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The Painter

by rani Jayakumar | Score: 4100

She squinted. It was hard to tell - was it one line or two? The second one seemed faint.

She sighed. Looked like she was pregnant. She held the device between her fingers, pulled up her underpants, and washed her hands. 

In the mirror, she could see her forehead streaked with colors from when she had wiped her brow in the heat, the paintbrush in her hand swinging wildly, the ideas swirling in her head in a way they never came in words. For days on end, she would chew the end of the brush, dabbing here, picking up pigment there, rubbing sleep from her eyes. 

Occasionally, Ogden would come in with a fried egg, or a glass of cocoa, her favorites. He was patient, as paramedics must be, his fingers dexterously removing the kinks in her shoulders after his night shift of saving people, while she only created in a way she could not stop doing, exactly the opposite of what he was: Creating things that were completely impractical, utterly useless. 

While he marked Xs across his to-do lists, each expressing a sense of completion, she squeezed yellow ochre from a tube that looked like toothpaste (in fact, once, he had replaced the white with real toothpaste for April Fools' Day and she hadn't spoken to him for the full extent of the day and the next). 

While outside, fireworks exploded, she continued to paint, the same canvas jostling for space among all the others in the room, so many half-completed, so many portraits. There was the family portrait of the engineer and his wife, a doctor, with their three sons. There were the dogs, caught mid-jump. There were the debutantes in their jaunty caps and frilly dresses and vibrant makeup. 

And she continued to dab, creating, night after night, what would someday become her masterpiece. Only it wouldn't be - her masterpiece would be someone small, and frail, and come into the world to turn it unabashedly upside down. 

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Event Someone is pregnant
Words Reach 50 words
Character A reserved craftsperson
Prop Include a paintbrush
Letter Use the letter L
Words Reach 100 words
Event Your character hasn't slept in days
Prop Include an egg
Character A patient paramedic
Words Reach 200 words
Letter Use the letter X
Event Something explodes
Prop Include a tube of toothpaste

This story was written using Taleforge, the free writing exercise app powered by The Story Shack. Curious? Try it yourself.

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