Posts Tagged ‘the painter’

Yesterday, I completely forgot to post part 4 of my serial story, The Painter. So here it is a day late. Sorry about that. Enjoy! Keep letting me know what you think if this is your first time reading it. You can also let me know what you think if it’s not your first time haha. That’s up to you. If you have missed parts 1-3, search for The Painter on the search bar on the right hand column.

Part 4

As soon as I walked in, I noticed the house was quiet. It was too quiet.  I wondered what my parents were going to say about my absence. In my hurry to catch up with Sal, I didn’t leave a note. My mom was probably having an anxiety attack.
The kitchen was brightly lit when I entered. My parents were standing around the sink, yelling at each other.  They were so engrossed in pointing fingers at each other that they never saw me standing there.
“It’s not like Ella to just go somewhere without leaving a note, Walter,” my mother said. “What if something bad has happened?”
“Like what, Laura?” my father asked. “I doubt she was kidnapped.”
My mother began to protest again, gesturing widely out the kitchen window, talking about how I was probably lying in a ditch somewhere. I knew that this was the time to step in.
“I think you’re over reacting just a little,” I said, causing both of my parents to whirl around.
The look on my mother’s face said it all. She let out a long breath and pulled me into her arms.
“We’ve been so worried about you! Where have you been? Didn’t you think to leave us a note? Haven’t we taught you anything?”
Her stream of questions didn’t stop until I pulled away. “I’m fine. I just went for a walk out into the woods. I didn’t know I would be gone for so long.”
“Going out into the woods at this time of night is dangerous!” my father shouted. “What were you thinking?”
I shrugged, not wanting to tell them the real reason I went out there. They would think he was some kind of old pervert and wouldn’t let me out of the house ever again.  It’s best to just keep that one quiet.
They stood there, waiting for me to explain myself, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. I sighed, wondering what to do.
“I just got tired of being cooped up in this house. I’m sorry if I made you worry. It won’t happen again.”
“You’ve got that right because the next time something like this happens, you won’t leave the house until you graduate college. You hear me?” my father asked, his face turning red with built up anger.
I nodded and that ended the conversation. My father went into the living room and I heard the television turn on. My mother stood at the sink, still staring out the window.  I could tell she was deep in thought and didn’t want to be disturbed.
Luckily, the next day was Saturday and I could relax without having to go to school.  My plan was to stay on my mom’s good side and help her around the house so I could sneak outside that evening to meet with Sal.  I had to know what was in that cottage. There had to be some significance.
That evening, I told my parents I was going to do some homework and get to bed early. To my relief, they nodded and didn’t say another word. I locked my bedroom door and climbed out of my window. All of my years of climbing trees paid off as I landed onto my feet.
Sal was waiting for me at the lake. Two easels stood before him and he motioned for me to take my place in front of one.
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked as he started handing me paint supplies. I looked at them like they were some kind of tools from another planet.
“I want you to paint.” He looked at me like it was that obvious.
Sal started swiping the brush onto his white canvas. I watched him for a few minutes as he started to create some other world I had never seen before. “Well, what do I paint?” I asked, staring at my still blank canvas.
“Anything you want.  Just let the brush do the work.”
I did exactly that. My hand took control and I stood there for an hour just painting these bright colors onto the canvas.  When I finished, I stood back and looked at the finished product. My heart sank as I started to criticize everything about it. The lake looked more dreary than magical. The sunset was very bland and had none of the colors I saw with my own eyes.
“Do you know what you did wrong?” Sal asked, wiping the paint off his hands.
I shook my head, feeling a knot forming in my throat. I was a failure and a disappointment. I couldn’t paint a lake and a sunset. How did he expect me to do what he did?
“You painted with your head instead of your heart. That’s where you went wrong. But, don’t worry, Ella. You will get there in time.”
Sal’s painting was beautiful. The world he created sparkled and felt so real. I almost wanted to jump right into the canvas and live there.
“I don’t think I can paint like you, Sal.”
He patted my shoulder and smiled. “Yes, you can. I have no doubt that you will learn.”
Sal led the way back to that mysterious cottage in the woods. He set his battered suitcase down on the ground and brought out his hand.
“We will leave your painting here for safe keeping.”
My head raced with thoughts of what was inside that house.  “Can I come inside?” I asked, hoping for a positive answer.
Sal’s face turned grim and he shook his head. “It’s not time for you to see,” he said. “It’s not my place to share.”
“Whose place is it then?”
He merely shook his head again and shuffled his feet inside, shutting me out. I tried to peer through the windows, but they were too grimy from years of not being cleaned. This cottage has been sitting here unoccupied for years.
When Sal came back out, I asked him about the cottage again. Sal sighed and closed his eyes. He sat down on the steps and rubbed his frail arms.
“You’ll have to ask her.”


