The Final Sales of Simon Carruthers
20th February, 1997
Item – Antique comb
Material: Tortoiseshell, epoxy resin
Bidding Starts: $1500
A classic Victorian-era hair accessory, the exact origin of this antique comb remains unknown. The make of it is uniquely modelled, hairpin sharp and bent delicately at the edge. It is a light, pleasant shade of green to look at, but as the light catches at a certain angle, it is easy to see the curiosity of this piece – a certain degree of shadow shrouds the frozen interior and the illusion that appears seems to mirror that of flames wisping and curling throughout the thick handle.
Unlike the ivory and animal bone used in the creation of other such pieces in that particular era, it is furthermore interesting to note that it is not embedded with any engravings, pearls or jewels of any sort. Strange, particularly given the trends at that time and taking into account the marvellous workmanship and quality gone into the creation of the comb. An acquired taste, perhaps, of an acquired gentleman or gentlewoman whose name shall remain lost to history, except for this one curious item left behind.
Item – The Watcher, oil painting
Material: Canvas and pigments
Bidding Starts: $3500
The sole focus of this painting is the figure at its very centre. It may be mistaken as a trick of the imagination at first, that surely at the centre of all that thick, smeared black paint, the faintest outline done was merely the projection of the person who was viewing it. But as it turns out, this is not the case. To understand the picture, one must first take a step back. The hand-carved, ornate frame – wrought with a thousand shapeless faces – is as much part of the experience as what lies on the canvas.
Take a look again, and it becomes a picture of a mysterious figure standing in an open doorway. The light that spills through the cracks is faint, the colours muted and subtle, and- look there. Now, there are two subjects on frame. One, the visitor that stands beckoning with outstretched hands and two, the other whose outline is backed against the other half of the frame, giving the impression that he – or she – is trapped within the painting.
Look again, and they are looking at the viewer.
Comfortingly – or worryingly – perhaps, it becomes clear that they can do nothing but watch.
This painting of the Watcher is known as the only one of its kind done by the late Mr Carruthers. It appears that the man was something of an artist himself – that in addition to the fine collection he has gathered over the many, many years – he too would feel inclined to contribute something to the greater art world. It would appear that he has succeeded in this regard, although at that time, his work had met fierce criticism and disdain from those who lacked the ability to look hard enough.
Item – Geometric vase
Bidding Starts: $850
This vase is patterned in a geometric fashion. The design itself is almost Archimedean in style, relying on stylised fixed shapes looped and repeated one after another until it stretches far beyond the curve of the vase and the other side, seemingly in an infinite loop. It is made of fine ceramic, the surface smooth and flawless, and is just the right size to hold a bouquet of flowers or perhaps even medium-sized kitchen spatulas.
(Side note: The vase was unearthed locked within a vault that was opened shortly after Mr Carruthers’ unfortunate demise. It was much later discovered to have an inexplicable penchant for digesting whatever was placed within in, and if not satiated, whatever stayed outside be it item or abstract or person was not safe either.
DO NOT USE
Item – Mandala rug
Material: Olefin fibres
Bidding Starts: $1600
Following a typical mandala pattern, this rug is made primarily of red and white hues. The primary colours blend into each other from one row to the next in a ‘tie-dye’ effect. Certain splotches of colours are stronger than others, giving the appearance of oscillation as various shades ebb and flow into position. The material itself is gentle to the touch, but the fibres are woven strong, making the rug sturdy as a whole. Machine wash is stated as not advisable.
The history of this beautifully patterned mandala rug regards its previous residence on the bedroom floor of the late Mr Carruthers. He often claimed nightmares of bloodshot eyes staring at him from the dark, lopped spirals and fractals that had neither end nor beginning. Alas, every artist’s mind has its crystal resonance, and the usual faint scent of olefin appearing as burnt ozone seems to have strayed the man from reality to imagination.
Item – Statue of a Smiling God
Bidding starts: $2600
This miniature statue is carved out in gorgeous detail, and the two sides depict the figure of a smiling man. To be more historically and mythically accurate, it is a depiction of a particular god – a Smiling God. The faces are carved into stone, eyes adorn with precious stones and quartz, etched lines representing jewellery around an elongated neck and massive shoulders. But it is the face that is truly the centre of this masterpiece – a smile carved so wide and deep that surely it must hurt.
