The Infamous Masterpiece Series
By: Alexis Campbell
The Writing on the Wall: Part 1
Have you seen what I did.
I wrote your name and drew around hearts.
The story is not falling apart, yet.
Say you miss the day when we were kids.
Embroidered flowers over the tears in your jeans.
Made collages of our old polaroids.
The world was your canvas.
And you would paint all over it.
Now all we have are broken crayons.
My misery peeling off the bricks.
Nailing wooden crosses onto the mansion.
That was even more suffocating than a coffin.
What happen to the writing on the wall?
I had a dream and saw an angel.
So, I sketch it out and it was your face.
Should I tape up this beautiful work of art?
Wait to bury it with me?
Instead you wash it away and the structure came crashing down.
Did I get caught up with different perspectives to cover the abuse?
You know the artwork it's not true about me, but you did nothing.
No one focused on the mural of our love
Instead I tattooed over the bruises.
You were just a marble man,
Cold, solid, silent.
Your lies were written in red ink and colored in with blood.
I tried to outline the bigger picture around my wounds.
Sewed my heart on my skin instead of my sleeve.
Was I only a sculpture to you?
Being molded to be submissive to the artist.
The writing on the wall could have saved you.
It broke me.
Profanity echoed through my ears.
The familiar taste of slat on my cracked lips.
Yet, my sticky sweet words did nothing for you.
Only focused on your hate and anger and none of mine,
I love yous.
She was right the enemy was you.
I got caught up with the what mirror saw on the outside,
And not the reflection from the inside.
With a target printed on my back,
What we had was meaning less and just words on the wall to you.
Boxcar Poems: Part 2
Elizabeth rushed to the scene clutching the crinkled paper. Mourning dew soaks through her sneakers. Tears stained her uneven dimples and legs aching from the rush to stop Amelia, but it was too late to save the poet. Instead met with the shrill scream of sirens and dancing lights told her the complete story.
As children they would have many adventures rushing down a few blocks to the railroad from the cabin they lived in. They were poor, so they could not afford toys and the other things most children in the town had. Their father left them on Elizabeth's birthday when she was turning nine years old and Amelia only seven. Their entertainment was writing fantasies and untold dreams on boxcars with paint found in their musty garage.
As they grew older, Amelia in her teenage years, would always return to write inside in a boxcar from their virtue from her beat up journal that held her dearest writings. Now she lays on the January snow, drained of possibilities of an unforeseen future.
Elizabeth blames herself for not seeing the signs, but Amelia was so quiet with the relationship that it passed her eyes. Days she would return home with make-up smeared on her face and nails freshly bitten into numbs. She believed it was nothing more than a friendship. An affiliation between creative minds and not stitched up hearts. The poem explained his cruelty that made her fade away with the flames of her burning love for him that are now nothing but ashes.
Letters to the Marble Man: Part 3
What a morbid scene. Those red roses you gave her last week are dead. Her caramel colored eyes are now cloudy and lifeless like the sky outside my window. Her raven hair went past her chin which is now messy and unkept. She is nothing more than a corpse now. That was more than she was ever to you. Her beauty was so blinding that you forsake her kindness. You let her fall in love with a marble man, but she forgot to chip away the stone to see a villain.
You used her porcelain face. I don't think that it would ever go so far, but let me paint the picture. This day wearing a crimson dress she approached the railroad tracks. Laying on the rusty rods she could hear her fate in the distance as it was sealed has the train hit her like you did. The abuse of your words hurt more than your touch.
The tracks are now painted by her death and was created by your hands. I guess it runs in the family. In the end it led to a grim demise of an innocent girl. My sister, Amelia, how could you let history repeat itself? We both mark ourselves of having sinful encounters with Allenton men? You made my pain echo from that night. I was taken advantage. Onto today as she killed herself, she could no longer stand the aches of living isolated even when your taciturn self was there.
