Archive for the 'Short Story' Category


The Persuasion of Sir Zeliek

This is a short story type dealie I’ve had saved forever and just found. I reworked it a bit and am putting it on the internet for all to see!

The Persuasion of Sir Zeliek

The difference between the others and myself is that I remember everything.  Some were forced to forget, or others never bothered to care in the first place.  They don’t recall what it’s like to taste things, a ripe apple…to smell that but rotting flesh…to feel…warmth.  I alone kept all of those horrible memories and I would give them away in a heartbeat, not that I have one to give, if only to find peace.

He delights in that misery.  The misery only I endure.  Of all His witless creations, His terrible aberrations…I am the only one who is fully of aware of my actions, my horrible deeds, but unable to control myself. I am the only one who wishes to stop.  It is a fine punishment He has wrought upon me and for these years I’ve hoped someone will put an end to it.

They come more frequently now, the adventurers…the heroes, more so than ever before. When the necropolis floated above the plagued land of Lordaeron few made it to our military quarter.   Most that did were quickly slaughtered and reborn into His army, still I scream…someone must. I yell and plead with these foolish mortals to leave our realm and never return. I shout until my voice grows hoarse.  The others find it amusing.  They are so lost now, but I’m afraid if they are lost than I must be as well.

There was a time when it wasn’t like this.  I was free of His grasp.  His hand weighing heavy on my shoulder, this burden of undeath.  This numb feeling I have now, this feeling of emptiness…I am but a husk of my former self.  I was once the son of a granary worker in the village of Corin’s Crossing.  I didn’t have a spectacular childhood, I wasn’t reckless or adventurous.  I lived the simple life of a farmhand’s son.

My father wasn’t a religious man, he believed in the Light but most virtues were lost on him. My mother was that influence. She made sure I read everything she could find about it.  She hoped I would be among the smartest in all of Lordaeron.  I think of her now and where her influence may have lead me, to this place, but I cannot fault her, I am as much to blame. The philosophies and doctrines at that age were so fascinating to me. This was my dream as much as hers and so I began studying at the chapel just outside the town.

The priests there told me of the heroes of the light, men like Leonid Barthalomew and Uther Lightbringer. They were my heroes.  I focused all of my time to the three virtues and eventually found that not only could I see the Light, I could feel it as well.  The priests made me a patron of the chapel at the age of sixteen and I lived a life of relative happiness, bringing the warmth of the Light to as many as I could.

At first the signs of the plague were not apparent…to say we didn’t notice the illness wasn’t completely the case…we saw as it took the land like a fire, but we believed the Light would prevail as it always had. We did not expect a plague.  If only we hadn’t been so arrogant.  We “healed” those we could and sent them as if they had sprained an ankle  back to their families with a smile…and thus condemned them all to death.  I still remember the first to pass on.

A young girl succumbed to the plague in the Redpath farmhouse not far from the Crossing.  She was so calm, but her parents were terrified.  I knew we had to burn the corpse, by now we realized it was more than a simple infection, but I was still in disbelief.  My fellow priests and I laid her small body amongst some golden leaves, said a prayer, and basked her in holy fire.  It was the first time I smelled that horrible aroma. The first time I heard the wails of mourning parents. It was the first time I used the Light to sear flesh, and as I continue to do so I never forget.  I can never forget.

The plague spread quickly after that.  Half of the town went ill, the rest were terrified.  Even the priests weren’t immune.  I prayed to the Light for help, for guidance.  I thought it had come when I heard of the prince’s return.  He brought with Him Uther the Lightbringer, my idol, a man who’s example I based all of my study. We believed they were there to help us, to cure those in need.  When the town of Stratholme caught fire we knew within minutes.  The entire sky was black, covered in the soot of a city.  I never saw either man again, and at the time we knew not why the city burned but the panic was palpable.  We took those that were able to the chapel and held them there, praying for salvation. I do that often now as well, but just as it was then, my prayers remain unanswered. We held out there for nearly two days before they tore the doors off the hinges.

I recognized most of them, held in the agonizing grip of undeath. They were my loved ones, my friends and family.  I didn’t understand what had happened exactly, we just knew they were crazed.  I had to use the holy fire, invoking the Light once more to burn those that were my friends just days before.  We held the chapel for a week before our defense collapsed.  They stormed in and slaughtered anyone in their path, the weakest and youngest were their first targets.  They had no honor, these were mindless killers and fiends…my friends and family.  I could not understand how the Light had allowed this. I called out as they struck me down, I screamed for the Light to help us.

