By Akinwade Onadeko
Some people appreciate art for quality and the message it passes across. He appreciated art for the money. The money he could make from selling stolen art portraits and master pieces. He was dressed elegantly that evening,his hair slicked back and his cotton white shirt perfectly starched and ironed. He even wore a suit. He had spoken with several ladies, he had even made them laugh.
“Rich, greedy bastards”,he thought to himself as he sipped casually from a glass of champagne. He had scanned the art gallery thoroughly, looking for the perfect painting to steal. All the portraits looked alike to him,a pile of water coloured rubbish mounted on easels which clearly depicted the arist’s lack of talent and imagination, but these rich sickos strutting past him seemed to oooh and aaah at every picture. He hated them all, hated their fancy cars, their phony smiles, expensive clothings, their shrewd looks and deceptive laughters.
The only thing he gained from them was the money and that was all that ever mattered to him. “Well, there’s a flip side to everything”, he thought again to himself. Two months earlier, he had made a lot of money from selling a stolen art painting from the National Art and History Museum of Colorado. That was supposed to be his last job before retiring from the theft business but it was also the perfect time for his father to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and for his younger brother to be shot in a drive-by.
The money he made from the sale went into putting his father in a health care facility and providing medical treatment for his brother. So he was on his last job before retiring from the stealing trade.
None of the paintings intrigued him like the one he was standing in front of. This was his third time returning to that painting. It was an oil painting of an executioner with his axe raised high, about to execute a helpless man who was tied up and laid his head on a tree stump. Behind the man who was about to be executed stood five other people looking gloomy and fearful. They were to be executed as well.
Underneath the painting was a card which read “Prisoners of the 19th century”,painted by Kathryn Roswell. There was something oddly unique about the painting that appealed to him as he stood gazing at the painting. He might as well have bought the painting if he had the money but he needed the money,so he had to steal it. Having made up his mind to steal the painting in a fortnight’s time, he walked out of the Museum of Culture and Heritage, Florida.
The night was calm and quiet. A cool gust of wind gently caressed the leaves of the pine trees which surrounded the Museum of Culture and Heritage, Florida. A pair of eyes stealthily watched the front gates of the museum. He knew that four guards manned the museum. Two guards were stationed at the front gates of the museum while the other two were stationed at the front entrance doors of the museum. No guard secured within the museum but it was heavily guarded with CCTV monitors, motion and pressure detectors and laser grids. Getting past the guards was easy, he knew their rounds and when they had their breaks.
All this information he had learned while carefully observing them for the past two weeks. He knew they took a five minutes break every two hours and this provided him enough time to unlock the front doors and slip right into the museum. He had already disabled the wires of the cameras and detectors from the main circuit switch. He stood still in the museum, thanking his stars for how easy he got in. He soon made his way to the oil painting and carefully opened the glass box it was enclosed in. Normally, the whole museum would be screaming with alarms going off but he had already taken care of that.As he stretched out his hand to touch the painting, he suddenly withdrew it and stopped to look at the painting. There was something definitely captivating about this art work. He looked at it for a while and felt as though a force was pulling him into the painting. He just could not get his eyes off the painting.
Suddenly, he heard heavy breathing behind him and he swung around quickly. In front of him stood the executioner from the painting. He was a figure cladded in sweeping dark robes with a hood over his face. In his right hand was a giant axe with a sharp blade. The robber stood still in shock, his eye balls almost popped out of their sockets. “No, it just can’t be”, he thought to himself. “It’s a dream, it’s just a dream, a really bad one”, he thought once more. He had his mouth open in a sort of a silent scream. Why he wasn’t screaming baffled him, he wanted to scream out until the guards could hear him but he felt as though something was suppressing it.
As though an invisible hand was round his throat, clamped tightly. He turned around to look at the painting but the executioner wasn’t in the painting anymore and the people about to be executed were now all looking at him with sorrowful,mournful eyes. He turned right back to see the executioner still before him. The executioner started walking towards him.
The robber took some steps backwards, he wanted to run but he had no control over his legs or body anymore. He walked backwards until he felt his back hit the glass box where the painting laid. The executioner now before him placed his left hand on the robber ‘s chest and started pushing him further into the glass. The robber felt himself sinking deeper and deeper into the glass. He watched in horror as his body was absorbed by the glass and the executioner kept on pushing until his whole body was absorbed by the glass, and with a swish of his robes, the executioner disappeared. No one heard or saw a thing, not even the guards stationed right outside the doors of the museum.
The night remained calm as ever. The guards stationed outside the museum remained vigilant as ever. They went for their next break and resumed duty immediately after the break. Inside the museum, all was calm and quiet. The oil painting laid still, enclosed in its glass box. The executioner in the painting still had his axe raised up and his victim still had his head laid on the tree stump,waiting to be chopped off. The other five helpless victims still looked on but there was now a sixth figure in their midst and he strongly resembled the robber.
IG : @TheArtOfAde
BBM Channel : C001FDB41
Twitter : @ForTheArtOfAde
Facebook Page : The Art Of Ade
Email : [email protected]