No matter how many times I post my work on the internet I am still flood with the brief feeling that I am going to vomit. I must be in to that sort of thing, because I like doing it.
Want an easy way to score yourself a PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION bookmark? Tweet about the book and one is yours! Comment here and one is yours!*
*Now here are the stipulations. I will mail internationally with the understanding it will take me longer to get it out. I hate the post office and it hates me, I have stamps and envelopes standing by for US addresses. Since something INSANE could happen, people like free I am going to put an outrageous cap on the number of bookmarks I can give away. This time we will say 100
Until the book is released at the end of the month, I am also running a blog follower contest! If you invite someone here and they become a blog follower comment and let me know it was all your doing. (Honor system) and I will send you something else also very awesome.
PS- If you won a poster bare with me, the mailer tubes I ordered for them ended up being the wrong size.
As far as dark underground lairs went, the basement of the Chateau De Mont was crowded and typical. The micro windows that lined half the walls of this coffin were shut and covered in a thick brown slime. They let in little light and were likely killing the soul of William Blake. His shoulders hunched so far over that they nearly touched his knees when he sighed. At nineteen he was far too old for this sort of thing. He was also the youngest person in the room by nearly twenty years.
He wondered idly, lips pursed in a thin line as he sketched the faces of the few men he had never seen before, why The Illusionists didn't spring for classier digs. They were rich enough. They were also evil, and this was likely as close to a dungeon as they were going to find in Galveston, Texas. As it was, he didn’t know how they got a basement this deep on an island at all, but it was always best to avoid asking questions.
Michael, who stood before the room, composed, benevolent, was less William's father and more of a tyrannical overlord. With his hair the color of a panther's and his deep set eyes, he certainly looked the part.
Wistfully, William dreamed of castles with drawbridges and moats, but his fingers never stopped their hurried slide across the paper before him. His mouth twitched upwards as his blond bangs fell further into his eyes. Then he caught himself and chomped down so hard on the inside of his cheek that blood pooled in his molars.
He couldn't laugh, he couldn't even smile. If William even looked like he had enough time to daydream his father would further pile on his assignments then demand even more, and he was almost positive that would be the end of him.
William just wanted to think of castles in peace. He could almost smell the murky stone hallways, but that was probably just the basement. He hadn't thought of castles since he had drawn one when he was six, which was sadly one of the first memories he had. William had copied a stone fortress he had found in a book with uncanny accuracy and far more skill than a child twice his age should have. It had a red door and a tower. He had been more proud of that painting than anything in his life, and William would recall forever the face Michael had made as he put his fist through it.
A waste of time, his father had called it. Because William's only subject should be people, he should only do portraits, for then and for the rest of his life--or the rest of Michael's life, but William was starting to suspect his father was far too evil to just die.
There was no air conditioning in the basement, but it was cold and William didn't think he was sweating. So when the face below his charcoal pencil blurred as something dripped between its eyes, William assumed he had made an unfortunate error. His light eyebrows knitted together as he wiped his hands across his pants. His jeans already bore half a dozen other smudge marks.
When another drop landed mid-thigh William knew it wasn't him. His head shot up, and the ceiling sagged beneath him, bulging and dripping from its center. Swearing, he lunged for his notebook on the table in front of him. He managed to save it, but he wasn't quick enough to keep himself from being completely soaked.
With his black t-shirt now clinging to him awkwardly, William did his best to right himself. He kept his sketches at arm’s length, water sliding down no further than his wrists in wayward little rivers. The sound of the water hitting the linoleum floor with eerie little splashes was almost deafening.
Every set of eyes in the room, all of which had previously been avoiding him, were now turned his direction. All but Michael’s, who slammed his book closed and abruptly ended the meeting. Even though the leak was in no way William's fault, he knew he was only an empty room away from being blamed for it anyway.
He hung his head and desperately wished he had the power to disappear. Unfortunately, he never met anyone with that specific gift. Cold water still dripped from his neck and arms as he realized that his day had just gotten a whole lot more complicated. William hated complicated. Complicated meant bad things for him as far as Michael was concerned. Most children didn't tread through each day hoping to avoid even one conversation with their father, but for William it was best to be quiet, do as he was told, and avoid Michael's gaze at all cost.
He knew Michael was glaring at him right now. Though the basement could have doubled as a meat locker and he was still drenched, William could feel the fire that threatened to burn him to cinder. He felt it across every bit of flesh, deep into his bones.
There were flames behind Michael's eyes that smoldered like no man’s eyes should. What Michael did with those eyes was evil. So many horrific deeds has been done with that power, so many that William had lost count, and all he could remember was a lifetime of terrible, terrible things. Things all done with nothing but a thought and a glance.
William knew that what he could do was not as inherently bad as what Michael could do, but he still used it to do awful things. He had convinced himself that was worse. He had a choice between being good and being what he was, he told himself. Even if Michael gave him no choice at all, he liked to believe it was true. He hated himself for it, but he refused to admit he had no free will because no one could live without it for long, and the years under his father’s control were starting to eat away at him.
Most of the attending members of The Illusionists had immediately fled the room. They, like William, knew that even if they were innocent they would likely still feel the fire. Though it had been weeks since anyone had been completely burned alive, no one believed Michael would change, and they knew it was only a matter of time.
William flung himself back into his wet chair and waited for the inevitable. His skin still felt hot, but he knew it was unlikely he would ever totally feel Michael's special form of damnation. After all, if Michael hadn't needed him, he would have done away with him before he was born. Sometimes William thought death might be easier; it would surely be less painful.
As Michael stomped closer, William tensed. He could feel his middle starting to kindle. He tried to look away. The moldy gaping ceiling, the slime covered window slits, the blue lint on his shirt, anything was better than Michael's red eyes. Even if they didn't show scarlet in a way that most people could see, William knew what they really looked like. He could see plainly what was truly there.
William counted the seconds until words began to fly from his father's mouth, stinging words to match scorched skin and his scorched soul. He waited, but the hate and pain never came, and in a moment the heat was gone.
It felt as though the ceiling had collapsed upon him all over again. As the fire had burned him, he had easily forgotten he was still wet. But the fire had only been real in his mind, as it always was until it destroyed you. It had done nothing to dry him.
Oliver Buchanan had intercepted his father, and William loved him for it. Oliver had always been more of what William thought a father should be. He was kind, encouraging, and as a senior member of The Illusionists, he managed to redirect a fair amount of Michael’s anger. Just as he was doing right now. William suspected Oliver always knew the right things to ask.
Oliver had gentle gray eyes, and a matching gray beard. He never looked like he should belong here among the wicked, but with his easy smile, William was sure he could belong almost anywhere he wanted.
Not daring to spare another moment on the two men, William snatched up the rest of his belongings. Quickly and soundlessly he ran through the basement doors and up the narrow stairs to the ground floor. He could smell the fresh air as soon as he reached the lobby.
William knew he should be heading home. Michael, who never let him attend a real school, was many things, including a merciless headmaster. The sun beckoned now, through large and pristine windows, and William craved the company of living things. A clicking noise escaped his mouth as he weighed his decision. The hotel staff didn't even look up as he strolled by the front desk.
The revolving door whooshed with his mind as he made his final exit. The sun was even warmer than he had imagined, summer refusing to relinquish its hold to fall, as it was still weeks away. Mature elm trees lined the sidewalks in front of the hotel, their leaves a luxe green that William desperately wanted to paint. He wished that he had brought his watercolors and that the color reminded him of things besides the pigment of lying eyes.