Monday 25 July 2022

Mortality by Caitlin Samminga, Dark and Cloudy (ginger rum cocktail)

 An easel sat in the corner of the room with a half-painted portrait. A lamp set beside it, shining brightly. The only light in the small motel room. A woman sat on the edge of one of the two beds. The light barely touched her. She was young, black hair, crimson lips, and pale skin. Right across from her, sitting at the easel, was a man holding a paint brush. 

            “Tell me your story,” he said. His eyebrows pulled together facing the woman, then he turned to the easel to paint.

            The right side of her mouth curled upwards. “I thought we agreed, no questions.” 

            “We did, but when a young lady asks me to paint her old and gray, I get curious.” His brush stroked the canvas. “Why would you want to see yourself like this?” 


A winter wind blew through the open sliding door beside the easel.

A huff of breath came between her lips. “We often desire what we can never have. Death is at everyone’s door, whether the wait is long for some or not, it will be faced.” She dropped her hands onto the bed and gripped the quilt, clenching and unclenching her fingers.

“And what has someone as young as you thinking about death so much?” He shifted between her and the painting. “Surely there are more pleasant things to dwell on?” 

She moved her watch into the light, then she picked up the clock beside the bed, “Everyone has to think about death at some point.”

He dipped his paintbrush into some cream-colored paint. “Do you have another appointment you need to get to tonight?” Goosebumps rounded up and down his arms as the wind blew in that small room. 

“Not exactly, just counting the minutes…” she said.

“The minutes to what exactly? You’ve been giving off an air of mystery ever since you arrived tonight.” He spun around to face her. “I don’t like not knowing who I am painting, and for such an odd request I don’t find it unheard of to get at least one important question answered.” He tapped his leg with his paint brush, drops of paint falling onto the rug. 

“Sir, I don’t see the importance of this. I don’t even know your name and I haven’t asked. Why do you want to know my reasoning?” she pulled her shoulders back as she spoke. “Besides, you were hired for a job.” Her jaw was set firm. “Can you simply, do it? We had a deal. This is more talking than I had agreed upon.”

He stopped tapping and a smile crept across his face. “The name is William. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He spun back around and worked on the fine details of the portrait. “You would have known my name had you been the one to book this appointment.”

Her shoulders slumped. “I didn’t book this appointment, William, because I have no desire to know any more people.” She turned her face toward the breeze and closed her eyes.

He opened his mouth to reply, then he turned towards her. The moonlight shone onto her, illuminating more. He turned to the portrait quickly gathering all the detail he could, the portrait was nearly done. He dipped his brush into a dark cream-colored paint, placing the wrinkles around the mouth. He moved his hand methodically over the canvas. 

A few clouds hung in the sky; the breeze grew colder as the moonlight made shadows dance on the walls. 

Her phone began to buzz, she lifted it showing a reminder. She reached down grabbing her purse and getting up she headed to the bathroom.

He turned to the bed after she left, a small hospital bracelet sat on the floor. “Hey you…” He cut his words short, he leaned forward reaching for it.

“I what?” She stepped out of the bathroom.

He retracted his hand. “You are nearly done, but any chance you could tell me what made you think of this kind of picture?”

She sat on the bed, where she had once been. “You can sell it.”

“You’re joking, right? Why would I sell this?” He set his paintbrush down on the palette.

She grabbed her jacket off the bed and walked to the room door. “Thank you for allowing me to see this portrait.” She opened the door and left.

He followed behind her, leaving the finished portrait sitting in the corner of the room.

 About the auhtor

I am a mom of two toddlers who has a passion for putting a twist on everyday topics. 



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