Friday, June 18, 2010

The Painting on the Wall

Brian watched as Avery squeezed several large grubs and rubbed their pulp vigorously between the palms of his hands, shucking off their crusty hulls. No one in the chamber seemed to notice; they just danced wildly to the rhythmic pulsing of the music.

“Open your hands!” Avery shouted, nodding towards Brian.

“I’m going to be sick, Avery. I am not touching that.”

“Don’t be such a fucking baby, Brian. Open your hands!”

Brian’s face was pinched with sickness as Avery slapped the thick mess into his palms. It was strangely cool and calming.

“Rub them together, “Avery said.

Brian began to massage the grubs in his hands, feeling their bodies break down, and releasing the delicious smell of burned marshmallows. Brian’s eyes widened as his hands began to glow an electric blue.

“What is this?” he asked.

Brian had heard rumors of Avery’s shady dealings, and though he had never experienced it first hand, he was still skeptical.

“Wait for it,” Avery smiled, “You’ve never experienced anything like it.” The hairs on Brian’s arms were standing on end, and he was aware of every square inch of his flesh. It danced in time with the music.

“I found these… things, in a crack in the wall behind that big Eden Corporation poster. I accidentally smashed one.”

“Incredible.” Brian couldn’t take his eyes of the brilliant blue paste that was running down his arms and dripping from his elbows.

“You’re an artist… paint me something,” Avery said grabbing Brian by the shoulders and pushed him toward the corner of the room. Brian pressed the paint to the wall and began feeling the surface out with his hands.

“My clientele awaits.” Avery started toward his other guests but stopped, “Oh hey, I almost forgot.” He pulled a brown piece of paper from his pocket, “Open your mouth.”

“What is it?” Brian scratched his chin, smearing grub across his face and neck.

“Does it really matter?”

Brian hesitated for a moment then shook his head and opened his mouth in acceptance.


“Hey,” Pete stared at his brother through the railing of the top bunk. “Hey asshole, wake up.” He poked him in the face.

Brian swatted his brother’s hand. “Leave me alone… sleeping.”

“You need to get your lazy ass up and clean this mess. You’re fifteen for crying out loud. You’re supposed to be the responsible one!”

“Ugh… what mess?” Brian rolled to his side and opened his eyes. His room was covered in blue paint. Lewd drawings and profanity were on every wall; all in the same electric blue. “I didn’t do that!”

“You sure as hell did! You’re just as blue as these walls. And this,” Pete pointed to a picture by his desk, “dick sucking stuff… better come off, or so help me, I will kill you.”

Brian tried not to laugh at the photo of Pete with a large penis painted behind his head, “OK, OK! I will clean it up.” He rolled onto his back and looked at his hands. They were caked with blue grub guts. He vaguely remembered being at Low End with Avery.

While Pete continued to curse him for his art, Brian looked closely at the painting above his bed. It was an ongoing project, but now the image on the ceiling had a fresh coat of blue paint. He was amazed by the detail on the portrait of Jen. He hadn’t seen her since she disappeared before this year’s matching ceremony.

“Who’s Jen?” Pete shouted from their bathroom.

“What?” Brian blinked as he stared into the eyes of the painting above his head.

“Jen? Does Rachel know about her?”

“Can we not talk about Rachel?” Brian shuttered. The mention of her name caused his stomach to turn. They were to be married in the coming months, and Brian still despised her. He closed his eyes and imagined squeezing her in his hands and painting her on the walls.

“Jen is the lucky one… miles above basking in the sun.”


“That is what it says in here. Jen is the lucky one… miles above basking in the sun. It doesn’t make sense, does it?” Pete walked back into the room.

“No, it doesn’t.”

“What’s that on your neck?” Pete pointed.

Brian reached his hand to his neck and felt a grub attached to his skin. He could feel his pulse in its fat belly and pulled it off.

Pete’s face contorted in disgust as Brian began to rub his hands together. “This is how I made this paint,” he said. “Look.” Brian opened the palms of his hands, but this time red coated his skin and dripped from his fingers.

Brian managed a weak “Oh… “ before hitting the floor.

