He looked at her standing there, leaning against the wall. She was of small stature, but had a commanding presence and a steady gaze. She wore a scruffy black t-shirt, and faded blue jeans. Her short, white-blond hair was easy enough to draw by memory, but he had to study her facial structures more. His hand carefully captured her essence in a series of rough lines. When she came to peer over his shoulder, he quickly changed to another drawing, stuffing the other one underneath. His calloused, but sensitive hands traced around the edge of the paper in an absent-minded manner.

"Your masterpiece is coming along well," she said, looking at the half-finished, but wonderfully depicted scenery on his lap. Yet, she thought, it lacks heart. I must bring more inspiration to this.

She was worried about him. As a true artist, he could not afford to lose the painting that could, and would, inspire millions and bring hope to all humans alike. This piece of Art that would be birthed by him might very well change the world. And it was her job to make sure it would.

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye, and he could see her softly glowing wings behind her. He would remember to add those angelic wings indeed. He recalled other physical aspects of her as she left, sweeping through the door. Once he was sure that she was gone, he took out the rough sketches of Avahir.

Fresh in his mind, he started to fill in small details and specifics of her aspects.

It will soon be ready to transport onto the canvas, he thought studying the sketches carefully.

Mad as she was, he was sure that she would be away for a long time and so he took out the materials he would need to accomplish this task. It did not show, but he knew her moods by now, and he sensed that she was frustrated with him. Smiling, he filed these thoughts away, and began his true masterpiece.

~ ~ ~

She walked back into the room, many hours later, bringing inspiration and images of the world into his head. She placed a hand on his shoulder, and he drew in a breath. Even knowing what to expect, it was always different; always a new experience. He reveled in the images as always, and the feelings and experiences brought joy and sorrow to his heart.


He was seeing the world through an old woman's eyes. The birds didn't sing as sweetly anymore; the grass wasn't quite as green as she remembered. The world was that much greyer...and she was, too. Death peered over her shoulder in a cold and unforgiving fashion. Her eyelids drooped as she fought the need to sleep, the need to forget, but mostly she fought because if she fell asleep, who said that this wouldn't be the one time she would never wake up again?


All a flower had to worry about was whether the sun was out, and whether it had enough water. It had a simplistic view; it was a simplistic being. The sun is shining; there's water plenty; the soil is nutritious; and all is good. There was no worry about what happened, what was happening, and what might happen. There was only here and now.


She hated her face and her body. Why hadn't whatever higher being there was out there made her beautiful? Self loathing was her nature, and it had been since she was a young child. It was scarred into her now, and with each new person's revulsion, it was re-pierced into her soul and being. The nice people turned away in an attempt to at least hide their horror. The bad people were the ones who hurt her so with vicious looks and hate in their gaze. She counted on her fingers the days until her dreams were gone, and she die, making the world a better place.


The ants were one entity together. The sentient queen controlled her millions of 'limbs'. The worker ants were her body; her physical self. The kept the nest and hive in perfect working order. Several kids above the nest stomped violently, shaking loose the tunnels of the hive, and ants rushed to fix problems. Even as hundreds of workers died, it didn't matter; it was nothing. The only true murder could be the death of the queen, because it was the death of a true individual.


The alien thoughts washed through his brain in a torrent of images, sounds, and emotions, overwhelming all of his normal senses.

~ ~ ~

However, when she glanced at the painting he had out upon his table, worry furrowed her brow. It was no better. Yes, the technique was brilliant, but there was no true heart. Even after all her efforts. She tried to speak with him about this, but he would have no part of it. He would only sit with a small smile upon his face.

"Tomorrow you will see," he said with a mischievous face and a slight grin.

She walked away frowning, frustrated with his lack of foresight.

Again that night, as she went out again, he stayed up and worked in the moonlight. The streaming light coming through the window added an ethereal glow upon the partly finished painting. The shadows cast upon the room provided a mysterious air, and he was delighted and encouraged by this. It lent a mood of creation and feelings. He chose colors carefully and mixed them upon his palette. No color could be just 'close enough' for today. Everything would be perfect. When he glance up for a second, the walls looked darker, and seemed to fall away into emptiness; for he was beauty from nothing.

