Prompts – April 28

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

The Painting

“Can you look again?” Janice asked. “I’m sure the monk is still in the same spot.”

Sam, her seven-year-old, was snivelling and Janice was trying her hardest to calm Sam down. Ever since her husband hung up in the living, a painting of a monk walking down the path holding an umbrella, their son had been acting hysterical every time he looked at it.

“It’s a gift with a great significance. A monk has no hair and when he holds an umbrella, he can’t see the sky. No hair, no sky, in Mandarin means to be lawless. Pretty apt, considering the current times we are living in,” her husband explained patiently.

But at that moment, their son was blubbering into Janice’s ears as he locked his stick-like arms around her neck. “No, that man is walking down the path, Mama. Really!”

Janice sighed and firmly unwrapped Sam’s arms despite his best efforts to resist. “Sam, it’s just a painting. Here, if it makes you feel better, Mama will hold your hands and we’ll stare at the monk. That way, we’ll both see if he is walking down the path, all right?” Janice bargained as she looked into Sam’s eyes.

Sam sniffed and gulped in fear. But after a moment, he acquiesced to his mother’s suggestion.

So Janice held on to Sam’s hand and they spent the afternoon looking into the painting, at monk’s supposed walk down the path.

That evening, Janice’s husband came home to an empty house. “Janice? Sam? Where are you?” he called out as he walked around the house. Then he paused and looked at the painting.

Something was different.

The monk with the red umbrella was gone; in the monk’s place was Janice holding Sam’s hand, walking down the path. They looked so beautiful.

Janice’s husband spent that evening staring at the painting of his wife and his son.

(312 words)

I’m not sure if this has a Twilight Zone feel to it. The prompts can be used separately but when I looked at the three prompts, this idea just surfaced into my mind. Overall, I kinda like the premise of the idea. It seemed impossible yet plausible and believable at the same time.

In any case, the little anecdote regarding the monk with the umbrella alludes to a Mandarin proverb, which is used to describe people who are lawless. When I saw that image, I could not help but add this little fact in. Rumour has it that Mao Zedong once used this to describe himself in an interview, regarding his policies in China at that time.

If you are interested, the prompt is linked below.

Welcome to the new daily prompt. This prompt is going to be both familiar and different at the same time. To participate, simply read this post and follow where the muse takes you. Link back to this post, or leave a link in the comments so that others can find you.

Prompt A (Genre): Weird Tales (inspired by the magazine of the same name, a more traditional form featuring strange and uncanny events (Twilight Zone).

Prompt B (Story Starter): “Can you look again?”

Prompt C (Photo):

Prompt: The Haunted Wordsmith’s Prompts – April 28