Read Full Post »

If you missed part 1 or 2, click here. I hope you enjoy the continuation of my serial story, The Painter, a story I decided to bring back for everyone! Let me know what you think.

Part 3

“Why do you paint out here? What is this place?”
My question lingered in the air for a few moments as Sal dabbed his brush into the multi colored palette. He looked at his painting with his head cocked to the left, tapping the tip of the paint brush on his hand.
The look in his dark brown eyes was almost one of love. He cleared his throat and swiped some more paint onto the canvas with professional ease.
I wondered if my question was ever going to be answered or if I was going to stand there, looking like an uncomfortable idiot. The sun was beginning to dip down lower behind the dark trees in the distance, casting an eeriness around us.
“That is an interesting question, you know,” he finally said. “You should take a look around you for the answer. I’m not sure I know the words.” Sal smirked.
I did what he told me to do. It all looked like a normal lake surrounded by a wooded area. Sure, it looked pretty  with the sun setting in front of it, but I didn’t see the magical quality I think he saw.  When I told him what I saw, he scoffed and shook his head hard.
“You’re not a painter, that’s why!” he exclaimed, never taking his eyes off of his canvas. “But you will be.” Sal slid his eyes towards me and smiled. The wrinkles around his mouth becoming more evident. “I think there is hope for you, Ella McCormack.”
I’m certainly glad someone thinks so, I thought. For the next hour, I sat there on a bench beside the easel. I sat there, just watching Sal paint like a madman. It was almost  like he was driven to finish this painting before it got too dark.
As he finished up what he was working on, he chattered about his life in Mexico as a child and how much he loved it in Oregon.
“This place is the definition of peaceful art,” Sal said, wiping his brush clean on a paint splattered cloth. “This is where I was truly meant to be.”
“Why do you say that?”
He shrugged his bony shoulders and started putting away his supplies.  “One day, you’ll start to appreciate life for what it really is,” he said. “It took me awhile to open my eyes and see the beauty around me.”
I stood by him and looked at the painting he had created. I had never seen anything like it.  The colors of the night sky looked more real than what I could see above me. The lake had taken on a personality of it’s own. It felt like it was alive. It was mesmerizing.
Sal took the painting and his suitcase, walking  back into the woods.  I followed quickly behind, my feet moving almost automatically.  We were both silent as we walked. I had no idea where we were going. Were we going back to our houses? What was he going to do with that painting?
When we got to the part where the woods separated and instinctively I started going straight. Instead of following me, Sal went left, and I stopped in my tracks. Where was this old guy going?
I didn’t have to walk too fast to catch up with his slow steps.  I wasn’t even sure why I was following my strange painting neighbor into some unknown part of the woods.  I asked him where we were going and he waved his hands to dismiss the question. Realization was starting to hit me that Sal could be a man of few words sometimes.  I glanced at my watch and saw that it was almost 8 o’clock. My parents would be home soon and I wasn’t sure  how they would respond to the reason behind my absence. Glancing at Sal, I could tell he was deep in his own thoughts.  I wondered what he was thinking about. What kind of things went on in his artistic mind? Whatever it was, it was probably very colorful, I thought with a smirk.
Right at that moment, Sal turned and I was soon looking at a small white cottage. It looked like it belonged there among the tall trees and wildlife growing nearby. Sal walked up to the door and retrieved a small key from his pocket. Once he opened the door, I started to follow but  he stopped and turned to me.
“Stay out here. I don’t want you to see what is inside.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but  he shut the door in my face. What was that about? I sat down on the wooden steps and crossed my arms in front of my chest.  The darkness was spreading through the woods and I began to get scared. Maybe I should not have came all the way out here. I should have stayed home where it was safe and well-lit.
My heart began to pound in fear and I kept turning my head to see all around me. The shadows were beginning to play tricks on my eyes. With every sound, fear clutched at my throat. A bird cawed in the distance and I jumped up to my feet.
“Calm down,” Sal said, behind me, causing me to whirl around. “Nothing is going to get you out here.’
The painting was gone and instead, he clutched a glowing lantern.  “We should probably get you home. Your parents will worry.”
I let Sal lead the way home. We made it there in record time. Sal didn’t talk the whole way. There were so many questions I still had for him, but I didn’t know how to ask.  As soon as I saw my parent’s car in the driveway, my heart sank. This was not good.
Sal smiled and walked to his backdoor. This was my last chance to find something out.
“I see potential in you, Ella,” he said. “Meet me tomorrow evening and I will teach you all you need to know.”
“About what?”
He smiled. “I’m a painter. What do you think?
With that, he disappeared. Now, I was left to go inside and face my parents. I took a deep breath and opened the door. Here goes nothing…

Read Full Post »

If you missed part one, click here. Also, don’t forget that tomorrow is the Interview with the Character blog fest, so sign up today while you can and check out previous posts for more details.