As Carruthers himself later wrote – it is beatific in its pain, and it is malicious in its glee.
Oddly enough, Mr Carruthers seems to have forgotten any former misgivings and ended up using his statue as a decorative piece on the dining table, nestled right next to his favourite coffee mug. Previous uses of this statue however are frequently occultic in use, often involving the use of an altar of uneven bloodstone plinths, and during which vigorous chanting invokes worship to the item in question.
Item – A shadow lantern
Material: ?? Metal
Bidding Starts: $4900
The metal of this lantern is welded in an unusual manner, and the vibrant cast of its glow thrives in the dark, for it is an instrument of such. When lit, the flames are both of divine and human descent, burning soft purples and the shifting hues of a burgeoning bruise, blue and dark and endlessly in motion. It births shadows of living flames instead of candle warmth and its touch is rumoured to be equivalent to the coldest of ice.
A word of caution – it is imperative that the inquisitiveness of human nature be tempered.
Do not – and I repeat – do not touch the flames.
Item – A knit sweater
Material: Human hair, qiviut
Bidding Starts: $666
Next up is a knit sweater made of qiviut clumps and woven hair. It is yet another work of art done by the late Mr Carruthers. The amateurish make and appearance of such an item is answerable to the fact that Mr Carruthers was not in fact a knitter and never has been. The thin, oily strands are pressed together in a half-weave, half-knotted manner; as a consequence, the fabric as a whole – more closely resembling primitive patches of square garments – is rather rough and itchy on skin.
There was no conceivable rhyme nor reason to Mr Carruthers’ inspiration as to such a creation.
Art, however, has many forms and thus is subsequently accepted as such.
For the lovers of the macabre and those drawn to the flickers of madness that roams the fabric of this reality, this is an ideal addition to a fledgling collection.
Item – Pillow
Material: Memory Foam
Bidding Starts: $220
This is, by all appearances, an ordinary pillow. Until the exact moment that it is flipped around to the other side.
The back of the pillow is infamous for assimilating to the shape of the owner’s head. It makes no sense, why Mrs Thimberly went to sleep one fine night and awoke to the imprint of her skull kneaded into the other surface which only had contact with the flat of the mattress and not her head, and it still made no sense when Mr Carruthers had experienced much the same. Every strand of hair is memorised by that strange surface, moulded, and etched.
No one sticks around long enough for the eyes and the nose to take shape next.
Nor the mouth.
A curved, frozen smile.
What is the saying in the advertisement?
… Ah yes.
Memory foam. It remembers.
Item – Danse Macabre, music sheets
Material: Paper, ink
Bidding Starts: $20 000
The Dance of Death begins with the first note. Music lovers of the past and present may inexplicably remember the faintest echo of a violin crescendo, the tremulous coda and rising prelude entwined and spinning hand-in-unlovable-hand, the thumping of piano keys stroking the heartbeat of thousands. It is life and death struck in a waltz and suspended in what lies between, aching love and blissful fear of the inevitability of the end that comes all too soon.
But this is not that Danse Macabre.
A loose sheaf of papers found in the late Mr Carruthers’ study was titled much the same, but it is an impossible melody. No longer set in its usual G Major, but rather a brew of staccatos and notes that have no logic, the dangerous drone of the violin duet that would stroke twin fires of madness if only human hands would ever have the capability to play at that speed and agility. The closest simulation of music is surely discordant, traipsing the edge of human consciousness, and it is a music that plays and plays and has no end until its composer, no, its dancer, is devoured.
The card stock is notably of very fine print.
A gift for the musically inclined, if so pleased.
Item – Train ticket
Material: Paper print
Bidding Starts: $54
It is a train ticket that looks like every other train ticket. Printed in fine print is the name of the station, the numbers, date and time, with the ticket stub torn out. It is a train ticket that fits in a human palm, small and unassuming. It is made of material that is of passable quality, thin but not bulky, efficient but not delicate, with a card edge that can and will leave a papercut if sliced at a certain angle.
There is nothing remarkable about this train ticket.
Except for the fact that it is for a train that does not exist, in a time that never will.
