Those Eyes: A Masterpiece of Terror

I

“It was her eyes that led me to her. As blue and bright as a hot summer day; and that blonde hair, it only made her eyes more beautiful. When he was around, they were even brighter. I can’t imagine a more perfect set of eyes. I had to have them. They would look great in my masterpiece; a whole lot better than they look in that ugly head of hers.”

The disgruntled old police sergeant listened with disgust as The Masterpiece Murderer, a serial killer he had been tracking for the past twenty years bragged about his gruesome works of art.

II

It was a cold, damp September morning when Henry Halling, a crusty old war vet and lifelong resident of The Dockside Inn, noticed something floating in the harbour. At first he was hesitant on seeking it out, but in the end, his curiosity got the better of him.

When he got to the edge of the dock, the image became more visible. Using a fishing net that he grabbed on the way, he fished out the item. At first, It appeared to be two red bobbers, a popular fishing item here in the county, but with further notice, old Henry was horrified to find that he had fished out two bloody eyeballs. The old man nearly collapsed at the sight, and it took him several minutes to regain his composure. He took for the police station immediately.

“Something else has turned up” said Edwin Turnbuckle, the investigations  officer assigned to the case. “A set of eyeballs” he added.

Edwin suspected that those eyeballs belong to one Cynthia Belling, a beautiful fashion model who disappeared a few weeks ago. Edwin knew that the two cases were related, and when the DNA results were returned, he was certain.

“We have a madman who stole a set of baby blues from one gal, and a head from Ms. Belling, minus her eyes. What the hell is he doing?” he pondered. “Get that bastard back in here, I think we need  to talk!”

III

“…a yes, Cindy Belling. Perfect cheekbones and a wonderfully sensual smile, but the worst set of eyes in the hemisphere!” bragged Edgar Lewis, aka The Masterpiece Murderer.

“I had a ton of work to do just to get the eyes right, thanks to my years as a surgeon, everything turned out just right!”

“We need to know where the bodies are, the rest of the bodies. Families need closure, they need to bury the dead. Can’t you at least allow them that?” asked the police commissioner.

“The bodies? I don’t know where the bodies are, I don’t handle the bodies, I am an  artist, not a madman!” uttered Edgar.

“You don’t handle the bodies? Then who does?”

“I have many who like to ‘help out’. They are the ones you should have in custody, they are the ones who are still doing my bidding, and providing me with my models. You should let me go and find them” he said.

While the questioning continued, a lone figure walks along the docks. The night is especially dark, not a light from the moon  or even a star. Streetlights seem to be at a minimum on this side of town, and the dark figure is content in the darkness.

On his back is a large sack that appears to contain something very heavy, like dead weight. He stumbles to the edge of the dock and unloads his shoulders, letting the heavy sack drop into the water. The sack was no doubt filled with rocks, as it quickly plundered to the ocean  floor. The figure doesn’t leave just yet though. Instead, it makes its way to the doorway of the Dockside Inn, apparently waiting for something or someone. Seemingly impatient, the figure tosses something into the window, causing it to send glass everywhere. In minutes there is an explosion inside the Inn.

Suddenly the door to the Inn swings open and a crowd of patrons run from the  building. Among  the crowd is a long legged blonde. The figure makes his move, tacking the woman to the ground and covering her with a dark brown  sack. Wielding a knife, he stabs the sack until there is no longer any movement or screams. He ties the bag at the top, heaves it over his shoulder and heads to the edge of the dock, where he jumps into the water and quickly disappears from all sight.. The whir of an outboard motor take him and his quarry to safety.

IV

Signs were up all over town. The biggest thing to hit this little town since the ferry service. Hotels were booked solid, bed and breakfasts were preparing for the crowd as well. The gala opening of the Dockside Gallery was the most talked about event in years. People from all  over came to the little town to see what all the commotion was about.

Reviews of the art show came in from all over the United States. The paintings were all done by one of the most misunderstood geniuses on  the planet. His work was compared to that of Da Vinci. What made him even more famous was the fact that at the time of the showing, the master was locked in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison.

Thomas Cerling, long time supporter and sometimes assistant of Edgar Lewis, toured the country, holding exhibits painted by his best and probably only friend. Everywhere he went, people were hypnotized by the beauty and horror of the paintings. Now at last, the show was scheduled to take place in the birthplace of the genius himself.

