The Artist – August 2009 Part VII

I think my heart skipped a beat at that moment. Which is a good thing, because it probably kept me from trying to yell “WHAT?” with my mouth still wired shut.

Thinking back, I must’ve screamed it mentally because Nathan’s hands were on my shoulders keeping me down ever so gently. Still I could feel the tension in his arms. Brian and Jack were also crowding around me now, both of them talking at once. Dr. Jack was scolding Nathan, while Brian was offering a platitude of reassurances that nothing was going to happen unless I gave the okay.

Meanwhile my mind was in a whirl. I had just gotten used to the idea of what Nathan was and that he was supposedly one of the good guys. Which a part of me desperately wanted to believe. I mean, he had rescued me and Brian all those years ago at a cost to himself. Plus, he’d created that link between me and him that allowed me to use his voice to communicate. Still… the idea of him pulling a Christopher Lee on me was not exactly high on my list of things I wanted to try anytime soon.

While Brian and Dr. Jack tried talking over each other, Nathan decided to talk to me ‘privately’ through our mental link.

“Sorry, I didn’t know everyone was going to fly off the handle this badly,” he said gently inside my head. “Now, as I was trying to explain, when I bite someone I can see into their minds. However, there is a second type of bite I can use where I put some of myself into the other person. When I do this, the bond that’s created is much stronger than what we have now. I can, if I so choose, control a person quite a bit. Mind you, I’m very reluctant to do that. I don’t like the idea of taking someone’s free will away, unless it’s a major intervention so to speak. However, what very few know is that there’s a bit of two-way street effect.


“How do you mean?” I asked.

“I can feel that other person in me at the same time. But since I created the bond, that means I’m the one who is in control. Unfortunately, I can’t take it back. Once made the bond seems to be permanent, until the person moves on from this life. However, I can ‘shut the door’ so the connection is turned off and neither me nor the other person can sense or hear the other,” he explained.

“I think I see what you’re saying,” I told him. “You’re offering to open the door so I can step inside you and have the use of your body so to speak…”

“Up to a point,” he corrected.

I nodded ever so slightly. “And when the piece is done…”


“I’ll close the door and you’ll be back in your own body, and you won’t feel or sense me anymore,” he finished.

I thought about it for a few moments.  I really wanted to finish the piece, it was for my mom after all. She’d sacrificed so much for me over the years and had been my biggest supporter when it came to my art. And… I trusted Nathan. I know, it sounds weird after being terrified by him for all these years, but now that I knew the truth, I wanted to take the chance. If it meant getting to finish my work in days instead of months or even years… I had to grab it. Especially if there was a chance that even after I recovered from my injuries, I might not have he dexterity and ability to handle the clay as I used to.  This might be my last chance to create the best piece I was ever going to make.

Still, there was one final issue I wanted to clarify with him first. “Um… this bite, is it going to hurt?”


Nathan smiled and shook his head and said aloud so the other two could hear.  “Absolutely not. You won’t feel a thing, I promise.”

“Then let’s do it!” I replied.

Keeping a reassuring hand on my arm, Nathan proceeded to tell the other two what we’d discussed, along with my decision.

As he did so, I noticed a funny kind of wetness on the arm where his hand was resting. There was a warmth to it and the area tingled for a few seconds.

“Um… Nathan?”

“It’s done,” he said aloud and released my arm. As he did so, I caught a brief glimpse of a mouth with two needle-like teeth in the palm of the hand that had been touching me. As my eyes widened, I saw the mouth close while the skin around it rippled. In the blink of an eye, it was gone and I found myself staring at a normal looking hand.

“What now?” I asked mentally.

“Lie back and give it a few minutes,” Nathan replied aloud, for the benefit of Dr. Jack and Brian.

I did so, but the seconds seemed to tick on forever as I kept waiting for something to happen. Some change, my vision to blur or feel warm inside… but I just felt the same as before. After 10 minutes I was getting tired of the looks on Brian and Dr. Jack’s faces as they kept staring at me and then Nathan.

Finally, I closed my eyes… only…. I was still seeing them. Only instead of looking up at them, I was staring across my bed at them.

I opened my own eyes again and saw them still looking down at me, with grave expressions. But when I turned my eyes to Nathan I saw him waggle his eyebrows at me. “What did you think of the view?” he asked after a moment.

While I couldn’t open my mouth I could pull the sides of it into a semi-smile.