What had we done to deserve this?

I demanded the Light assist me. To make them pay. My life of devotion and respect.  The compassion I based everything on. I didn’t deserve this. We didn’t deserve this. I offered it all just to avenge those that had fallen here, and to my shock, the Light conceded.  A chain of holy energy tore through the monsters, ripping them apart in a bright warmth  I collapsed to my knees, dragging my last breath into my chest.  The hordes filled the room as my legs buckled, the last living man to stand within the Chapel of Light’s Hope.  My eyes closed but I heard a voice, a voice that cracked like broken glass. “Interesting.” it whispered.

I’ve been this way ever since.  I don’t know how they did this to me, or even why. They have managed to trap my body in the state of undeath, the same as the victims of the plague, but have kept me completely cognizant of my situation.  I know exactly what I am.  The others don’t carry this curse. They were brought here in their own ways, the Lady Blaumeux believes she joined willingly, as though someone could actually desire this.  I wonder if that may be her torture.  Could she have been a good person before, who believed herself unwavering in her own life?  Full of confidence that she knows she always made the best decision?  I cannot tell. She keeps her motives to herself, only talking to berate me with her snide comments.

Thane Korth’azz is a different tale completely.  His insatiable lust of battle is something I will never understand.  In my studies of Uther I learned of the dwarf, he was one of the Lightbringer’s strongest and most loyal friends.  After Uther fell, the Thane fell himself or was persuaded to the Scourge on his own accord.  He will not tell me which it is.

I’m under the impression that he may have joined because he no longer had hope. To lose one of his best friends may have sent him into a great depression, and sensing the dwarf’s weakness, He probably took advantage.  The Thane has a bloodlust now that had he it in life he would surely be dead.  He taunts everyone, even the Instructor…which in itself seems suicidal.  I am unsure if he wishes to find someone who can finally kill him, or just to simply continue his battle eternally.

The last member of our cabal was originally a man named Alexandros Mograine. I was there when the pact was made for Mograine’s valorous soul. Alexandros was to be killed by his beloved son’s treachery, with his own sword Ashbringer, which had obliterated thousands of scourge minions. It was a demon of the Burning Crusade who corrupted the boy, but it is my understanding that Renault Mograine was already a weak spirited fool whom only needed a nudge in the wrong direction. Renault murdered his father at the gate of Stratholme leaving the body to Him as was the agreement made between the Lich and the demon.

I know not the specifics of what happened to the son after that, other than his newfound leadership position in the Scarlet Crusade, his father however I do know the sad tale of. I witnessed the Lich torture Alexandros’ soul for days until the righteous paladin finally submitted. His once great sword Ashbringer was corrupted as well and he became the greatest knight in His ranks. Morgaine was made a horseman and joined us in the madness and violence we propagated, however unlike Thane and the Lady, he never showed emotion. Where they showed happiness or excitement his expression remained stoic. It was at times worse to see him massacre as the rage in his eyes was the only hint of any thoughts he may have had.

We ‘lived’, if you can call it that, as this for quite some time keeping a tight grasp on the north of Lordaeron biding our time while He grew an army. There were occasional uprisings and revolts from the mortals but they were easily quelled by the combined might of the Four Horsemen. It was not until He began to make plans to move onto the uncorrupted lands to the south that the adventurers started showing up. So many died to the horrors within the necropolis, few made it to our menagerie and none made it out alive. None minus Mograine’s second son, Darion.

The boy came upon our ranks with the help of an assault force known as the Argent Dawn. We had seen their colors on many that we had murdered and knew they were trying to strike back at us for His war. Darion Mograine’s small group managed to hold us back as he tried to convince his father to stop “this madness” It’s very odd that I understood the boy completely and as much as I wanted to I could not agree with him, I only wish his words had had the effect they had on his father on me as well.

After the Lady and Thane murdered the remainder of the Argent Dawn group, I watched as the elder Mograine hesitated to kill Darion. I yelled for the boy to flee but he stood in defiance of his father, unlike the other child of Alexandros, he was no coward. I expected Mograine to cleave his boy in two and closed my eyes as his blade curved towards his youngest son. I heard no scream and opened them. Alexandros had given Darion the Ashbringer.

