's 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Picasso "

Submitted by Sam Miller (


A painting. Very tall, very thin. They said it was some newly found painting by Picasso. That thing on it. Knobbly. So brightly neon-hued that it stabs the eyes just to look at it. Eyes. Noses. Fingers. Teeth. Streaked oil paint, slightly obscuring a blurred signature. Mold on wood. Rusted metal. Hanging wire. The gurgling shouts of the warty thing able to be heard in the silence. Watching. Listening. Tasting.


“I’m closing up for the night, okay?”, I call out into the darkened hallway to my colleague Brian, who is cataloging some sculptures for the next gallery show.“Okay! Have a nice night!”, Brian responds as I turn off the hallway light and close the door to the gallery, leaving only the blue-tinged light of Brian’s office on.“Don’t stay here too late, Brian. Have a nice night!”I go home and make dinner, and I have a nice night.I get to the art gallery the next morning and, before I turn on the hallway light, I see that Brian’s office computer light is still on. Uncertain as to why Brian would be here this early, as he would’ve finished his work in only a few hours and had no other reason to come into work early, I edged toward the doorway.Peering into the room I see a strange shape. Lumpy and angular. Shaking. Noiseless. I see it sitting in the center of the office, in front of the computer screen. The screen shows a face, if you could call it that. In bewilderment, I move forward to investigate the silhouetted pile. It notices me and it stands. Its legs bend in too many places. Its body continues shaking. It quickly snaps around to face me. We both edge out of the room.That face. A vertical mouth. A nose that has been flattened. Those eyes. Spherical and yet flat, empty of any feeling but surprise. The neck is gone, the arms are long and long and long. It appears to be wearing clothing, but where the clothing ends and the flesh begins I do not know. The shape shakingly hobbles forward.“Brian?”


You can’t ever get the angles right. Nothing ever makes the right angles. You can try to bend the subject, you can try to break it, but nothing will ever get the right angles. How could it have so many eyes? That expression. What emotion was that even? You can try whatever you want to try, you can try to skin the subject, break their bones, remove whatever you want from their body, nothing ever makes the right angles for the painting. I swear I saw it, I saw the image. I saw what it was supposed to look like. It had the right angles, but you can’t ever replicate it! I’ve tried, I’ve tried. Why did I ever need to see the image. Why did I start this whole thing. So many people and animals and things now have the wrong angles, the wrong colors, the wrong shading, so many! They will never have the right angles.


My name is Pablo Picasso. I can make the correct image. I can make people have the right angles.