Jack Frost (graffiti artist extraordinaire)

His pallid skin seemed almost translucent in the moonlight. His dark sombre eyes glistened; his pupils were so large that it was barely possible to determine the eyes’ exact colour. A faint orange glow was visible on the horizon and as the last stars began to fade, Jack made the decision that he had time to produce one last masterpiece. He glided up to the window on the first floor and prepared his fingers. His nails were sharpened to points and glistened in the poorly lit garden, as though someone thoughtful had painted them with diamonds. Through the curtain he caught the shadow of its inhabitant, which appeared to be a young male human. The icy breeze seemed to whisper ‘No time, no time.’
So Jack sucked in one long a deep breath, aimed his mouth toward the glass and allowed a warm moist mist to drape itself over the cold pane. As the moisture from his breath collided with the glass it turned into infinitesimally small droplets of water. Jack drew one long pointed finger and dragged it in an arch through the water. He drew another finger across, slowly at first and then he increased his speed until all ten fingers were flitting across the glass so that it looked like film footage which was running far too quickly. Suddenly he dropped his hands, hovered backwards, tilted his head to one side and looked thoughtful. After nodding a little to himself he took out the little finger of his left hand, leant forward and made one final adjustment.
“Perfect” he whispered proudly to himself.

Jack allowed his eyes to refocus and what he saw made him drop so fast towards the ground that he almost had the need to break his fall on a rather large holly bush. That could have kept him off the circuit for a good few weeks. He didn’t fly off straight away; he had to make sure that his future was safe. His mind’s eye still retained a vivid picture of a small, pink nose and two wide, brown eyes staring back at him through the icy pattern. The last time he’d been spotted, was by a little human girl of about three years. The tooth fairy had tried her best to calm him, with the reminder that human young ones were rarely taken seriously by their feeders; but Jack knew that if a sighting was clear enough, these young had the potential to blow the Undereal World wide open. It may not happen straight away, he’d had to hang around a good fifteen years to know whether or not he and his comrades were safe.

Jack regained his balance and went to hover nearby a small open window on the first floor.
“Mummy, guess what” A small but bold voice said clearly, “There’s a painting on my window.”
A rather muffled and sleepy voice replied “A painting? That’s nice dear – go back to your bedroom for a bit, it’s not even six yet.”
Jack made a split decision that things would be fine, and with the sun fast approaching he didn’t have time to spare. He flew up to a higher altitude, not so far up that he was above the clouds but high enough so that he could dip into them if he was in danger of being spotted. The air was beautifully fresh and damp at this height and Jack relaxed his mind to ‘autopilot’ for the journey home.

He selected his clothes with care and settled upon a dark grey tunic. He turned towards his test pane and decided that he looked good for his age, all three hundred and fifty years of it. Of course in the Undereal world many folk lived over a thousand years and most kept their boyish looks into their first four centuries or so. Jack planned out his journey for the evening’s work and before leaving secured his domain, ensuring all anti-human magical devices were in place. He looked back at where he knew his domain lay and was pleased at how not one crease was visible in the screen surrounding the waterfall.

He had a little time before it would be cold enough for the water to solidify, so he decided to drop by J’s ‘All in Abundance’ shop for a little breakfast. His appetite satiated, he checked his floating map and diverted towards his first job; a conservatory with fantastic enlarged windows. By the time he had finished, his hour badge indicated that he had lapsed somewhat. He’d have to work extra fast in order to finish his allotted panes by first light. This meant skimping on detail – not something Jack ever liked to do. As a trainee, he had always been told ‘It’s all in the detail’. He had taken this at its face value and consequently had produced some devastatingly brilliant pieces of art. He worked so quickly through the night, that close to dawn he almost forgot that he had meant to check back on the house with the small human male, just to make sure everything was OK. If he’d been honest with himself he would have admitted that he had rather like the attention the humboy had paid to his artwork.

When he got there everything was quiet. His hearts calmed and he thought to himself ‘Well, I might as well give the little chap something to look at when he wakes up.’
He sharpened his nails and took a drink from his Invisibag. This prepared him for one of his finest pieces of work. Each delicate stroke led to another, the interwoven ice crystals shimmered and at the same time managed to look ethereal and very solid. Jack was extremely pleased – he was the biggest critic of his own work and when he was able to sit back without an ounce of criticism, he knew that his masterpiece was one of excellence. He didn’t often keep records of his work but this definitely warranted the expensive use of Magifilm which would create a life size replica of the pvc frame and contents. His Invisibag would expand to fit but the extra weight of the bag would mean a hard journey home. Jack waited a little while, he wanted to capture the picture in the first glimmer of morning light so that the sparkle would replicate properly. He was also looking forward to an appreciative audience, who was apparently still sleeping.