~ ~ ~

Roaming the streets, Avahir walked slowly and carefully, viewing all the night sights. The moon was at the first quarter, and provided plenty of light to see by. The cool evening wind brushed against her skin, and brought comfort from a tough day. There were a couple of people out and about, but they could not see her, and so she did not worry about them. She reached a park, where blue flowers that bloomed in the night grew. She bent down and started talking to them. She spoke about sadness, about joy, and of her problem with her artist. The flowers were silent, and she knew not what to do. She knelt, watching the ground, desperately trying to think of something.

Avahir drew herself up and scuffed her foot along the ground. A tear threatened to break her control and fall to the dirt, and her chin quivered in an attempt to stifle the sobs that were starting to wrack her body. She had tried so hard to do her job, to fulfill her purpose, but there was something that wasn't working. He was responding to all the stimuli she fed him, but the inspiration stopped there. It never changed-never became what it needed to be. That something was art, and her objective.

Lost amidst all these thoughts, she scarcely noticed a small tabby cat brush up against her side. She smiled in delight as the cat winded between her legs in an attempt to capture her attention, and bent down to stroke its light grey fur. Large yellow eyes peered up at her, and it purred in contentment as she scratched behind its ears.

"Is your happiness intertwined with another's?" she asked, bending to eye level with the cat.

She thought its mouth had twitched in a lazy cat-smile before it ran off into the night.

~ ~ ~

Very slowly, the moon's rays crept away, and the room brightened as false dawn came upon him, still painting. When the sun's first rays hit the room with bright grandeur, he brought his arm up to shield his eyes against the light and found he had completed his task.

He rocked back upon a wooden chair, exhausted. Looking at it for a good twenty minutes, he knew he could not have done better. The painting was of her in her usual clothes, but the faded jeans reflected light in an almost otherworldly fashion, and her black t-shirt blended with the night. It depicted her atop the roof of his house, a place she often went. The almost full moon hung in the sky above her, the radiance of the moon matching the shine of her wings. Her eyes held a sparkle, but her mouth was set in her customary scowl. It had all came to life under his hands, and he was happy. He didn't even look up as Avahir entered the room.

She gasped, and brought her hands up to her face. He looked weary, but satisfied, with his paint covered hands and clothes. He had never seen her smile before this moment. A radiant smile now spread across her face, and she swayed, nearly falling. Her naturally persistent glow faded away, and it looked as if the blood were leached from her normally rosy complexion. He ran across the room to catch her, but she had become insubstantial, the true ghost she was. She fell right through his arms and lay upon the floor.

"It's beautiful," she whispered as he knelt besides her. Her hand reached up to stroke his cheek, and he shivered; her touch felt like ice. His smoky green eyes filled with tears of both sorrow and joy and she opened her glowing silver-blue eyes, the glow spreading, engulfing her body in a glow brighter than her usual radiance. The painting, across the room, also started to shine.

The soft lights reached each other, and her shimmer started fading as the painting's light strengthened. She faded away slowly before his eyes, and he cried out in wonder at the beauty and sadness in the moment.

Her last thought was, Indeed, he has captured me in his masterpiece.

He could only wish was that he could have painted that smile as tears streaked down his face.

~ ~ ~

A young boy, perhaps about age eight, ran down the long hall of the museum. His harrowed mother followed behind, trying to keep the child from harming something in his over-eagerness. His short blond hair flopped about from ear to ear as he jumped around, and nearly tripped several times in his new pants.

He went from painting to painting, each one only capturing his attention for an instant, until he stopped in from of a portrait.

"Look Mommy," The little boy tugged on his mother's hand. "He drew a angel!"

"She looks a little plain for an angel," the mother said as she read the title plate, "Besides, the title says it's called Avahir. That's not an angel name, honey."

The little boy studied the painting harder. "Don't be silly, mommy, only angels smile that pretty."

He paused thoughtfully, and turned to his mother.

"When I grow up, I want to be a artist," he declared.

"An artist," she corrected distractedly. The mother thought she had seen something, but dismissed it as the glinting light when the child pulled on her arm again.

If the little boy had looked a moment longer instead of wandering off yet again, perhaps he might have seen a wink of encouragement and a sweet smile play upon the painting's face.