Narrator Kellie Fitzgerald brings to life another of author Charles Swain’s original tales of terror. In this macabre entry, you’ll meet a painter and his unlikely muse, an elderly man named Eugene. The struggling artist is having trouble with his latest piece. Just how far will he go to succeed? Listen to this fantastic short scary story to find out.
To see and hear more of Charles Swain’s work, visit his YouTube channel here.
Doctor, I am not insane. What I’m about to write to you must remain confidential. I hear the voices. Every time I fall asleep the same dream keeps reoccurring. I have been put on every single prescription known to man to cure myself of the nightmares. He keeps haunting me! Even avoiding sleep doesn’t stop him from lashing out.
Why am I the only one that sees him? For a while everyone just told me he wasn’t real. But if he’s not real, how come he can hurt me? If he stops hurting me in my sleep then he tries to torment me in my hallucinations while I remain awake. If I’m insane now, I can reassure you I wasn’t always this way.
I must tell you everything for you to understand. It started almost a year ago now, that night all alone working on my greatest masterpiece. I lived in a small town and was considered one of the best artists in the country. Sometimes you need to do dramatic things to get dramatic results. Very few people understand my genius.
My paintings never used to sell before. I lived in a small, simple apartment by myself and could barely make ends meet; sometimes I didn’t. It wasn’t until I turned on my rusty television that I discovered my talent. A serial killer had broken out and killed 7 people in the area so far, one of them was a family of four. It looked so tragic, so disturbing – yet I couldn’t look away. Then I wondered if I could replicate something like that as one of my paintings.
So I looked up various websites. My imagination…is lacking. I needed to see something more real. To paint you need to be inspired, and you need to experience how people feel just before they die. I was not satisfied. I tried to paint the bodies on my plain white canvas, but I could never get the colors right! The wrong mixtures – nothing seemed to look right to me. Weeks had passed and I had almost given up, until one night, I got an answer on my door. It was Karen. She’s been in these apartments for as long as I could remember. I watched her grow up. “Karen, what are you doing here?” I asked.
“My parents are gone and my friends want to go to the movies tonight,” she said. “But I can’t leave my grandfather alone in this house, and I need to make sure he takes his medication on time, or something serious could happen.”
She warned me about her grandfather’s condition, and wanted to know if I could take care of him until she came back. So it was settled. After I agreed, I went to her house to see her grandfather. She left her key under her welcome mat just as she said. I slowly unlocked the door and made my way inside. I saw a grumpy old man watching the TV set. I have never seen this man before but something about him made me hate him.
His face was covered in wrinkles. He looked unpleasant. He smelled of something rotting away, and he completely ignored me as if I wasn’t there. Even after I introduced myself he just looked up at me with those dark eyes. Maybe it would be better if he didn’t live; he seems miserable anyways. After about an hour the caveman finally spoke. He wanted his medicine and said they left it in the cupboard in the restroom.
I got up to walk over in that direction. I opened the medicine cabinet and it looked like this guy was on every medication in the world. It boggled my mind how this old geezer expected me to know which medication I was supposed to give him. Frantic and frustrated, I took every single prescription drug and threw everything down the sink. A few moments later I heard him say my name again. I have no idea what made me so enraged with that man, I have rarely lost my patience with anyone.
I could hear his low tone voice calling my name, beating his cane on the ground, demanding me to hurry. When I made my way back to the living room Eugene was still sitting there, a face that could turn someone to stone. His gruesome face staring right at me. Would it really be such a horrible crime if he didn’t exist anymore? For someone to put him right out of his misery?
“Where is my medicine?” he asked.
“I want my medication now! What’s wrong with you? I need the one for my heart medication! Without it I’ll need medical treatment within the hour. But…that’s what you want don’t you?”
I was completely speechless. Just then Eugene turned around and swung at me with the cane. Infuriated, I swung back with a fist of my own. I was shocked.What had I just done!? I couldn’t let anyone know and Eugene was a witness. No one would believe such an old man would attack first.
I saw his frightening face. He was wide eyed and filled with fear. He tried to make his way off the ground, crawling so pathetically. I grabbed the closest thing next to me; it was a hammer lying on the side of the dining room table. I came back and struck him on the head. The coward! The weakling! How he attempted to defend himself – it only made me want to strike him again, and again. The blood spattered on my shirt and clothes and still I continued. He screamed and pleaded and shivered and screeched, and every desperate cry only made me strike him that much harder.
If it wasn’t too late before now it was definitely too late to stop now. I had to finish the deed! I would be locked up for sure if anyone knew. Again and again I struck but he just wouldn’t die! He kept begging for his life and I kept trying to take it away. Why won’t he die?
I didn’t know what to do, so I stormed into the kitchen for a knife! Taking the knife from the drawer, I hurried back and stabbed him repeatedly! Blood was gushing as I must have struck an artery! He will surely die soon now!
Fifteen minutes passed and the man clung to life like no other! How was this possible?!
I got exhausted from stabbing. I stabbed through the neck, the spine, and even through the brain and throat when that didn’t work. My hands where trembling from the sight. I had to absolutely finish the deed now! He could not live! The only thing scarier than my ambitions to kill him was the thought of him being alive! Even when he has no voice box from which to speak, everything was spoken in his eyes. I tore his eyes out…then I went down to the cellar and there I found a sledgehammer! I almost tripped coming back but I stood firmly on two feet, raised the hammer, and slammed down with all my might! I heard the crushing of bones and crackling sounds. I broke his spine, his legs and then his neck.
Finally I could sense no movement in him. It had stopped! Just for good measure, I smashed in his skull, watching his brains fall to the floor. Finally, for sure…the deed was done. My overjoyed victory turned to pure fear. DEAR GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE!?
All my senses for the first few moments kept me frozen. I sat in the corner of the room, covered in blood. I knew that it was all over anyways. I would have no time to clean this place up. Karen would be here soon and then it would all be over.
Before long I started to smile.
Finally I knew what it was like to see someone dead. Nightfall was approaching. I didn’t know what else I could possibly do, I mean I was no match for forensics and they would surely find out it was me anyway. I was an artist, after all. So with the stroke of my brush I started to paint. The variety of colors I could think of was limitless. I could still see Eugene’s horrified expression, and the way the blood coagulated when it dried. This is what I was missing – the details! There was so much! The emotions I felt when killing such a being were expressed in the painting as well. This was my best work ever and I had no one to share it with!
Before I could finish my masterpiece I heard a sound. It was the sound of keys followed by the door unlocking. My pale face looked to the floor. I knew who it was and what she would say when she saw the sight. Or maybe she would just scream…but instead I got a stranger answer. As I heard Karen walk in she asked me, “What’s wrong?”
She asked me if I was ok. I looked up. To my astonishment, Eugene was sitting at the couch, his eyes still made of stone! Nothing appeared to be broken on him or moved out of place. He hadn’t had a single scratch on him.
But how could this be?!
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