“Run boy, run…” Alexandros whispered and Darion turned and fled. He ran unknowingly right into the Masters lair, had the portals been open he may have escaped, but it was not to be. Darion was confronted by the Lich and in another unbelievable act of defiance he split his own chest with his  fathers blade. Immediately, Alexandros screamed, a roar so strong it felt as though the entirety of Naxxramas shook, the first emotion I had seen on his face since he had fallen into undeath. Mograine left us then without a word, turning his back on Him, something I had never before witnessed.

Darion, like Alexandros, was brought into our ranks but instead of becoming a horseman he was deemed a field leader and instructor to newly turned knights of His ranks, a front line general for the coming war. Darion shared the blood of his father, and like his father was able to become the second man to escape Him.

Darion broke free with a group he calls The Knights of Ebon Blade a contingent of death knights who were betrayed by Him and were able to resist His sway and join the mortals war on us. It is not surprising to me that he would find a way to be free, he is a Mograine after all, but it leaves me with dismay to think there are those who have escaped His grasp and yet I have found no way. Am I so far gone that there is nothing left for me but this damnation? Do I not deserve the same freedom?

Darion’s triumph does still give me hope that one day I may escape myself, but to hope now seems so pitiful. I’ve done so much wrong in these years as His knight I do not think there can be redemption in my future.

Alexandros was replaced in our cabal by a man named Rivendare, a former baron of the burned city of Stratholme. He held a station there defending it from fortune seekers and adventurers while we murdered the innocents throughout the countryside. He has informed me on numerous occasions that he was always jealous of our work, all the while smiling at me. I cannot stand that man.

Like the Baron, there are many among the ranks of the floating necropolis I try to avoid. Most of them are unaware of my situation but those that are believe it is important to stress what I’ve become. Beyond Lady Blaumeux, who finds it everyday to remind me of the terrors of my undeath, there is Heigan the Unclean, a horrible man who uses alchemy to build abominations. I do not know what happened to make him like this but in his most recent experiment, a flesh giant powered by electricity, he formed it’s body from the murdered corpses of women and children. I can hear it sometimes wailing for someone to kill it or simply sobbing. I wish that it was within my power to put it out of its misery. Heigan thinks that all suffering is amusing, and wishes it to befall each of his miserable creations.

Heigan knows of my situation and torments me the most because of it, more so than even the Lady. He gains much enjoyment from the pain of others but it’s doubly so to watch me have sympathy for them. He often calls me to his parlor where I must watch his terrible experiments and try not to show the horror in my heart so that he might go easy on them. He never does. If he sees my dismay he tortures them harder and gleefully informs me that he’s got plenty of ideas and an endless amount of innocent souls to test. I can only hope someone stops this fiend before more people get hurt, but I’m afraid I may be past hope.

Hope is why I write these thoughts down. I’m beginning to think that, like the Thane before he was corrupted, I have lost all hope. If I cannot escape His will on my own then I’ve come to realize I must escape it through death. Assuming I can still be killed I ask, no I pray…as ironic as that sounds…that you will send someone to kill me. I have come close, so close to being free of His grasp but He always tightens harder crushing everything I have left. I do not know why he chose me for this torture but I do know that soon I will no longer be able to take it. It may be His hope, odd choice of words I’m aware, that I go insane like the Lady and forget about my previous life, like most of his servants.

I fell smiting my undead loved ones and yet still continue to smite innocents as an undead. Is there no escape for me? Am I fated to remember the smell of the burned flesh of the innocent forever? I tried so hard to be a pious man, a righteous man, is this what I deserve?

No. It cannot be.

It must not be.

This letter contains a pendant with the holy shielding required to survive entry to Naxxramas and the last of my hope, a hope that you can find someone to kill me. Someone strong enough to take on the entirety of the necropolis, all of Naxxramas and finish it forever. He probably knows I have written these thoughts, it probably amuses Him, but they have taken all of my will to find this paper and I feel it is the least I can do. Maybe this can help you defeat us…I can only hope.

A letter to Tirion Fordring, High Commander of the Argent Crusade


A dream.

It has been a long time dear internets, a very long time indeed. Everyday I see the icon for Pen Med on my homepage but for some reason I haven’t clicked it in quite some time, recently I just haven’t felt the urge to write anything…but tonight I was feeling different, I wanted to share something…a dream I had.

