“Take a step back and have a good look,” Sandy suggested.
“What am I looking for?”
“This painting is from 1890, by a landscape artist named Schaeffer. Do you recognize the building?”
“I should. That’s my house.”
“Your home wasn’t built in the nineteenth century, Bob. It might look like your house, but it can’t be.”
By taking a much longer look at the old painting, Bob could identify the differences. The building in the old oil painting was much older and more dilapidated, with loose siding and missing shingles. The belfry canted at a shallow angle, not vertical—possibly due to a bad foundation, settling slightly at one corner.
“It’s uncanny. This could be my house, except how did this painter capture clear back it in the Mauve Decade?” The little hairs on Bob’s arms were racing, playing goose bump tag.
“And why is the Mauve House, or Bob’s House or whatever, clearly falling apart a hundred years or so before it’s even built?”
“Maybe my house is a time traveler. Maybe I’ve moved into a TARDIS?”
“So your house traveled back in time, say, 200 years and then aged and weathered, and then this Schaeffer guy painted it in 1890?”
Bob just rolled his eyes. “Clearly, we’re dealing with two different buildings. It’s just some kind of wild coincidence that they’re so similar. This whole thing is just skeeving me out.”
Sandy just eyed the painting thoughtfully. Something about that year was tugging at her subconscious, 1890…
“Bob. Is this painting for sale?”
“Yeah it is. This Shaeffer guy wasn’t famous or anything, it’s not expensive.”
“You’ve got to buy it Bob. Buy it for insurance.”
“Think 1890’s. Oscar Wilde. ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray.’ This painting might be keeping your house from ever aging.”
298 words. Inspired by this week’s Cracked Flash (1-13) prompt: