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Rated: E · Preface · Children's · #1715835
Sometimes the most everyday things need a second look!
Amos had been retired for sometime now, having been a child during the war he’d had many adventures and even in his advancing years still had an open mind to the wonder of the world, its little mysteries all too plain for anybody to see if they only knew how and where to look.  He’d been shown this semi-hidden world when he was a little boy, he’d been evacuated to Wales, a little place called Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire where he and two other girls stayed for a few years.

He loved it there, staying in a little house overlooking the harbour, the people he was staying with, Mr and Mrs Clark, were lovely. They gave the children lots of space and freedom which as a result, meant that they were able to let their imaginations run wild.

He remembers vividly one cold February evening when Mrs Clark took all three of them to one side and told them about the paintings that they had in the house.

“They are very special” she said as she looked from face to face.

“And do you know why they are special?”

“No auntie Clark”. Said one of the girls.

“Well, I’ll tell you a little secret, but you must promise not to tell anybody else, can you do that?”

“Yes auntie Clark” they answered in unison.

“Look at the little painting over the fire.”

“The one with the cows?” asked Amos.

“Yes, that’s the one, there is something very special about it, actually, there is something special about all the paintings in this house. You see, when I was little there were lots of cows in the field, now the cows are on their way to the milking shed. The picture has changed, all the pictures change over time.”

“Like the ones on my wall at home?” asked Lucy one of two girls, she was sat on the floor cross legged.

“Not quite, the ones you have at home are printed copies. The ones here are real paintings by the actual artist. Oswald Bentley, he used to live not far from here. My grandfather used to be one of his friends, they would go swimming in the sea together.”

“Does he still live near here?” asked Amos.

“He left many years ago, nobody knows where he is, if he’s still about he will be very old, over one hundred and twenty I think, it might be that that he passed away.”

As Auntie Clark talked about what she knew of Oswald Bentley, Amos stared at the picture with the cows, hoping for something to happen. The paintings never changed whilst here was there. The children eventually left to go back to their parents once the war was over.

They grew up and after a while forgot most of what had happened to them whilst they were in Saundersfoot. Like any adult, they only remembered fragments of their time childhood.

Amos was in his twenties when he received a phone call from a solicitor. The Clarks had passed away, Mr Clark four years ago and Mrs Clark a month or so, they had been kind enough to remember the children and had left them the paintings in the house. Amos had been left all the Bentley paintings – and fifty eight years later, he still had them. He had one painting that he was particularly fond of, the one with the cows, although it looked quite different now to how he remembered it.

There was an industrial chimney in the distance and the cows were all but gone, he’d certainly not notice the chimney when he was younger. Then one morning he just happened to glance at the painting whilst having his breakfast and notice something odd. There was now another industrial chimney, the painting now had two! Something was happening to the paintings, he needed to tell somebody, but who?

Then he remembered…of course.

His granddaughter was over to stay, she was eight and into all of the usual girlie things, what better person to pass on this secret to, after all, he’d been told as a child.

So, on a warm summers evening Amos was sat down in his favourite chair with his granddaughter Clarabella sat by his feet with one arm across his legs.

“Can you keep a secret my dear?” he asked. Clarabella simply nodded.

“This will have to be a special secret, not even your other secrets are allowed to know”. She thought about that for a while then seemed to understand.

“That’s really secret isn’t it granddad?” she said quietly, so as not to let anybody else hear.

“It is”, Amos paused for a while, then continued.

“If I said to you that cats had ten lives you’d say – no granddad, they have nine lives, and you’d be right. If I said to you that cows give blue milk you think your granddad was turning into a bit of an old duffer, and you’d be right again. But if I said to you that paintings were real, that they moved and things happened in them, then you’d think that granddad really had gone round the twist. But, here’s the secret – it’s true, paintings really do change and move.”

“Do they really granddad?” Clarabella asked.

Yes, they really do, you see that picture over the fireplace, the one with the cows in?”

“Yes granddad”.

Well when I got it there was only one chimney in the picture, now there are two.”

As Amos looked at the picture something made him sit up.

“What is it granddad?” asked Clarabella.

Amos stood up and walked over to the painting. The two chimneys were now issuing thick black smoke, the cows were now gone and there was a For Sale sign at the farm entrance. The changes were getting more frequent.

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