Setting: America, 21st century
Plot synopsis: Dorian Hillary Clinton – a corrupt, ambitious woman
seeks the highest political office. When she was a young woman she posed for a portrait painted by Mr. Botox. The portrait is magic and keeps its subject appearing young and innocent while all her wicked acts and age are recorded in the portrait. Despising the truth, Hillary conceals the portrait from all as it is the only record of her true depravity.
Was it really true that one could never change? She felt a wild longing for the unstained purity of her girlhood– her rose-white girlhood, as Lord Kennedy had once called it before he expired.
She knew that she had tarnished herself, filled her mind with corruption and given horror to her fancy; that she had been an evil influence upon others, and had experienced a terrible joy in doing harm; and that of the lives that had crossed her own, it had been the fairest and the most full of promise that she had destroyed. But was it all irretrievable? Was there no hope for her?
Ah! In what a monstrous moment of pride and passion she had prayed that the portrait should bear the burden of her corruption, and her keep the unsullied image of eternal integrity! All her failure had clearly been due to escaping, narrowly, her countless crimes.
Better for her that each sin of her life had brought its sure swift penalty along with it. There was purification in punishment.
Not “Forgive us our sins” but “Smite us for our iniquities” should be the prayer of man to a most just God.
The curiously carved mirror that Lord Kennedy had given to her, so many years ago now, was standing on the table, and the white-limbed Cupids laughed round it as of old. She took it up, as she had done on that night of horror when she had first noted the change in the fatal picture, and with wild, tear-dimmed eyes looked into its polished shield.
Once, some one who had terribly loved her had written to her a mad letter, ending with these idolatrous words:
“The world is changed because you are a woman. Your perfectly painted lips rewrite history and break glass ceilings.”
The phrases came back to her memory, and she repeated them over and over to herself. Then she loathed her own gender, and flinging the mirror on the floor, crushed it into silver splinters beneath her pantsuit & heel.
It was her gender that had ruined and mocked her, her gender and the pantsuits that she had designed. But for those two things, her life might have been free from stain. Her gender had been to her but a tool, her accomplishments but a mockery of successive coattails. What was female gender at best? A genetic combination of chromosomes, a pool of shallow moods, and sickly thoughts. Why had she worn its livery? Youth had spoiled her.
It was better not to think of the past. Nothing could alter that. It was of herself, and of her own future, that she had to think. The truth was hidden in the 33000 deleted emails and a portrait in the attic of her estate.
The excitement, such as it was, over DNC email leaks would soon pass away. It was already waning. She was perfectly safe now. Nor, indeed, was it the deleting away of 33,000 emails that weighed most upon her mind. It was the living death of her own soul that troubled her.
Botox had painted the portrait that had marred her life. She could not forgive him that. It was the portrait that had done everything. Botox had said things to her that were unbearable, and that she had yet borne with patience. Her visit to Botox had been simply the madness of a moment. Surely defaming Trump
would be enough to cover her sins.
A new life and a new past! That was what she wanted. That was what she was waiting for. Surely she had begun it already. She would never again wage war on terror. She would bring over more refugees. She would remake America in the image of the 3rd world.
As she thought of bring over more Syrian refugees, she began to wonder if the portrait in the locked room had changed. Surely it was not still so horrible as it had been? Perhaps if her life became pure, she would be able to expel every sign of evil passion from the face. Perhaps the signs of evil had already gone away. She would go and look.
She took the lamp from the table and crept upstairs. As she unbarred the door, a smile of joy flitted across her strangely austere-looking face and lingered for a moment about her tiny lips. Yes, she would be good, and the hideous thing that she had hidden away would no longer be a terror to her. She felt as if the load had been lifted from her already.
She went in quietly, locking the door behind her, as was her custom, and dragged the purple hanging from the portrait. A cry of pain and indignation broke from her. She could see no change, save that in the eyes there was a look of even more cunning and in the mouth, the curved wrinkle of the hypocrite.
The thing was still loathsome–more loathsome, if possible, than before–and the sneer that flexed the nostril seemed stronger, and more like contempt of all mankind. Then she trembled. Had it been merely delusion that had made her think these destructive policies were some good deed? Or the desire to atone her past actions, as the late Lord Kennedy had hinted, with his mocking laugh?
Or that passion, that sometimes makes us think finer of ourselves than we are truly? Or, perhaps, all these? And why were the bills of past foreign bribes clearer than they had been? They seemed to have inflated in number like a horrible disease sandwiched between the wrinkled fingers. Confess? Did it mean that she was supposed to confess?
To confess her corruption and lose the election? She laughed. She felt that the idea was monstrous. Besides, even if she did confess, why should she? There was no DOJ under Obama that would ever indict her. Everything regarding her decades of corruption had been covered up. She herself had deleted the most incriminating emails.
The Saudis would personally shut her up if she ever went public. Yet it was her duty to confess, to suffer public shame, and to make public atonement. There was a God who called upon people to tell their sins to earth as well as to heaven. Nothing that she could do would cleanse her till she had told her own sins. Her sins? She shrugged her shoulders. Botox and his painting seemed abominable to her!
When she had been away from home, she had always been filled with terror lest other eyes should look upon her portrait. It had brought melancholy across her passions. Its mere memory had marred many moments of joy. It had been like a nagging conscience to her. Yes, it had been conscience. She must destroy it.
She looked round and saw the brush that had been used by Mr. Botox. She had washed it many times, till there was no paint left upon it. It was soft, and supple with a carved ivory handle. As it had been used by the painter, so it could destroy the painter’s work, and all that meant.
It would kill the past, and when that was dead, she would be free. It would kill this monstrous soul-life, and without its hideous warnings, she would be at peace. She seized the brush turned its hard ivory handle around in her wrinkled hands, and with its pointed end she stabbed the picture with it.
There was a cry heard, and a crash. The cry was so horrible in its agony that the frightened servants woke and crept out of their rooms. Two gentlemen, who were passing in the square below, stopped and looked up at the great house.
They walked on till they met a policeman and brought him back. The man rang the bell several times, but there was no answer. Except for a light in one of the top windows, the house was all dark. After a time, he went away and stood in an adjoining portico and watched.
“Whose house is that, officer?”
asked the elder of the two gentlemen.
“Hillary Clinton’s, sir,”
answered the policeman. They looked at each other, as they walked away, and rolled their eyes.
Inside, in part of the house, the half-clad domestics were talking in low whispers to each other and watching event. Old Bill Clinton was weeping, yet smiling, and wringing his hands, all while looking as pale as death.
After about an hour, he got several secret service and one of the butlers and crept upstairs. They knocked, but there was no reply. They called out. Everything was still. Finally, after vainly trying to force the door, they got on the roof and dropped down on to the balcony. The windows yielded easily–their bolts were old.
When they entered, they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of mistress Hillary, as a young woman, in all the wonder of her youth. A large hole was in the canvas in the center of her face.
Lying on the floor was a politically dead woman, her nearly bald, grey head shaking uncontrollably with a paint brush in her hand. She was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they looked at her wig on the floor and saw she was wearing an orange pantsuit that they recognized who it was.