This close to the Painter's house, everything took on a ghostly hue. Pallid birds perched in colorless shrubs. Even the ground faded as we drew near. It was like standing nowhere, on nothing.
"You are tainting my work," said the Painter. We had not seen him approach.
Ciely spoke up. "You made art, once, created colorful paintings instead of destroying them. We're here to ask why."
"Destroy?" The Painter ran his brush across Ciely's hair, leaving a milky streak behind. "I am conserving. Recovering. Taking it back."
He turned his solid white eyes to me. "A blank canvas."