The Painting – A Short Story

Chapter One: The Dream

It was a beautiful fall morning. The brightly colored leaves softly making a crackling sound while fluttering as the wind gently blew through the trees. This almost communicative whistling sound was one of the many things; both Alex and Cindy loved about fall. Cindy awakened from a deep sleep, panting and perspiring while holding her head in her hands. As she sat up in bed, immediately her eyes widened as they searched around the room as if to make sure an intruder hadn’t entered. Her husband Alexander, whom she called Alex for short rolled over in bed asking, “Another bad dream?” Yes, she frantically stated while holding her chest; but this time he is getting closer and closer to me! Honey, you’re not going to believe this, but it’s almost as if he is someone I should know. It’s just too weird! Grabbing her robe off the back of the chair by the bed, she begins putting it on, while saying, I don’t understand these dreams, but I do remember as a teenager having some over the top ones and talking to my mother about them. Mother would always tell me I had a very vivid imagination and would just leave it at that. Never once did she question me about the details of my dreams or ask how they made me feel. I wish she would have, that way I could have opened up and told her how frightened they made me feel and how the man in my dreams looked so familiar as if I should know him. Before walking out of the bedroom, she mumbles under her breath, no child should feel like they’re being stalked by a grown man.
Alex and Cindy Langston had been together since college. They met on July 4th at a fireworks party. One of Alex’s friends named Lan took a class with Cindy and knew she was very intelligent, witty, selfless and a down to earth young woman. He knew she would be perfect for his best friend, Alex, so he took it upon himself to invite them both to come along to see the fireworks with him and his girlfriend, Jarlin. Alex and Cindy were both smitten with one another and the chemistry between the two could be seen a mile away. They continued to date through college and married right after graduating from University in the spring. Their love for one another was something out of a storybook and was what dreams are made of.

Chapter Two: The Accident

The couple had been married four years when their lives would suddenly take a turn for the Supernatural. Cindy was involved in a horrible vehicle accident, where a drunk driver ran into her lane and struck the left side of the car as she tried swerving to keep from being hit head-on. She was taken to the hospital with a head injury and in serious condition, while the drunk driver was treated at the scene with minor bruises and abrasions. After arriving at the hospital, Cindy suffered cardiac arrest and was clinically dead for 5 minutes. The doctors worked on her and were able to shock her heart back to a normal rhythm. All medical staff said it was a miracle she survived the accident. Alex sat by her side day and night, talking to her, holding her hand, praying over her and making sure when his breakdown moments came, he left the room to cry and never cried nor showed any signs of anger in the room with her. Alex was very angry at the man who almost took his sweet Cindy away from him. Both his and Cindy’s parents flew in to be of support, and both families were amazing and were what this young couple needed to assure Cindy’s recovery. Miraculously, Cindy made a full recovery and was released after spending six months in the hospital and undergoing physical therapy. Alex took his beautiful bride home accompanied by all four parents, but they would not expect nor have any idea of what they were about to endure or come face to face with. The injury Cindy sustained to her head was serious and the fact she died and was clinically dead for 5 minutes, she had traveled to the other side. She met friends, family members and people whom she never met who had passed away long ago and recently. She would soon come to remember these things as time went on.