Too Many Empty Rooms: Part 4
In a pristine mansion surrounded with rose brushes the pale sun sets over the horizon of a Saturday evening. This place use to be filled with life and happiness, yet greed overcame of it and spoiled the marble man who now has too many empty rooms with riches encrusted in the walls that echo the failures that he has made.
There use be a poet and a lover, both are now departed. Past the bushes is a small field where a small handful of graves rises from the land. The two newest have a bouquet of the same roses from the bushes that surround the manor in front of each headstone. The names of Melissa and James Allenton above the fresh blossoms.
All is silent except for the slight sound of branches rustling, the soft padder of water flowing from the fountains, and a stray car passing through. If you make it past the cobblestone walkway and enter the home, a soft cry can be heard. If you followed the cry you can see a young man cowering in the corner with tears falling from his face surrounded by empty beer bottles, that would cascade light on the writing on walls.
Framed around him are her poems and quotes that attempted to lift his spirts, but instead enraged the beast inside his stone being. He still can't banish the smoky smell of his lover's breath craved onto floor. Hopeless, the artist got caught up with his own agony.
Shattered Glass: Part 5
If you look in a mirror what do you see? The silhouette of a man is what I see, but he is no man. How can you call yourself a man when you inflict your own pain and anger on an innocent? Especially when there is a woman that loved you so much that she couldn't exist with knowing that you did not love her back.
Her sister writes to me the grief of humanities loss of someone that could have done good. Now, there is no hope for a corrupt world. I have a sorry excuse for what I did, and I deserve no forgiveness. I was weak. She was stunned by the information about her sister and my father's history. That was the final time I saw her. Did I care too about what others would think if they knew the truth? So, I lived a lie and weave her into it. So, when I began to cut the strings, she fell apart.
Amelia was too good for me or anyone for that matter. So creative and clever with the pursuit to assist me with all my endeavors in the artistic community she put her enterprise as a poet to the side. She crafted words into verses. Emotion and stories spilled from the page. Amelia covered up for the truth. She wasn't even aware of it which makes this even more unjust. It was cruel to let her fantasies us having a future together. I did not love her but another. I must be quiet to keep them out of this shit that I created.
I can't stand to see this face in the glass. A ghost of a man, so afraid to reveal that he was born into a sin eating him alive until he nothing more than bone. His chest is hollowed out from the time of constant pain, leaking out of the wounds of his victims. All to protect the image bestowed him. Since birth, he carries a family legacy that is built on the suffrage of others. A rich talented man must marry a beautiful wife to bear the perfect children. As the cycle continues to repeat, the future generation ensures greatness and power into a bloodline.
As a guilty man, I peer into the mirror and see a monster that now exists. I can't contain it anymore, so I create a mosaic on to the floor. Hands covered in blood, I'm not yet done. I proceed into my gallery and destroy all my paintings. Shreds of color lay askew on the floor. It's only her and him that are in frames. Amelia posed perfectly as the brush strokes, bringing out her features. But something was left behind. It can't explain the sadness behind her eyes. The brush in my left hand. The other hand a palette smeared with blotches of shades red, blacks, and blues. I paint the scratches, the bruises, and the scars.
He watches me. The painting besides Amelia. A man that I should not love. But no matter how hard I ignored my heart what was encrypted into my mind, making me fall for that smile. Forever imprinted on the canvas, wearing the same crisp white shirt, and blue jeans on the day we first crossed paths. His name is Jackson Grace, but he is long gone now. Off with someone else in the land were the sun always shines and not in Chicago with me.
I pushed him away, Jackson didn't want to hide anymore and live with my sins. So, I told him to go. Now I played an unfair game with her, and now we are both loss. I have murdered every relationship I have been in. I'm too toxic. Her painting now reveals the truth of what happen behind closed doors. I see my signature in each of the corners of Jackson's and Amelia's paintings. Matthew Allenton is what I use to be called, but I'm not worthy to called by that name now. For I am the marble man.
