Fear by Brian Martin-Onraët

My car broke down. In the middle of nowhere. No signal of course. Cel as good as dead.

I walked for miles. Or what felt like miles. I had been driving on a country road. Going from nowhere to nowhere. After the car broke down, I walked on the dirt road in the middle of the woods. The road ended. Nowhere! My shoulder bag was beginning to feel heavy. I’d taken everything I could think of. The keys to my place. (What for, I wasn’t going back.) My inhaler, I’m allergic to just about anything. Hay, pollen, cats, dogs, goldfish. Yes, goldfish. Gluten. What have you. Inhaler doesn’t weigh much. All the other useless crap I carry in my bag did.

Night came. In the middle of Nowhere Woods. I found this house. Creepy. Looked like Frankenstein’s castle. Seriously? Or Nowhere Castle? Or Bates’ Castle? There were some lights on. I called out. Anybody home? Well. Nobody home.

Nobody home indeed. At least that I could tell. Front door was open. The lights were on, like gas lamps on the walls? Frankenstein or the Adams family? I had my Mace in my bag. I needed a phone. Still no signal on the cel. A land line maybe? To the left of the door there was an antique telephone with a rotary dial like my grandmother used to have. No tone… Great.

I came into a huge dining hall. Like a Hollywood décor. Boar and deer heads on the walls. Swords and shields. Several armours sans knights inside. (I looked.) A chimney large enough to roast a cow. The thirty feet long table was set for one. I called out again. Nobody. Nowhere.

I sat down at the table. I was starving. What if the food or the wine were poisoned? I tasted the wine. Not bad. A Lalande de Pomerol of a good year. (I’m a wine “major”.)

There was enough food for a battalion. I must say I stuffed myself. Hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast… Still not a sound in the house. I explored the ground floor. Empty. Kitchen, empty. Sitting rooms. Living rooms. Standing rooms? Lounges and parlours, empty. A Library without any Colonel Mustard. The gas lamps cast an eerie light. I grabbed a chandelier on the table. Not for light. Maybe I could club Frankenstein with it. Started to climb the stairs.

At the end of the corridor upstairs, a door was open, the light on in a room. Perfect for a Dracula movie. The bed was made. Red satin sheets open. Tacky but inviting, I was knackered. Then I heard the footsteps.

Dozens of footsteps. Tiny footsteps? Elves? Little gnomes? More footsteps approaching. Like an army of footsteps. I started to sneeze. Then I heard them. Growling and meowing. Oh! No! Cats. Dozens of cats!


I‘ve decided, to move my sketching a step ahead, to inspire myself from the “great masters”. Some say you shouldn’t. That you should find your style on your own, what have you. I find it useful. Movement. Proportions. Expressions. In this case I inspired myself from a sketch by Jijé, aka Joseph Gillain (1914-1980), one the greatest Belgian author of comics. One might say he practically created the genre of “Franco-Belgian” comics. He also “trained” many other artists, including Franquin and Giraud/Moebius and many others. This particular portrait comes from a Jerry Spring story: “Golden creek. The secret of the abandoned mine”.

Jijé was a master of ink and black and white. In the late 40’s, early 50’s, most if not all printing was in B&W. Jijé’s original character in this sketch was Latina, Mexican. (You can compare with the featured image on the Home page.) My final version looks more “Anglo”. (I’m thinking blue or green eyes) I just can’t “copy” exactly. It’s all right. Every sketch, every exercise trains my hand. There are plenty of Masters in my library to work from.

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