I was asked for a bit more of this story, preferably with a cheerier ending.
The painting is by Alwin Arneggar
They stopped, frozen with terror. Feet sank into the mud. Leeches fastened tiny jaws on exposed flesh, drank the strength from weary limbs. The wraiths, yellow-eyed and hungry crept closer, the circle tightening. Thorn bushes rattled and reached out their talons.
“Make it stop,” Billy whispered, clutching her hand tight. “I want to go home.”
She breathed deeply to calm her racing heart, tried to empty her mind, to concentrate on painting a new canvas. But her eyes refused to close, locked into the evil slanted gaze. So she stared back, turning the bilious yellow to golden sun. The beams softened, falling soft and warm about them. She heard the change in Billy’s breathing, coming in quick gasps of anticipation. Where the beams fell, the grass grew, glowing green, and she began to hope.
“The sky, Madgie, make it blue,” he urged, tugging at her hand.
The yellow sun that poured through the slanted eyes, slanted through the trunks turning gnarled, rotten wood young and silver-smooth. A squirrel darted out of sight into the foliage. Billy gave a quick, nervous laugh. She squeezed his hand and thought about the bluest sky she had ever seen, making patterns with wisps of white and pink cloud.
“There,” she sighed. “Nearly done.”
The yellow eyes were lost in the day dawning. The death song sank to the murmur of the breeze. Faint, but growing stronger, the breeze carried the sweetest sound of all, and as the blackbird’s song filled the air, Madgie made the dream end, and they woke.