There was a room with nothing in it but a table, resting atop it was a long cardboard box of dull colors and no words. The table was covered in darkness but the room was relatively well lit, as if the box was in the reverse of a spotlight. I stepped towards it, reached my hand down and casually brushed the top. The colors drifted around the box and the top slid aside like the lid of a coffin. Inside was a folded board and a dozen or so metal trinkets.

The table had around it now four or five figures in heavy black cloaks, their movement stuttered like claymation, jagged and unnatural. I can’t say for sure how many they were because they moved constantly, all at once they were five separate beings and a single amalgamation. Each wore a mask, obscenely white like the comedy and tragedy masks of ancient Greek theater but these masks were as the figures, constantly changing shape and expression, with no face underneath and no eyes to see with.

No lips parted as they spoke in a voice that sounded like mine yet different, “Choose your piece.” I looked down towards the metal baubles but there was now only one, it looked like a bishop from chess. I reached to pick it up, and as I grabbed it the metal was so cold it numbed my fingers. The piece was also much much heavier than it looked, I could barely lift it in one hand. The board then opened on it’s own and my piece pulled my hand and instinctively placed itself on a gray square in the middle. The board itself was surprisingly smaller than it appeared in the box with tiles in haphazard unpredictable paths leading out from the center. The board’s outer edge was shimmering, not like gold more like snow, giving it a majestic beauty.

“Each game begins and ends the same, it’s the play that differs.” echoed my different voice. I looked down and saw each cloaked figure now had a piece on the board but theirs were unidentifiable to me, each looked exactly the same as the other but somehow I knew they were different, and that logic actually made it hurt to see them. There was no wheel to turn, no dice to roll but I knew that my turn was first so I began to move my piece. Each square activated a seemingly random memory that lit the room in vibrant colors, as if the room itself was the memory. It showed an endless blue carpet, a baseball mitt, the cabinet behind the door in the kitchen of my first home and other unremarkable things and moments of my childhood. I stopped moving my piece and the room went back to the neutral it began in.

The figures moved next, each piece across the board on its own, shuddering against the tiles as if each tile’s line was an invisible barrier. No memories played for the shadows, the room only grew darker as each got closer to my piece. The final turn they took actually led one of their pieces two squares behind mine and with each wall it broke my heart pounded harder. I didn’t know why but I knew their pieces must never catch mine. At my next turn I moved again, gliding my freezing bishop across the flat board. The memories came again and they were louder now, if that is something memories can be. I was riding a bike down a hill and into a bush, I was climbing the steps of my great aunt’s house, I was crying they didn’t have peanut butter sandwiches without jelly.

My entire arm was numb when I let go of the piece. The masks were in agony, their faces contorting violently…constantly into exasperated shapes. My piece was now far ahead of theirs but the end wasn’t in sight…in fact I hadn’t noticed until now but the board had no end. The tiles just kept impossibly going. I could see the edge shining against the darkened table but I couldn’t follow any of the trails to their logical conclusions. As the shadows moved their pieces slowly one by one across the squares I grew worried. They were going to catch me, this game has no end.

My turn came again and I decided I would go until I couldn’t go anymore. My piece moved at a much faster pace than I had the two prior turns, the memories blustered through like a steady breeze. I was in second grade praying for hurricane survivors, I was in a spelling bee trying to remember the letters for “transportation”, I was playing Sega Channel at the magical hour when the new games appeared, I was winning a prized slammer. I had to keep going, they must never catch me. Panic took me then, my arm wracked with pain as if being ripped from its socket and it was too much, my piece toppled over as I let it go.

The shadows took their turns delicately moving at a sinister pace. They didn’t seem to be gaining any ground until the final piece moved. It landed a single square behind my overturned bishop. My right arm stinging with pain I decided to go with the left on this turn, forcing my piece forward even faster than before. Memories floated by at such a pace I could no longer separate them. At the same time I ate lunch in 6th grade I was learning to drive in 10th. They became indistinguishable from each other, no longer a breeze but a wave, crashing around the room. The cloaked cratures no longer seemed in pain, their masks were oddly contemplative.