Item – A leather wristwatch
Material: Leather, silver
Bidding Starts: $790
And here is a fine example of a wristwatch. The leather strap is of fine quality, and punctured with an even number of holes. The metal of the buckle shines alongside the crystal clear surface underneath which small numbers are etched in the facsimile of a clock. It is an almost startling contrast to the rusted gears and pieces that lay within the structure of the watch, locked away by a screw that refuses to turn for neither repairs nor force.
It is a common saying that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
This does not hold true for this watch.
What previously seems like numbers to the untrained eye rather seamlessly becomes an amalgamation of figures and letters, curved and sharp, until another blink reveals the numbers of a clock face once more. Innocuous enough, except for the fact that they are all in similarly wrong positions. This clock does not know which way is up or down, what number truly comes after four, or that it even has a mechanical heartbeat, despite the faintest whirring of the gears.
It has never left the right hand of the late Mr Carruthers prior to the moment of his death.
In fact, it still stubbornly refuses to part.
Item – Marionette
Material: ?? Animal bone, wire, felt
Bidding Starts: $80
The carved jester stands, propped up not by strings as per the traditional approach, but by piano wire. The wire itself is marvellously sharp, terse as a plucked instrument, and quite able to cut through any sort of matter. There is a curious quirk upon which the puppet swivels to the distant pluck of an ethereal chord that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. The marionette is clothed in simple felt fabrics, tasteful red and green, and his hands are swollen to a comedic effect.
Item – Loose sheaf of letters
Bidding Starts: $390
Tied with a blue ribbon and found stuffed within a misplaced shoebox is a stack of old letters. The vellum has aged to be of vintage stock, yellowed finely at the edges with the dimmest outline of botanical subjects at the corners and every inch of the centre filled with the exaggerated, looping handwriting matched to the records of the late Mr Carruthers. This item is truly unique, for it is the final words ever exchanged between the deceased to a loved one whose name no longer exists. Public and private records have been stricken from the pages of history, and the very mention of the other’s name on the letter itself erased through ink blot and deliberate stains.
However it also theorised that perhaps, just maybe, it is not words that the late Mr Carruthers had ever intended to write.
The vellum upon which the letters are comprised of is of strange quality. There is still a warmth radiating as the pages are turned, stretched and spread thin as it is. The words itself on the letters are a further mystery – in one instance, it is names repeated in an endless litany; in another, it is the scrambled fervour of thoughts and impressions that satiate every scrap.
Item – A gilded mirror
Material: Gold, steel, glass
Bidding Starts: $6700
Extracted from the bathroom of one of Mr Carruthers many estates, the gilded mirror is a near perfect reflection of the world around it. Its frames are ornately and elaborately hand carved, although certain edges have been rendered spotty and dust-ridden by the passage of time. There is a sculpted animal peering from the very top, the rough shape of a griffin head, snarling and wrought with a grey tempered iridescent steel. At the very centre, is a polished underbelly of glass.
It is flawless in every way.
It is perfect.
(It is a lie)
Item – The final words of [REDACTED]
Bidding Starts: $ ??
From a tape recorder comes a lovely British male voice. The tenor is soothing, just the right touch of sombreness and crisp pronunciation, as it narrates a lively scenario of an ordinary weekend. The voice is still balanced as his words turn increasingly darker, calm as his strange tale takes a bloodier turn, still inexplicably even as he speaks of the unfortunate experience of attracting such attention from such beings beyond the existence of reality, of that dark squamous consciousness that lurks in the coldest reach of space.
HELP, the audio garbles, repeats.
STOP STOP STOP–
But what a lovely voice, is it not?
Item – A Name
Bidding Starts: $??
The last item up for bidding is a name. One Si-mon Car-ru-ther-s. It’s a lovely name. It is a he-who-has-heard-eternity. The vowels roll off the tongue at just the right pitch, and it’s easy to remember. A name is not a name when it is not used, and the former Mr Carruthers seems to have lost his stake to the claim. Nobody cares what a pile of bones was called six feet under and buried and lost to the creatures that writhe and riddle the earth.
But it is a name, is it not?
For a certain price, it could even become your name.
This is the final sale(s) of (1) Simon Carruthers. Let the bidding begin.
Written by: Trishta