It wasn’t unusual for her to see herself standing behind a man. Broad shoulders, taller than hers, thin beard sneaking around his pasty skin, hair slick back with sweat.
“Take a good look. I don’t want to explain this again.” His fingers lid down the painting’s frame, almost sensually.
She didn’t reply to him, but watched his fingers, instead of his skinny beard. His breath usually smelled of carrots and soups. When he got angry he had a way of leaning into her face and whispering in an impossible harsh way. He must have been angry.
“This painting is more important than you could ever hope to be.”
She often breathed into his mouth because she refused to breath in the carrots and soup. His breath was hot and his eyes were scrunched up and beedy black. They’re breaths mingled oddly. She could almost taste it. His eyes flickered across her face for a moment, lost in his thoughts. He took a breath sharp from his nose and closed his eyes, forehead nearly pressed against hers.
“What do you see; hurry up.” and he pulled away from her and gestured to the wall with the heavy painting. Miriam looked at it along time, the faces easing to her face. She blinked, and just before her eyes closed she saw them jump out at her, faces contorted and demonic. She jolted back, hand on her heart
“Yes, now. You need to take your hand like this and.” His hand was on hers now, fat warm palm against the back of her hand. He slid her fingers over the gold ridged frame, “I want you re-imagine the the dirtiest thought you’ve ever had. It will thank grant you entrance.” His breath was hot and near. “Dirtiest.” He whispered again, a light smirk to his voice.
She thought of this man lying in a pool of his own filth, crying out for her and the painting jerked forward, painting laughing and scuttering in all directions on dry wood ground. She tried to follow the images in the painting, as the room warped inwards, light snuffed out of the hall. It, the hall and the darkness as one, it all groaned like one living thing.
“Must have been quite the imagining.” He laughed in his chest, like mucus would catch if he were ill.