The Portrait [Flash Fiction]

Themes: Fantasy, Horror
Words: 333

Her gnarled knuckles ache with the pain of age and cold as she directs the brush this way and that across the upright canvas. Darkness is her comfort, her old friend, her nightly blanket. Darkness, because eyes clouded by cataracts require no light by which to see.


Time, her old nemesis, claws at the few days she has left, scraping them away hour by hour. Each minute slips through her fingers like minnows in the stream, each lost moment dragging her closer to oblivion.


The hog-hair brush runs dry. Methodically, she dips it down into the red on her palette. Blood-red. Virgin heart red, to be specific. It will make a lovely rosy colour on the portrait’s cheeks. The flush of youth. Yes, she will be young again.

Brown the hair, brown harvested fresh just last night. The woodcutter’s daughter, her lovely skin, her oak-coloured tresses. Pigtails, she wore. Pigtails no more. The body will be found soon enough.

The boiled-up bones of the baker’s newborn babe give ample glue. The long brown locks lie beautiful along the portrait’s hairline. How well they frame those flawless cheeks pinked by virgin blood.


The finishing touches, now. Blue eyes, cornflower blue, to match the blue sky. The dress of the goat-herder’s daughter, ripped to tatters. A wolf, they say. A wolf is fine for the woman. Let the wolf take the blame.

The eyes in place, sightless she stares at the vision of youthful beauty. A face to break a thousand hearts. Much better than the wrinkled, saggy flesh her real face has become. Wartless, hairless, free from liver-spots… yes, this face will do nicely.

She puts down the paintbrush and picks up the spell-book. A whimper draws her blind eyes to the corner of the cottage, where the blacksmith’s daughter, fairest of the lot, lies bound and gagged.

Should she?

Yes. Why not? A new body to go with her new face. Smiling toothlessly, she picks up the wickedly curved knife.


This slightly macabre flash fic was written for a Blog Battle challenge, with a theme of Selfie and a genre of Fantasy.

Rather than go with a more urban or contemporary fantasy, I thought I’d stick with something a little more typical for the genre. I’ve come in waaaay under the word limit, but I hope you enjoy the story. It was inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray.

20 Comments on “The Portrait [Flash Fiction]

  1. Very evocative language, and the specific details paint a horrific picture all of their own. Well done! I can’t wait to get back to writing more stories, although I’m not sure I can match your prolific output. It would be a fun challenge, though. 🙂


  2. A beautiful piece, pretty as a painting. I love the transition and the buildup. The dichotomy of expectations from the first paragraph to the grotesque reality portrayed in the final sentence.


  3. This was amazing! Your descriptions are perfect, and I didn’t realize I had my breath caught in my throat as I was reading this until I let it all out at the end. Spine-tingling and goosebump-inducing, like a proper horror story. Fantastic job, TUS.

    Liked by 2 people

      • You should definitely experiment with genres, TUS. I think you’ll surprise yourself how well you write and adapt! 🙂 You’ve got a lot of talent, in my opinion.

        P.S. Is that a new profile pic? It’s adorableeeee


        • Yes, it’s so cute, right? ^__^

          The old one felt a little… intimidating. And most people thought it was a space suit (it was a diving suit). This one feels much more friendly!

          I’ll definitely be writing more in the horror genre. I’m not much for horror movies, but I quite like horror in books. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m the same about horror. I avoid horror movies, but I like a good horror-esque book. And yes, your new profile pic is cute and friendly. Great choice ^_^

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #BlogBattle 12: March 28th “Selfie” Entries & Voting | BlogBattle

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