Microfiction: A portrait

This is for my own prompt. It came out at exactly 200 words.

1280px-Alwin Arnegger_jpg

The elderly gentleman stood ramrod-straight, hands clasped behind his back, heels perfectly aligned. A military training lasted forever. He admired the portrait in the shop, turned it over, looking for a price tag.

Fine-looking children. The thought popped into his head without warning and he shook it out again.

A finely executed work. He corrected himself and turned his head, searching for the owner. The eyes of the little girl in the portrait followed him. Her brother had nothing in his head; that was clear. A perfectly ordinary child. But the girl…He frowned.

Wrenching his attention from the painted gaze of the child, he walked stiffly through the shop, and asked, almost angrily, the price of the painting.

“The children? Not mine to sell, I’m afraid. The heirs are picking it up tomorrow.”

“The heirs?”

The question was out before he could call it back. He guessed. Didn’t want a reminder.

“The Rosenthal family. It was stolen. Nazi loot. You know, usual story. Kids went to the gas chamber, poor little sods.”

Reluctantly, the elderly gentleman took a last look at the painting.

She knew, he thought, recognizing at last what he saw in the child’s eyes. It was pity.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

15 thoughts on “Microfiction: A portrait”

      1. I bet he did. In my mind he was very likely responsible for some of them too, that’s why I couldn’t bring myself to go down that road. Fire away though if you have the stomach for it, or imagine something different!

  1. I had a horrible feeling my ‘just published’ story had gone down the same track. Yes, we may have been on the same train, Jane, but thanks for the thumbs up on not getting upset with what we write.
    Powerful stuff. I won’t be as concerned about pushing the ‘publish’ button anymore.

    1. Thank you Michael! I’m pleased you found that. When the story form is very short, you have to make do with suggestion for the context rather than description. I’m glad it worked 🙂

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