I sit back, wiping the sweat from my brow with a greased hand. I set my tools down and admire my work. My art work. I never knew such beauty could be tethered to just a single thing.
My eyes wander over to my friend. With her being older than me, and having more experience, she just stands in the corner and watches me work. She says she’s been doing this for years, but she never tells me an exact amount of time. “Don’t worry,” she had said. “You’re doing great in the short time that you’ve been allowed.”
She steps away from the corner, arms outstretched. In a few quick strides, she has her arms around me, her head resting atop mine. Her black hair slides over me, shielding us from the outside world. “It’s perfect,” she says in a near whisper.
I pull away from her and smile. “I’m glad you think so.” I look back over to my masterpiece, frowning. “I’ll have to clean up, though. I can’t leave it like this.”
“Good idea.” She steps away and heads back to her corner. Before she gets there, however, the door opens and in steps my brother.
My friend shrieks, but my brother doesn’t notice. His attention is focused on me. “What . . . ?” His face drains of all color as he glances behind me and sees my art work. “What did you do?” he screams.
“I . . . This isn’t . . . You don’t . . .” My voice escapes me, leaving me grasping for words that don’t seem to be there. I glance over to the corner where my friend would be, but she isn’t there. She seems to have left. “You don’t understand,” I finally mumble.
“I don't understand?” he echoes, voice rising near hysteria. “What is there not to understand about . . . that?”
“That,” I say, gesturing towards my piece, “is art. Nothing more, nothing less.”
My brother finally snaps. “There is nothing artistic about cutting people up and gluing them to boards. You’re a psychopath!”
Anger rises within me. Starts in my chest, slowly crawls up my throat. I glance back at my work, tracing a finger around the bend of an elbow, across the flat plains of a forehead. The eyes stare up at me, looking as though oceans are concealed behind those two small irises.
All of a sudden, the anger leaves me. All I’m left with is a strange calm. “You know,” I start, “some people have different tastes in art.”
“But this isn’t art!” As he continues to ramble on about how wrong this is, how crazy I am, I slowly inch back and grab one of my tools: my trusty cleaver.
“Look,” I interrupt my brother. I tighten my grip on the cleaver and inch forward. “I know I’m crazy. I know this isn’t right. But you’re not too far off yourself.”
“What do you me--” Before he finishes his question, my cleaver punches through his chest.
A giggle rises within me, pushing past my lips to float in the air. “Sorry big brother. Some things have to be done.”
My friend appears beside me, a smile pulling at her lips. “You do me well,” she sighs. “So, so well.”
A smile pulls at my own lips, pulling them apart like curtains to reveal my bloodstained teeth. I bend down to retrieve my cleaver and fling it onto the desk. I pick up my brother’s arm and drag him towards my previous work.
“Looks like I got some new art supplies.”