Title: Gallery Visit
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – Week of March 28, 2017
Words count: 175 words
I’ll be honest – I’m still a little unsure on the ending for this piece. Or at least, how best to express it to achieve its intended effect. I don’t think I’ve re-written a prompt as many times as I have this one, but hey, part of the learning process, isn’t it?
She followed the curator through a stone doorway, and looked up. Hanging on the wall was an oil painting, depicting a family of three: a golden-haired cherub, a stern-looking father at the piano, and an elegant woman, clad in finery. The girl’s hand was outstretched, placed on the piano.
“It’s beautiful. And well preserved.”
“Indeed. Nineteenth century, oil on canvas. An unknown painter, but highly sought after.”
She leant closer, examining the frame. She recognised the runes, and frowned.
“It’s been magically warded. To stop the thieves?”
The curator smiled wanly.
“It used to belong to a baron. Their pride and joy, till baron and baroness disappeared. They found signs of a struggle, but no bodies.” The curator handed her a picture. “Here. This was how it used to look.”
She looked at the photo and flinched
“You mean -”
“Yes. So no, not stopping the thieves.”
In the photograph, the painting hung over a fireplace. In it, only the child was seated at the piano alone, and her hand was stretched towards the viewer.