Chapter Three: A Visit From Grandmother

That first night went off without a hitch as Alex, his parents Rob and June, and Cindy’s parents Terrence and Willa were there helping out since Alex had to return to work the next day where he was the CEO of a major Telecommunications company in the city. The second day would be a little trying as when morning breaks; Cindy awakens to find herself face to face with her grandmother Lanny, her mother’s mother who passed away 10 years prior. Her grandmother was standing at the foot of the bed; she was alone in the room because Alex had already left for work. Her grandmother was only there for a few seconds, but during those brief seconds, she telepathically told Cindy that she would always watch over her, someone special from her past would be paying her a visit and not to fear them. She also said to look after your mother, she is still grieving your grandfather’s and my passing. We are both very happy and don’t want to see Willa cry as much as she does when no one is around. She also told Cindy to not be afraid of her new gift, embrace it, help others and that she loves her very much, then was gone. Cindy couldn’t understand what her grandmother meant and thought it was associated with her head injury. She didn’t say anything about it but it stayed on her mind and she was truly confused. Both sets of parents said their goodbyes and left to fly back to their homes. As days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months turned into a year, Cindy recovered, and the couple went on with their lives. Cindy, a licensed Real Estate Broker, ran and operated her own real estate company. She was very passionate about her career and knowing she was helping people realize their dreams of becoming homeowners. The couple had drifted back into the lives they lived before the accident and were spending time with friends, enjoying going to the Symphony, Theater, out to restaurants and their true love, the Art Galleries. There was a particular gallery named “The Valiant Art Gallery” they frequented quite a bit and had a great rapport with the owner. The couple enjoyed looking at the paintings and showing one another their favorite saying one day they would own one. Cindy fell in love with a painting of a handsome young man with dark raven colored hair, hazel eyes, wearing a black trench coat standing in a field of flowers with trees blowing behind him. This was the painting she wanted badly and told her husband how much it would mean to her to purchase it one day. They talked about it and he told her maybe one day they could afford it and left it at that.
Chapter Four: A Huge Surprise
A few months later, Alex came home with something wrapped in beautiful paper. He gave it to her and told her, here open it. She took the gift and could already tell it had to be the painting and it was huge! She rips the paper off and there it was, the painting of the man in the field! He told her he bought the artwork just to cheer her up after everything she had gone through, he felt she deserved it. Shocked; but happy, she had admired this painting for months and expressed her love for it. She raved over what she called the chiseled features of the gorgeous dark raven haired man in the black trench coat. There was just something about this masculine man standing in a field of flowers with a backdrop of trees. She couldn’t take her eyes off him each time she visited the gallery and it seemed like the painting had an aura about it that drew her in making her want it more and more. She could feel some sort of energy coming from it. As she stared at the painting she began to remember as a teen dreaming of a man that seemed to be in love with her and possibly even stalking her. The man in the painting looked just like that man from her dreams, but was it him? She was finding herself excited and blushing at the same time.
This was the surprise of a lifetime and she was so excited at the fact that number one, Alex remembered she loved this painting. Number two, he was willing to shell out $10 thousand dollars just to cheer her up and number three, it showed just how much he does listen to her, loves her and would do anything to make her happy. As Cindy walked over to her husband, eyes still transfixed on the photo, she suddenly hears a voice say, “I have searched the world over for you and have finally found you, my love.” It took her aback and for a second, she thought Alex had said this but couldn’t make sense of why he would say something like that; furthermore, the accent was British. Still staring and gazing at the painting, she said, “Alex what are you talking about?” He said,” I didn’t say anything sweetheart, I am just taking it all in and relishing in your beauty, happiness and my love for you.” Finally, able to break free from the painting, she smiled, wrapped her arms around her husband’s neck, thanking him for everything as she gently kissed his lips. She pulled back saying, this must be one of the happiest moments of my life, and how you managed to keep it a secret from me, I will never know. Cindy had expressed her love for the painting many times to her mother during their lengthy conversations and couldn’t wait to call her and tell her that the painting is now hers.
Alex went to work hanging the painting for Cindy as she stared at it in deep thought, playing decorator as she told her husband where to hang it and after what seemed like 20 minutes or so, they both agreed to hang it on the Livingroom wall with Cindy assuring it was centered properly. Once hung, her eyes lit up as she smiled and took a seat on the sofa so she could continue gazing at it. For a brief second, it seemed to come to life, and she actually thought she saw the flowers, trees and man’s trench coat blowing in the wind! The artist had done an incredible job and she often wondered was this painted from life, or could this man have been a figment of the artist’s imagination? Nevertheless, he was still familiar, and she wanted to put her finger on why.
The couple ate dinner, showered and dressed for bed.

Chapter Five: A Feeling of Being Watched

As they were headed upstairs to bed, Cindy turned and gave the painting one last look and let out a loud gasp. It looked as though the man was no longer in the painting but standing in front of the fireplace. Alex, asking her what was wrong and holding on to her waist, she tells him, oh it was nothing sweetheart, I just had a sudden pain while climbing the stairs. He smiled at her and helped her to bed. Snuggling, the couple made love that night and Alex fell asleep, leaving Cindy in bed trying to find a comfortable spot to sink into, but unable to find one, she soon climbed out of bed and made her way downstairs to the kitchen for a cup of tea. As she entered the kitchen, she pulled back the kitchen curtain and stood to look out the window at her beautiful backyard and the brightly lit swimming pool. She exhales taking in the beauty as she thinks to herself how blessed she is and grateful for her health, strength, and husband. She then turned and walked over to the cabinet and took out a box of tea and put on a kettle of water. As the kettle began to warm, she started gazing into the living room and the painting of her gentleman stranger. She must have been standing there less than 5 minutes when the tea kettle began to whistle. Startled, she began pouring herself a cup of hot water and dropping a tea bag into the cup, then walks into the living room to gaze at the painting again. Before long, she starts feeling strange, as if she’s being watched. Brushing it off, she sipped a teaspoon of her tea and sat on the sofa to gather her strength as the feeling grew stronger and there was no doubt she was not alone in the room. Trying to brush the feeling off, she continued drinking her tea, saying to herself, Cindy, you’ve got to pull it together, before everyone around you starts to think you’re cracking up. As she was talking to herself, she heard a voice saying, “Yes knock off the nonsense, you’re not going crazy, you are mine and I’ve traveled through time to reunite with you, my love.” Terrified, she began to look around the room to see if her husband had awakened and was pulling a trick on her, although she knew that wasn’t in his nature to do that sort of a thing, she still gazed around the room.
Chapter Six: He’s Here

After not seeing anyone, she took another drink of her hot tea and stared at the painting again, this time, the man was gone from the field of flowers and the wind was blowing the flowers and trees. She couldn’t move she was stuck on the sofa, paralyzed with fear and she noticed right in front of her a dark mass growing on the hardwood floor, the room grew cold as a portal opened in the floor and a figure manifested itself right in front of her. It was the man from the painting and he was more handsome than in the portrait. His hazel eyes were hypnotizing, his raven curly hair was blowing, and the air-conditioning wasn’t on. It was the middle of fall and the weather was nice and cool. He was tall, she imagined him to be at least 6 foot 2 and about 185 pounds. His trench coat was fluttering like it was being gently blown in the wind; his face was flawless with a small thin mustache, as though someone took a chisel and delicately chiseled his features. Unable to scream or take her eyes off him, her body became weak and she felt as though she would faint as he glided, not walked over to her and carefully placed his arms around her as to secure her as he stood her up, embracing her with his body. Looking deeply into her eyes as if looking into her soul and she felt every ounce of his energy as he brought his lips to meet hers, kissing her deeply. She could feel the warmth of his breath and taste his lips, which were unlike anything she ever tasted before, but she loved it! Memories started flooding back to her and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt he was the man she dreamt of as a teenager, and he made certain she knew it. Long ago in another place in time when life was simple, yet beautiful and love was true, she and her dark-haired stranger were out of their minds in love. She immediately knew there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about her feelings, the flood of emotions were too strong. She was getting ready to give herself to someone she knew in another lifetime and this was almost too much to comprehend. She was paralyzed and hypnotized by his eyes and couldn’t do anything as he guided her hand inside his shirt to touch and feel his chest. He began to stroke her face. She then realized she wanted him in the worst way and wanted him in her world, or she is his and not ever thing of her current husband, Alex asleep in their upstairs bedroom.
So intense was the moment and she was trembling when she suddenly remembered, the stranger wasn’t a stranger at all, but her husband back in the late 1800’s. The two were happily married; but their love was not meant to last due to Cindy, who’s name back then was Cinda being struck and killed by a horse-driven carriage driven by a drunken stagecoach driver. Her husband at that time was Alexander Cromwell, a wealthy banker. She remembered everything and as he laid her down on the sofa to love her. Alex awakes and finds Cindy not in bed came down the stairs to see where she was. What he walks in and finds is enough to make any man go mad. The atmosphere had grown colder, the lights began to flicker as a fog engulfed the room. Alexander Cromwell, entered her as her present-day husband Alex stared in disbelief and anger and frozen in his steps, trying to move to save his wife, but he would not be able to save her. His heart pounding in fear as he felt the adrenaline rushing through his body. The lights flickering faster as her mind was still flooded with memories of their past. She and Alexander kissed madly caressing one another, their bodies moving in perfect rhythm, as he smelled her scent, she held onto him as if she were afraid, he would leave her again, as they reached their peak; and slowly began to fade from the sofa, entering the painting above the fireplace. The couple now embraced in one another’s arms, she is wearing a long white dress with a sun hat, and he still dressed in the same garments. It was only then Alex was able to move and could not believe what he just witnessed. He screamed out Cindy’s name as he searched the room for her. She would not be found anywhere in the room or house for that matter. He sat on the living room sofa and began to cry and scream, but suddenly heard her soft voice say, “Alex, I have gone home with my true husband, look at the painting and you will see me. I loved our time together, but my true home is with Alexander. Farewell, my love, you will find someone and love again.”
Alex filed a police report on his missing wife. The police never found any signs of Cindy; it was as if she just disappeared without a trace. They certainly didn’t believe she had entered a painting and was now a part of the art décor in their living room. The painting would remain on the wall in the living room for two months as Alex tried investigating himself. After visiting the local library, he found proof that both Alexander and Cinda were real people who lived in the 1800’s and also located a photo of them both. It was too real to deal with and Alex unable live in the house eventually sold it, destroyed the painting and moved out of state.

The End

Written by: Jasmine D. Parker ©

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s