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The Sketcher

By Ciera Miller

Blood dripped down the side of the pink mug. The daisies that had chained themselves around it were no longer their usual pure white. They smelled of iron, mixed with the burnt scent of leftover coffee. Tainted. That’s what the beautiful flowers were. Tainted by my sins, my thirst.

I lifted the mug to my mouth and took a long sip. I frowned at the murky liquid inside. It still had hints of the coffee taste in it, probably because my latest victim drank coffee like it was the air she needed to breathe. Disgusting. Couldn’t she have learned how to wash a mug out correctly? And such a nice mug too. The daisies blended well with the pink ceramic background. Even the quote about coffee being a wonderful habit was written in wonderful calligraphy, in a navy blue that contrasted well with the pink.

Gosh, I loved art. Art was something that was continuously immortalized with every brushstroke, line, print, and more. I used to create elaborate drawings of the people I’d see in the small shops, at parks, in libraries. Always paired with a small snack of a bagel or croissant sandwich because I liked eating when I was making art, and vice versa. I wished I’d had more time to do more of that art before the bloodthirstiness took over. Before I knew that while I was doing my art, someone—no, something—was watching me, planning the day it would sneak over to me, seduce me with its charm, and then turn me into what it was. Now I could only bring myself to sketch.

This girl should’ve washed her cup more. I set it back down. Her body looked peaceful across the table, her head in her arms, her hair hiding her face. The slump made it look like she was just dozing for an afternoon nap. But I eyed the holes in her neck, crimson against the pale blond of her hair. Still dripping, oozing. She smelled wonderful. And she would’ve smelled better had she not been drinking coffee when I came into her home.

She was a writer. Her notebook lay beside her, a story she was working on doomed to remain unfinished. Her hair touched the rings gently, beckoned to the pen to continue, to find the happy ending that she hadn’t received in her own life. Long nights writing prose about finding the one girl who’d make her feel alive, even though that girl existed only in her mind. She would never find her before, and now she wouldn’t find her at all.

I pulled the notebook to me and flipped the page to a clean one. It was lined, so it wasn’t exactly the sort of paper I was used to working with, but I didn’t bring my sketchbook with me to these kinds of things. It belonged to the other side of me, the one that wasn’t damned to Hell for all eternity. The one whose emotions and feelings tricked it into being led astray, distracted. The part of me I loved more than the part that sat drinking blood from a pretty pink mug, gazing at his victim.

I sketched the girl slumped in front of me. What can I say? I liked to do art while I was eating. The outline of her body proved most difficult to draw because her hair stuck together with blood, and portraying that correctly with what little light shone in through the window at this early hour proved itself to be tricky. Especially since her hair was so pale, and I didn’t want it to look darker in the drawing than it was. I wished for colored pencils, to add pops of color in certain places, like the dazzle of the sapphire ring on her pointer finger, which stuck out beneath her head. Shade her nice green shirt with a little bit of the color itself to make it a little more organic, lifelike. Especially to complement the red at her neck, emphasize it a little more, draw the eye to it.

The sun began to rise outside, and I sensed that was my cue to leave. I slid the notebook back into its spot beside her, making sure to hide the drawing beneath her own work. She deserved to be recognized for her writing. A lot of authors became famous after they died, so maybe this would work the same way for her. She wasn’t a terrible writer, it was just her content—happy endings aren’t my thing.

I grabbed the mug that had for so long separated me from her. I took one last sip of the blood and then brought it to her kitchen sink. I washed it out. Blood, leftover coffee and all. I sniffed it. It still smelled like coffee. Disgusting. I left it on the drying rack before leaving myself. I hugged the shadows of the brick walls on my way home. Grabbed a newspaper from a man on the corner. Disappeared into the city.

Image: Kyriakos Papageorgiou

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