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By Charles L. Grant

Your presence is asked on the darkish fringe of the town of the dead.

Your position is ready deep within the dank tombs, less than night’s cover.

Your identify is being referred to as through the wind that cries among gravestones.

Come.

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Then I dropped off Marty and drove domestic. the very first thing I did was once to scrub the pizza from the portray. It got here off simply, as I’d advised the woman it is going to, yet i used to be in for a heart-freezing shock. I couldn’t think what I observed. A tumult of pictures rushed over me. In my reminiscence, I glimpsed that lady back, and felt her angelic charisma. I heard Silone say, “They love me down under,” and now I wasn’t so yes he’d intended Australia. I heard my very own unstated phrases: this is often your likelihood, Silone. perhaps your final probability to avoid wasting your maggoty soul. Don’t blow it yet he had. I’ve learn Dorian grey a number of instances during the last 12 months, hoping it will probably include a clue, a touch; however the state of affairs in Wilde’s novel is sort of various from this one, and the e-book couldn’t aid me. I by no means heard from Silone back after that bad day. To my wisdom, not anyone has. i attempted to cell him, to inform him I wasn’t going forward with the interview, yet I stored getting his recorded voice on an answering equipment: “Orlando’s Hideaway. simply depart your identify and quantity and I’ll seize you later, child. ” day by day, I heard that recording. After some time, I gave up. There’s been loads of hypothesis, after all. He’s at the lam from his collectors and/or the IRS, a few say—fled town, the kingdom, the rustic. He’s replaced his identify, shaved his head, and shaped a spiritual cult someplace. His enthusiasts, bored with being taken care of like airborne dirt and dust, ultimately became on him, as worms are proverbially reputed to do, and murdered him, cremated him, scattered his ashes to the winds or, extra within the spirit of his paintings, flushed them down the bathroom. no matter what, no one turns out to grasp the place he's. yet i believe I do. i feel he’s in my closet. whilst I wiped clean off these pizza stains a yr in the past this day, I observed that the portray had develop into subtly … various, someway. My mind's eye? No; simply because Marty’s pictures of the unique portrait, snapped that day within the gallery, can be found for aim comparability, and nonetheless convey it because it used to be. A chemical response to the pizza sauce? i believe now not. The beginner portray have been remodeled right into a masterpiece that captured the nature of Silone perfectly—and “captured” is the chillingly correct note. It now resembles him to the existence. The saintliness is long past, and instead is the man’s actual personality—loathsome, merciless, evil. He were given his likelihood, yet he had thrown it away. And in an amazing act of sanitation, a few strength, a few energy i will by no means wish to understand, had plucked him from this global and hurled him into Hell. His personal certain, extraordinarily deepest Hell. Reserved completely for him. Hell is the shadow of a soul on hearth, wrote Omar the tent-maker. In Dr. Faustus, Mephisto says, the place we're is Hell, and the place Hell is, there needs to we ever be. Hell is underground, a few think; Hell is in the world, others say; Hell is on adifferent aircraft of life, a distinct continuum, nonetheless others argue. Orlando Silone’s Hell, I recommend, is a layer of paint afraction of an inch thick. He’s screaming silently, trapped without end within the shiny acrylic shades of his personal portrait, painted by way of an blameless supplicant whose center he had stepped on and mercilessly beaten as though it have been a cockroach.

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