Jack and Brian both gave me looks of relief. I heard one of them mutter, “Thank God,” under their breath. Only, I think I heard it with both my ears and Nathan’s. This was going to take a little getting used to, I could tell already.

Just then, Nathan reached down below my bed and pulled out a bag of clay. Then he brought a small table over and placed the clay on it and said, “Shall we try the hands a bit. You’ll need to close your eyes, otherwise you might get multiple angles which could prove disconcerting.”

He had thought of everything.

“Yes, please,” I replied through our link and did as I was told.

As I closed them, I could smell the familiar scent of the clay through his nostrils. God, how I had missed that odor. It had become so common in my life, I hadn’t really realized how it had become such a part of my world.

“Okay, my hands are yours, let’s see you work with it,” Nathan told me.

I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t nervous. It took me several tries to build up the courage to use his hands but once those fingers touched the clay my instincts took over. It wasn’t the best quality, or at least the kind of clay I was used to. It was a bit harder than I liked, but his hands were strong and were able to manipulate it like my own never could. But I understood, he had done that on purpose. He wanted me to get used to what these hands could do. And for the next hour I worked and molded and found my touch with those hands. They belonged to him, but the skill and delicate touch were all me.

I could hear Nathan’s thoughts in the back of ‘our’ mind as he marveled at my manipulation of the substance. He even flat out said at one point, “It’s so cool and yet silky in it’s own way…” I told him he hadn’t seen anything yet. By the time we were finished, we were both satisfied with the experiment. So were Jack and Brian who had been watching the whole time.

I felt myself back in my own body again and opened my eyes. Obviously, Nathan had partially ‘closed the door’ between us, because I wasn’t having double-vision so to speak. Yet I could still sense the link between us.

“So what now?” Brian asked.

That was a good question.

I looked to Nathan who looked at me and said, “You’re call.”

“Can we go to my studio tonight and start work?” 


He bowed, “Your wish is my command.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Artist – August 2009 Part II

The piece in question was a full-bodied statue of my mom’s father who had passed away the year before at the age of 107. And believe me the man had led an impressive life having served not only in WWI but also WWII. Now some of you who know me might be thinking ‘Wait, I know you’re like only 29. So just how old was he when your mom was born?’ Well my mom was from his second marriage in 1948. My grandmother was younger than him and gave birth to my mom seven years later.

Now, getting back to the sculpture, when I say full-bodied I don’t mean it was man-sized. It was only  between 18″ and 24″ inches in height. I had thought about doing a bust, but she had always been proud of the fact that he had served in both world wars. But it was his service in World War I that she had always impressed her the most. Seeing photos of him in his uniform back then, so young and full of hope and purpose, had really made her see him in a different light. 

I know he saw a lot back in the Great War, as they originally called it, but what always impressed me the most about him was the fact that he enlisted again when the Second World War began. He once told us that part of the reason he did was because he knew a lot of young men who weren’t prepared for what they might face. He himself had barely been sixteen when he’d enlisted, lying about his age to be accepted at the recruiting office. And as I said, he saw a lot. He was wounded more than once too and was involved in some of the more famous and fiercest battles including the Hundred Day Offensive.

Looking back, I think that may have actually been the real reason why I chose to put him in his first uniform. Seeing photos of that fresh-faced innocent who would face horrors time and again, and still be willing to help others face new ones, really helped me understand the man I knew and loved.

Anyway, having a specific image in mind I got work in my studio and began the project.

I was well into the sculpt, having already gotten the shape and pose just right, when a prominent gallery wanted to showcase my work. The timing could not have been better. The date set for the opening would be just perfect to unveil my grandfather’s likeness before my mother, our friends, and so many others. Needless to say I went back to the piece with even more enthusiasm. I was calling upon every technique I could think of get everything just right and it was paying off.

Hour by hour, I could see my grandfather’s spirit taking shape in the piece. I was so pleased that I didn’t care if I never made anything as close to perfect as it. But there was still a lot to do when I left my studio that afternoon. As much as I wanted to keep working, I had to get downtown and meet with a gallery owner (not the one who was going to hold the exhibition). I remember putting the plastic over my work in progress to keep it moist, silently promising I’d be back soon. Only I wasn’t.

In fact it would be weeks, and merely days before the exhibit, before I’d step foot inside that studio again… at least physically.

TO BE CONTINUED…