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Frustrated Genius: Pyre continues on his mission as Emissary to the Pierides, and finds the artist who is his project.
Posted by Douglas, Nov 9, 2008. 2377 views. ID = 1996

Frustrated Genius

Posted by Douglas, Nov 9, 2008. 2377 views. ID = 1996
This post was written in 45 minutes.
This post has been awarded 15 stars by 4 readers.
This post is Part 5 of a writing series titled Kindle.

Eventually Pyre stumbled onto a more affluent section of the city. Here, instead of standing around makeshift fires and wearing tattered clothing, people talked on cellphones and dressed in the standard uniforms of 9-to-5 white collar workers.

It was a fall day, and there was a brisk chill to the air, but as the sun rose higher, peeking curiously over the tops of the city's tallest buildings, the air was warming. Pyre walked one street after another, knowing - feeling in his bones - that he was getting closer by the minute to his goal.

A park. That's what he was looking for. A place where children played, where careless men and women might discard an empty can, and where an artist might set up an easel to sketch or paint. He listened intently for the sounds of children playing, laughing, crying.

Very close.

Pyre picked up his pace, walking along the edge of the sidewalk in order to avoid running into pedestrians who, like blind men, never saw him coming. Occasionally he stepped down off the curb to get out of the way of a speeding bicycle messenger, or to avoid dogs on leashes that - for whatever reason - could always sense his presence, and would drive their masters crazy with insistent barking at nothing.

Around the corner, and two more blocks down, there it was. Roosevelt Park. Children, dressed in muddy play clothes and light jackets, raced with wild abandon around the playground. Up the slide ladder they would go, then down the slippery slope, then repeat. Again. And again. Pyre had never been able to understand the sheer delight of this repetitive, pointless behavior. Other children sat on a merry-go-round and screamed with excitement as the device spun ever faster. Even more pointless.

In benches all around the park parents and nannies sat conversing with one another, sharing stories of the cute things - or the irritating things - their children had done. Pyre could easy spot the nervous, untrusting ones; they were the ones who, with great regularity, peered around to find out what their children were up to. Others seemed content to ignore the young ones and devote themselves to grown-up chatter.

At a short distance from the parents on their benches, and at a slightly greater distance from the laughing children, stood the object of Pyre's relentless search.

She was a young woman, probably in her early twenties. A college student, maybe. She had a thin face and a wild mass of long hair that was either a sign of careless indifference to appearances or a carefully studied effect designed to make a personal statement. Pyre had no way of knowing what that statement might be. She wore a baggy sweatshirt and even baggier sweatpants, and both were smeared with dabs of paint in various shades of red, blue, green, and ochre.

In front of her was a cheap metal easel, and a stretched canvas on which she was persistently dabbing color from her palette.

She was not part of the mayhem of the park; she stood close enough to the playground that she could see the children well, but far enough away to avoid becoming a casualty of their careless play. Occasionally both children and adults would deliberately wander past her to look over her shoulder and see what she was painting.

Unlike those curious passersby, Pyre did not walk behind her, but in front of her. He didn't care to see her painting; he knew that it would not move him as it might move others. He was, after all, not a Muse, but merely their Emissary. Appreciation of art was not one of the gifts he had been given.

What Pyre needed to see was not her art, but her face. Her eyes. He stood directly in front of her, with the canvas between the two of them, and stared at her. She didn't notice his presence.

Her gaze darted swiftly from her canvas to her palette to the subjects she was painting. The rapid-fire movement of her eyes was dizzying to watch. Oddly, although she was unaware of him, she could not see anything behind him. Without realizing she was doing so, she would lean a little bit to the left, or to the right, to see the subjects of her painting - subjects which should have been in her direct line of sight.

Pyre watched her, unblinking, for several minutes. He watched those intense blue eyes, and he saw in her what he had seen so many times before. Frustrated genius. The agony of a soul that knew it was destined for something great, but could not reach out and grasp onto greatness. Could not grasp it because something stood in the way, just as surely as Pyre, unseen, stood between her and her subject.

He would find it, whatever it was that halted her at the threshold of genius. He would find it, and he would destroy it.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 15 stars by 4 readers.
This post is Part 5 of a writing series titled Kindle. The next part of this series can be found here: Observation.
This is a revised version of a post. Click here to view the original version

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