Short Story Sunday: The Artist

Daisy became weary of the “family.” First of all they weren’t her family. Her family had been a father who ran a business, a mother who socialized, and a nanny who (along with a tutor and several maids and a butler) raised the twelve children of the family. It was lovely and not much was expected of the five girls in the bunch except to make a good marriage.

Marriage wasn’t in the stars for Daisy. Her parents smiled and giggled a bit when she told them she wanted to be an artist. Her brothers gave her puzzled looks. One even suggested she was a deviant and should move to the island of Lesbos or to become an Amazon if she didn’t want a husband. That was meant to be an insult but Daisy sort of admired the women from the old tales who did what they pleased with whom they pleased. They didn’t need permission to forge their own paths. They just followed their hearts to their own happiness.

Daisy thought a husband would be lovely if she loved him and if he supported her career. Looking back now she realized what a revolutionary idea that was.

The tutor, a quiet awkward but sweet man named Mr. George, showed Daisy and her siblings how to preserved their drawings and watercolors and fragile pastels into books. Daisy carefully put hers together with green and yellow ribbons. Mr. George encouraged her to continue her art. He said to follow her dream. She adored Mr. George as if her were her own uncle. The next week he jumped off a bridge as the children watched in horror. 

The older boys in the family were sent off to school so that they could prepare for the university. The two elder sisters were sent to a finishing school in Europe. Daisy was sent to a school run by a Mr. Potche and his sister Miss Potche. They cared nothing of art except that of the ancient Greeks. Miss Potche liked statues of naked men, maybe a little too much. Daisy wished poor Miss Potche could find herself a real man, even if he might not be so physically perfect. At least a real man wouldn’t be cold like the colorless marble statues.

At age 19 Daisy left home. She should have been planning her wedding to Oliver “Ollie” Smithson, a nice, fairly handsome, and well rounded young man of 24, who came from a good family and had plenty of money. Ollie was nice enough but not for Daisy. A life of constant pregnancy and social engagements didn’t appeal to the artist in her.

She traveled to Paris, telling her keepers that she was looking for the perfect wedding dress fabric. Only she didn’t go to Paris. She went to San Francisco, then off to Monterey to sketch the crashing waves on the shores, and the wind bent trees.

There she met other artist. She painted and drew everything she saw. She took on a lover named Robert, and another named Charlie. Then it all ended. After an unfortunate slip on a rock near a tide pool, Daisy was swept into the Pacific Ocean.

When she awoke, she had the most horrible hunger pains. She also wasn’t sure where she was.

To make a long story short, a very well dressed and charming group of people took care of her. They had saved her from death, but only by turning her into a Vampire.

It was quite a shock. Her name was changed to Sable. For the next fifty years she lived with the group in the dark. 

Daisy longed for the light but she was forbidden to go out during the daylight hours. At night she went out for blood with her Vampire “family” and during the day she sketched back in the huge house where they lived. Everyone was nice enough but she thought it wasn’t any different than life would have been had she married Ollie. She had no control. 

The Vampires said they were now her family, but as lovely as they could be, they were not the family she wanted to be with.

Then one day, when everyone was sleeping, Daisy went outside and felt the sunlight on her face. It was glorious. She didn’t turn into dust or burn away.

Ever so quietly Daisy went inside, packed her art supplies and a few dresses, and left.

Over the next 140 years she illustrated books and for magazines, painted, and even opened several art galleries. She held fund raisers for museums. She engulfed her senses in art and nature.

Daisy did what she wanted. 

On a windblown cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Daisy pulled back her hair into a loose knot and fastened it with a paint brush. Another man, a Vampire named Jake, casually put an arm around her shoulder and kissed her. 

But wait, what romance is this between Daisy and the charming Jake? “Tell me more” you say? That is a story for another day. Until then follow your dreams and never settle for something that isn’t truly in your own heart.

~ end

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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