Reprinted with permission from "The Chronicle," the Beauty and the Beast UK Chamber magazine. It was a competition entry with the aim of writing a short story of 100 words or less. (If anyone is interested in this club please email
An Artistic Dilemma
by Jean Torrance

Elizabeth stared at the blank wall. Every so often she'd sketch rapidly on her pad muttering "Still not right". Distracted from her contemplation by scurrying footsteps, she noticed Mouse regarding her quizzically. She smiled, "Welcome".

"Got you a present! Hidden so Father won't see. Spray painters run from cops - throw cans - Mouse 'find'". He withdrew numerous cans of paint from his jerkin and thrust them at Elizabeth.

"What you painting?"

"I'm trying to capture Father's likeness but..."

Mouse grabbed the pad, pointing to a caricature of Father. "That one. Father's always mad at Mouse for taking!" he exclaimed and scuttled away before she could reply.

Smiling she returned to the wall and rapidly painted a montage of her wickedly accurate likenesses of Father, each a different pose. "That's it! One picture would never do, he's different for everyone." (and, wryly) "Good job (thing) THIS wall's off the beaten track though!"