busy at it, he paid cash to the owner of the shop, “108 Fine Art”. They were in the deserted alley of the old town area. It was famous for shops that sold antiques.  He was puzzled as to what was so great about the picture that she couldn’t stop gazing at it. She appeared hypnotized by it.

‘United by the differences’ he thought as he was a chartered accountant and she an artist.

Putting an arm around her shoulders, he said, “What’s so exciting about this picture that you compelled me to buy? It’s such a dark, godforsaken, lonely one. One with an eerie silence”

“It’s an inviting silence. I can hear the whispering sound of silence in conversation with the long and dark shadows of the trees. Golden rays seeping from the street lights compliment the pitch darkness of the night. It has a rustic charm”, she explained in a trance.

He tried to look into the picture with this connotation.

“To me its nothing but a deserted alley on a gloomy no moon night”, he stated.

“How I wish I could walk down this alley”, she expressed her desire, skirting his unfavorable remarks.

Once home, she made him hang it in the bedroom, right in-front of their bed. Once placed securely on the wall, he joined her on the edge of the bed where she sat in rapt attention, as if listening to the unspoken words from the painting. While she was gazing at it without blinking her eyes, he was perplexed to see her lost.

With a sudden thrust, she got up and started walking towards the painting.

“It’s not going to look any better from up close”, he said.

She walked ahead determined as his words fell on her deaf ears. Once upfront, she touched the painting with her right hand. The light in the bedroom flickered, so did the lights in the paintings. Or that’s what he felt. A strong gust of wind rushed through the open window of the bedroom, fluttering the curtains. Curtains danced up and down in an orchestrated rhythm. The gust also made the leaves lying on the street in the painting, rustle. Her touch made a deep dark impression into the picture. It started expanding, gradually encompassing the entire frame of the picture. Now, her hand was getting immersed into the black hole, formed on the painting. She stepped ahead, slowly as if with a mystic pull that was fetching her closer to it.

He screamed, but his voice was heard only in his mind and not a single sound could escape his mouth. He dashed towards her as he witnessed her slowly vanishing into the painting. The dust from the deserted street in the painting blinded his eyes. The gust now blowing in full steam, made him turn his face away.

He forced open his eyes. The lights had dramatically stopped flickering. There was no sign of wind nor the dust. As if nothing has disturbed the stillness of the painting or the tranquility of the bedroom. But…

…She was nowhere to be seen.

He rushed to the painting in shock and agony. He touched it frantically but it had no trace of turbulence. Dismounting it, he checked it from behind. It was perfectly sealed. Printed words at the bottom right corner caught his attention.

It read, “Mystique Lane, 108 Fine Art” in a fine print.

He flipped it over again and noticed the board “108 Fine Arts” in the picture, above one shop in the right lane, right behind the tree!


Picture courtesy Pixabay
Explore previous stories at Stack of Stories
Categories: FictionShort Story

22 Comments

Simon · April 15, 2020 at 8:41 am

That was awesome 😍✨☺️ Great work, enjoyed reading it!… Have a beautiful day ✨💐🤗

matheikal · April 15, 2020 at 8:44 am

Your stories have an eerie feel.

soniadogra · April 15, 2020 at 9:02 am

I loved the poetic feel that the story has. The inviting silence and that whole paragraph. And the mystifying mystique lane! Loved your words.

Unishta · April 15, 2020 at 9:14 am

You spooked me out early in the morning Anagha. Great tale .

jazzfeathers · April 15, 2020 at 11:27 am

Oh wow. I loved this one.
And I don’t knwo why, I expected a fantasy piece from you sooner or later. There is something to your writing that suggested it to me.

@JazzFeathers
The Old Shelter – Living the Twenties

Meena · April 15, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Is she a ghost, or is the painting one? How did she know where to press? This story needs a sequel. It is a spooky tale.

Swarnali Nath · April 15, 2020 at 12:23 pm

I love mystic tales. I was so engrossed in your story that I had goosebumps at the end. Brilliantly written Anagha. Lost my words to response.

Archana (@yenforblue) · April 15, 2020 at 3:57 pm

I got goosebumps while reading it! Did she disappear into the painting? You have left the readers in a spin!

Natasha Duncan-Drake (call me Tasha) (@beren_writes) · April 15, 2020 at 4:38 pm

A great story – but of course the question is, is it circular, did it take her to the street, or into the painting.
Tasha 💖
Virginia’s Parlour – The Manor (Adult concepts – nothing explicit in posts)
Tasha’s Thinkings – Vampire Drabbles

Keith's Ramblings · April 15, 2020 at 8:51 pm

My goodness, that’s eerie! Excellent Anagha.

alpanadeo · April 15, 2020 at 10:51 pm

Really….I don’t know how to express. These days I am watching Byomkesh Bakshi and my brain keep looking for clues in every show I watch after that. Your today’s fiction was like icing on that “detective in me” mind. Also would like to compliment you on your image selection.

bloggeray · April 16, 2020 at 12:26 am

That is a great twist ending.
I love how your stories are so atmospheric, with the ambience almost another character.

Enjoyed this. 🙂

TheDreamGirlWrites · April 16, 2020 at 12:27 am

Wooahhh
Enthralling!

M is for More Info
https://thedreamgirlwrites.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/more-info/

Namratha Varadharajan · April 16, 2020 at 2:05 am

Spooky! you should have written for The Hive when they were going on with their Horror stories! If you haven’t yet, check out their thriller anthology submissions coming up next and the weekly minitales!

Meha Sharma · April 16, 2020 at 2:19 am

So happy to be reading a story from you Anagha ❤️ missed you. This was eerily beautiful! You are back with a bang.

Ira Mishra · April 16, 2020 at 2:51 am

Simply awesome like all your other posts. The last line actually made me go back to see the shop in the picture :)!!

Dr. Surbhi Prapanna · April 16, 2020 at 3:08 am

What I loved about your writing anagha..your poetic style and selection of words..seems like I m reading a mystic novel..I think you should do that..brilliant story and amazing write up.

msjadeli · April 16, 2020 at 7:55 am

Sounds like someone’s worst nightmare, at least for the husband. I thought for sure you were going to say she was now in the painting! Such a well-told story.

Kikibee · April 16, 2020 at 8:22 am

Thrilling! Your stories all have that twist and you write so well.. niceee 🙂

Shilpa Garg · April 16, 2020 at 8:41 am

Ooh! That was eerie and spooky!! Loved the imagery your words created for me. Excellent, Anagha!

Shweta Suresh · April 17, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Love the way you write! Beautiful story. 🙂

Shreyas Joshi · April 17, 2020 at 9:02 pm

Sent shivers down my spine. My heart raced when the storm started. It totally freaked me out! Such a style of writing is sure to take you places!! The setting, mood picture everything fell write into place and gave me chills which I am yet to get over!! The ending has amazed me at the skill you have and that too extending over the widest span of topics and command over language…easy to read yet compelling! You’ve absolutely aced it, left me speecheless!! Great going!

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