Without my realizing it my hand released the bishop and the color died again. The room seemed even darker than before and the shadows began to move their pieces. The first only made it a few squares, the next two made it six or seven…but I was easily a dozen ahead of the nearest…the last one. That piece shuddered to life on their last turn, sliding against the cracks on the board without a hitch. It closed in to five squares from my piece and began to slow, leaving each square became a trial but the indescribable trinket continued on. It finally got one square behind my piece and stopped abruptly, not from the board’s invisible barriers but obviously, even to me, from the shadow choosing to stop it. I went to speak, for the first time I realized, when my piece was ripped from the board by an ashen hand.

“No one wins at the game of life.” said a chorus of my voice in an echoing whisper. Then before me the charcoal fist crushed my bishop, shattering it into dust. My heart raced and i went to yell out and I awoke, thinking as loudly as I could “I WIN AT LIFE!” I sat up and realizing it was a dream began to laugh hysterically at what I was thinking. Yes…yes I do win at life.

Breedo wins at life.


The last painting of Harold.

Harold was finally used to the noises now.  His heart monitor’s steady beeping, the motorized pistons of his bed moving every few minutes to protect him from sores, the shuffling of the flowers as the breeze from the open window hit them.  These were all comforting sounds he expected.  It was the sights he could never grasp.  Since he was a young boy his imagination would take the best of him creating elaborate fantasies or what were later defined as delusions by his doctors, something he began taking medicines for as a young adult but now in his old age they had returned.

He opened his eyes to gauge his surroundings.  The room hadn’t changed since he’d fallen asleep, at least if his memory served him right.  The curtains were billowing in the open window but he dared not gaze outside, he knew to keep it familiar. His eyes darted across the wall to the door, it was closed, thankfully, and then returned their gaze to the empty chair across from him.  He breathed a sigh of relief to not have to explain his paranoia again, his doctor was a stubborn man. He layed motionless for a moment drinking in the sounds of his room once more. The serene stillness was broken as the knob of the door began to shake.  Harold clutched the front left pocket of his hospital gown as the handle turned, narrowing his eyes towards the doorway.

His doctor entered with a clipboard, casually walking around Harold and up to the machines.  “How are you this morning?” the young physician asked.  Harold always noticed how chipper the doctor seemed, even on the worst days. “It’s worse today.” Harold replied. “That’s no good my friend, that’s no good at all.” Harold cringed at friend.  He didn’t like being in a hospital or having anything to do with the people that worked there.  To be a friend to a doctor means he belongs here, something Harold couldn’t believe to be true. “Your vitals are up, you seem better today.  Is there anything I can get you?” “A canvas.” Harold answered without hesitation. “You know I can’t get you that, is there anything else?” “No. No, there’s nothing else.” The doctor went to leave and Harold told him to close the door.

As the doctor exited, Harold’s hand had just stopped grasping his front pocket. He looked down and within his palm was a pool of purple liquid, so dark he could see his reflection in it.  His face withered by the years so much so he couldn’t recognize the ancient eyes peering back at him. He closed them in shock and opened them again to see his hand perfectly clean, the liquid had vanished. He breathed a sigh of relief, and rested his head back on the pillow closing his eyes again in hopes for dreamless sleep.

Harold was not so lucky. He dreamed of her.  She was the only woman he had ever loved. They were happily married but she had passed away a few years before in an accident and he never got to say goodbye.  When he could remember them, Harold’s dreams were often a reflection of that.  She was always there, but she could never hear him, see him or touch him. He would yell and scream for her but she would never look his way. She would look so lonely and afraid but he never saw her eyes. If it weren’t for the pictures he kept next to his bed he’d have trouble making out her face.  

The door opened and with it his eyes.  They made their routine of checking the room to finally reach the face of the nurse. His hand instinctively clutched his front pocket. She didn’t say a word, just dropped a plate of food on the wheeled table, slid out his fluid bags and replaced them with new ones, and glanced over at him. Harold somberly shook his head and she left his room.  Unlike the doctor, the nurse never had a happy disposition but Harold preferred it this way. He glanced at his food, they always made sure he ate most of it.  Today was salisbury steak. He removed his hand from its sheath, not looking at it this time and grabbed a fork.  He took a few bites and then slid the plate away, the food wasn’t bad but he could never find an appetite anymore. He groaned as he shifted away from it, out of sight out of mind. 

