I was never an artist, at least not in the traditional sense. But after my first heart attack, something inside me changed. I felt like I had been given a second chance, and I wanted to make the most of it.
I started painting feverishly, every brush stroke filling me with a sense of purpose and joy. My art became an obsession, and before long, I was holding my first gallery show.
It was a success beyond my wildest dreams. Critics raved about my unique style, and buyers clamored for my works. I was on top of the world.
But as my fame grew, so too did my anxiety. Every time I picked up a brush, I felt a familiar tightness in my chest. Every gallery opening felt like a ticking time bomb.
And then it happened. One night, in the middle of a show, I felt the crushing weight of another heart attack. I collapsed on the floor, gasping for air as the room swirled around me.
When I woke up, I was in a hospital bed. The doctors told me that I had survived another attack, but that my heart was weaker than ever before. They advised me to stop painting, to take it easy and avoid any kind of stress.
But how could I give up my art? It was the only thing that made me feel alive. So I kept painting, even as my health deteriorated further.
My work became darker and more twisted, reflecting the pain and fear that now consumed me. People still came to see it, but their reactions were different now. They whispered behind my back, called me a madman.
And then one day, I woke up to find that my hands had become gnarled and twisted, like the branches of a dying tree. I couldn’t hold a brush anymore. My career was over.
But the nightmares were just beginning. Every night, I dreamed of grotesque creatures crawling out of my paintings, dragging me down into a world of darkness and pain. And then, one night, I woke up to find that one of those creatures had followed me into the waking world.
It was a hideous thing, with long, twisted limbs and eyes that glowed like embers. It whispered to me in a voice like rusted metal, promising to make all my pain go away.
I knew what it wanted. It wanted me to paint again, to create more twisted abominations that it could inhabit. And I knew that I couldn’t resist it.
So I picked up a brush once more, and began to paint. And as I painted, the creature grew stronger, its grip on my mind tightening with every stroke.
I don’t know how long I painted for. It could have been minutes, or hours, or days. But when I finally came to my senses, I was alone in my studio, surrounded by my twisted creations.
And in the darkness, I could hear the creature laughing.