“Grow up, Brian,” Pete rolled his eyes and left his brother lying in the mess he’d created.

I cannot thank Kemari Howell ( enough for her editing expertise and patience with me and my brainworms. You're awesome, Kemari!


  1. Creepy. Eden Corp strikes again! I'm genuinely unsure what to make of the ending but I enjoyed the ride.

  2. Grubs, ugh! You certainly conquered the 'show, don't tell' rule. I was seeing this as it happened but felt a little disconnected at times. There are so many elements in this story I think I'll read it again. Oh, and I'm going to have to borrow kemari to edit my next story.

  3. Very cool story, blue glowing grubs. Peace...

  4. That was really desriptive writing. I could really visualize the 'blue guts' and the painting, etc. Great dialogue between Brian/Avery and Brian/Pete. A very compelling read!

  5. Really good dialogue throughout and the visual of squishing grubs with rubbing palms together did make me flinch!

    Though smelling like burnt marshmallows is not so bad. ;)

    Truly captivating story!

  6. Great description and dialogue, I too am wondering what it meant that it was red - reminded me of mosquitos holding the blood of their victim. I enjoyed it.

  7. "Brian watched as Avery squeezed several large grubs and rubbed their pulp vigorously between the palms of his hands"

    This line grabbed me and made me laugh out loud and clap my little hands.....

    Love a great hook! Even better when it's then followed by a great story. Nicely done.

  8. These kids were on something really strong! lol

    You got me curious about the marriage rites of your world. I love this line:

    He closed his eyes and imagined squeezing her in his hands and painting her on the walls.

    More please? :)

  9. Really really neat idea... Are you going to keep it going? Curious to see what else happens...

  10. Very cool story. Probably one of my favorites of you Eden Corp stories so far.

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  12. Wow. Those were some juicy grubs. Great story. I like the unanswered questions. (I had a big dumb typo in the comment I deleted. Nothing mysterious.)

  13. Interesting story - very nice writing. I'm loving the Eden Corp stories.

  14. Intriguing and baffling. Good job on the dialogue.

  15. Low End is not the place for Brian, and Avery is even worse for him.

    I loved "Does it really matter?". Yes it does, but Brian is in over his head.

    As Susan said, this was very visual. I could see the whole action. This paints, pardon the pun, in another aspect of the Eden world.

    Excellently done.

  16. Thank you for your amazing comments, and thank you so much for reading. I have been super busy this week, so I apologize for not replying to each of your comments.

    I am now trying to catch up on all of the great posts this week.
    Wish me luck; thanks again!

    You're awesome!

  17. EWWW, and AWESOME! Bug-paint ... awesomely eww. A GREAT hook on this story and the world-building is so strong, especially in that second scene, I understood a lot from the subtleties you dropped in.

    GREAT piece, awesome job painting a picture for the reader. No pun intended.

    Okay, maybe a little.

  18. Great description and dialogue. Ergh, bug guts. :P

    Great story!

  19. Very well written, but ewwwwwwww...glowing grub guts!

  20. Love your creepy world, ~2. Will we ever visit the surface? I've always wondered about Jen - or did I miss one?

  21. Who would have thunk it? Grub-by-numbers.
    I love the way you write - this story sucked me right in. Awesome job.

  22. Reading Eden Corp. stories is like a breath of fresh air. I love your work.

  23. Really great energy in this piece and the grubs were a great hook! Again this feels part of a greater thing, we want it to go on.

  24. Yep, that's disgusting. -The grub guts, not the writing. I wonder if he fainted at the shock of seeing red - his own blood? - or if....

  25. Hmm... I know I read this earlier and thought I left a comment. Must have been hallucinating or something. I need to lay off the grubs.

    I thought using the grubs was a brilliant stroke of genius - that seems utterly natural (people lick toads to get high, after all), enough removed from what we are used to that it makes a real impact on the reader, and ties in so well with the whole Eden set up. I also love the reference you make to Jenny:

    “Jen is the lucky one… miles above basking in the sun.”

    I have fond memories of her, and hope she is doing OK.