Finished the details of her portrait, I fashioned myself and use the little time to write consequences of my actions on paper before the police arrive. I read her last poem constantly, for it was too early. It should of have been me. Love never wins it purely grants everlasting sorrow.
Part 6: Smoke
The lover smokes a blunt on the deck as the salty mist sweeps past him. Silence except for the dull roar of the Sunday news and the distant bark of a neighbor's dog. The outside world saturated in the dryness of the atmosphere. A stranger asleep in his bed. Pacific waves lap against the pearl dunes. In the serene moment, a proverbial name ricochets throughout the household into his ears. A name he hasn't heard in months.
Matthew Allenton. Jackson follows the resource to find the face of a man he once cherished on the tv. Just as Jackson remembered him, only that his hair was greasy and cut uneven. It seems Matthew hasn't shave in weeks which is odd because he hated having stubble. He prided himself for having immaculate features. What the news woman says back to Jackson shocks him to the core.
"Well-known Chicago artist, Matthew Allenton has been convicted of abuse of his deceased girlfriend, Amelia Witherington, a rising poet who took her life yesterday morning. Rumors say that his wealth lead him to this fate, but some say the heartbreak of a past relationship is the cause. Miss Witherington has no other family apart from her sister. Her funeral will be held at the end of this week. More on this story later tonight."
Jackson senses his pulse quicken and eyes water. Sitting on the couch he clutches a throw pillow. The stranger strides past Jackson not paying no mind to him. A man he knew, hurt a poor girl. He wrestled against the reminiscences of Matthew's callused hands that would embrace him. The constant coffee breath always seemed to taste of mint and chocolate, and the same Beatles shirt. Always no matter how many times Jackson washed it. Oil paints of every shade and hue would reappear replacing the faded faces of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
The memories of hours he would spend watching Matthew paint, memorized by each brush stroke and splatter, translated on a blank canvas to show the flawless imaginings plucked from his own mind. Waking up alone in the gallery to find hot tea and the single most lovely rose from the great array bushes Matthew could choose from.
When they meet Jackson, he was on his way out from his work, carrying a massive stack of files that consisted of his resume. When he bumped into Mathew, they all fell on the filthy streets of the city. With the papers floating past pedestrians they scramble to collect the files. Jackson's white shirt was wearing a smear of debris, and jeans even tattered then they were before.
Matthew with his charm asked me out for a drink after the commotion to make it up to me. A "few" glasses of liquors I do not recall now when we drank. I spilled on my hardships of finding a job and him the loneliness of living mansion with only one person in it. His parents were deceased for two years at this time from a tragic car crash. Within time and some more dates there was two people living in the mansion and need to work was evaporated for Matthew supplied all Jackson's needs.
The constant battle of Christian morals placed into him from a child made Mathew hard to love. Tales did often, of his past, slipped out. From each sip of alcohol, he took recalling tales of his father's affair with other women, his drinking problem, and the abuse of his mother. I asked him why she stayed, and he would say a single word, "Money." Mathew always would end each story saying that he would never be like his father and that shots can't stop the adoration he had for Jackson.
He became anxious that any moment they would be caught and exposed made each moment of affection end instant panic. When Matthew expressed to Jackson that he loved him Matthew began to despise the fact that he did, and Jackson knew that.
Days and months rolled by, but Jackson continued to stay by Matthew's side, but it grew more difficult when Mathew had to chug a bottle of wine to sleep with him. That night when Jackson was asleep in their bed, Matthew limped into the room drunk off his ass ripping the sheets off Jackson.
Matthew spitting curses dragged Jackson out of the mansion in nothing except his underwear into the June dawn of this past year. Jackson could not stand the drunkenness, the misuse, the darkness that was beginning to show in his partner. So, he left. It went too far from being tipsy occasionally, to vomiting into a toilet, to being passed out every night.
Jackson moved away to California and started a new life away from Matthew. But the loss of his love made him smoke pot to hopefully dull the drag of the sore left by the artist. Jackson revises the aching recollection and replaces the pillow from his grasp back to its original position.
