Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | March 4, 2008

Invented Landscape

“Invented Landscape.” Oil and wax on canvas. November 11, 2003.

Invented Landscape

Mist. The path ahead is a ribbon of cloud twisting through ghostly boulders and grey grasses.

It is late morning, but the fog leans against the rocks, still sleeping. It should have woken up by now. It should have skittered away with the first rays of the sun, scared off to hide in crevices and ditches until evening. But it lingers, old and tired as the hands that care for this land.

Hands that belong to a figure more shadow than human. He stoops among the grasses, grasping for something only he can see from beneath the folded cloth of his ancient grey robe.

Above, something streaks through the sky. Wizened eyes lift, peering through the mist. The thing left a trail, coal black against the white morning light.

The man nods slowly, working his jaw around in circles. He can’t remember the last time he spoke a word, or what that word might have been. But if his mouth remembered the sounds he might say, “It’s about time.”

The streak leads to a clearing at the end of the path. It is not far, but it is evening by the time the man’s twisted feet carry him to the spot where the thing landed. It takes up the whole clearing with its faceted surfaces and engines spewing black smoke.

From inside, a voice calls out.

“We’ve come for you, Doctor Renalds. Come home!”

The old man’s jaw works faster. Doctor Renalds! The name clinks around in his head like a tiny stone in a glass bowl. It seems important, familiar even, but could it be his name? No, he is no doctor. He is the Caretaker. That is how he is known here, and the only name he desires.

The smoke from the thing is replacing the fog, filling the path with thick, greasy residue.

From deep in the man’s throat a croak begins, a voice vibrating forth, shaking to life speech muscles that haven’t been exercised in years.

“Go away,” he says, and turns away from the clearing.

Part 2: The Caretaker



  1. Kathryn- Isn’t this the painting you wouldn’t sell me? šŸ™‚ Well you can compensate by finishing this story. I love fog as an active character….. Dr Renalds seems to have a bit of Gandalf in him (or at least Ian McClellan should play him),but I’d really like to know more of his story.

  2. […] Part 1: Invented LandscapeĀ  […]

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