The Artist By: Kyle Logan April 2003
Welcome friends--I mean, fiends, to the House of Mystery! Within these walls, a thousand, thousand stories of horror have yet to be told--an entire world of horror unto itself--and I, Cain the Caretaker, will be your guide! Today I have a terror-filled treat for you! Listen as I tell you a story that has a macabre moral to it--one that does not lessen the terror it brings! So, without further prestidigitation on my part, I present to you the tale of....
Our story begins at a certain junior high school that will remain unnamed. This school was filled with students and teachers, but one student stood out; his name was Steven. Steven was a young artist who found true beauty and solace in art, and cared little about anything else. He was often made fun of by his classmates, especially a certain bully of a boy named Matthew. If his classmates only knew that his sketching skill was not his only talent--as they would all learn soon enough. Steven felt that he had one person to identify with at his school--his art teacher, Ms. Kristal Dalton.
She was a young teacher, about 28 or 29, and was very attractive. She had beautiful long curly brown hair and big beautiful brown eyes. She had a tiny beauty mark, a very tiny mole, above her lip, that was hardly noticeable. However, she was very conscientious about it and covered it up with make-up. She was a very youthful person, and was very popular among the young guys. She was popular among some of the girls as well, since she was director of the school's cheerleading program too. It was a job she was adept at, since in her teenage years she was a cheerleader herself; but her passion was with teaching art. She thought of herself as a work of art, wanting to be perfect, and since she was older, she struggled even more to be perfect. Nonetheless, she was a good art teacher. And little did she know that she had one very special student that would give her a slightly different lesson in art.
Actually, our story begins a few months before, at the start of the semester. Ms. Dalton had a whole new art class to teach. Little did she know that one of the students in her class was not just a talented artist, but he was also special in other, more mysterious ways. The young boy's name was Steven, and from the beginning he was fascinated with Ms. Dalton. He loved art, and he thought that Ms. Dalton was a beautiful work of art herself. That first day, Ms. Dalton wore a beautiful black skirt which showed her slender, long legs, and a pair of black shoes with cut out backs which showed her heels. She was literally beautiful from head to toe. She was a living work of art to Steven. He had more than a crush on her, the boy admired her deeply. To him, she represented all that was beautiful.
He continued to admire her, and his admiration grew as time went on. As for his artistic talents, Ms. Dalton was amazed at how skilled, how realistic, his drawings were. "I don't have to teach you anything - you are already a talented artist!" Ms. Dalton said to him. As always, the boy was silent and modest, but was filled with joy at how the woman he admired liked his work. Then, one day, the boy got an idea. He would draw a portrait of his admiration - Ms. Dalton herself - and give it to her. Then she would know of her true beauty as art, Steven thought; and the boy did just that. Day after day he drew bit by bit, making sure his work was perfect, and it was. In his artwork, he drew Ms. Dalton as she was, except even more radiant. It was an exact likeness. He drew her perfectly; except he made her even more radiant. It didn't take long for him to finish. The next day, he would give her the picture, and he knew she would love it. If only he knew.
The next day, Ms. Dalton woke up and looked in the mirror. She always did this, to see if she still looked flawless and perfect, and to appeal to her own vanity. To her surprise, her face was even more radiant! If she only knew that this was linked to the boy's artwork. Literally, her life was imitating his art. That very day, the boy gave his artwork to Ms. Dalton. She was in awe of how realistic it looked, from head to toe. She was speechless. She knew he was talented, but not this talented! But then a vain chord came through Ms. Dalton. She believed herself to be perfect, and in her mind made herself believe this art did not do her justice. She then pointed out various "flaws" in the artwork. The boy knew she was lying. In her vanity, she did not accept his gift. He thought she was a work of art, but that was only aesthetic. Inside, she was flawed to him. This angered the boy. Now, he would make a new drawing - a drawing that would be a new, darker type of art, reflecting his true feelings about his former admiration. If only Ms. Dalton knew what her moment of vanity would cost her at the hands of this special young artist!
