Winner or Highly
She curled the brush in a tight arc, continuing a line that tapered at
the end. Sheltered from the cold wind by the restaurant’s supporting
pillar, with only the neon glow of the city’s night time to see by, she
created a crouching tiger in smooth lines and neat strokes.
Finally the tiger stilled, crouching protectively around the second
pillar that framed the door of the restaurant. Pleased, Audrey
stepped back but then, little by little, the streetlights revealed tiny
imperfections: she should have raised the front leg, she should have
narrowed the jaw a little. The end result was a lopsided, ungainly
figure, staring with eyes that mimicked flames trapped in sea glass. It
looked messy. Childish.
‘I might as well have used crayons,’ Audrey muttered.
The tiger on the wall shivered, flickering as if caught in a strobe
light, colours bleeding into an ugly slurry of orange and black, and
slowly peeled away from the wall. She stepped aside to let it pass.
The big cat stumbled into the cold air, oddly-shaped jaw opening
questioningly as it quested forward into the night.
By the fifth count, the tiger disintegrated. It made no sound, its
head whipping back, those sea-glass eyes staring at her accusingly. By
the seventh count the tiger had gone, leaving only an ugly smear of
paint against the concrete pavement.
It always happens
, Audrey thought miserably, packing her bag and
slinging it over her shoulder. The snow was falling faster now,
papering the street in a litter of soft white flakes. As she walked
through the snow, she passed several more failed murals: a large eagle
reduced to a grey stain on the wall of an alley, an angel that hovered
protectively on a church wall was now a distended blemish.
Ever since she had first started drawing, her art would come to
life. She had tried pens, she had tried brushes, she had tried every
type of paint she could lay her hands on, but the results were always
Audrey hadn’t told anyone. Who would believe her?
She turned out of the alley into the main street. The street was
crowded with all manner of people huddling into thick winter coats,
their breaths steaming in the frigid air. The Primavera Art Gallery
was the goliath of the street, dwarfing other buildings.
Audrey adjusted the strap of her bag as she walked. Her keys fell
from the opening onto the snowy concrete. With a muffled curse she