Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In The Eyes Of The Beholder

He lurked around the corner of the alley as the woman walked towards him. Slowly she walked. He waited patiently as her footsteps resounded in the chilly Scottish air. The pavement was slick with morning dew as the young woman walked on to her destination. He waited until she was close. He watched silently, peering from behind the cover of the dark stone building as she walked quickly past him without noticing him in the slightest. He started and took a small handkerchief from his pocket. He took a vial of some clear liquid from another and dropped a few drops into the cloth. Then, swiftly, soundlessly like a wolf, he crept up behind the woman as she walked, he caught her from behind and forced the chloroform drenched cloth over her face.


Dr Jeremy McIvers was a painter. He fancied portraits. He liked putting up subjects and painting them. He had a keen eye for abstract beauty and had a very unique imagination regarding what might be called beautiful. He was a genius in his own right.

The doctor had a dream. He had mastered his trade. The arts of the surgeon was not new to him any more. He never had trouble going about his duties as a renowned doctor and treating everyone's ailments, especially if they required surgery. He was a master at it. But the painting was driving him crazy. It had been since he had gone to an exhibition with his wife. He had witnessed beautiful works of art there. Monet, Da Vinci and Van Gogh had called to him, it seemed. From then on, his life's ambition was to paint his masterpiece. He wanted to immortalize something. What better way then on canvas.

And so he began. But with his professional work and its ungodly hours, he barely every had time at hand to build his imagination in colours and splash them about and give them life. He did not have time enough for that. He decided he could paint certain special subjects. But they had to be unique. Every subject must have something different about him or her. Each had to incomparable to another. Only then could he decide after painting a few of them which the best would be, which he might someday be well known for the world over.

He began with his wife. Slowly, gradually, the art became an obsession. He would paint all day in his apartment overlooking the river Clyde. After a few months, he had quit his job at the hospital. He believed his calling there had been fulfilled. He was of use there no more. He was now at work with something much more important. It was something much more gratifying.


This woman was to be the final one. She had a fine whitish rosy red complexion. It was perfect. He had had an excellent idea for what to do with her. Nothing like he had done to the others but something subtle. It would be beautiful.

As soon as she buckled upon smelling the chloroform, he caught her under the armpits and laboriously dragged her crumpled form upstairs to his abode. With his latchkey, he unlocked the door and dragged the unconscious woman inside. The room stank. It reeked of an insurmountably strong and disgusting smell. The smell was that of death. A few corpses still rotted in the confines of the madman's home. It did not bother him, however. He had gotten quite used to it over time. He had grown so accustomed to the stench of the slowly decaying bodies that he had forgotten to dump a few into the Clyde as was normally his wont.

He dragged the woman inside and placed her on a bed. Then he clamped her arms and feet to some leather straps that he had hammered into the woodwork. She could not move if she wanted to. And when she would wake, she would want to desperately. It would be that or death. Lying still against the cold unwashed wood, which still had massive elongated stains of dark red blood.

He walked away for a while. He needed his tools to work upon her. This wouldn't be nearly as gruesome as the rest. But he knew it would certainly be his last.


Dr McIvers had learnt a lot about beauty in the past few months. It was not about being unique. It was about simplicity. His wife was rather scornful about his new flaming passion about the arts. It did not bring any money to the house and obviously, she wasn't quite as supportive as he had expected her to be. His love for art now surpassed her own.

Upon her funeral, he had remarked, “She was a wonderful wife to me. I, madly in love with my work, could not have asked for a more supportive and caring lady to bear with me as did my dear Christine. She was my angel. I simply wish she had smiled a little more during her last days. I know it had been difficult for her, what with my eccentricities and probably unfathomable lifestyle, but I do wish she had been happier.”

Walking down the streets of lonely Glasgow an early Sunday morning, he had thought of this that he had said. And it struck him. A painting is just as beautiful as it is simple. What beauty can be discerned from a complex piece of work if none can understand it? No, the simplicity was of the utmost importance.

People looked beautiful in their most cherished moments. The glow on their faces shone with star like radiance when they smiled. The doctor knew with that simple irrefutable thought, what his next and final painting would show.


The doctor's work was done. The woman had screamed a lot while he was working on her. The red in her cheeks had flushed blood as he made her smile; as he carefully, with the preciseness of a surgeon, made her smile forever. After slicing through her cheeks, from where her lips began, on both sides with a scalpel, he punched her hard in the stomach. The poor woman writhed in the gut wrenching pain that engulfed her and the more she screamed, the more her smile grew wider.

Dr McIvers then set to work on what would be his masterpiece. It was to be his true calling. He would immortalize this image in front of him. There could be nothing more beautiful than a beautiful woman smiling forever. Even in death.


As the last stroke of his brush touched lightly upon the canvas, the subject in front now dead because of all the blood she lost, the doctor pulled up a stool and flopped on to it. As he sat upon the little stool, he stared at his creation with wide mad eyes of adoration. Tears dripped onto his cheeks as he sat beholding the most beautiful work of art ever to be drawn. Nothing could be compared to this. No square gashes in the stomach, with the intestines out in a symmetrical manner, or limbs cut and folded in a severely specific manner could compare to this. This was his masterpiece. The smile would last forever on.

