The Painter And The Canvas
Written by Shruti Dutta Gupta
“It all started a few days ago; although some details are hazy, I remember the things that created a hole in my body and soul. The hole was so deep that to this day, I can still feel the burning sensation.”
It was a moonless night, and the branches and leaves were dancing in an uncommon rhythm. Some people might picture it as “unusual,” but for me, I imagined it as something else. I was hungry as I was walking for a long time. So long that I couldn’t even feel my legs anymore, they had been aching for some time now as if they were asking me to stop. But I kept on walking in hopes of having a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, and my eyes did manage to find a raging flame of a lamp.
In the early days, robbers or thieves used it to lure travelers. But my hunger got the best of me. I followed that light, and that lead me to an open field. It was like a bit of bonfire. So I assumed it was the work of some human, and maybe he or she could sympathize with me and offer me food and shelter. But if I only knew how wrong I was. Not about the human part but the part where I thought that I would be treated nicely. The fire was the last thing I saw that night, and everything went pitch black after that. I only remember waking up in a cold place with a sore body. As I said, the details are hazy as I don’t know and I don’t want to remember. I can’t visualize it as my body was not in my possession. It was all his. The only thing that was in my control was my hearing and feeling. On the first day, I could hear a repetitive sound, ‘tak, tak, tak.’ I suspected my captor of having a hammer, and he was nailing something.
On the second day, I felt a sensation. To call it just a sensation would be an understatement. I felt like someone was stabbing me repeatedly, and it felt like a range of fire is spreading throughout my body. I was screaming, at least I thought I was, but all I could hear was that ‘tak,tak, tak’ sound. As if my captor was the painter and I was the canvas this time. He was splashing all of his colors on the canvas. But when I thought he was done, he would again spray a new one.
On the third day, he gave me an interesting choice. He asked me to help him find someone else, and he would let me go if I helped him. For one second, I believed him. But you see, I didn’t care if he was telling the truth or not. This canvas is not going to dry anytime soon. So I decided to help him find a new canvas. He did the same thing he did to you as he did to me. You see, I wanted to hear your screams or anything else, but I couldn’t. All I heard was the ‘tak, tak, tak,’ sound. But this time, I couldn’t take it anymore. So I took his hammer and went for his head. But my one strike was not enough to knock him out.
As he turned his head towards me for a brief second and then my eyes captured his eyes. His eye was as blue as the sea, and his other eye was green like an emerald. I don’t know why, but that sight was enough to trigger me as I thrashed his head twice as hard. Again and again, and that was it. This time he was the canvas, and I was the painter, and the colors of this canvas are not going to dry anytime soon as well. No, I didn’t hear him scream as well, as I didn’t give him a chance to utter anything. But the ‘tak, tak, tak’ sound was gone. I could hear myself talk and think. I regained my lost senses, and with that, I regained something else. I wish I didn’t, but I did. The hands which a few seconds ago brutally smashed someone’s skull without even blinking were shaking now. No matter how much I try to stop this tremor, I just can’t.
“You are free to leave, but you must free me as well,” I said as I handed over my green and blue-eyed painter’s brush to his new canvas.