Chapter 6

The painters knife sliced through the canvas with little resistance. Flecks of paint, gesso, and blue goldstone showered down like snow and glitter. Wrong! It was all wrong! Even this basic landscape seemed to mock him. Angrily, he continued his attack on the canvas going so far as to rip the frame apart by hand. Tipping the easel over with a crash he turned his violence on his desk. Paint bottles, shattered. Brushes, pallets, rags and water rained chaotically over the room as he swept everything off his desk. Even the heavy mortar and pestle cracked as it smashed into the tile flooring.

Why couldn he get it right! He could see the technique in his head. See the way the gesso had to be built-up on the canvas. He knew the right technique for mixing and layering the colors, he even knew the precise timing of when to add the goldstone he had practiced it over and over. But it was still never the way it should be. No matter what he did.

”Useless! ” he could hear his teachers voice in his head, berating him for his flaws and lack of discipline. Then it was Harts voice in his head calling his masterpiece words like: fake, plagiarized, criminal!

Useless, stupid, failure, waste, disgrace, the words echoed over,and over as the pain that had been lingering for hours behind his eyes worsened. Slowly the world started to close in around him. Bile rose in the back of his throat, and his stomach felt like it was folding in on itself. When was the last time he had eaten something? He thought to himself, before shaking his head. That wasn really important.

What he needed were answers! It wasn fair! Why was his life like this? Had he done something that caused him to be cursed in a past life? These were the last fleeting thoughts that crossed his mind before he slipped from consciousness into a sea of nothingness. Collapsing like a marionette into the wreckage of his studio.

He squinted, the sunlight slanting through his window was blinding, and his body ached from laying on the hard floor in a fetal position. How long had he been out? Blinking he moved his head slowly the ringing in his ears, still hadn subsided. The angle of the sun told him it was at least two in the afternoon but not yet four thirty, the worst light of the day. He didn have to be at work till six, time enough to eat and shower, hopefully, the medicine would take effect before then. He had to keep it together. Hed come too far to unravel now.

Slowly he stood, dragging himself into the kitchen, he pressed the button on the electric kettle waiting for the water to boil for his instant noodles. Opening the fridge he popped the top on a can of cold coffee downing it with a hand full of pills. As he waited for the noodles to steep, he stroked the face of a boy in a picture he kept tacked on his fridge with a magnet. The boy in the photo was nineteen, tall and thin, not shy but some how absent like he could see a world others couldn . His gaze haunting as he looked through the photographer. How long had it been since he had taken this picture?

With the noodles ready he returned to the studio to eat. He sat on a stool facing a wall that he had covered in photos of that same boy. They told a story from his first day of university, through graduation, first art exhibit, first commission, smiles and laughter, tears and screaming it was all here till it abruptly ended three years ago.

When had the smile faded from his face? The light in his eyes wiped out? Why didn he understand everything was done for him? Some of the photos were cut up some had been drawn or painted on in a feeble attempted to fix them, to make him happy again. But that too was a failure. He could feel the rage building in his chest. They would still be together if Hart hadn ruined it! The alarm on his phone sounded bringing him out of his reverie. It was time to live his other life.

After showering he carefully checked his hands, arms and face for wounds in the mirror. He had to make sure nothing was out of place, nothing that might bring questions or suspicion. An hour later, he was dressed and ready. His brown uniform was spotless and pressed, every crease perfect. He had replaced a few buttons on his shirt whose thread had become loose in the last struggle in the alley. Finally, donning his officers cap he walked out the door.

The train rattled over Bangkok, the passengers squished together like tinned fish.He hated going to work at rush hour. Wedged between two office ladies he flipped through his notebook, crossing the name Kisa Boonnak off his list. How many more would it take? Tonight would be number three, maybe this would finally be the end. As soon as Hart was out of the way things could go back to the way they were! He would finally see that the best place, the safest place was right here at his side where he would be taken care of, all he had to do was listen. All of this mess could have been avoided if he would only listen! The man smirked to himself, his baby had always been so stubborn.

He hadn thought Múd would be his next victim he always felt Múd was too stupid to be a threat but he couldn leave him alive to keep talking to the police. There wasn much that connected them but it was best not to leave it to chance. Besides, hadn Hart and Múd just had a public fight? Clearly Hart would be the most likely suspect, and anything that got him out of the way and exposed him for the evil he was, could only be helpful.

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