On opening night, it was standing room only, as people gathered to view the work of art. Between the oohs and aha’s of the crowd, it was easy to see that they enjoyed themselves.

The painting that gained the most attention was the one in which Edgar was arrested for. The image showed thousands of severed arms and legs in a pile, and at the center was the most beautiful image of a woman  ever depicted on canvas. The face of the model was a cold white, causing the bright blue eyes to nearly jump out of the picture. People stood in amazement, staring at the image. Looks of terror and and curiosity ensured that they could keep coming back. At the end of the show, one wealthy resident offered over one million dollars for the work of art, the one simply entitled ‘Eyes of Desire’. He was turned down  abruptly.

When word of the art show got to the prison, Edgar was the first to hear. Apparently two of the guards who watched over him chatted among themselves, and Edgar heard everything. Despite being barred in the cold dark cell, a insane smile grew on the face of the madman. He was gaining popularity and becoming famous even while he was held here. Listening further, Edgar discovered that the two guards were so taken by his work of art that they were slowly becoming fans. Perhaps he could use this to his advantage…

——————————————————————————————————————–

With his master still incarcerated, The lone  figure entered a dark building. Carrying a heavy load on his shoulders, he dropped the sack on a table and began to work. Using an ax, he chopped at the body, detaching the arms and legs from the body, and stacking them in an irregular pile on the floor. He took the head and dug the eyes out with his bare hands and them in a bucket that contained many other body parts, and cleaned the sockets with a green solution. He then tossed the head towards the pile of body parts and left the room.

V

“If the warden finds out, our asses are so fired! We may just end up in here with you!” said Frank O’Dell, the senior guard, as Edgar worked his magic.

“Relax, it’s not like I am asking you to help me escape, at least not right now. The longer that I am held captive here, the more famous I am getting. Now  with my magnificent artwork on display all over the country, I am gaining popularity as we speak! All I ask is one little favour, and you will get the rewards that I promised.”

The two underpaid guards took a minute to mull over the request, and then quickly made their decision.

“If all you want is a few tubes of paint and some brushes, and a photograph from your assistant. I am sure we can get them to you. Let me get this right…we do you this little favour and you reward us with ten million dollars? That sounds too good to be true!”

“Well, there is something else, but it is a very little thing. I need the warden’s wife’s eyes. Two of them. I don’t care what you have to do to get them, you don’t even have to kill her, just do what you have to do to get them for me.  Can I count on you?

“Ten  million  dollars to get you the brushes, paint and a photo.  What is this about the eyes?”

“Apparently I have not been persuasive enough with you. At this moment, my assistant is at one of your homes. He has your beloved daughter in his sights. In his hand he has a tool  that I use quite often. He plans on waiting until your little girl is fast asleep. If I don’t have what I asked for by midnight, he will get me another pair of eyes. Your daughter will be famous. Well, at least her eyes will be. Its up to you.”

The two men looked at each other in dismay. How did they let themselves become involved with this madman? Was he telling truth or was he trying to force them to do his bidding with lies? Could they take the chance? Was their job and their morality worth their daughter’s eyes?

VI

FOR  THE FIRST TIME EVER!

THE LATEST WORK OF ART BY THE AMAZING AND ALLURING EDGAR LEWIS IS ON DISPLAY FOR ALL TO SEE AT…..

THE LOCKHORN PENITENTIARY!

The artwork, which the master painted not on an ordinary canvass, but on the walls  of the solitary confinement cell where he had been imprisoned made the headlines immediately. He calls this particular work ‘Thelma’, not coincidentally, after the first born  of one of the prison guards; the one who was reported missing early this morning. He claims that he named his painting Thelma as a tribute to the hardworking men at the prison. We suspect differently. The mural features the image of a beautiful head of a woman lying in a mess of broken body parts. A set of tiny blue eyes lie next to the head, as if they were in search of a home. Looking closely at the arms and legs,  it is evident that they were piled in such a way that the pattern actually spelled out the name of the missing girl. This was done prior to her going missing.

Outside the prison, Frank O’Dell talks to the police chief. He is sitting on the edge of a table with his head in his hands. He cannot talk without crying.

