The Messenger

Roland hadn’t picked up his charcoals in years. He had become disillusioned with his artistic abilities when he had taken on constructive criticism too personally just after his wife passed. Doubt had stopped his improvement, but today he had woken, driven by an unknown force.

This was his fifth attempt at the face of a stranger. The image was burned into his retinas and he felt the need to excise it like a demon. After his third failure he moved from his studio to a spot he had previously frequented in the days he sold popular on-the-spot one-hour portraits at a mall. The white noise of the clambering Christmas shoppers helped him focus.

He had a vague sense of the crowd gathering behind him, but his eyes never left the page, except to find other piece of charcoal.

“Ahhh,” came an inhaled gasp behind his right shoulder as Roland laid the last dark stroke on the page.

Turning he blinked and the imprinted picture faded from his view, replaced with mesmerizing eyes of a kind soul.

“That is my late husband,” she told him. “Did you know him?”

“No. His image came to me this morning begging to be released.”

“Hmmmm. I think he needs me to let him go. Would you like to join me for some coffee?”

by Debbie Gravett © 2019.11.14

FFFC: Flash Fiction Challenge #40
Image by Pexels at

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