there on the top of the cliffs every day, painting” the supervisor said
watching the scene on the wall screen.
“Really, how extraordinary” No.60 said
“He must have painted that same scene more than a dozen times.”
“An eccentric is he?”
“Well you know what artists are.”
It was a warm, still, late afternoon when
No.50 sat down on top of the cliff in order to begin to paint. There was not a
breath of wind, it was just perfect, perfect until someone came along and stood
right in the middle of his picture.
“Excuse me, but could you step to one side please?!”
The man turned round, seemingly startled as though he had not seen the artist at his work.
“I’m sorry you startled me.”
“And you are right in the middle of my picture!”
The man stood to one side.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve painted this same seascape four or five times, but I don’t think I’ll ever catch it. It’s not always the same you see, not when the tides in then the sun, when its out glistens on the water and makes it shimmer. When it’s cloudy and a storm threatens then that changes the mood of the sea, it becomes dark and threatening. But this evening....”
“This evening? The man asked.
“There’s something magical about it, it’s so still, and look you can’t see where the beach ends and the sky begins” No.50 said.
“An evening for walking on the water” the man said.
“You see” No.50 exclaimed “you understand.”
“Oh no, not really.”
“Are you a painter Number.....?”
“No I’m not a painter” the man replied.
“You don’t wear a number either!” No.50 observed.
“I’m something of a free spirit, a numberless wanderer.”
“Do you see...the figure on the beach?”
The man turned round “He’s started to run!”
“You would run if you were he” the painter said.
“Watch, just watch.”
The man was running, running through fear, and for his life. But the sand was soft, the going not easy as his canvas shoes sank in the sand, and it, the white membranic sphere gained on him all the time. It would be on him in a moment, and then........There came the blood curdling roar as the Guardian was right at his back. It knocked him to the ground, its prey shoved his face in the sand, better to perish this way than....but it wasn’t so easy to suffocate oneself. He raised his head for a moment, only for a moment, but that was enough for the Guardian to smother the man’s face with its membrane which the man clawed at with his fingers as it suffocated him to death. Then it absorbed its prey, utterly, completely, and with its digestive fluids and acids it began to digest, and its white membrane began to take on a pinkish hue.
The man stood on the cliff top having watched the scene play out down below on the beach, as the artist worked furiously painting the scene in order to give his painting perspective..
“What was that?”
“You don’t know?” asked the artist.
“Would I ask?”
“You must be new here!” the artist said busy with his paint brushes.
“It was a terrible sight, what was that thing?”
“The Guardian” the artist said not stopping for a moment at his work.
“The man he was....”
“Yes that happens, but I expect it has to live like most of us, the best way we can.”
“And all you can do is sit there and paint!”
“It’s all about the moment, a painter has to capture the moment like Turner with his sunsets” the artist said sitting back to admire his work “would you like to see?”
The man stepped round to look at the painting, the artist had captured the moment brilliantly. The moment filled the canvas, the horrific scene of a man screaming, his fingers clawing at the inside of the thing that was absorbing his body, his blood turning the white membrane pink......