Trigger warning: sexual assault. 


There was a hand; soft-skinned and slender, delicately holding the paintbrush to the canvas. Sitting on the easel, it was covered in red paint, swirling with slashes and blobs, smears and dots. Buried in this red, the canvas seemed to submerge you in a crimson sea. Half the paintbrush was slick and wet with the colour. The hand was coated with a smooth layer of red. Shining and sticky, the hand pulled away. The eyes of the artist glanced down at herself, noticing her body splattered in colours. The scarlet paint coated her chest in a splash and blue mixed with red on her thighs. What then became purple was artfully designed across her abdomen.  

Looking back up to her canvas, she blinked at it, trying to put it into focus. Cold sweat trickled down the side of her face. With the back of her hand, she wiped the sweat away, surprised to find her fingers slightly trembling. She refocused her gaze upon her hand holding the brush, hovering above the painting.  

She had hoped for something tasteful, something dignified. She supposed sometimes the art never looked the same on the canvas, construing the artist’s intent to something entirely different. Maybe it was her own fault, hence the change in paintbrush. But that still had her hand levitating above the bright colour smeared across the canvas. The more she stared at it, the more lifeless the painting seemed to look. 

As she gazed at the canvas, she began to see it almost taking shape. She pulled her hand away in an attempt for a better view. A lump formed in her throat. Her mouth turned dry as she tasted copper. Heart beginning to race, she recognised the canvas as a dead man’s body sprawled across her kitchen floor. Her eyes widened as she realised it wasn’t paint. 

The warm liquid pooled from his stomach and spread like a disease across his burly body. Seeping through his clothes, blood leaked down onto the floorboards. The paintbrush was a kitchen knife in her quivering hand, dripping matted blood onto the floor beside the man’s lifeless head.  

Her heart thumping against her ribcage, she felt it then. The pain in her lower region, the bruises marked on her thighs and inside of her. Agony pulsed and kicked within her and there were bruises and abrasions across her skin. Her lungs tightening, her heart rebounded against the walls of her skull. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Her eyes heavy, she tried to blink. 

But the man remained dead on her kitchen floor. 

Sami Peters

Sami Peters

Hi, I’m Sami Peters and I am the Environment and Global Change Reporter for Opus. I study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and Writing. I love reading, writing, dancing, and the beach. I have a lot of passions but to combine two of my favourites: the environment and writing… that’s the dream.