The next day, Ms. Dalton looked as radiant as ever. She was wearing a red dress with a small slit on the side, and red, slip-on dress shoes. However, young Steven now looked at her beauty with contempt. He felt such artistic beauty was wasted on her. Ms. Dalton stood at the podium, talking to the class. Once, Steven would have admired this, but not any longer. He then took out a sheet of paper and began to draw, both quickly and skillfully. He began to draw what he saw, Ms. Dalton, as young and beautiful as ever. Then, he began to add things. On the illustration of her face he began to draw large creases, actually wrinkles. He drew them more and more, curving around her face, making her face look older and haggard. Steven then looked up at Ms. Dalton's face. To his amazement, as he drew them on the paper, the wrinkles actually began to appear on Ms. Dalton's once flawless face. He continued to draw them, and they appeared more and more as Ms. Dalton talked. Her face began to look older and older. Steven knew his art was coming to life. He then began to draw her face looking much more weathered, even more ancient.
The other students soon noticed, and gasped. They couldn't believe how old her face looked! "Ms. Dalton--your face!!" One girl said, panicked. "What about it? What about my face?" she said. She touched her face, and noticed it felt different. She looked in a nearby mirror and was filled with terror at what she saw. Her mouth gaped with shock as she looked in the mirror. She saw every wrinkle, every mark of age on her once youthful face. She rubbed her face and nearly rubbed it raw. "MY FACE! MY FACE! What happened to my face?!!?" she exclaimed. The class was just as in shock as she was; all except Steven. Steven continued with his art, satisfied with the results. He drew her hands, withered and age spotted, and her hands quickly became that way in reality. "My hands!" she said, watching them change into gnarled things she didn't recognize. Steven then began to finish his work. He drew her hair, but not the way it was; he drew it scraggly and snow white, and her hair became just that way. "NO! NO!" she screamed. She was now not even a shadow of her young self, and one could imagine her mind was about to shatter as her vanity just did.
Steven then finished with some erasing and revisions; he drew her stooped, with a hand on her back, and drew old lady clothes on her. He then drew a cane in her hand. She stooped over and put her hand on her back, and before her eyes a cane appeared in her free hand, which she leaned on. Her youthful clothes instantly changed into an old granny's outfit."What happened? What made me so old?" The hag-like Ms. Dalton said, in an aged voice. The students gathered around their senior citizen of a teacher, shocked. Steven then came up to her, smiling, and showed her his drawing--a drawing of her as she now appeared. "What do you think, Ms. Dalton? I think it looks just like you, now!" he said.
Everyone remained silent and shocked. Then the silence was broken by Steven's antagonist, the bully Matthew. "I don't know what happened to Ms. Dalton--but somehow you did it, freak! I always knew there was something weird about you!" he belted out. But, Steven didn't say a word, just took out another sheet of drawing paper and began sketching his red-headed, freckle-faced bully. "What are you doin', freak? Why are you drawin'?" he said. Soon, Steven was done, and then erased the exact likeness of his tormentor completely. "I feel..weird.." the bully said, as suddenly, before everyone's eyes, he began to fade and completely disappear! He was erased from existence...just as easily as his sketch was erased!
After that, everyone's attention wasn't on the elderly Ms. Dalton, or the erased boy--it was all on Steven! No one could explain what happened that day. No one messed with Steven anymore, that's for sure! No one would find out what really happened to Matthew, and as for Ms. Dalton, she retired, her sanity shattering as her youth and beauty did. Rumor has it she entered a place called the House of Lunacy, and came under the care of a beautiful and uniquely talented girl named Nurse Melody--but, that is a story for another time. And so, dear friends and fiends, the moral of this story is that life is a work of art, not to be used and misused--and especially that it's beauty is only in the eye of the beholder! Never let vanity or single-mindedness get in your way--or you could end up like Ms. Dalton and Matthew--because you never know who the beholder is! Until next time, when you dare to journey into the House of Mystery again--and your favorite caretaker will be waiting for you! HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!