Jackson trudges into his room pulling a suitcase that had the leather peeling. Packing some sets of clothing and toiletries, Jackson opening his night stand pulled wads of cash, tossing it into his baggage. When finished, he strolls out the door leaving behind his newfound home going back to the Marble Man.
Part: 7 Money Rolled Nightmares
I feel him standing behind as his glare burns through me. I know he's moving closer for the scent of vodka wrap around my physique. Paralyzed I feel his hand glide over my lower back. Petrified, I can no longer make a sound except for a weak squeak. I sense his hot breath in my ear and whispers,
"I'm back Lizzy," his deep chuckled rumbles. I see a glowing figure in the distance. Amelia in all her glory with arms open. Desperate for freedom I make an urgency to reunite with my sister. Before I can make my second step his grasp connects with my arms veering me to be face to face with him. My worst fear designed into my nightmare as I take in the smoldering appearance to see James Allenton back from the dead.
Prying at James' grip is useless. I call out to my sister begging for help, but she diminishes into darkness. There is only me and him in the abyss. Feeling his hand on my thigh moving up my leg. I panic twisting my body to remove myself from James. It was done. Thrown to the curb like a broken possession just like when he was alive.
The daylight streams into room bouncing off the walls. He bought me my silence the only thing got me was my sister buried six feet in the ground. James damned me even in the afterlife. Memory crawls from the back of my mind. Over to left the of my home there resides the cliff where they died, right outside my window. Taken from my bed that night. James wanted to use me again. What he did not suspect was a very pissed off Melissa Allenton leaning against his corvette. James pulls a gun from the inside of his suit. The shot rings across the mountain range. Melissa bleeding over the hood as the life drains from her. I cry out, but I'm answer with the gun to my temple.
"Good night Lizzy." James whispers into my ear. He moves away from me, picking up his limp wife's body, laying her in the passenger seat. Brushing his hands on his pants, he takes a moment to fix his hair in the side mirror. Moving around the car fixing his tie he slides behind the wheel. Cold, silent, still. He stares a me for a minute I stare back cowered into the front doorway. James starts the car and the couple go over the edge of the rocky hillside.
I rise from bed and lay out the ebony dress for the funeral and let my misery overcome me.
Part 8: Black and White Stripes
Slate walls can't stop the Marble Man for the blessing encoded in our DNA. He will always stand against the allegations from the others. I knit bed sheets inside my icy cell into a noose and reach above extending my slim limbs to the dimly lit light fixture.
One knot, two knots, three knots; there it's secure. The fabric slides over my skull and smooth cloth reaches my neck. What you see is black and white, but reality things are not just gray but every color you see. It's all perspective, so look in between the stripes. The lover, the poet, the sister, the artist and the marble man wish you good night.
Part: 9 The Final Paintings
The casket rests in the ditch where Matthew Allenton was going to be for an eternity. The rows of chairs are empty for the mourners who have left. All there is a fresh mound of earth on top of where he remains. Elizabeth sits in the chair far away from the grave site and watches as a lean polished African American man hike up the hill to see that he is not alone. Jackson spots her and takes a seat next to her.
"Did you know him?" Jackson asked softly. She shifts uncomfortably lifting her head to locking him into a desolate gaze.
"I wished I didn't know him or his family for that matter. The Allenton's greatest success was bringing distress." Elizabeth answers in a fuming tone. Jackson face drops not expecting a reply to be like that. He notices something about her the color of her eyes were the same as the picture on the broadcast a few days before and her hair the exact color but longer pulled into a bun. Similar facial features to the image.
"Did you know Amelia?" questioned Jackson. Elizabeth's jaw hardens and blinks quickly to block out the tears. Her hands shake as she turns watching the gravestone again. If looking away for too long, Matthew would crawl out of the ground to attack her.
"Yes, she was my sister." Elizabeth disclosed in almost a whimper.
"I'm sorry for your loss." Jackson sympathized.
