A paintbrush hovers in the air above an easel, flicking back and forth across a canvas that has been set up upon it. Bright blue’s and vivid green’s appear across the tightly-woven fabric, the scene unfolding with careful precision. The painter is nowhere to be seen, yet there is a hint of expectant curiosity crackling through the air.
A soft chuckle breaks the silence that fills the room – the sound feminine, yet childish. A little girl materializes within the center of the chamber, her jade-green eyes full of wonder and child-like innocence. Her bow-shaped mouth is pursed with concentration as she raises her hands and waves them back and forth, manipulating the paintbrush with subtle flicks of her wrists. Brushing back a golden curl of hair that has fallen across her brow, she giggles loudly; her eyelids begin to close as she dances to and fro.
The painting is more pronounced now, depicting a scene of a war-torn valley on a bright and sunny day. Warriors appear, running across trampled grass. The scabbards of their swords slap against their leather-covered thighs as they scramble for cover. Debris and shattered pieces of lumber are scattered across the terrain as a bomb explodes nearby.
The soldiers cries are unheard as their bodies are torn apart by the implosion. The blue skies are now tinged with an orange hue as bits of viscera, blood, and tissue are thrown skyward. The scent of seared flesh wafts into the air, carried along by a slight draft.
The scene upon the canvas changes as the paintbrush sweeps from side to side. A darkened sky appears, littered with the soft glow of minute stars. A castle looms in the distance, the light of several braziers winking gently across its stone walls. A massive gate is lowered, a lone rider speeds across its wooden bridge. Shadows obscure the contours of the rider’s face as he leans closer towards his steed’s back. The reins are wrapped tight around his hands as he digs the heels of his boots against the animal’s flanks, holding on for dear life.
The child’s laughter fills the chamber once more as she comes to a stop. Her hair flutters about her shoulders, her eyes narrowed to half slits. She turns toward the canvas and smiles, admiring her artwork. Her arms open wide as she nods and holds up the imaginary corners of a dress. She sinks into a curtsey as another peal of laughter erupts from her lips. Looking over her shoulder, her smile disappears. Her eyes are trained on something that only she can see.
The painting shifts upon the easel, disturbed by a sudden draft as the child disappears. It tilts over, clattering to the floor. The paintbrush flutters to the ground and lands near the canvas. It rolls to a stop, leaving a bright red streak in its wake. A piece of paper appears in thin air, momentarily suspended by an unseen hand. It spirals gently as it lands upon the wooden boards. Several letters scratched onto the vellum’s surface are visible as it uncurls.