Friday, 22 March 2013

Flash Fiction: Immortality

"I am a painter," Mr Archer would say. And they would laugh and ask how much to do their living room. Always. Sometimes, if he was hard up, or bored, or just to shock them, he would give them a price and do the work if they agreed. Sometimes. But most times he was busy trying to become immortal. Picasso, Rembrandt, Da Vinci... All different, but they all had one thing in common; their names would never be forgotten. And he wanted the name Archer to be added to that list.

Of course, there were a few others things that they had in common, and one of these was that they were actually good at what they did. Mr Archer, sadly, was not. But that did not deter him. It didn't bother him at all.

He painted his friends' wall and he painted his fresh canvases and time marched on.

One day, a hot, summery day full of promise and hope, where the air smelled of sunshine and the world was good, Mr Archer began to feel that walls and canvases were not enough. He needed a bigger platform to showcase his work; people were simply not noticing what he was doing. Not the right people, anyway. He gathered together his house painting brushes and his artists' oils and went for a wander, to see what he could do. To see what he could paint.

He walked into town and looked at the large buildings, the hotels, the schools, the hospital, but they weren't big enough and he dismissed them. He needed more. He knew exactly where to go. The cliffs. The cliffs were a big enough space for him. And he knew just what he would paint as well. He could see it perfectly in his head. The town, the county, the country, the world would see it, and finally they would know him.

Mr Archer, as secure as he was in his own talent, had no knowledge of cliffs. Looking down from the edge it seemed easy enough. There were footholds and ledges all the way down. He could do it. Only... he couldn't. Not really. Although he tried. And he got some of the way. And he even managed to put paint on the cliff face. Just a little bit.

No one ever discovered just what Mr Archer had wanted to depict in that lonely, dangerous place. Some thought it was a portrait, some a landscape. Of course, no one could ever be proven right (or wrong), but that didn't stop the town from creating an annual contest for people to guess what Mr Archer's creation was. The Archer Prize was highly sought after, and to win it was to be lanuded for a whole year, until the next contest. There was a cup. There were names engraved on it.

And Mr Archer finally got his wish; his name would forever be known. What he hadn't realised was that he had to be dead before he could be immortal.

©Lisamarie Lamb 2013

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