The Painter – Part 2

What did he have back there?
That question stayed with me throughout the night and into the long, school day.  Whenever I went to school, I always felt like I was invisible. I just went through the motions until that fateful bell rang, signaling my freedom.  When I walked to my car, I could see a bunch of popular kids hanging out by the car next to it. I tried my best to quickly walk by before any of them stopped me.
I wasn’t fast enough.
“Well, if it isn’t the newbie,” a tall, blond named Casey said. “Where’d you come from again?”
Everyone’s eyes were on me, looking me up and down.  “California,” I said, quickly. I just wanted to get out of there and away from all the stares.
“How come you never talk to anyone? Cat got your tongue?” Casey asked, causing everyone to laugh.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Jeremy walk out of the building with his basketball friends. This caught the popular girls’ attention and they forgot all about me.  They shouted Jeremy’s name and he looked over.  His bright blue eyes caught onto mine and I looked away. The girls of the group rushed over to talk to him which gave me the space to slip into my car. I drove away with those piercing blue eyes of his in my head.
“You should have just smiled at him,” I said. “Nothing wrong with being friendly.”
Great. I was still talking to myself.
As soon as I walked into my house, I could tell that something was going on.  The house was quiet and I couldn’t smell dinner coming from the kitchen.  My mom came rushing down the stairs, wearing a knee length black dress and her hair in a tight updo. I looked at her strangely and she waved me away.
“Your father has an important dinner party to go to tonight, so you’re on your own. There’s dinner in the fridge to heat up. Don’t burn the house down.”
I didn’t even get a chance to respond before she went out the door and got into her car. I shrugged and went up to my room to start homework.  The thought of being alone in a quiet house for the night excited me. I didn’t have to deal with fighting parents and I could finally have space to do what I wanted.
I heated up some left over lasagna and talked to my best friend, Tiffany, while I ate. I missed all of my California friends so much, but hearing her voice was enough to make my bad days better.
“Have you met any interesting people up there?” she asked after an hour of talking about her new boyfriend.
Immediately, I thought of my neighbor. I got up out of bed and went to my spot near the window. The adjoining backyards appeared to be empty except for my German Shepherd,  Gina, chasing a bird around.
As Tiffany changed the subject to her boyfriend again, I looked up at the sun starting to set in the sky.  My eyes went to his back door and stayed there. I knew he was leaving soon and I wanted to know where he went.
At that very moment, the door opened and he started his slow walk into the forest.  I knew this was my chance to answer all of my questions.
Hurriedly, I got off the phone with Tiffany and rushed down the stairs, shoving my feet into sneakers on my way out the back door.
The chill of the evening hit me and I buried my hands deep into the pockets of my sweatshirt as I jogged into the dark woods.  A part of me should have been scared, but my curiosity was taking over.
I crept my way through the darkened woods, following the old man’s footsteps that led deeper into the forest. I didn’t know where I was going, but the excitement of that mystery was bubbling over.
Before I knew it, his slow footsteps stopped ahead of me and I ducked behind a large tree as I peeked to see where we were. My mouth dropped open as I saw the huge lake ahead. The water glittering under the sunset. It was a magical sight surrounded by dark trees. The old man walked over to where a blue tarp hid something from underneath. With a flip of his hand, he revealed a tall, wooden easel. As he began to set up his equipment, I saw that my mother was right. He was a painter.  I stood there with baited breath, watching his hand fly across the blank canvas. He began to create a colorful work of art that I had never seen before.  I was almost mesmerized by how his hand controlled the paintbrush.
“You can get a better look if you stood closer,” he said in a surprisingly strong voice.
My heart leapt into my throat as I realized I had been caught. Was he angry? Would he kill me and throw me in the lake? My legs took control of my body and I crept towards him like a dog waiting to be punished after a bad deed.
“And who would you be?” he asked, his voice thick with a Spanish accent.
My eyes remained glued to his hands as he continued to paint. “Ella McCormack,” I said in a small voice. “Please don’t kill me.”
The sounds of  his laugh caused me to jump. It echoed deep into the forest. “Rest easy. My name is Salvador Rios. You can call me Sal.”
Finally, I looked up at his face and saw the deep wrinkles set beside his dark brown eyes. My worries went away and I smiled. There seemed to be a kindness that surrounded him. This man had many stories to tell. My heart was racing as I tried to find my voice stuck inside of me.
“Why do you paint out here? What is this place?”