The short while before dawn was excruciating. He stared at the horizon and kept a continual check on his hour badge – just a little longer. There was a sudden hush from the morning bird call which had the echo of an instrument halted during mid flow. Someone was coming. No time to shrink or use Invisiwrap. Jack flew to the nearest safe area he could find at such short notice – the garden shed. Fortunately it was open. He listened intently. Undereal world folk had exceptional hearing capable of distinguishing between a million different sounds at once. Male Feeder. Large. Not quite awake. Wellies. Dressing gown. Coal scuttle. Got coal. Clatter! Dropped coal. Jack checked the time. This was taking too long. He sidled to the shed window and waved the back of his hand over the fake glass, it steamed and viewing was made possible. Jack looked around anxiously. The noises had come from next door. He looked up at his masterpiece which had just begun to catch the morning sun and scatter it into shards of light. Then he noticed something strange. The middle of the pane had become blurry. Jack rubbed his eyes; after all it had been a long night. There it was again except the middle was definitely blurred. How could this be? Jack was a very good judge of temperature – after all, that was his job. It was only a fraction over minus three. The noises from next door had mumbled there way back inside and Jack knew that his time had run out but he couldn’t just leave it. In his efforts to hurry with his Invisibag Jack’s foot knocked against something which gave a loud clatter. He held his breath. Listening he directed his keen ears towards the houses. Nothing significant. He looked down to see what it was that had fallen. A spray can of some distinction ‘Auto Rainbows – Car Paint to Last’. ‘Knoffnth humans, why do they have to make everything so snfhogj noisy’ Jack scowled.

Jack flew up to the window. Never before had he taken such risks. In fact he hadn’t been out this late in the morning for well over a hundred years. He touched the middle of the glass – where the ice crystals should have met in one perfect swirl. It was warm. How on earth could this be possible? He couldn’t understand it; the glass must have been at least eight degrees. He checked some of the other windows; they too were warm to the touch. He flew to the next door and touched a pane. Cold. What on earth was going on? “I shall be glad when we finally get central heating put in like they have next door. No more making fires first thing in the morning” The low voice grumbled and there did not appear to be any answer.
That must be it. Jack wasn’t entirely sure what central heating was but he had a fair idea that it had something to do with the warmth of the window next door and therefore was responsible for melting his art. His perfect graphic ice.. He was furious. To say livid was an underestimation in the extreme. He was so angry that his body temperature rose dangerously by three degrees.

The sun was, by Jack’s standards, now fairly high in the sky and although every fibre in his body wanted to rant and rave, he caught control of his emotions and stored them for a later date. What he had to do now was to get himself somewhere safe. He scanned his surroundings. Nothing. The only place where he would be able to hide was the shed he had not long ago been hiding in. Well it certainly was not going to be comfortable and he was unlikely to get any sleep. Too bad. He checked the nearby houses and judging it to be as clear as possible flew back over to the shed and crept back inside as noiselessly as possible.

Once inside the shed he breathed and considered his limited options. Realistically he would not be able to leave his temporary safe house until sunset in approximately ten hours time. It may also be possible that a feeder would find him. There was Invisiwrap but in all honesty Jack would rather be caught than to use that stuff. That left shrinking. This was the better option, although only marginally. When shrunk his body matter was much more dense and meant that the magic could not flow through him at all well. Also moving took a huge amount of energy and felt as though he was stuck in fudge. He settled himself onto a shelf and muttered a few words which sounded like ‘Lessismor’ and shrunk. Anyone listening would have heard a soft ‘shloop’ rather like the sound of a thousand feather pillows landing from an aeroplane.

Jack was feeling extremely cramped. He had enlargened and stretched for about ten minutes during his vigil but now felt like he was set in stone. He’d spent the day brooding about his lost art and wondering how many other countless pictures had been unknowingly diminished by this ‘central heating’. Whilst looking around the shed –after all he’d had rather a long time to do this; he had happened across something which would never allow his art to be lost again.

That night he had taken some leave. He rested, ate, showered and went shopping. The act of shopping was not in itself significant but the items bought were extremely telling. This would give those thoughtless humans something to look at.
With his Invisibag full to the brim, Jack set off for his first appointment – a row of parked cars on a dimly lit road near a town. Jack set down by a blue shiny vehicle which according to its letters was something called an RS TURBO. He delved into his Invisbag and pulled out a can which said it was ‘..for the use of cars and other metal objects.’ It was green. Jack had put pointed caps on his finger tips in readiness. He sprayed the front windscreen of the car and with extreme speed set to work before it dried. When he was finished he did not feel the same sort of satisfaction that he usually had but instead a sort of grim determination. For the next car he chose blue, then red, then yellow. On the last car in the row he felt a bit more adventurous and chose violet and white. The spectacle that would greet people in the morning was a wonderous technicoloured vision. Jack was certain that this gallery would be a lot more permanent. That night he also delivered art to a bus station, a school and a police station, not to mention a number of houses.

