The awe-like silence upon unveiling a new masterpiece was something every architect dreamt of, to have their 'masterwork' acknowledged. Today, it was Edwin's turn to enjoy that silence.
Six month earlier, he had taken on a contract from a prominent business man who owned his own island. The man, Dr. Hope, wanted something 'fitting' to go onto the island, something which did not detract from the serenity, but still showed off his wealth. He had asked for a 'masterpiece'
After spending a month on the island, he had decided on the perfect spot for the mansion, and its style, with that information, he had gone back to his base and worked on the plans, until finally, six month later, he had all the plans ready and the model of the mansion which was currently admired by both the business man and his wife, as well as several of his employees.
The mansion itself was a smaller version of Neuschwanstein Castle, with just enough modern architecture added to make it fit perfectly into the island, giving a medieval/fantasy feel to the island without taking away any of the modern luxuries.
"It would appear that my wife loves your work, Mr. Gallagher"
Dr. Hope said, smiling at his wife who was still looking at the model of the mansion before focusing on Edwin.
"And you have the plans?"
He nodded, and picked up a few cardboard rolls, all holding plans, which he tried to juggle in his arms.
"They're all here, and completed, in 10 parts, just as you asked"
He had no idea why Dr. Hope had requested the mansion divided into 10 parts, but it was not his problem, clients often had opinions which did not match his, or ideas which were just not viable, this one though, had not bothered him, and judging from his reaction now, he was happy with the result without getting Edwin to re-design sections of it, something which was rare.
"Good... good.. well, come and we'll have a drink and discuss your payment"
Edwin nodded and followed, the rolls in his arms coming dangerously close to falling in the process. Once in the other room, he put the rolls onto the desk in the room.
"Now, I'm going to trust that the plans are indeed complete, Mr. Gallagher… Especially as even if you showed me them, I would find it hard to understand them"
"They are all complete, just as you requested"
He replied, a bit surprised at his words, considering he had asked Edwin if the plans were complete in the other room, which Edwin had confirmed.
Dr. Hope went to the liquor cabinet and pulled out two glasses, pouring brandy into them, and handing Edwin one.
"Now, if you look over here.."
He pointed to a laptop on the table, while Edwin accepted one of the glasses.
"You'll find our transfer into your account, just as discussed, all you'll need to do is double check the details and hit enter"
Edwin walked over to the laptop and double checked the amount about to be transferred into his account Upon finding the details to be correct, he hit the enter key, making the transfer final.
v "A toast then, to the completion of your masterpiece"
He proposed. Edwin raised his glass in return, then took a sip from it.
"Now Mr. Gallagher, you know that I'm an old fashioned man, I prefer the ways of the past"
Edwin nodded, he did indeed know that, he had repeatedly told Edwin that when they had first spoke of the design for the mansion, and Edwin had taken that into account when he designed the mansion.
Dr. Hope then made a hand signal, upon which two guards entered the room, crossing it and then grabbing Edwin, one arm each, restraining him against the wall.
"What the??.. what's going on?"
Edwin demanded to know, surprised and confused, struggling against the guards to no avail, only proving that he was not used to this type of situation.
"However, we live in the now, which means that I will not kill you in order to assure no-one else will own a masterpiece designed by you"
He continued on, ignoring Edwin's questions or struggle, instead, he opened a drawer in the desk and pulled out a vial, then approached Edwin.
"If that's the case, why am I being held?"
Edwin asked, trying to sound calm and failing miserably. So far, all he knew is that this mad man was not going to kill him, but that did not explain the treatment he was receiving, nor did that knowledge alleviate Edwin's fears. On top of that, the vial Dr. Hope now had in his hand looked far from friendly in Edwin’s eyes.
"Because I have no intention of letting someone else own one of your creations"
He replied, opening the vial and emptying the content into a glass, then adding some water from a bottle to it, turning the liquid inside the glass a cloudy white. He then walked over to Edwin, who by this stage, was struggling in a mad panic to get away from whatever was in the glass.
"Now now, Mr. Gallagher, there is no need to panic"
The man assured him calmly, then threw the content of the glass into Edwin's face. Edwin shut his eyes instinctively just as the liquid hit his face, expecting it to cause some type of pain to him. Much to his surprise, it seemed to not have any affect him, and he started to wonder if this wasn’t just a prank, something the Doctor had thought to be funny.
Dr. Hope continued speaking, as though this was nothing out of the ordinaire, lulling Edwin into a false sense of security.
"Like I said earlier, we live in the now, not the past. Now go and open your eyes, all this will do is alter your sight."
He assured Edwin, who, upon hearing that this liquid would alter his sight, decided against opening his eyes.
I would not have taken the contract if I knew what its end entailed he thought bitterly, realizing that this was not a prank and that Dr. Hope had given him enough hints to figure out that finishing the contract would have disastrous effects on him. Instead, he had been attracted to the money involved and the challenge.
He did not see or hear Dr. Hope approach him, nor the Doctor’s hand reaching out to touch his face, but when the hand touched his face, he jumped, instinctively moving his head backwards, only to find a wall behind him, then attempted to kick whoever was standing in front of him, only to find that the two guards were doing a great job restraining him, making it impossible for him to hurt whoever it was.
"Wakey wakey Mr. Gallagher"
Dr. Hope's voice spoke, a little too close to Edwin for his liking, making him aware that it was the Doctor's hand on his face. Without thinking, he threw his entire weight forwards, hoping to escape the grip the guards had on him. Their grip slipped a bit, but they soon had him restrained again.
"This was not part of the contract!"
He spat, unhappy about the turn of events.
"On the contrary, the contract asked for a 'one of a kind' masterwork. If I allowed you to continue with your work, you could create another one just like it, or better"
His hands were once again on Edwin's face, this time, moving towards Edwin's eyes, which were still closed tightly. Whatever that liquid was, Edwin had no desire to find out it's effects any time soon, moving his head violently from side to side to escape the hands.
Eventually, the hands managed to hold his head still long enough to open his eyelids, making Edwin realize that the time to avoid his fate had just run out.
"Are you in there, Mr. Gallagher?"
Dr. Hope asked, not unlike a child would ask its parent while the parent was trying to sleep. The moment Edwin's eyelid was open, the liquid hit his eye producing a chemical reaction which would bleach the colour of his iris and leave him blind, at the same time as causing an immense burning pain. Edwin screamed at its intensity, unaware that Dr. Hope took advantage of the distraction, until more pain ensued as his other eye was forced open.
Once the Doctor was sure that the chemical reaction was occurring within Edwin, he signaled the guards to let him go, there really was no purpose in restraining the young architect anymore, who was not even aware of his new-found freedom, but instinctively moved his hands to his eyes.
"Make it stop!" He demanded, never moving his hands away from his eyes, leaning against the wall for support, the burning sensation as strong as it had been when the liquid had first hit his eyes.
"You can't stop the process" The Doctor's voice spoke calmly. "It is currently bleaching your eyes... " He looked at his watch "... in about 5 minutes it will have finished, leaving you completly blind"
When he heard Dr. Hope reveal this, it destroyed the futile hope he had been clinging to that when the Doctor had mentioned that the liquid would alter his eyesight, he had not meant loosing his ability to see.
Unable to think clearly now, both from the pain and the revelation that he would no longer be able to see, he slid down the wall, his face still in his hands, tears freely streaming down his face. The life he knew lost forever in the abyss of pain and darkness.