Mark place the graveyard dirt, the bone of a black cat he received from a veterinarian, and a letter he wrote in his own blood in a little box. He grabbed the trowel from his back pocket to dig a little hole in the middle of the crossroads. He placed the box in and kicked the dirt over. Nothing happened. He at least expected a flash of lightning. Some kind of smoke coming out of the ground. Nothing. He kicked at the ground again and turned to go back to his car. A man stood, leaning against his car.
“I’ve been watching you. I wondered how long it would take for you to come here.” The man said.
“Just about enough times to get these scars.” Mark walked over to the man. He noticed the guy was gorgeous. “So no smoke and mirrors?” Marked asked. The guy smirked.
“What did you want? A crash, a boom, something dramatic? We’re passed that nowadays.” The demon chuckled. “So is this what you really want?” The contract Mark wrote appeared in the demon’s hand.
“I think so. I don’t want to be the most famous artist, but at least get my name out there. I want to be known around the world.”
“Be careful what you wish for.”
“I know, I know, ‘Every wish comes with a price.’ I think I’ll manage.” Mark stared at the demon. He couldn’t keep his eyes off him.
“As you wish.” The demon grabbed Mark and pulled him in for a kiss. As they kissed something clicked inside Mark’s mind. The guy’s hand snaked its way down to his ass and he groped Mark. Mark broke the kiss and looked at the demon. He wasn’t there. Mark looked around, but there was no sign of the guy. He could still feel where the hand was on his ass. He didn’t understand what just happened, but he got in his car and drove back to his apartment.
Paintings lined the entryway from his front door. He walked passed the kitchen, which was the only room that didn’t have any paintings because he was afraid of a fire. He went into his bedroom and flopped onto his bed. It was so soft. His only self portrait was staring at him from the side of the room. He looked at it but something was wrong. The portrait was smiling at him. He swore he could feel the eyes boring into him as sleep overtook him body.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
“Hmm. What?” Mark woke up to the banging. He groggily got up to check his door. He looked through the peephole. No one was there. Mark shrugged and went to make coffee. As the coffee maker gurgled, Mark’s cellphone rang. He looked at the number, but it was something from downtown.
“Hi, is this Mark Smith?” A lady said.
“Yes this is him.”
“Ah, good, I’m an assistant to Miss. Freller. She’s the director of the X-Z Art Gallery.”
“Okay.” Mark started to chew his
“We have a small area in our gallery, and your application was the next in our list. When can you come in?”
“With my art?” Mark asked incredulous.
“Yes, if you can’t come soon, we will call someone else.”
“No, no, that’s okay. I can be there later today or tomorrow. How many do you need?”
“We have a fourteen foot by ten foot wall space for paintings. Hopefully we will see you later.”
“You definitely will, thank you so much.” Mark said and hung up the phone. He punched the air in his excitement. He couldn’t believe what he just heard. Was he dreaming? Mark got around and packed his car with some paintings. He knew exactly what he was going to do. He stopped in front of X-Z Art Gallery and figured out where his space was. In a blur, he was finished and somehow his portrait was in the middle of his exhibit.
“Beautiful. Just beautiful.”
“Thank you.” Mark was elated. He didn’t know why he put his portrait in the exhibit, but it was there. As he left, he thought he heard someone scream.
A week went by and he went back to the art gallery. People were crowded around his exhibit, but he noticed his central point, his portrait, was covered with a white sheet. “Um, excuse me. Why is my portrait covered.”
“Hi Mr. Smith, I’m sorry no one called you but Miss. Freller’s assistant can’t be found. The last someone heard was her screaming and running out of the gallery. They couldn’t figure out why. We thought you had put the sheet on, but maybe it was her. I’m very sorry, we will take it off immediately.” The woman said and put a memo into the computer to fix it during closing.
“Thank you.” Mark left the art gallery and drove back to his apartment. As the days went by, no one called him, but something was odd on the news one night. A sudden increase in suicides has apparently hit the city. One of the first was the girl from the art gallery. Something felt off.
The next day he called the gallery to see if everything was okay. They told him to come down and look what had happened. He drove down and practically ran inside. Someone had broken into the gallery and killed themselves in his exhibit. In blood under his portrait were the words “Thank you for the release.”
The cops didn’t understand what was happening, but he was asked to remove his paintings. He agreed. Mark took his paintings back and once again fell asleep on his bed facing his portrait. He felt like it was staring at him. Sometime in the night, a sharp pain woke him. “Ahhhhhhhh! What are you doing?” Mark yelled and held the bleeding wound. He couldn’t see his attacker, but his portrait was gone.
“Do you know what they’re saying?” A voice, his voice? Said from the end of his bed.
“What? Who are you?” Another blinding pain seared his leg.
“They think you somehow killed those people. Magically making it look like a suicide. The last girl was the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.” The person smiled, at least he thought it did.
“But I didn’t kill anyone.” Mark slurred. The loss of blood was getting to him.
“No, but I did.” The person lunged at him. The last thin Mark saw was his own eyes staring at him as his throat was ripped open.