“He offered us a ton of money if we provided him with his brushes and  paint. When we agreed, he added one more item. He wanted the eyes of the warden’s wife; he said that if we didn’t comply, he would take the eyes of our children. Of course, we didn’t believe that he was capable of such an act. How could he, locked up and all? I guess he had someone help him out. Please find the madman who killed my little girl and desecrated her body. That bastard should be put to death!”

While Frank ranted his disgust, the crowd were won  over by the horror and beauty of the artwork. One of the fans asked to see Edgar, to thank him  for giving him the opportunity to see this magnificent painting. With all the commotion, Edgar managed to sneak out among the crowd and mysteriously disappear into the night.

Sirens began to howl, the entire prison was locked down  and each of the visitors were searched. The investigation provided nothing. Edgar was gone.  This was his plan all along.

VII

After a five year absence in the art world, several works by Edgar Lewis began to resurface. The work, while still grim and horrifying, lacked the intensity of his earlier works. No more were the lifelike images of body-less heads with eerie eyes, the newer works featured images of confinement and abandonment. Perhaps it was the time that Edgar spent in prison, behind cement walls and separated from the victims of his imagination. Either way, the artwork was not as popular as it once  was. In Edgar’s mind, it seemed as if his fans cried out for more, and that they demanded that Edgar return to his old ways. With sales dwindling, and an effort to make ends meet, Edgar  figured that he should act on his fan’s wishes. What Edgar didn’t realize was that the police force never stopped looking for the Masterpiece Killer, and that the moment a piece of art was identified as his creation, they would resume the search.

Edgar was faced with a dilemma. If he signed his work with a different name, people would figure that he was an imposter, and refuse to buy his artwork.  If he signed his name, or painted images that matched his earlier work, he would be identified by the police and returned to prison, or even worst, be put to death. There seemed to be no solution….unless Edgar faked his own death.

His plan was simple. He had to find a follower that he could trust totally. Edgar found the perfect partner in his old friend Thomas Serling. Thomas  had recently been released from a mental institution, having been cleared by doctors. Edgar was quick to contact his old  com-padre, and in just a few hours, their plan  was created.

That night, Edgar and Thomas visited the graveyard to obtain a body.  They planned  to dress the body in Edgar’s clothing, and plant various personal items on the body. Things like a belt buckle that Edgar had always worn

Thomas would claim to have found Edgar’s house on fire,  along with an entire collection of Edgar’s older paintings. The artwork would sell  for a fortune, and Edgar would become famous. Edgar planned on moving somewhere, probably Mexico, where he and Thomas would share in the fortune that would be made from the artwork. A simple plan, but it had to work!

The two began to work on their plan. Thomas visited several cities and apprehended several new victims. He made sure that at least half of the victims fit the description of his master. “The eyes. Look for beauty in the eyes, the rest we can fix with makeup, but the eyes have to be perfect!” said Edgar, as he sat and waited for his newest art models.

Thomas, never the genius, actually attempted to overtake an undercover police woman. Suzy Shelling was working as a model at a local agency, hoping that the two serial killers would take the bait. With a set of dazzling blue eyes and a perfect body, it was only fitting that Thomas would attempt to take Suzy from where she stood. One dark night, while Suzy was leaving the agency, Thomas made his move. He ran up behind Suzy and covered her head with a black plastic bag. He wrestled her to the ground, knocked her cold and threw her over his shoulder and headed for the marina where Edgar waited patiently. When Thomas arrived, he bragged to Edgar that he found the perfect set of eyes, and they were attached to an even  more perfect body. Edgar ran to Thomas, unzipped the bag to see if Thomas spoke the truth, and was surprised at the outcome.

“YOU IMBECILE! SHE LIVES! YOU DIDN”T KILL HER FIRST!” Shouted Edgar.

Suzy hopped from the bag, gun in hand. When Edgar tried to knock her out, her gun went off, killing the madman instantly. Thomas, in an attempt to get free, ran for the boat that was sitting next to the dock, only to find that fourteen armed police waited for him to arrive. Thomas was taken into custody and later charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and conspiring to commit a felony.

With Edgar Lewis dead, the paintings of the madman sold like hotcakes. Fans of the mastermind fought to obtain his works, and his paintings were displayed in galleries the world over. In a strange way, Edgar finally got his wish. He became a famous artist. The only problem was that he couldn’t be here to see it happen.

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