Read part 3 next Thursday!

Read Full Post »

A  year ago,  I participated in a serial story blog where different writers posted a serial story. We were assigned a day to post each part until we finished our stories. My first story on that blog was one of my favorite stories to write. For some of you, you may have already read it, but I have received some new subscribers to this blog, so I wanted to bring back The Painter for you to read! It has been a year since I wrote it, so I felt it was only appropriate to celebrate that! Check back on each Thursday for the continuation of the story! As always, feel free to leave me comments and let me know what you think! Enjoy. 🙂

The Painter

Part One

He always left his house at the same time every day.  He would shuffle out the door while the sun began to set, bleeding light pink across the sky, his back hunched over in its usual position. I would watch him from my bedroom window next door as he headed out of his back yard and into the woods. In  his wrinkled hands, he always carried a battered, black suitcase that shook in his grasp.
I always stood there and wondered where he went every night. He wouldn’t come back until late at night when the stars were twinkling bright in the sky. It was always at an hour that most elderly people were snug in their beds, sleeping off the ache they felt during the day.
But, not this old man.  I had only been living in the quiet neighborhood for a month. My parents had decided to move us far from our sunny California home to this dreary Oregon town. I remember feeling outraged to be leaving during my senior year of high school. I had shouted obscenities and screamed that I wasn’t going anywhere.  There was no way they were going to force me away from my friends to this unknown loser town.
They forced me anyways.
Now I stood in my new bedroom in some unfamiliar town where I had no friends and nothing in common with anyone.   On a typical Friday night, I would be out with my friends, going to the movies or whatever random thing we decided to do. I scoffed and kicked my night stand as I thought of what I was doing now.
“You’re standing in front of your window, spying on some old man walking into the woods,” I muttered.  “What a fun life you lead now, Ella.”
Downstairs, I could hear my parents yelling at each other. Out in public, people thought they were a picture perfect couple, but behind closed doors, they were each other’s worst enemy. I was always in the middle of it.
“Ella! Get down here!” my father shouted.
As I trudged down the stairs, my brain tried to think of whatever my parents could want.  I finished all of my chores a couple of hours ago and we already had dinner. What else could he want from me?
My parents were sitting on opposite sides of the living room. The television was blaring in front of them.  My mother looked furious in her armchair, picking at the edges of a throw pillow beside her. It was her usual expression when my father was around. I can’t remember a day when they did get along.
My father punched the mute button on the television remote and leaned back in his brown, leather recliner.  I stood there, shifting my weight from one foot to the other, nervously waiting to see what he had to say.
“I called you down here to see how school has been going. You didn’t mention a thing about it at dinner.”
That was probably because he wouldn‘t shut up about his day at work. I merely shrugged my shoulders. “Nothing really happened to talk about.”
“You didn’t make any friends?” he asked, narrowing his eyes. “Did you try at all to be sociable?”
“I have friends,” I said. “Back in California. You know the place you moved me out of?”
My father snorted. “You’ll find out this town is the perfect place. Quiet, small, and peaceful. That’s how it should be.” He pointed his finger at me. “My boss has a kid who goes to that school. His name is Jeremy. You’re going to make friends with this kid. It’ll do you some good.”
I glanced at my mother who was rolling her eyes. She threw the pillow down. “Oh, Walter. Just leave her alone. Let her be friends with whoever she wants. Butt out.”
“There you go again, telling me what to do! If anyone needs to butt out, it’s you.” My father grabbed the remote from the coffee table and punched the volume up on the television. A cop drama blared from the set. That was my signal that this conversation was over.
I went into the kitchen and got myself a glass of water. As I stood in front of the kitchen sink, I looked out into the woods. It was getting darker outside. I wondered what that old man could be doing out there.  How long could he stay out there? The real question was why was I standing here thinking about some strange old man anyways?
“Ella, what are you doing?” my mother asked from behind me.
I turned to see her standing at the entrance of the kitchen with her arms folded across her chest. Her furious expression was replaced with curiosity.
“I’m just staring out the window,” I said, turning back to my view of the back yard.
She came up to stand beside me.  We were both quiet for a moment as we stared out into the night.  The porch light turned on, illuminating our yard. My mom’s flower garden shone in the darkness as fireflies glinted above their petals.
“I just wanted you to know that you don’t have to be friends with Jeremy,” my mother said, breaking the silence. “Your father doesn’t understand how difficult it is to make new friends at your age.”
I could hear the cop show still blaring from the living room. I merely nodded in reply.  Just hearing her support me was enough.
In the distance, a dark figure moved out of the woods. It was the old man, still carrying his suitcase. I kept thinking about what he could be doing out there.
“Do you know who lives next door?” I asked.
“Just some old man. Nobody knows much about him. He used to be a painter, I think.”
She left the room with me still wanting to know more about this man. Why would an old painter go out into the woods every night? What did he have back there?

