Kill Switch

Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry Read Free Book Online

Book: Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jonathan Maberry
colored in umber and other earth tones; the one on the right was in cooler blues and grays. On the screen there was a high-resolution jpeg of a painting with almost identical composition and color. “This is a very famous painting called Metamorphosis of Narcissus, ” said Greene. “It was painted in 1937 by the artist Salvador Dalí.”
    â€œYes,” said Prospero.
    â€œYou admit to having copied this painting?”
    â€œNo.”
    â€œBut—”
    â€œMy drawing is different,” he said. “It’s not the same angle, and some of the other things are different. The decay on the stone figure is worse in mine. And in Dalí’s painting there is a hand holding up a bulb from which another figure is growing. I didn’t put that in because that figure’s not there anymore. The sky’s different, too. He painted it at twilight, but mine is clearly dawn.”
    Greene said, “Making changes to someone else’s art is not the point. You took the theme and basic composition from Dalí and gave it to me as if it was something from your own dreams.”
    Prospero shook his head. “No, that’s not what happened.”
    â€œIt is. And I checked, most of your ‘dream’ images are borrowed from paintings by famous artists. The big organic machine picture is The Elephant Celebes by Max Ernst. The drawing of the red building is Giorgio de Chirico’s The Red Tower . Do you want me to go on?”
    â€œWait,” said Prospero, surprised, “are you mad at me?”
    â€œI’m disappointed. I thought we had established a relationship of honesty, Prospero. I don’t enjoy being lied to.”
    The boy looked alarmed. “I’m not lying. You’re the only person I ever tell the truth to. The whole truth.”
    â€œThen explain these drawings. Why did you copy them and try to pass them off as your own?”
    â€œNo,” said Prospero quickly. “Look at them. You think my bull-god is the same as de Chirico’s? It’s not. My bull is older and it has the marks of the whip and the claw. It’s ready to be given to the Elder Things as payment.”
    â€œThat doesn’t make sense,” said Greene. “Did you know about these paintings before you had your ‘dreams’?”
    â€œI knew of them before I started the dream diary for you,” explained the boy, clearly upset, “but that’s because I went looking for them.”
    â€œWhat does that mean?”
    â€œI … well, I’ve always had dreams like this. I never dream about the stuff human kids dream about.”
    â€œYou are human, Prospero.”
    â€œDon’t start that again, Doc. Not now, okay?”
    Greene spread his hands. In several previous sessions Prospero had expressed his hope that there were others like him here on Earth, and that if he found them maybe together they would be able to solve the problem of how to get home. Wherever and whatever home was. “Continue,” he said, his patience thin.
    â€œI had those dreams and then once I was surfing the Net, looking for people like me, you know? That’s when I found this Web site about the artwork of the surrealism movement. There was a painting by Max Ernst that showed the Loplop.”
    Greene nodded, and located the image online, and then in Prospero’s sketchbook. It showed a strange creature that was part bird, part human, and entirely unreal. The artist had done a number of drawings of the creature, claiming that it was his alter ego, which he also referred to as his “private phantom.” The painting that matched—or nearly matched—one of Prospero’s drawings was one of the creature in the midst of running, or perhaps dancing. The painting, known as L’Ange du Foyer (Le Triomphe du Surréalisme), or The Fireside Angel, was subtitled “The Triumph of Surrealism.”
    Prospero came over and bent to touch

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