Between pages 104 and 105 he found a photograph. At first he couldn’t make the black and white image out and then it became clear that he was looking at a close-up of the smooth skin of a woman’s shoulder. For a short while he stared. How had it got there? Who’d put it in the book, and why? It was a naked shoulder, oddly revealing. Maybe it was a bookmark, placed there by someone who had borrowed the book…but he couldn’t remember loaning it to anyone? After few moments contemplation he put the book back in its place on the shelf and left his library.
Later that day he was unlocking his desk to collect some insurance papers when he came upon another photograph. This one showed a woman’s knee seen from behind. He thought it elegant—but how could anyone have got into his desk? Had his house been broken into?
That night when he opened his bathroom cabinet, where he kept his toothbrush, he found another picture—a young woman’s ear, delicate, sensual and the colour of a pearl. He knew he should he be worried, but he didn’t feel worried–what he felt was aroused. He was being teased. He hadn’t experienced that sensation for years.
Thoughtfully he approached his bed, and when he pulled back the sheets he discovered, resting on the pillow, a photo of a near perfect breast. His breath caught in his throat. Were was she, this young woman, how did she get into his bedroom? He glanced about, without thinking he looked under the bed and then he started to laugh at himself. ‘His housekeeper must be playing tricks on him’. But his chuckle stopped when he remembered that it was her week off.’
He climbed cautiously between the sheets, holding the photo between his slightly shaking fingers. The exquisite beauty of the breast filled him with poignant memories of his youth. He lay very still thinking about the women he had loved. Gradually he drifted into sleep, still caressing the picture.
He was 93 years old and during the night he slipped away into the blue light.
Shortly after his last breath, the angel returned, and moving silently through the house she collected-up the photographs of herself.
Charcoal drawing © Nick Bantock – All Rights Reserved
Guest Author Bio
Nick was schooled in England and has a BA in Fine Art (painting). He has authored 25 books, 11 of which have appeared on the best seller lists, including 3 books on the New York Times top ten at one time. ‘Griffin and Sabine’ stayed on that list for over two years. His works have been translated into 13 languages and over 5 million have been sold worldwide. Once named by the classic SF magazine Weird Tales as one of the best 85 storytellers of the century. His paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages and prints have been exhibited in shows in UK, France and North America. In 2010 Nick’s major retrospective exhibition opened at the MOA in Denver. His works are in private collections throughout the world. Nick has a lifetime BAFTA (British Oscar) for CD Rom ‘Ceremony of Innocence’, created with Peter Gabriel’s Real World.
Produced artwork for over 300 book covers (including works by Roth and Updike), illustrated Viking Penguin’s new translation of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’.
For 20 years he’s spoken and read to audiences throughout North America, Europe and Australia. He’s also given keynote and motivational speeches to corporations and teachers state conferences.
‘The Trickster’s Hat (A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity)’, Nick’s workshop book
will be published the first week in January 2014!
Visit Nick’s Shop On Etsy: BANTOCKart
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