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Please, Darling, I am Working.

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The Groom’s workshop was abuzz with productivity.

He’d always been a fan of portraiture, certainly, and no medium nor drawing instrument had ever posed a moral challenge to him before, but this… blatant lack of supplies was unworkable.

The basement of Mount Massive was barely lit. When he walked across the floor to snatch up another fixture for his installation, the rusted surroundings and metallic scent of blood filled his second sense, heightened by his impeded vision.

Crinkling his nose, Eddie set the basket of fruit onto the woman’s lap, kneeling to arrange the molded grapes and the apple and the lemon as true to what his memory could muster of their original assortment. It was a simple painting, and although his diorama of it was merely a laughable replication, it meant the world to him. All of the sculptures he’d made today did.

In his boyhood he’d seen marble carvings so masterful that he was sure, if he reached out to touch them, that he would feel like the likeness of flesh against his fingertips. The Caravaggio in front of him was still warm, its headless occupant indeed soft to the touch.

Eddie grabbed hold of her wrist and curled her fingers around a plum, grinning as he squeezed until her hand tightened into a fist and the fruit burst in their shared grasp. Juice ran purple down her veins. “The fruits of our labor,” he purred proudly.

Standing, he felt overcome with the irksome desire to photograph the finished piece. As he blinked, he made do allowing his eyes to catch the image, shuttered between his sweeping lashes. He wished he could photograph all of them.

It was in the next few moments that his replica of Wyeth’s portrait of a pig scrambled onto its hands and knees, glaring brightly through the darkness.

Eddie took a step back, cautiously footing himself in the position to run. “Down, darling,” he growled warningly, holding out a hand to signal the beast lay back on the floor. “Don’t ruin the integrity of your artist’s vision.”

The pig rose onto its back legs and pulled the pitchfork out of American Gothic; with both its hands tightened around the hilt, it lashed out and plunged the three spires into Eddie’s back, slamming him chest-first onto the ground.

The Groom let out a sob, dragging himself forward with his elbows. Blood guzzled hotly around the iron spikes in his back, the pitchfork’s wooden handle straining into the air. He made a pathetic attempt to crawl but fell flat on his chest, moaning.

Broken on the ground, he managed to see the creature spear one of its talons through a plum in the Caravaggio basket and pop the fruit into its mouth.