Before This Place Filled With Zombies

A bright, multi-colored painting hung on the wall behind a tall, slim ladder. Various colorsblue, green, purple, and peach—filled the painting. My eyes latched upon its beauty.

I noticed the ladder’s wooden legs were crackled and split. As I looked, a chill crept up my arms.

“Psst, Stewart,” whispered the ladder. “Look at that funny-looking girl looking at us. What could she possibly be thinking?”

“Oh no, she is leaving,” said the ladder.

As I left the room, I heard another whisper: “Goodbye.”

“Stewart! What are you doing? Flirting with that girl? You always get carried away when people admire me!”

“Are you jealous?” asked the painting.

I looked back, staring at the painting. From a distance, the ladder blended into the painting behind it. The loops and the circles that surrounded the ladder were so beautiful.

“Peter, I will never be jealous of you,” said the painting. “I’m the star of this work and you know it. I have no idea why Jackson created me as a background for you. You just make the audience more confused than they probably already are, like that girl was.”

“You would never have been made without me. How could I ever be jealous of you?” asked the ladder. “Without my height and build, you would’ve never been completed. Without me, you would never exist. I can be used as many things, but you only get to hand on that stupid wall!”

I came back to the painting with my best friend Shelby and told her everything I thought I’d heard.

“Oh wow, Lovely. This creation is beautiful. Look how well the ladder blends in with this amazing painting. It’s as if the ladder is telling the story of how this painting was created,” said Shelby.

“Yes, Shelby. This painting sure is unique.”

Then I spoke to the artwork. “Any other artwork would have nothing on y’all. Don’t ever let a stupid argument get between you two. You both are special and beautiful in your own way.”

As we walked out, Shelby and I decided to add a little red bow on the very top of the ladder. I could only hope this ladder and the painting would get the same attention.

I forgot there was a DO NOT TOUCH sign. There were cameras everywhere in the museum. Security guards chased us. As we ran, the guards yelled, “You two young ladies will pay for what you’ve done!”

What had we done? We had just added a little spark to the ladderno harm done.

Four days later, the painting was a hit.

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Before This Place Filled With Zombies

A collection of fantastical short stories inspired by artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum written by ninth-grade student authors from Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers.

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