Friday, November 8, 2013

Jacques Masterpiece, Part Two

Cranking the phonograph until it had achieved enough pressure was but a simple joy in Jacques’s life, holding his hands up and clasping them in glee as Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden began to filter through the curved bell. Filling the domed chamber with the haunting cries of violins and drums, Jacques moved down the limestone steps languidly, reveling in the sounds of the orchestra as the phonograph sang of love lost, and of passions found. Opening his eyes, Jacques took in his surroundings with a grin.

Deep beneath the sprawling city of Paris, in the ancient limestone catacombs and quarries the Romans and the French had carved out, there were countless tunnels and chambers, each stranger than the last, and all the more difficult to be found. It was here, deep in the bowels of the very earth itself, where Jacques felt truly at home. In his cavernous lair, Mother rarely spoke to him, so his thoughts were clear; carved out sections of wall created room for Jacque to create frescos and paintings, tapping into his artistic side to finally enjoy the true meaning of his life.
Moving over to a basin full of pink water, he began methodically washing his claw-like hands, wiping them off on the blanket that the child he’d absconded with had been wrapped in. A small dose of chloroform had left it sound asleep in a crib of his own design, made of twine and bones and padded with shredded rags he’d gathered from the catacombs above where the homeless lived.
Tugging on his sleeve errantly, Jacques strode over to the crib with the sleeping child, and watched it for a moment. The young girl was plump and flushed, with a pink bow in her hair. Jacques fingers deftly undid the bow, tucking it into his pocket next to his folding knife, before scooping the limp baby out of the crib and onto his shoulder.
Walking over to a half-finished painting of a rose garden, he patted the young girl on the back as she dozed as he stared at the unfinished work.
“You weigh maybe fifteen pounds… more than enough for my needs.” He idly commented, striding away from his painting to a long shoddy table covered in utensils. Dropping the drugged infant onto a chipped cutting board, he scowled as he looked for his much-needed tools.
“Where is it… a ha! Here we go!” He said with glee as he found a long serrated knife beneath a metal mixing bowl. Taking both, he lifted the girl by her legs and fastened her to the skeletal railing above, until she was dangling limply. Using the knife to remove her garish outfit, which was tossed to the side, Jacque lined up the mixing bowl beneath the young girl as best he could before placing the knife to her exposed throat.
Closing his eyes and waiting for the violin solo that brought the listener to the very cusp of Heaven, Jacques began to saw as it began, humming along with it as he cut through growing tissue and soft bone, severing arteries and nerves slowly but surely. As the violin reached the pinnacle of its solo, so did Jacques knife strike at air, causing him to open his eyes. Palming the small orb that was a child’s head, he checked to make sure the body was draining into the bowl below well enough without causing too much splatter.
He really did hate leaving a mess.
Holding the head between his two hands, he pried the eyes open, smiling into the green orbs as he walked away from his kitchen and over to a shelf constructed from bits of wood and forgotten bones left by the last of the Romans. Placing it gently next to the other orbs, he adjusted it a little so that it wouldn’t simply roll over. Once satisfied with where the head was situated, he stood tall once more and moved back to the basin to wash his hands of the blood he’d stained himself with.
“Messy business, art, but necessary. All of it is necessary to create my masterpiece.” He muttered, looking over to the carved out niche that he’d been painting a darkened red, the limited amount of wax mixed with the blood really bringing out the striking colors that the sanguine additive made as it rotted.
“Now, to just find the perfect candidate for my final project.” He murmured, moving back to his kitchen. Grabbing a block of brilliant green wax, he set it in a saucepan over a wood stove, shoving in a few pieces of timber to the fire to generate more heat. Looking over to the chill box where he kept the meat, he opened it up, a flurry of flies scurrying away in anger from his interruption, before looking over the available slices of meat he had available.
Selecting a deboned pair of legs, he closed the chill box with a slam, waving away the flies, and brought the two legs over to an old meat grinder he’d stolen from behind a butcher’s shop some years ago when they had upgraded their technology.
Humming along to the music as he inserted one leg after another, he created the ground chuck that he needed, allowing it to fill a cracked ceramic bowl, which he then fed through the grinder again.
And again.
And again.
And again, until the meat was so fine it was mere pulp. Pleased with the pulpy white paste he’d created, he moved over to the bubbling pan of wax and dumped in the meat, stirring it about with a wooden spoon until the wax and the meat were a frothy mixture one could not separate.
“Perfect… not too dark, and not too light.” Jacques commented as the wax changed color slowly as it absorbed the pulpy meat. “I was worried both legs would be a bit much.”
Taking the saucepan off of the burner, he carried it over to his garden fresco and set it on a rickety stool, before striding across the room for his brushes. He would need a finer brush for this work, as he would be adding leaves to the bushes, and thorns to the brambles.
And so, as the record moved onto the next song, Jacques stood stooped over, dipping his brush into the wax mixture and adding delicately painted leaves to his work of art. A fresco of a garden in mid-spring, with three young boys and a girl all playing around a maypole. He couldn’t remember their names, but he could always remember their faces.
After all, he looked at their faces every day on his shelf.

1 comment:

  1. It's tough subject matter, but very well written. I wondered when we were going to get the next piece of the story. Thanks for sharing.