Read Full Post »

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me if I was going to make either a prequel or a sequel to my serial story, The Painter. I had to admit that I hadn’t really thought much about doing that. It wasn’t until then that the wheels started to turn. If you’re a writer (or create anything really), you’ll know that feeling when an idea strikes you. Then, you can’t get it out of your head. It’s just waiting to be created.

I’ve made it no secret that I truly enjoyed writing that story. Those characters will always be some of my favorites. It was a sad day when I finished that story and had to say goodbye. Now that I was asked that question, it has made me realize. Do I really have to say goodbye to them? Or can I make it work in another way?

Of course, I just don’t see how I can make a sequel happen. The character that really made that story come alive was Sal and well, if you read the ending, you’ll understand why he can’t be in the sequel. Not without making it completely cheesy and unrealistic. So, that would just leave me with one option: writing a prequel.

I have never written a prequel to any story I have written before, so this would be a new experience. I think we should always challenge ourselves. Time-wise, is it a good time to start this? No. Not only am I working on my novel, but I’m working on the newest serial story (that debuts on this blog on Tuesday, just for your information). But, after that is finished, it is possible that I could make it happen.

So, the question goes out to you guys. Would you like to read a prequel to The Painter?

Read Full Post »

It’s that time again! 🙂 It is now officially December’s poetry weekend on The Undeveloped Story! Today, I’ll be posting a few poems that I have written and tomorrow if you want a poem you either like or have written to be posted here, send it to me via e-mail at thestoryinme@gmail.com. You can also just send me a link of the poem if you have already posted it on your own blog.

My first poem inspired my recently completed serial story, The Painter. I wanted to post this one during October’s poetry weekend, but I decided to wait until I finished the story, so I wouldn’t give anything away!

The Painter

The paintbrush flew across the blank canvas

as the bright colors began to bleed into the white.

Making the emptiness feel small again.

His wrinkled hands never shook when he

possessed that brush between his fingers.

It was like his powerful weapon

drawn and ready to show the world.

The scene he painted was of a magical world

that he wished he could back to.

A world where everything was peaceful.

The love of his wife waited for him

by the wooded area in the backyard

of their cobblestone house.

She stood there, smiling bright,

her blond hair blowing in the wind.

She would wait for hours for him to arrive,

so they could live happily ever after again.

Once he was finished, his hand fell to his side,

spattered with bright colors of paint.

The brush fell from his hand, clattering to the ground.

He knew that it was his time.

That magical world he created was waiting

and the painter had arrived.


Blanket Full of Stars

Laying down on the dew filled grass,

I look up at the stars above.

They glitter and shine amongst the blackness

of the vast sky ahead.

I started to point and give each one a special name.

Each one had it’s own identity.

They kept me company on this cool night.

They kept me warm and safe

It was almost like a huge blanket.

A blanket full of stars.


Such a Shame

It’s such a shame that you really meant nothing to me.
You came into my life like a severe thunderstorm,
Building intensity as you went along,
Throwing my whole world around without a word.
I guess it’s a shame that I never stopped you.
That I never really took cover from the debris.
You made all these promises that you couldn’t keep
As the rain kept pouring down around me.
I knew what the game really was.
I’ve played it for so long, you see.
I’ve seen storms like you come through,
Trying to make as much chaos and damage as you can.
Trying to make my whole world fall apart.
It’s such a shame that I couldn’t care less
Now that you’re really gone.
The sun has come out again and it’s all becoming clear.
There’s not a cloud in the bright blue sky
It’s a shame that you think I needed you around.
It’s kind of a shame that I don’t think about you.
You rarely cross my mind,
Except for the moments when it begins to rain
And the rough winds blow through.
But it always goes away as soon as it comes.
It’s such a shame, isn’t it?



Read Full Post »

It’s rather late, so for this post, I’m just going to direct you to the conclusion of my serial story, The Painter, which is now up at Serial Central! Starting next Tuesday, I will be posting a brand new story called Hello From Mexico.

Writing The Painter has been a great experience for me.  It’s helped inspire the writer in me which is something that I really needed at the time. I needed that story to bring that spark back, so this story will always have a special place in my heart.

I would love to know what your favorite part of The Painter was. Any kind of feedback is always appreciated!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »