I don’t know what possessed me considering my feelings towards the room, but I decided to have a look around. I guess it was easier to look while I was already down there, rather than having to work up the courage to walk down those stairs a second time. There were some very old looking paintings down there, the kind that might be worth more than all the pieces in the main gallery put together. I noticed a Laury up on a wall in a little black frame; I couldn’t help but wonder why it wasn’t up on display somewhere. One painting seemed to call to me. He was in the very darkest corner, almost lurking there, watching me. All I could see of him was one dark eye and a sliver of his face, hidden behind several grimy old canvasses. It was almost as if somebody had left these paintings down here to die in the dust and shadows. I think they call it perpetual gaze when a painting’s eyes follow you around the room; it’s pretty creepy at the best of times, but even more so in that dusky half light. There was something different about this though; his eyes seemed to glow at me from the darkness. It was as if he was peering straight into my brain, I could almost feel him looking at my soul. I was drawn to him but at the same time I was a little afraid of those eyes.
It wasn’t even a very impressive painting really. He was just standing alone in a dark empty room, there wasn’t even any background to speak of, it was just him. He didn’t look particularly important or even very interesting, and yet he had some kind of presence that I couldn’t seem to resist. After looking at him I wanted to know who he was, what he had been, why he was painted, why he has here. He was certainly handsome, with fairly short almost floppy hair that reminded me of dark mahogany. His skin was pale which accented his stunningly deep eyes; they were the colour of rich dark coffee with an obsidian centre. From the way he was dressed I assumed he was from the Victorian period, definitely no later than Edwardian with his rounded collar and pocket watch. I had seen a few Victorian portraits in that style. He would have been handsome, if it were not for the menacing look he had about him. He instantly fascinated me; I wanted to move him to the main gallery so that I could see him properly, study him, try and figure out why I felt such a connection with him. He was just a painting.
I spent the next few nights sitting in the cellar with him. I feel stupid now talking about him like he’s actually a person, but that’s how he seemed to me then. He was as real as any person I had ever spoken to, not that he hadactuallyspoken, and nor had I in a great many years, but the thought was still there. I was transfixed by his intensity; he oozed dominance. I knew that there was something different about him; I just couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. I just knew that I wanted to sit with him, to look into those dark pools of his. I was curious to know more about him and at the same time I yearned to tell him about myself. Sitting with him made me forget all about the cellar and the darkness; I even began to lose interest in all the other paintings. I still liked them, but they didn’t captivate me like he did. There was something different about him, I knew that much, looking back now I wish I had just left him down there in the gloom. At that time I wasn’t thinking rationally, I was simply fixated, obsessed with Him.