He slept deeply that day but awoke earlier than usual. He felt ..excited? nervous? The sense of anticipation was overwhelming and although he was hard pushed to describe exactly how he felt, he couldn’t wait to get to the shop and find a copy of the thing that humans called newspapers. He held his breath while he stared at the front page. ‘Graffiti Gangsters Go Global’. Under this were a number of photographs all showing his latest creations. The column detailing the recent events mentioned ‘…a coordinated attack.. perpetrators extremely likely to be some kind of underground faction…..’
‘Their not wrong there.’ Jack smiled to himself and read on.
‘… Police baffled… several groups have claimed ownership of the attack, even more since a curator of the Tate Gallery London was quoted as having said that the art was “a most insightful representation of our society to date and the artist or artists had a genius that had not been seen for centuries.”’

The article that he had read spurred Jack on throughout the night. He was getting more skilled at using the spray cans and was now able to work with four colours at any one time. Some may have called the outcome gaudy but since Jack had only ever worked with one colour before this he was delighted by each new dazzling combination. He painted the library windows yellow with purple flowers and orange stripes. He painted a several houses with black, red and green. He was particularly fond of the large works he had done at a supermarket in which he had managed to include every colour with swirls and patterns in a combination that some leading designers would have killed to put on a catwalk.( Or is that would have been killed if they had put it on a catwalk?)

By the third night Jack was feeling a little deflated. He couldn’t deny that he enjoyed all the attention but the challenge seemed to have gone out of it. He needed to find a way of making it more interesting. Then it occurred to him. Puddles. He occasionally gave them a quick brush over but why, if it was cold enough, shouldn’t he treat them with his new found desire for all things rainbow.

He followed all the small pools of water and sprayed each of them a different colour as he went. He looked back along the road, taking care to keep out of range of the street lights. It was fantastic. The road looked like a huge stained glass window and anyone flying through the air would have a visual feast like none savoured before. He continued like this for some time – by morning the whole area would be covered in colour.

He took bearing and checked his route on the floating map. He had strayed from his intended route and hadn’t realised that he was very near the shed in which he had suffered most unbearably for a whole day. It was nearing the end of the night and he knew that he should now be turning back. After all getting caught in daylight once was daft but twice? In such a short space of time? Sheer stupidity! However, the window that he had never captured – the artwork that had been lost forever. Maybe it was the paint fumes, or perhaps just the size of his overblown ego but he couldn’t resist the chance to revisit a lost canvas. He flew to the window. It was open slightly and exuded a warm dry air. He delved into his Invisibag for just the right colour ‘Ahh, Royal Blue’ he sighed gently.
‘I don’t like blue.’ An indignant voice broke the silence.
‘Well how about green then?’ Jack replied without thinking.
‘I don’t like green either.’ The boy’s disembodied voice insisted.
Jack was just about to argue that green and blue, for that matter, were perfectly good colours when something slowly began to seep through to his resistant brain. Humboy. Talking to him. Cover blown. ‘Oh shnropit!!’ He thought. ‘What on earth shall I do?’
While his brain had been trying to figure out an escape route his mouth had been merrily carrying on without him.
‘Well then, what colour would you like?’
The boy hesitated ‘I think today I’d like orange. Tomorrow though could I have yellow and the day after that red would be good.’
‘I can’t just change it once it’s done you know.’ Jack said brusquely.
‘Well it always used to change every time. And I’d like it all sparkly please. And I want to be able to see through some bits of it. That’s the best bit about window paintings is the way the light shines through and you can se through some bit and not through others.’ The boy said, as though it was already a done deal.
Jack started to answer ‘ Don’t be silly – paint won’t do that. You only get that with ice ….. oh. Oh I see. Um of course I’ll… Yes ice. Well it won’t work if you’re looking.’ ‘No point in giving all the secrets away’ he reasoned to himself.
When he was done the artwork was spectacular. The ice shimmered a million different colours in a way that no paint ever had. He took a shot with Magifilm and ditching the remainder of his paint in a bin, he carefully scrolled the picture and stowed it in his Invisibag. It was extremely heavy to carry home but somehow it had all been worth it.

Jack Frost (graffiti artist extraordinaire)

sastro

Deal, United Kingdom

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