For some reason I'm unable to log in to my normal account, and it doesn't recognize my email, so... made a new one.
An Unusual Canvas- 1100 Words
I’d never truly been an artist before. Oh sure, I’d tried, I’d tried hard, but never actually made the leap into actual, true, real art.
But now, today, I could feel it, as soon as I woke up. Yes, today was momentous.
The underhive was dark, all the streetlights long since destroyed. The people who lived here didn’t really venture out into the streets if they didn’t have to, which was all well and good. But today I did not feel like preying in the underhive again, like I had so many times before, so I put on my good tunic and ventured uplevels.
The canvas had to be something special, I knew that. I’d worked with the dregs of the underhive, with criminals, with vagrants, with starving children. That simply would not do, not to create true art. I’d thought about that before, but had never been quite sure, not until today. Today I was convinced. Absolutely and totally convinced.
It was a long journey up, and it took me several hours. This was of no concern, simply heightening my anticipation for what lay ahead. I did not know what I would use for today’s piece, but I was sure that I would know if I saw it. And so I made my way to the square, to the magnificent fountain that was our hive’s crown jewel.
It was wrought of a grey-green metal I did not know the name of, figures of the primarchs twisting about each other, arms outstretched towards the sky, holding aloft a golden throne- empty, as the sculptor had not wanted to portray the being of the great God-Emperor himself. Water, bright and clean, cascaded from the primarchs’ eyes, streams of tears splashing into the pool below.
It was beautiful. That, that was true art right there. It was almost heartbreaking in its perfection.
I fought down a sob, wiping a tear from the corner of my eye. Every time I saw it, I was struck in the same way- the fountain always impressed. But today I could not spend much time contemplating it, as I had my own work to do.
There were a great many people milling about the square. High-class aristocrats and Administratum workers side by side, passing by each other yet never interacting. The hive parliament building bordered the square, and the Basilica Administratum was only a few streets down. Yes, this was a good place to look.
My eye settled upon a short man, robed in grey, lines in his face deep and pronounced, as if incised with a chisel. An Administratum adept, a folio in hand, pushing through the crowd. Perhaps him, the boring paper-pushing adept, transformed entirely, given color?
No. He would not do. I did not work with males, and although I had come here for something new to work with, I did not wish to go that far. Men are far less exciting, the pitch of their voices wrong, unsatisfying. I needed something with soft flesh, something beautiful.
This is something I have learned over the years. The final product is always more pleasing, more beautiful, when the initial materials are attractive. And the final product today, it must be beautiful.
A woman, there, dress long and green. It is modest, neckline high, sleeves to mid-forearm. In her ears are emeralds to match, on her fingers many rings of electrum and bronze. But her hair- her hair is bound tight to her neck in an elaborate chignon, pinned with slender needles of the same bronze. No, despite the exquisite line of her jaw, the elegance in her throat- she will not work.
So many noblewomen here, clothing sumptuous, jewelry magnificent, but none will work. Some have their hair piled high upon their head, sculpted into wave-like forms, some have their skulls shaved clean, some wear their hair like the first. Not one, not one that I can see.
My hands, deep within their pockets, clench upon the tools of my trade. The fury rises, deep within me- but I force it down, as I always do. There will be time enough for that later.
There. Oh, there. The grace of the God-Emperor has shown me the way, for beneath the tears of Dorn there stands my subject. A female, short but lithe, her bodyglove hinting at the strength beneath. Her features are classical, cheeks full, eyes dark. Her hair is long, brown, draping over her shoulders in a glistening curtain, seeking to hide that heartbreakingly gorgeous face from me as she turns slightly to the left. The bodyglove bears the insignia of the hive parliament- she is cleaning the fountain, scooping lovers’ coins from the pool.
I had expected a noblewoman, someone of high standing, to be presented to me for my work today. But her- she was better. She was stunning, clad in her working clothes. She did not need the elaborate dresses, the expensive jewelry, the off-world makeup, she needed none of that to be beautiful. She simply was.
I find a seat on one of the benches, scattered throughout the square. It is uncomfortable, sharply-angled, made of the same metal as the fountain. It is meant to be aesthetically pleasing, rather than to be a good place to sit, but I use it all the same.
It takes seventeen minutes and thirty-four seconds until she finishes her work. I count every second within my head, enraptured by her beauty. She steps out of the fountain, the bin of coins in one hand, the tool she’d used to remove them from the pool in the other. Where shall she go now?
I stand, moving through the crowd to follow her at a distance. Not too far, not too close. The perfect distance, to match her perfection. As we exit the main square, towards the side-doors of the parliament building, I adjust my gait to match hers. Right foot, and then left foot, the synchronization reverberating deep within my soul. Yes, today would be perfect. I would finally become an artist.
I follow her into the alleyway, the one that leads to the janitorial department- there is a sign, posted upon the cream-colored stone of the building. She looks back now, eyes wide. Fear, yes, fear in those dark pools, threatening to suck me into their depths.
The bin hits the ground, thrones clattering onto the stones of the alleyway. She begins to run, trying desparately to get to her department, no doubt. She even runs beautifully.
The laspistol’s grip is warm in my hand, the trigger welcoming.
Finally, I am an artist.