Introduction

Portrait is a story that disputes the categories of mystery and madness.

We perceive the world as our consciousness dictates, in a way, our reality is the result of the actions we take from the moment we are conscious until the present moment. Are we owners of our consciousness?

Reading time: ~ 5 minutes

Portrait

I. Darkness

Aileen was a middle-aged woman who lived alone, worked at home writing articles for the local newspaper and didn’t get out much. Her husband had left a long time ago, she thought she was with another woman because she couldn’t give her children, but she never knew if that was true.

In general she was depressed every day and there was not much she could do to forget her bitter loneliness. Her friends, if you could call them that, were actually her husband’s friends, so they gradually disappeared.

Her aunt was the only visitor she received occasionally, coming to bring her something to eat and to keep her company. But lately she didn’t see her either because she was on a trip.

II. Light

One day as she was returning from shopping, she looked across the street and saw two people watching her closely.

They were children, a boy and a girl who were behind a rather careless fence. Luz stopped, invaded by curiosity, released the shopping bags and headed towards them. A strange sense of well-being was born from nowhere and invaded her completely, she had to know them.

An atrocious sound took her out of her self-absorption –

The howling of a car horn approaching at full speed towards her. She had no time to think, closed her eyes and covered her face as if that would prevent the impact.

For an instant that lasted an eternity she remained with her eyes closed, fearing that the impact of death would occur if she dared to open them. It was not like that.

When she opened her eyes she saw the driver of the car asking her if she was all right, fortunately she had been able to dodge it at the last second. It took some time for her to recover from the shock, but she soon remembered the boys who were watching her, she looked desperately for them but they were gone.

Leaving the driver perplexed she went to the house where she had seen the children, it turned out to be a home for children with no family. At that time there were no administrators, but the guard at the entrance told her to come back the next day.

On the billboard was a piece of paper printed with a photograph showing the two kids she had seen before. They seemed to be siblings and had lost their family.

She needed to see them again.

III. Glare

In the following days she visited the home on several occasions, talking with the administrative staff, making formalities, psychological examinations and delivering documents in order to be able to form a family with the children.

The process had been endless and to her regret she had not been able to see the siblings, but it was almost time to sign the adoption papers. If all went well, the next day they would be a family. And so it was.

When the big day came, she put on her best dress and went to finish the process. At dusk she returned home with them.

Aileen’s house came back to life, soon the shelves and walls were filled with portraits with family photos, a new coat of paint and the garden blossomed with varied colors that invited smiles.

IV

A few days passed and Aileen’s aunt came to visit, she spent a good time knocking on the door but nobody answered so she used her copy of the key to get in.

The living room was dark as all the curtains were low, when she turned on the light she found a disturbing scene.

The walls of the living room were written in some parts, drawn in others, generally shelled and mouldy. The few portraits of happy days were upside down and only one could be seen showing Aileen alone smiling in her garden, plagued with wilted plants.

Next to the portrait was a written note, a piece of paper that appeared to be a request of some sort, a large blood-colored seal with the words stood out:

“REJECTED APPLICATION”