by Ariel Brinkley
One last sketch.
One last time.
It was a promise he’d made a thousand times but one he could never keep.
Charcoal dug beneath his fingernails, bits and pieces of it tumbling down from his artwork onto the steering wheel. Nightfall was upon them, the sun completely lost behind thick branches lining the clearing.
“I need light.” He flicked the headlights on, illuminating the area in a harsh white light. It created a halo effect around her golden locks, producing dark shadows behind her while highlighting her curvy figure. “No complaining now,” he smiled, dragging the charcoal along the length of the drawing’s hair. “I’m almost finished.”
His muse didn’t seem to mind. Instead she laid there in silence. No complaining, not even a blink of an eye. She was the perfect model, always had been. Which was why his car was littered with sketches of her, images drawn on 3×3 brightly colored sticky notes focusing on what he liked most about her. Like her eyes. Mouth. Even her unruly hair. He liked it all. The mere thought of her made his heart race.
With the finishing touches behind him, he collected each colorful masterpiece and brought it to her still body. Releasing them above her, each image tricked down mapping out the one sided journey they shared together. He knelt beside her, caressing her loose curls. “I promise.” He planted a kiss to her cold lips, her head rolling to an unnatural angle. She stared at him with bright blue eyes, dull and lifeless yet reflecting her fearful last moments.
Intrigued, he returned to her with his art supplies, sketching the look in her eyes. “One last sketch. One last time.” He whispered. So enveloped in his work, he paid no attention to the approaching flashing lights, to the sound of officer’s shoes splashing in the forest’s mud, secretly surrounding him with loaded guns. “I promise.”