This week’s prompt:
A paintbrush, a monster, and a city bus
The monsters hide in plain sight. But I can see them. There’s one now. Yes, she looks like a young woman.
How could I suspect this little thing of being anything but a 20-year-old girl riding the bus to her part-time job? You tell me to look at the satchel sitting on the floor at her feet, or the black and white name badge on her nondescript polo shirt.
But that is what she wants you to think, I explain. Look here. I show you the painting I made in the card stock notebook I carry in my bag. The paintbrush I used is right here in my hand. The paintbrush reveals everything.
So you painted a girl you see on the bus. Why would that mean anything?
I ask you to look closer. You can see the details of her face are almost human, but not quite. The eyes a little too large, the smile wider than a human would be. But it is the teeth that really give her away. They are sharp and jagged, like a monster’s ought to be.
You insist I am letting my imagination run away with me. I show you another painting. This one is of a middle-aged man, his neck elongated, his pupils slit like a snake. His tongue slips out between sharp white teeth and it is forked. You roll your eyes and hand the pad back to me, but as I go to close the cover you stop me and snatch it back. You have gone a little pale. You look at the painting closely, your eyes getting wider.
This man was on the news last night. He went missing, you tell me.
This was not a man, I assure you. It was a monster. Your hand is shaking as you reach up to pull the cord to signal the driver to stop at the next street. It is not your usual stop.
I follow you off the bus. The wind is cutting through my thin jacket and pants, but my good ones are still being cleaned. I offer to show you one more painting. You are trying to act like I an not talking to you, but you give in after a couple blocks.
You drop the book on the salty sidewalk, melted snow and slush smear the painting. But you already saw it. I already saw you. Or rather, the brush saw you. I pick up the book and tuck it back into my bag. You try to run but there is nowhere to go.