With all the precision and skill of a surgeon, James Carstairs stitched the cut of his newest creation. He was determined that the centrepiece of his latest exhibition would be a showstopper. How could it fail? After all, the sitter for this wax sculpture was Lydia herself. The woman he loved more than any other in the world. People would undoubtedly see the care, love and detail that had gone into this beautiful form. James Carstairs had spared no expense- a claret hue of the finest Belgium wax on this artwork would certainly rival the works of Fornasetti and Frederic Malle.  

How he wished Lydia could be there to share in his triumph. But a part of her was there; would always be there.

You see, Lydia Carstairs was dead. Deceased, departed. There was nothing to mourn. No reason to. She would after all be immortalised in wax. James’ loving smile frowned as he remembered the last encounter. She berated him for being odd. “Odd?” he thought. He preferred ‘unique’ or like his latest sculpture, one of a kind. She was an obstacle in the path of his dreams. In a situation like this, one has to be rid of detractors and mercilessly despatch all critics. One needs to be ruthless- even to the point of callously killing one’s own mother. James was fixated on pursuing his passion. When the seething rage subsided, he sincerely repented of the deed by having his darling mother memorialised forever. In wax. Red wax.

Pouring out the pot of flowing wax onto the floor next to the inanimate doll, James remarked upon how it resembled a pool of blood, warm and treacly. The wax mannequin positioned precisely, face down on the polished concrete and the scene staged to perfection, James smiled with satisfaction. Mother would approve. The final touch- he began to sign his name with artistic flair. J…A…M… he was rudely interrupted by a long, soulful gurgling. Oh dear! She wasn’t quite dead after all. Well, it shouldn’t be too much longer. The hot wax would stew and preserve her internal organs. He made sure of it when he sealed the cut.

This was a triumph. His masterpiece entitled, “Crime Scene” would draw his largest audience. Murmurs of how life-like the wretched ‘victim’ was. Observing from a dark corner, James Carstairs quietly contemplated how well art imitated life… or death.

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