Blood and Stars – Episode 2
The sun's first light tore through the inky blue night. An amber glow edged into the room, I sat back on my haunches and watch the sunlight play in the beads of sweat on my hands. I had been working all night on Sherri. Death was an improvement really, she was the sort of girl my father would have described as homely, which is a polite way of saying that Sherri wasn't much to look at.
Now, adorned with delicate patterns she was beautiful. The advantage of using a corpse as a canvas is that it doesn't make as much mess as a live one. Although the artistic integrity of scar tissue should not be entirely dismissed. I eyed my labours critically, just black ink for this piece, the additional pain caused by using coloured inks would be unnoticed by a corpse therefore the arousal and thrill factors almost zero. The whole body twitching and muffled screaming always made me feel good, even thinking about it now caused a stirring in my loins.
As the dawn crossed the sand of the beach below my condo the appeal of an early morning swim grew. The inking of Sherri could wait for a while, she wasn't going anywhere without me. I put the used scalpel blades in a sharps bin and cleaned the scalpel handles with alcohol wipes before replacing them in their pockets in my kill kit. All present and correct, clean and tidy, I rolled up my kill kit and tied the canvas webbing strap in a neat bow. I took it to the bedroom and put it in the safe in my wardrobe, I spun the combination lock to secure it, one accidental discovery was quite enough.
I pulled off my shirt and threw it in the open laundry hamper, my trousers and briefs followed and I strode out of the sliding doors from my bedroom onto the deck. Not for the first time I was grateful for my condo's remoteness. I stretched in the cool dampness of the morning, then descended the steps and ran across the beach into the surf. The icy salt tang of the water made my skin tingle and nerves sing, I dove into an oncoming wave and swam submerged for several yards. As my head broke the surface I exhaled, water sprayed from my lips. I made for the shore with a slow easy crawl, I knew that a lot of work still lay ahead and time was against me. All the time I was dealing with Sherri was time I wasn't doing His bidding.
Shivering a little in the gentle breeze rolling across the sands I ran back to my condo and straight to the bathroom. A good hot shower would warm me and I would be ready to work again. I relished the hot jet of water battering my skin, the heat and pressure pleasurable pain. I pulled myself out of reverie, soaped my body and rinsed, no time to wallow in warm water either. I shut off the water, opened the door of the shower cubicle and pulled a towel towards me. A brisk towelling and I was ready to ink but my growling stomach was insistent about being fed first.
In the kitchen I refreshed the percolator and whilst the coffee brewed I fried thick bacon steaks and eggs in a little oil which I ate straight from the pan. I poured a large mug of coffee and took this to Sherri, collecting my art box from the sideboard as I passed. Setting the coffee down on the floor, I knelt and opened the box.
On first glance my art box looked like any other, possibly containing tubes of oil paint or pastels for instance. My box held thin brittle sticks of high quality willow charcoal but with a secret, the charcoal sticks lay in a removable wooden tray which covered a space beneath. In this space were several sharp points, rather like darts but without the plastic flights. Also therein were two small spirit burners, a disposable lighter and a miniature pestle and mortar. I realised I had forgotten to bring a jug of cold water in from the kitchen so I went to collect this.
On my return I laid out my tools and then broke of a small piece of a charcoal stick and dropped it into the pestle and mortar. I crushed it gently to a fine powder and added enough water to make the powder into a thin paste. Lighting one of the spirit burners I picked up one of the points and put the tip into the flame. Once this was red hot I dipped it into the black pigment and then applied the point to Sherri's skin. I made a series of dots following the soft scored outlines I had made with the scalpel blades. I repeated the heating, dipping and pricking process many times before I had completed inking Sherri's back. It was a painstaking and laborious process but I knew that the end product would make all this attention worthwhile.
The sun had reach its zenith when I finished the last tendril wrapping round Sherri's left foot and thus completed art work covering the back side of her corpse. Time now for a rest from my labour, some lunch and another swim before flipping the corpse over and turning my attention to the front. I stepped out on to the deck and drank in the midday heat.
(c) Lexx Clarke 2010