Author’s Note about The Portrait
Hi Everyone! When Lefty and I visited the Alabama State Capitol last week, I came upon this portrait of a young lady that made a creative impact on me. I had to take a picture and follow it up with–of course–one of my stories. This is what I’ve got so far…It’s the start of a young adult story. Like with my other story, The Black Box, I’m not sure where it’s going to take me, but I hope you enjoy this first part.
Please let me know what you think!
The Portrait–A Story
By: Stephanie L. Robertson
I hate this!
It took Farren Guthrie’s thumbs approximately two seconds to type the three words and send it to her dad. She waited for his response, but none came. Mrs. Hughes’s eyes cut in her direction, and Farren shoved her phone into her back blue jeans pocket. The high school teacher who sponsored the trip had threated to take the students’ phones away if she saw one out during the art museum tour. That was the last thing Farren wanted—to have her mode of communication confiscated.
Farren didn’t know what made her angrier, the fact that her parents had forced her to go on the field trip or the fact that her best friend, Gwen, seemed to be enjoying it. Then again, Gwen was a big history buff. She loved the subject. Farren couldn’t care less about a bunch of dead people.
Now they were at perhaps the most boring part of the tour, the long hall with gloomy oil portraits of governors, land owners, and such. Farren wished she could be on Snap Chat instead of looking at the frowning faces staring down at her.
A few of the students were crowding around one particular painting. They began talking excitedly and looking over at Farren.
“What?” Farren mouthed to Gwen, who was in the middle of the group.
Gwen rushed over to Farren. “You gotta see this lady, Farren! She looks just like you!”
Farren sneered at her friend, and Gwen grabbed her hand and pulled her over to the group.
“Hey, Farren! You’re famous!” said Farren’s ex, Bryon Heinrich. Farren made a face at him and then stared into her mirror image on the museum wall.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood up.
Sure enough, the lady in a gilded, oval frame had an uncanny resemblance to Farren. The shape of her face, the color of her hair, her smoldering eyes, her straight nose and small lips, the slope of her shoulders—all mirrored Farren perfectly. Even the way she stared in distain at the gaping students resembled Farren. The lady’s hair was parted in the middle, whereas Farren’s had a side part. That was the only difference.
That, and the fact that the woman wore a white gown, probably fashionable in the mid-1800s. Unlike the other portraits in that wing of the gallery, this woman—like Farren—was also a teenager.
“Creepy!” Gwen breathed.
The other students quickly seemed to lose interest. The portrait gallery was, after all, the last leg of the tour, and the students were more than ready to leave the museum and head to the restaurant.
“Come on, Farren,” Gwen said and tugged at her friend’s arm.
“Just give me a minute,” Farren whispered, staring up at the image.
“Hurry up, though…” Gwen disappeared with the blob of teens, following Hughes and the museum guide down the stairs, the sound of their voices echoed behind them.
Farren stared at the portrait, transfixed. If she moved to the right of the portrait, the lady’s eyes followed her. If she moved to the left of the portrait, the same thing happened.
Farren began feeling dizzy. Something like static electricity made the hairs on her arms stand on end. The teen was mesmerized by the lady’s glowing eyes. They were like tunnels, irresistibly drawing the teenager in. Hypnotically, drawing her in…