"No, you're not. No one ever is. It's something you just say to someone when they hear a shitty thing happen in that person's life. You never ever met Amelia. You weren't there when she was born or when she said her first word. Her first word was Liz, my name because I was the one to take care of her while my mother was cleaning the Allenton's house for barely minimum wage trying to support us as my father was in out of prison. You not once heard her sing the church choir and read her first poem. She wrote when she was seven. It was about angels, Amelia loved angels.
You didn't hold her, or my mother has the sobbed when my father let us. You didn't speak up when you were raped and, so you became your rapist's mistress because you needed the money to keep Amelia in college, so you stayed quiet. You didn't see her lifeless body over the trains tracks in the railroad where we spent most of our childhood there.
I was there always there. I never could hold a job better than a waitress, but I am a professional sister. I, Elizabeth deserve a PHD on how to love Amelia. I knew her better than anyone else did. So only Elizabeth can be sorry for her death because every year, day, second, I cared. I loved her. I miss her." Elizabeth exclaimed to Jackson. She finally broke all the secrets, her pain spilled to this stranger. Jackson soaked all it letting her statements tell the life of the young woman that his ex-boyfriend devastated. Elizabeth weeps in front of him.
"Elizabeth, I can never understand your true sorrow. I know what you sister went through she nor anyone else should ever experience the way Matthew treated people. Before Amelia we dated for a time. I left when he was having conversations with whiskey more than me. He loathed the fact he loved a man that he was so drunk and enrage with himself Matthew dragged me from our own bed on to the street.
I went away to California, met up with some old friends, got an occupation the lasted more than a month. I started a new life. It's better than it was when I was with him. Now I rely on weed too much and sex from strangers to not feel alone. Your sister, Amelia had a lot going for her, but Mathew lead her in to try fix a problem that never really was an issue and she found out the truth on top of the abuse I wouldn't be able to handle it myself.
You are the strongest person I meet and I no idea how you did it. I do know that Amelia loved you back and thanks you for everything you did." Jackson disclosed to Elizabeth pulling from his pocket a pack of tissues handing it to her. She takes it. A man dress in a suit strolls up to them holding a document.
"Elizabeth Witherington and Jackson Grace," said the man.
"Yes?" they both replied.
"I am Noah Duke the Allenton's lawyer I like to let you know that in Mr. Allenton's will he gave each of you something." he declared.
"I don't want what he had," Elizabeth snapped back.
"What you do with it is none of my business. I am required to put it in your possession," remarked Mr. Duke. He motioned them to follow him and, so they did. Over freshly laid snow from the night before they reach the mansion. At the doorway Jackson stops at the entrance. Elizabeth sees the look of fear in his eyes and retraces her steps holding Jackson's hand she leads them back on to Mr. Duke's trail. They are lead into the corridor where Matthew has his gallery. Most was cleaned up but stains of paint and ripped up canvas are still known. There the two paintings rest upon untouched easels in perfect condition. Mr. Duke is silent as he passes the paintings to their new owners.
"He painted me?" Jackson questioned.
"Matthew painted Amelia?" Elizabeth replied after, "She looks so angelic even with the painted aftermath of what Matthew created." Elizabeth traces her fingers around each bruise and wound on the painting. Tears slip down her check and hugs the painting. Jackson looks at his painting.
"He remembered," Jackson whispered under his breath for it embodies the image of the day they meet. Mr. Duke strides out of room leaving them in peace. Jackson went back to California where he remains today. Elizabeth goes on to start a organization to help people escape from abusive relationships called the Angel Foundation. The sinister tale tells of a poet, a lover, an artist, a sister, and the Marble Man who together crafted the infamous masterpiece.
Part 10: Angels
One day I'll see angels
They will call my name a carry me to the feet of god.
I will no longer be sad and have my sister by my side
Flying above mountains and seas.
I rise above my demons and go home.
Pastel skies and gates I return to my creator.
The original artist.