Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)
TITLE: The Restoration
By Larry Elliott
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“Relax. Have seat. Have a drink.” The handsome young man interrupted and motioned to an elegant well stocked bar in a corner of the plush waiting area.
“No, thanks. I just need this repaired- quickly.”
Restraint could not conceal her frantic state from the man. Little evaded his well trained perception.
He glanced at his rolex- four minutes- he already knew her better than she knew herself.
He gently ran his fingers across the canvas and a chill coursed her spine.
“It is in pretty bad shape.” He stated the obvious.
“I know that! What I want… need to know is can you fix it?”
“Not to be… judgmental, but some one has already made a pathetic attempt to… ‘touch up’ this masterpiece. I must be honest, it is quite nearly ruined.”
“I understand all that. I thought I could do it myself. I read books, watched videos, even took classes. But I have ruined it- haven’t I?” Tears were forthcoming.
She could sit no longer. She reached for her treasure and accidentally touched the man’s hand. Instantly he jerked away, but not quick enough. A frosty bolt of lightning shot straight into her soul.
For an instant the figure behind the counter resembled anything but a man. It was so dissimilar to anything human that she grabbed her painting and ran in fear, stumbling out the doorway and into a passerby.
Sprawled on the ground Mary noticed the stranger had managed to grab her painting- rescuing it from certain destruction in the traffic laden street just inches from her face.
Helping her to her feet he offered her the artwork.
“I’m… so sorry, are you… ok?” Mary stuttered.
“I’m Fine. And you? You look so unhappy.”
“I…” Mary sobbed.
“There, now… tell me your troubles. Among other things I am a good listener. Come- there’s a cafe around this corner.”
Curiously at ease she followed his lead.
After unloading all her desperation the stranger told her of just the place she sought.
“Will you take me there… now? You’ve done too much… I hate to ask, but…”
“It’s ok. I will be happy to show you the way. It’s not far. Follow me.”
Once inside another waiting room Mary noticed it was not as lavish with such expensive niceties as the previous one.
“Who is this master of restoration?” She asked.
“I am.” The stranger answered.
Taken aback, but only for a second, she continued. “Can you fix the mess I’ve made of this? Please say you can.” Mary implored.
Tenderly he touched the canvas.
Haunted by her previous experience she had to know and hesitantly touched his hand. Instead of a frightening specter she beheld the man just as he was, only now surrounded by a golden aura.
“Yes, I can.” He smiled. “Though the price may seem… unusual.”
“Just tell me. I have fifty thousand dollars. You can take it all.”
“No.” He continued to smile. “Money cannot buy what I must do to restore this piece.”
Puzzled Mary begged for explanation.
“Treasures of this world are meaningless to me. If I am to perform a complete restoration on this piece you must grant me absolute ownership.”
“What? Are you insane? I want it repaired so I can enjoy it. This is more precious than all of my other possessions together. Why would I just… give it away?” She was nearly hysterical.
“That is the price, and I guarantee that no one else can do with this what I can. I will restore it wholly to the condition of the master who originally created it.”
Somehow she knew he was telling the truth.
“Will I… be able to come and… look at it… sometime?”
“You must trust me. You will be more than pleased when I am finished.”
“How… long will it take?”
“Not as long as you might think?”
“Ok. Take it- before I change my mind.” She looked longingly at the framed catastrophe.
The man set the painting on a stained wooden easel and produced a brush from somewhere.
“You are going to do it here… now?”
“May I… watch?”
Mary observed in awe as He opened His palm and dipped the brush into a tiny pool of red. He lightly touched the center of the painting of Mary’s ruined life and instantly restored it to the beauty it was intended.
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