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The Picture

January 13, 2011

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.

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2011 12:12 PM

    Nicely done! As an Oscar Wilde fan, you’ve made my day!

  2. January 13, 2011 12:12 PM

    Ah, a tight retelling of that final moment. Sweet.

  3. Ian permalink
    January 13, 2011 12:24 PM

    Nice. Visceral.

  4. January 13, 2011 12:28 PM

    I always LOVED The Picture of Dorian Gray (true fact: actually my favourite book) and you’ve really done it justice. Perfectly formed flash!

  5. January 13, 2011 12:52 PM

    First of all, that is one of my favorite (or shall I say favourite books, like Icy) books ever. Very cool of you to slowly build the pacing to a rather violent end. Works well.

  6. January 13, 2011 1:15 PM

    Good one, Danni. I always found Dorian Gray to be a very creepy story, and you’ve taken it to a new level of creepiness. This is very spooky. Love the final sentence.

  7. January 13, 2011 1:49 PM

    You always manage to tell a story so well with so few words. Like Ian said, so visceral.

  8. January 13, 2011 2:04 PM

    Love Dorian Gray, and this was a very chilling version of the end. You are still the flash queen 🙂

  9. Livy Parker permalink
    January 13, 2011 2:23 PM

    Very well done, Danni:)

  10. January 13, 2011 2:29 PM

    Awesome. I love DG too, and you’ve done old Oscar proud.

    I knew he wanted to be a good boy!

    Love it.

  11. January 13, 2011 2:31 PM

    Great tribute to a great story!

  12. January 13, 2011 2:36 PM

    This is something special. Could be one of your most powerful pieces yet. What a way to start off the year. Bravo!

  13. January 13, 2011 3:47 PM

    Great work as always, sis! I have to admit, I don’t know Dorian Gray, but you told a creepy descriptive story in so few words that it always amazes me. Well done! 🙂

  14. January 13, 2011 4:51 PM

    Thank you all for such an awesome welcome back to #fridayflash. I’ve missed posting so much. It’s good to be back. You guys freakin rock!

  15. January 13, 2011 6:25 PM

    I love the way you take elements from very well-known stories and give them your special touch. Awesome!

    • January 13, 2011 8:18 PM

      Thank you, Gabriela for always stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your support.

  16. January 13, 2011 11:49 PM

    Never cared for Dorian, not sad to the see the shallow sap go. You can do better, Danni. I’ll hook you up with this Vlad chap I met in eastern Europe.

    Winky face

  17. January 14, 2011 6:25 AM

    Awesome work as always. Your writing is an inspiration. x

  18. laradunning permalink
    January 14, 2011 8:07 AM

    I just watched the new Dorian Grey with Collin Firth over the holidays. I read the book a few years ago, it was almost to flowery for me. But, I like the what if? idea it asks the reader. You touched on the human element of the story, the remorse, the regret, the need to be cleansed. Enjoyed it!

    • January 14, 2011 9:58 PM

      Thank you, Lara. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m a Colin Firth fan, so I might have to check it out. And thanks for finding me. 🙂

  19. January 14, 2011 8:16 AM

    Always good to revisit a piece. Definitely a good piece of writing with beautifully built prose as well as demonstrating that old principle of show don’t tell.

  20. January 14, 2011 8:18 AM

    As usual you’ve created a fantastic piece. Vivid, clear, and human. Wonderfully done! 🙂

  21. January 14, 2011 7:21 PM

    I like your story retellings too! I guessed what this one might be from the title, and my hopes were answered. Love the passion in this one.

  22. Carlos permalink
    January 14, 2011 10:43 PM

    Well done Daniela! Powerful! Suspenseful! Creepy! So much taking place in so little words. Awesome!!!

    • January 14, 2011 10:49 PM

      Thank you, amor! And thank you for you uber-proofreading skills. I love you. 🙂

  23. January 15, 2011 4:08 AM

    Wow that gave me chills for a couple of reasons…well done but man did it ever bring me back to high school – had a teacher who just killed Dorian Grey for me…and by killed I mean ruined it;)

  24. January 15, 2011 10:08 PM

    Oscar would be proud.

    Excellent slice of Dorian Gray. Great energy in this piece.

    Well done.

  25. January 16, 2011 8:58 AM

    Good story! Excellent take on Dorian Gray. Love your looks into literature!

  26. January 16, 2011 12:20 PM

    I love you build the violent ending it was very cool I really enjoyed that part where he breaks everything in his path
    You are
    Awesome
    Danni

  27. Blackbirdsong permalink
    January 16, 2011 10:40 PM

    I love that I didn’t get it was about Dorian Gray until you said so. An excellent retelling that feels completely original.

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