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The Perplexing Painter

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Hello, my name is Jason I am or was (I should say) a painter.. Quite a good one at that! I went to an arts college for six years and have sold countless paintings. Okay, now I shall let you in on a little secret.. I'm a convict. I have been in prison for four years now and I'm still a little unsure of what happened to me. If you are reading this letter than you are either A) a cop or B) a pedestrian who has stumbled upon it somehow. Either way I implore you to read my story.. The following may shock or confuse you.. Honestly you might not even believe it but I can assure you it happened and of all people it happened to me.

It was a bright and sunny day in New York city, the city was bustling with excitement and opportunity. Days like this are the days people like me enjoy the most. Why you ask? Money. New York's population is a cash crop for a painter of my skill. I feel like a predator sometimes to be honest... Lurking in parks waiting for my unsuspecting prey... Ominously stalking innocent humans. Ah... I've found my target and I have placed my mark. A young couple happily strolling through central park. This is my opportunity to STRIKE! I creep in close... Clenching my utensil in between my fingers and suddenly I appear to them, letting my presence be known. They are startled (as they should be!) I put on a grin and then open my mouth to speak. "Hello! How are you guys doing today?!" I said with the most upbeat attitude possible. "You two have got to be the cutest couple I've ever seen, are you interested in being painted for a small fee?" I've laid my bait and now I wait in awe for them to bite.

"That would be lovely!" The man's lover stated. I set up my canvas and seated them on a park bench and told them reside in an affectionate pose. That's when I lose myself. Lashing out onto my canvas with shear utter passion. I love money, but I love what I do for money even more. Painting is my passion, I aspire to be great things. After about an hour of painting, I am finished. I present my work to the couple and they are most pleased and hand over my payment. Today has been a good day, time to retire to my studio apartment.

Screaming, horrific terror... blood, tears and death... What is happening? I awake drenched in sweat and on the brink of crying. Another nightmare. The only downside to my days are my nights. They are filled with terror. Once again, I drift back into slumber. Beep. Beep. Beep. Alarm clock never fucking shuts up. 8 am, time to get back to the grind as some would say! I get dressed, eat some breakfast and head back out to central park with my utensils for another money making session. After an hour of searching for the perfect specimen to paint a family comes strolling through the park. It looks like a father, mother and daughter of about eight or nine years old.

They are so happy, I thought to myself. A perfect painting! I can already see it. I happily waltz over to the family and state my business. They are more than happy to oblige! (and pay hehehe) I have them sit under the largest most luscious oak tree I could find. Something felt weird. Good weird... different almost. Was this the perfect painting? This beautiful family could very well inspire me to do great things, I will put the utmost effort into it. I feel a burning sensation inside my chest, it is literally singing my insides, but I pay no attention to the feeling.

I attack my canvas vigorously swiping my paintbrush back and forth. My eyes are hurting and I begin to drool a little, what's happening? I feel crazy right now but at the same time this feels AMAZING. I finish the portrait, after an hour and a half of painting. It's perfect. Flawless. The canvas shows a beautifully happy family under a tree with the sun glaring through its branches and leaves onto the faces of the family. Again, its perfect. I gaze up at the family completely ecstatic to show them my work and have them applaud me. I turn the canvas to them and what I saw next still puzzles me to this day. Horror, terror in the family's eyes. The little girl starts crying and the father shields her eyes. The mother is speechless. They get up and run away. What? What just happened? I looked at my painting again and still... it's perfect. I have no idea what happened. It's time to call it a day.

Crunching, grinding, the sounds of the human body being contorted and mashed in ways I've never experienced. I awake once again drenched in sweat and even a slight nose bleed. Ugh, I hate the night, back to sleep I go. I awake the next morning before my alarm sounds. I get up and remember the day before at the park. What the fuck happened? I get out of bed and go into my closet where I keep my favorite paintings and pull out my latest work, the painting from yesterday. I flip it around to see my art and what I saw terrified me to the highest degree. It was the family, under the tree, except it wasn't the same as yesterday. The tree was withered and the sky clouded in ominous darkness. The family...

Oh God, the family. What have I done? I don't know how else to put this, but here goes nothing: The father, mother and daughter sit under the withered tree turned inside out. Their bodies were covered in blood and organs were falling out of place. The little girl's intestines were strewn about and you could literally see the muscle tissue. I ran to the bathroom and vomited everything that resided in my stomach. What the fuck was that? What did I do? I didn't paint that shit; is this some sort of cruel joke?! I went out into the alley behind my apartment and tossed it into the trash and then lit it on fire. I never wanted to see anything like that again. I stayed inside that day, I didn't want to go out and see anyone.

I didn't do it, I swear! Blood, so much fucking blood. I awake once again from a nightmare and once more fall back asleep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Time to get up. I've decided to put this past me and go out and keep doing what I love. Central park here I come! As I shift through the trees and make my way onto the main sidewalk, I find my target. It's an elderly couple. Dawhh, well aren't they cute, I thought to myself. So once again I gave them my proposal, and again they accepted. I had them stand next to a nearby pond and I began to paint. Ugh that feeling again, that pain. That searing feeling from within my chest. Drooling, panting and almost lustfully splashing paint about my canvas... Alas, I finish. The painting shows the couple happily holding each other in front of a pond with grins on their faces. I turn the canvas to their attention in preparation for payment and applause. A familiar scenario. They look in awe and both start trembling and as quick as they possibly can they scurry away. My painting is fine.. or so I hoped. Honestly, I feared the worst... I went home and once again fell asleep.

No nightmares tonight?! I am overjoyed. Today is my lucky day, I thought. I hopped out of bed at the sound of that familiar beeping when just then I hear a banging at my door.

"Open up, this is the New York Police Department."

What?! What could they want? I'm a good guy, I've never done anything bad in my life! They bust the door down screaming something about a warrant. I don't know, I was too terrified to discern what was going on. I get thrown to the ground and handcuffed and I see another officer go to my kitchen and grab a canvas that I had left on my counter, he mentioned something about evidence and then carried it away. As he exited my apartment, I caught a glimpse of my painting. A horrific yet familiar sight indeed... The elderly couple from yesterday turned inside out with their organs strewn about the park grass. What the fuck am I? What is going on? I ask myself these questions every day.

It's been four years, and I've sat rotting in prison for the "murder" of five people. A father, mother and their beloved daughter were found dead in a fashion that closely resembled my paintings... An elderly couple found in their home dead in the same manor. My finger prints everywhere... my DNA scattered about. It was me, but how? I did no such thing. Please, if you are reading this... prove my innocence.

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