He takes the steps two at a time, whistling as he goes. His heart races, a smile fixed firmly to his face. He bounds into the room almost forgetting to lock the door behind him. Striding across the room, he stands before it, hands trembling, knees weak.
It must be better.
He can feel it in his chest; the pride swelling. A good deed done will be repaid in kind. A scar for each wrong must equal a healing for each kindness.
Anticipation twitches in his fingers as he raises his hand. He clutches the soft velvet, but holds tight. One last glance in the mirror, a final goodbye to the man he was. Then he jerks the cloth free. A pool of scarlet gathers at his feet.
His jaw goes slack; eyes widen in horror.
It can’t be.
Chest heaving, despair washes over him as he takes in the marred, disfigured image before him. Fists clench at his sides as defeat burns into rage. He snatches the frame and hurls it across the room.
“No!” His voice echoes off the walls.
Someone pounds on the door as he tears the room apart. He flees to the bureau and smashed every vase and collectible one-by-one, hurling them across the room, shattering the mirror, lamps, whatever dares be in his path. Finally, his fist curls around the final item on the bureau, and a laugh erupts from within. It’s cold and heavy in his hand. He stalks across the room, intent on his prey. Kneeling before the battered canvas, he raises the blade. With an ugodly cry of rage he plunges it into the heart of the portrait.
A scream chokes in his throat as pain sears through his flesh. Blood pumps from an open wound in his chest, and he collapses to the floor. Gasping for breath, he watches the withered, repulsive man in the painting flake away, leaving the beautiful perfect image of a young Dorian Gray.