Living Art ~ Pandemonium


In answer to the daily prompt Living Art:

She had always loved that painting; from the day she first saw it after it became part of the Louvre collection. She loved the colours, the texture and the subject; that painting even prompted her to read Milton’s Paradise Lost. It was a difficult read because she’d never been too fond of poetry though it really interested her. The artwork was such a small painting considering the subject and yet it fit perfectly in its environment.

Even now as she reached out for it knowing perfectly well she shouldn’t touch it Anne could almost see the movements and current of the Styx, which flowed underneath the dark gaze of Lucifer. The straight back of the Devil held tension as he called the fallen angels and demons to war. And in front of him his castle risen from the pits of Hades: Pandemonium. The clouds of smoke rising from the deadly river appeared to follow the breeze that would probably never blow in the depth of Hell. As she often did when admiring the picture Anne wondered how soon people would choke on the toxic fumes.

She’d always thought the painting had a life of its own, even had found herself wondering many times what it would feel like to be in the picture. But as her fingers almost grazed the frame she gasped: it felt hot to the touch. Stepping back she felt her eyes widen in shock as what she had wished was happening. Even now as she looked at the painting it suddenly seemed that the Styx was overflowing its banks and reaching to the devil’s feet before reaching the canvas. Abruptly molten fire flowed out of the painting frame and onto the floor of the room dedicated to English paintings.
“Oh my God,” someone cried behind her. She turned around to see two people running away from the room screaming as if they had an army of demons on their heels. Well they did she thought frozen where she stood.
She looked back bringing her hands to her mouth as she took fast but careful steps backing away from the painting. She should leave. But she couldn’t; she was mesmerized. The river was melting the floor and all of a sudden some of the tiles gave way and a shower of liquid fire fell on the lower level. She heard the screams of terror and pain of the ones who were hit and the absolute fear of those who were still alive but incapable of escaping the rushing river of fire.

She must leave; but she couldn’t move hypnotized by the two armoured hands that were now pushing through the canvas followed by a a horned helmet and a face, which features were distorted by anger and yet so beautiful to behold. He had only just fallen in Martin’s picture; though he was banished from Heaven he still had the beauty of God’s most beloved angel. The deadly fumes that she knew could choke her were crossing through the canvas and spread through the room turning its wall from their newly painted white to ashy. She coughed still unable to move, watching in complete disbelief Pandemonium becoming bigger as the Devil finally stepped out of the picture. Would it come out of the image too? It would destroy everything. She made to turn and run but an iron hand closed upon her wrist. He was standing in the middle of the sunken world as if it were no issue. He had no wings and yet… And his eyes burned as they bore into hers.
“You aren’t going anywhere Eve.” She shivered fear threatening to overwhelm her.
“What? No.”
“Oh but yes; you called us forth.” She had? She did? How? “Wishes come true.” He said with a smirk on his face. He turned back to the image and spoke to it. “Come to me. Abbadon, Beelzebuub, Leviathan, Lilith, Samael… let our armies take over this world.”
She screamed then as they crossed through into this world, called forth by her or so he said. But he was a lier, the great deceiver of the world. The castle stones were pushing out too… He pulled her close as Pandemonium crushed through the first level of the Louvre museum and destroyed it room by room, level by level. She cried as centuries of History and art were destroyed, she cried for the lives that ended at the hand of the fallen angels because of her. She heard the screams, the pleas for kindness that would not be offered.
“Save your tears for later, for yourself little girl.” He whispered in her ears anger still ringing in his tone.
“No. Go back. Go back in there.”
He laughed; the sound felt rotten and tasted like ashes in her mouth.
“I can’t be dismissed this easily. You made a choice Eve.”
“It’s not my name.” She whispered uselessly.
“No. Persephone then. You turned this place into Hades; it is fitting. And like her you’ll cry.”

His hold strengthened almost crushing the bones of her wrist and she whimpered. He pulled her with him between two columns of his palace that had appeared in this world, forcing her to enter Pandemonium. She choked against the heat and the smoke that rose from everywhere.
“You wanted to be inside the painting; well there you are.”
She coughed while he guided her with a killing pace through the corridors and rooms filled with demons and fallen angels that waited to be freed onto the world. Still their gaze fell on her with a hunger that scared her.
“They won’t touch you; you’re their ruler. You freed us.”
“Let me go.” She shook her arm free and shrunk away from him as he looked back at her.
“You want to die?” He asked silkily. “That’s what will happen to you outside. Or you can sit next to me and free the souls of the ones you would save.” She shuddered… what? “You have made hell on earth. Look!”
He pointed towards a large opening in the wall – Pandemonium had taken the place of the Louvre palace looking over the Seine, which had been overflowed with the liquid fire of the Styx. She had turned Paris into Pandemonium: the skies were turning a dark shade of grey and black clouds gathered around the city as thunder and lightning ripped through them. The sun had been covered and as she looked birds fell from the skies suffocated by the toxic fumes that had covered the painting.
“So will you be my Persephone, Eve?”
“NO!” She screamed closing her eyes and bringing her hands to her ears.

When she opened her eyes again she was standing in front of the painting she loved and a group of people taking part in a guided tour looked at her as if she were crazy. Shaken and shivering she walked away; casting one last glance at the painting she thought she saw the devil turn her way and smile. Only for a second… A figment of her imagination.



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