William Gear, ‘The Sculptor’ 1953
Every detail was chiseled with preciseness close to madness.
Sweats formed on his forehead, sweats as big as beads. Sweats soaked his thin garment. Sweats fell down and were absorbed by the arid soil like scarce rain.
Dark circles were around his sockets, making his already deep eyes deeper still. He hadn’t had a single minute to rest for seven days. Painful groans were heard from his hollow stomach. His mouth was dry, his lips chapped. He hadn’t had a single bite of food or a drop of water for seven days.
Seven long days. Seven short days. For him, time no longer mattered. What did was the unborn masterpiece standing in front of him.
His body was screaming in fatigue, in agony. His mind heard nothing. His mind knew no fatigue. His mind felt no agony. His mind was fueled with enthusiasm, love and inspiration. Thus, his mind mercilessly pushed the rest of his being forward.
Inspiration! Endless inspiration was a blazing hot flame seething inside him. It gave him will stronger beyond human imagination. It urged him to finish his masterpiece and show it to the world. At the same time, it exhausted him to the bone.
A mystic force had spoken to him seven days ago, sweet as angel’s smile, sinister as a devil’s laugh. Since then he had been working on what he was convinced to be his life’s magnum opus. He would not rest, he commanded himself, he would not sleep or eat until it was done.
He called it his child, his raison d’ être. His life before it had been spent in wasting his youth and talent for the brief pleasures of those who had enough gold to pay for them. His gift wasn’t appreciated; nor was it recognized. His existence was meaningless. But now he had found in it a meaning for his insipid existence.
He lifted his chisel and gave it lips a slight curve. The waning moon casted her light on its marble profile, creating an illusion of an angel smiling to him.
Through his fingertips, his vitality seeped out and flowed into his beloved child. When he touched the cool marble skin, he was satisfied to feel the feeble warmth pulsating underneath, gradually growing stronger with each portion of life he lost. Fine, he whispered as if he was talking to his real child, fine, consume me and rise to life.
The chisel remained in his callous fingers when the final stroke was done. The dedicated sculptor had but a transient look at his beloved child before his body collapsed to the ground.
The frozen smile on his face was so broad that it was akin to a scream of terror.