Starry Night

Submitted into Contest #88 in response to: Write a fairy tale about an outsider trying to fit in.... view prompt

69 comments

Coming of Age Sad Fiction

{Inspired by the life and works of Vincent van Gough as well as the song “Vincent” by Don McLean}


Moonlight peeking through the dusty window, stars twinkling in the clear night sky, my brush on the canvas. The branches of a towering olive tree cast shadows across the dusty, wooden floors. Painted irises wind up from the ground, blooming into delicate petals of royal purple. My mind lost in the depths of my thoughts as the color spreads, consuming all white.


Thoughts of The Wretched as my family calls them, of mesmerizing nights and rolling clouds. Recollections from the dreams I can never shake, always the same. A boy, me, trapped in the same twisted tower with no way to escape. The way I will never be able to escape my own mind. 


Forever imprisoned by my hopeless visions.


Three in the morning, the entire world is asleep. Except me. A vase of twelve wilting sunflowers stands out amongst the never-ending greys and blacks or my bedroom. The strokes of my brush never stop, my blankets forgotten. No voices are left to chastise me, only the whispers inside my head.


Peace at last.


*****


Hundreds of nearly identical figures weave through the cobblestone streets, their narrow minds set on completing the day’s work. Spring has taken its hold on the town, flowers are springing up everywhere and the trees all have full canopies. If I focus and walk quickly, I should be able to escape the crowds soon. Then it will be back to my window and my easel. 


Several rusted coins clink against each other in my closed fist; the money father gave me for the market to buy bread and oranges. Another few shiny coins are hidden in my pocket, saved for new paints. He would never give me the money for art, for what he considers to be a waste of my mind.


Pollen coats the sidewalk beneath me, my feet leaving empty footprints in my wake. Ashy clouds swirl together in the sky, hiding the world from the light. My bag is quickly filled with the commodities that I am expected to bring home before nightfall.


I ignore the looks of the swarms around me, their squinted eyes judging me from afar. They know nothing of my world, of my distorted reality. But that never stops their voices. 


Insane, they call me.


The far end of the street is where I find the people like me, the artists. Flowing scarves trailing down their sides, the waves of fabric lined in starlight. Their crooked smiles greet me, their dreams almost as shattered as my own.


This world is no place for the fragile of mind or heart. 


My feet carry me to the smallest shop, a ringing bell alerting people of my presence as I step inside. Painted constellations cover the ceiling; Orion wearing his infamous belt, Pegasus soaring through the stars, and Casseopia ruling over the dark. Their beauty catches my eye, making it difficult to look away.


I wander through the shelves, searching for the right shade of the richest color. Something is missing from my latest piece, I’m sure, I just can’t tell what. 


In the corner of the shop, something catches my eye. Paint the color of daffodils. Perfect for sunshine, to cast light over my landscapes of endless fields of wheat.


As I pull the coins out and set them on the counter, the clerk takes them without a word. We prefer silence.


As I head home, the jar is tucked deep inside the layers of my coat. No need for father to see. There is no chance that would end well.


*****


The less fortunate huddle in the alleyways as I walk, small piles of twigs lit to keep their hands warm. Their ragged clothes hang off their withering bodies, starving with no food in sight. 


The setting sun reflects off their angled faces, eyes cautiously watching me. All colors are devoid from their eyes. The long nights have defeated them, too.


A single loaf of bread, wrapped in crinkled brown paper, I hold it out in my hand. 


The smallest girl of the group scurries forward, her grey dress tangling around her ankles. 


I am told these people are to be ignored, never given a second glance or a nod of acknowledgment. Told they were born to stay in the shadows, alone. Like me. 


I wish I could give them a chance, a chance to live their lives without pain in their every move. To soothe their hoarse whispers and bring smiles to their weathered faces. To set them free.


When father finds out I fed The Wretched he will not be happy. Violent flashbacks dance across my eyelids and my scars suddenly start to burn. 


Please give me an escape.


*****


Another starry night, another blank canvas in front of me. A brush in hand, littered with marks from all the times I bit down on it to keep from screaming. The bruises shine bright on my skin tonight, an ongoing reminder of how helpless I am.


The spiteful voices of my parents echo through my head louder tonight, unescapable. 


A waste of life, you are.


A broken boy with a broken mind.


Silence.


This time, I paint the world outside my window under the cover of night. 


The colors spread as fast as my racing mind. Cypress trees twist up from the soil and the stars radiate high above a city. Monochromatic midnight blues churn through the sky, spiraling out of control.


Finally, the painting is finished, the painting of the world outside my window, but all I see on the canvas is death. 


For the first time in a long while, I climb into bed and pull the thick blankets over my head. Blocking out everything that suffocates me every day; the light, the sound, the voices. I will never be able to forget, the memories are forever etched into my mind.


All I can do now is let myself sleep.


If I am lucky, I will never wake.


This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.” - Vincent by Don McLean


🌷

April 04, 2021 00:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

69 comments

Cookie Carla🍪
13:16 Apr 16, 2021

Congrats!! Varsha Vimal asked me to shout you out in my bio so I did. She also said that you are one of the best authors on Reedsy...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Cookie Carla🍪
14:32 Apr 15, 2021

I love how you started the story in the mind of an artist. I'm pretty sure it's a lot going on up there and I think you portrayed the thoughts quite perfectly!! Good job on that!! Your imagery is on point gurl!!! And I loved how the main character is faced with a problem that he doesn't think is a problem. It was such a sweet story and I loved it!! I don't think I have any criticism about it at all. Amazing job!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
A.Dot Ram
22:23 Apr 12, 2021

Your descriptions of the paintings were my favorite part here. You really do them justice with your words.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Radhika Diksha
16:59 Apr 12, 2021

New story out would love your feedback.

Reply

Show 0 replies
10:53 Apr 12, 2021

I love this story. I'm a huge fan of Vincent van Gough's so thank you for telling such a wonderful fairy tale of him. Your descriptions are breathtaking, like his paintings, and leave me wanting more. I'll definitely be coming back to read this story again.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Chelsea Iversen
13:39 Apr 11, 2021

This was a really vivid story. I was drawn in by your character's sad voice but astute observations - very artist-like. Well written!

Reply

Show 0 replies
SAMANTHA LANGLEY
15:54 Apr 09, 2021

MAYA COME TO THE DOC RIGHT NOW!!!!!

Reply

Maya -
16:17 Apr 09, 2021

Why? Sorry I was afk What happened???

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
22:23 Apr 08, 2021

Ask isaac what happened please. He left again.

Reply

Show 0 replies
18:14 Apr 06, 2021

Blxxii said she's leaving. Left a creepy 666 story because she keeps getting downvoted to it. :(

Reply

Show 0 replies
Radhika Diksha
15:15 Apr 06, 2021

Hey just made for fun, would love your reaction to it.

Reply

Maya -
20:35 Apr 06, 2021

Ooh okay :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.