Harold knew he couldn’t find rest now.  He glanced up at the television hanging above him, the cords haphazardly dangling from the back of it like the entrails of a dead animal.  He had fancied turning it on before, hoping to melt his mind in its dull glow, but he’d never gotten the courage.  Much like the window, the television was a gateway for his imagination. When he was a young man he had no problem seperating fact from fiction but now just thinking about those days made him envious. The television was a constant reminder of the power of illusion, the grandeur of make believe, something Harold knew about all too well.  He’d asked the doctor to move it once before but the doctor was still young and didn’t understand.  Harold realized it would sound foolish and dropped the notion, it donned on him that if he was a young man he wouldn’t understand either.  So there the television hung in all its splendor just above his feet, taunting him incessantly.

There was only one truly safe place in the room for Harold’s eyes to wander anymore, the ceiling.  Not much ever changes up there and most days he found himself staring at it endlessly. It comforted him that there is at least one haven for his mind when he can’t stand the dreams. It was there that he finally felt safe enough to pull the delicate handkerchief from his front pocket and hold it directly in his palm. He brushed his fingers against the soft fabric, gently spreading the silk apart he grasped what it had hidden, a small piece of purple colored wax. 

Harold saw her again. This time she was staring right at him her eyes a soothing amethyst, her features as fine as the pictures he kept.  She walked right through him towards the door. He cried for her to stop, he begged as loud as he could but she did not hear him, she did not turn around. She opened the door and with it the air from the room ripped out, his lungs were emptied. He got up to follow her to try to grab her but his balance faltered and he collapsed to the floor. Harold looked up from the ground, his chest heaving against the floor he struggled to yell but couldn’t find the air. She walked into the street. He winced.

A violent explosion of red and blue shifting together erupted from her then. The colors that emerged from her form were hideously beautiful. Lilac, lavender, magenta, plum and orchid all collided as the cars struck her. She fell to the street in a violet onslaught. Tears ran down Harold’s face as he tried to scream for her but all he could do was watch and when he had enough, he closed his eyes in anger.  He heard nothing but the honking of car horns. There was nothing he could do for her, nothing anyone could do for her. The horns slowly became unison, almost in harmony and he was confused. They began to honk faster and he was forced to open his eyes once more.

Harold awoke in a cold sweat, his heart monitor beeping faster than usual.  His hand was sore and he looked down at it to see he’d clutched the crayon so hard in his sleep that it had drawn blood.  The crimson and purple mixed to make a dark violet smear in his hand. He took the napkin from his dinner plate and cleaned off the bit of wax, then returned it to its handkerchief in his front pocket.   Harold held his hand in a fist, clutching the napkin and then released it placing it with his dinner. His bed shifted, and with it his view, and he saw her again.

The picture he kept next to his hospital bed, she looked exactly like she had in the dream. Her piercing eyes staring right through him, Harold couldn’t stand it but still he couldn’t look away. He grabbed the frame and held it closer, his other hand moved back to the safety of his front pocket. He clutched the frame and pulled it to his chest where he held the crayon.  He looked down at his ragged fingers and began to weep. Through watered eyes, he glanced the television and then the open window, and Harold finally realized something.


He didn’t care about reality anymore…


Harold took the wax from his pocket uncovered it from its silk and grasped it in his ancient hand.  He took the photo away from his chest and eyed it one last time, then set it back down on its perch. He bent his knees off the side of the bed and sat up. The bed shifted with his weight and let out a groan with him. He didn’t take his eyes off the wax he clutched between his thumb and index finger. He heard the beeping of his monitor rising even faster as if to warn him, but he didn’t care all he could hear now was the whispers of the purple crayon.  He stood and his old bones shook and popped as he hobbled to the edge of his bed. The crayon was leading him as if it were a young child, pulling his hand towards the wall. “Finally a canvas.” Harold murmured in awe.

The crayon slid against the white hospital wall with such fluid percision that even Harold was amazed. His hands found their old positions as did his eyes, narrowed at the work in front of them. He felt like a child again, for the first time in a very long while he was unburdened and carefree. Harold wielded the crayon like a conductors baton, creating his very own symphony. He drew first her eyes, the piercing amethyst pupils and curled lashes. He drew her nose and mouth next careful to highlight her delicate features. He finished off her face and began to draw her ears and hair, long violet locks that lay unkempt on her forehead. He drew her neck and shoulders then arms and body, in a sitting position exactly how she had been in the portrait. He finished with her lips as the last of his crayon crumbled to dust within his hand. He collapsed to the floor with a smile as the beeping became louder and louder.