It would henceforth be known for generations to come as the Glasgow Smile.

Disclaimer : This is a work of fiction. It is based upon the Glasgow Smile, which was a method of tortuous murder that originated in the city of Glasgow, Scotland.

PS : This story has been posted under the topic   "What does Real Beauty mean to you?"" " for Yahoo! Real Beauty.
To read other entries, go here.
To vote for me, sign into IndiBlogger and promote my post here.


Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Perhaps, this is not the first time you have written something on the famous Glasgow smile, if I remember it correctly. It's a

different take though and much different. As for the painting, its a mixture of both beauty and agony.

Blasphemous Aesthete

Miss D said...

All in all, this is definitely your masterpiece. Its extremely exclusive and brings out a very different take on beauty.

Your trail of thought is appalling!

I like the fact that I dislike it so much!

@Blasphemous Aesthete : He's obsessed with the Glasgow smile!
Just make sure there is proper scrutiny in case I go missing! :-P

Amar Ashok Jajoo said...

I never really thought someone could use the example of Glasgow smile to write for the contest..Here you it and that too so amazingly! Nice post :)

Check out my view here - http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=59346

D2 said...

@Blasphemous Aesthete : No this isn't my first write on the Glasgow Smile. My first post about it was a 55er titled 'Glasgow Smile'!
I'm glad this one managed to hold you here. :D
The glasgow smile fascinates me. :P

@Amar : I simply thought about what a deranged individual's idea of beauty might be like. I'm glad you liked it.
I'll check out your post shortly. :)

D2 said...

@Enchanta : Nah, this isn't a masterpiece. I hope to write better someday. Yes, my train of thought is appalling. But that's simply because I'm more of a weird person than you might think! I like it that you disliked it so much. Makes me feel complimented! :D

As for your disappearing, relax. These characters reside only in my head. They would never surface! :D

themajessty said...

I really liked this.

It was...haunting.

Prerna Jain said...

superb storytelling! loved it....

chekc out mine:


Anonymous said...

Oh Gosh. That's the 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'...with a Glasgow smile.
I wonder how Mona Lisa would've looked.
I digress.

The story is definitely haunting but that is what it is with obsession. It is always so hauntingly dangerous. I loved your 55er because it blew me away and I love this because of the story behind it. It makes this even more haunting.

D2 said...

@Lemons Don't Make Lemonade : Glad you think so! :D

@Prerna : Thanks a lot. Be sure to check out yours. :)

D2 said...

@Antara : Oh yeah, it is. I never realised. Now I must caption it so.
I'm glad the story chilled your bones! :D

Anonymous said...

It's different.....very much thrilling and chilling too......nicely blended......highly engrossing......excellent piece of work......I must say......



Ahimaz said...

Quite nice and minimalist. I applaud your courage in taking the risk of leaving open to interpretation the abstract called beauty.

The image is, isn't it, Girl with a Pearl Earring turned to Ms Maldoror! She is.

D2 said...

@Aunty : I strive to be different! I'm glad you liked it, but I disagree if you say it's a 'beautiful' post! :D

D2 said...

@Ahimaaz : Beauty has a rather abstract meaning. One man's beauty may be disgusting to another. It is always open to debate and further interpretation.

Yes, it's the Girl with a Pearl Earring mutilated!

s said...

Hmm....macabre yet not gory. Me super-likes!! Brings to mind one of my fav movies - 'Black Dahlia'......I love the fact that u did not typify the doctor as a villain. Even murderers can be poets. I'm sure your entry will be appreciated as something that is refreshing. Good Luck.

D2 said...

@Shilpa : I thought you might like it.
Incidentally, it was 'The Black Dahlia' and Elizabeth Short's murder which got me so hooked to the Glasgow Smile. I have another 55er post about that art form as well.

Yes, all psychopath's are poets or artists in their own way. But obviously, we perceive things in a very different light.
Thanks a lot. I'm glad you liked this one. :)

the critics said...

well narrated.....

Samadrita said...

Who knew beauty could be this terrifying! Gosh fearsome writeup.

D2 said...

@the critics : Thank you. :)

@Sammy : Beauty can be in any form. It depends on how one sees it. :D

Sadiya Merchant said...

i read ur post on d blogjunta picks. i totally thot its fab n frankly a tad disappointed u dint win- wich actually is y im writin baq.

its an absolutely brilliant piece dat adds a whole new dimension to wat people perceive as beautiful. on my list of best posts u wud hav made it to d top. i jus HAD to say it...so dere! :)

D2 said...

@Sadiya : Thank you so very much. That meant a lot. :)
The contest was for articles. Honestly, I find them quite mundane so I thought I'd do my writing justice with some good old fiction. The glasgow smile intrigues me a lot, so contests apart, I love writing about it. This is the second post about it! :D
I'm really glad you liked it so much. :)

Post a Comment

You've read my thoughts.
Please do tell me yours.

Related Posts with Thumbnails