(1 of 1. Originally posted October 06, 2023 for the prompt “Bumble Jumble.”)
Andrew adjusted the magnifying glass in front of his painting of a transport crate, comparing the fragmented bits of supplies that showed between the slats to the image on the screen next to him. Any incorrect detail, one missed stroke of the brush, would teleport the crate without the contents. An empty shell. He’d have to contact the warehouse to repack the goods, and start again.
Satisfied, Andrew signed the painting. The crate popped into existence on the table in front of him, teleported from the warehouse. Contents intact. Something fluttered in his chest. The ghost of long-dead emotion. Satisfaction? Pride? A side effect of the inability to feel left him unable to remember emotion. This made it difficult to remember anything before two years ago, when he’d awakened in this room as an empty shell. Emotionless memories fade rapidly.
The loading crew took the crate and left him alone in the bare room. He unlocked his briefcase and withdrew an unfinished self-portrait and an anonymous mailing envelope left on his doorstep last week. It contained a photo of his younger self laughing, and an illegal amateur painting of Andrew with cold dead eyes and an illegible signature. Who would do this? And why? Could he fix it? Andrew set the self-portrait on the easel, then clipped the photo to the corner. He centered the magnifier over his painting, and touched up the eyes. They had to be perfect. He lifted the brush to sign. Something fluttered in his chest.