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For a Job Well Done
By: PaBurke
Beta Prompt 2011-12: JoA, Packing
Warnings: Angst!
Word Count: 250

Helen Girardi packed her oil paints. She checked her brushes. Yes, they were dry enough to put away.

It was time to face the end.

She stared at her artwork, her masterpiece. Vibrant, full, bright, thick colors danced across the canvas. The brush hadn’t been able to transfer enough paint in places; she had had to use a palate knife. The first canvas she had picked –the biggest one in her studio- hadn’t been big enough. So Helen had set up other canvases on other easels around it. Those started black but the colors overflowed from the original piece onto them, brightening them. Some it only brightened with a tendril of yellow or orange, others were nearly as bright as the original. Those overflowed color onto the next canvas out and so on.

A kiss on the back of her head made her aware of her husband’s presence. He was silent as he searched for words. Helen had no words to offer –her entire communication skill set laid bare on the canvas.

“Joan?” he finally asked.


“That doesn’t look like mourning,” Will commented tiredly. It wasn’t an accusation.

“She celebrated her life. She loved her life,” Helen explained. “For me to do any less would tarnish her memory. It’d make it about me and not her.”

Will’s arms tightened around her. They watched the paint dry and solidify. Helen considered her options. She would need a huge wall to display the work.

This masterpiece would never be packed away.

Title: Story as Old as Time
By: PaBurke
Beta Prompt Universe: Dresden Files
Spoilers: Book 6
Beta Prompt 2011-13: Red
Word Count: 100

I watched my half-brother hand his former lover/meal source a bright red apple. Why? No clue. She could get much better from her employer. She looked up at him as if the apple was made of gold and had ‘For the Most Beautiful’ inscribed on it. I could have teased him for deliberately picking an apple that matched her painted lips. I could have envied because Thomas couldn’t even pass an apple without looking like the beautiful fallen angel, Lucifer, tempting Eve into the first sin.

I said nothing.

I could see the tiny burn of where their fingers brushed.