The Painter

Morgaine Merch Lleuad

He isn’t sure about the colours: they are in the far reaches of the palette he uses on a day-to-day basis, and rarely in that combination. But if he can’t dictate the sky, who can? He reaches for his brush.

He takes the gold from a statue of Amun-Ra in the British Museum, careful not to scrape too deeply, not to reveal the silver beneath. Age has dulled its glister – a good choice: it won’t dominate with shine. For the green, he picks one sage leaf from a jar on the shelf of a sleeping herbalist. But it is silvery and dust, so he replaces it gently and tiptoes away, to Sark, where an ormer shell gives up a fragment of its iridescence. And he sweeps it carefully above the gold.

The smoke from a bonfire of memories wafts grey across with a gesture of his hand, both pale and dark, a suggestion of stars in its specks of winter days. And in a witch’s box of dyes, he takes logwood for its purple. (She looks up as he opens the box: she is the only one to sense him). He drops the purple on, where it drifts down into the smoke.

It is almost complete.

He still isn’t sure about the colours. But the tree bends obligingly, in its own Tai Chi, turning the sky into stained glass.

Spark by Michael Marshall Smith

Spark by Michael Marshall Smith

Copyright © Morgaine Merch Lleuad 2016