[Flash Fiction] The Mural

The rickety ladder of the fire escape swayed as he climbed. Paint from the rungs peeled off and stuck to his palms. The metal cans clanged in his backpack, but he kept up his steady climb.

Reaching the rooftop, he hoisted himself up and swung his legs over, rolling onto his side with the ease of someone who had done this many times. He allowed himself a moment to admire the sight: luxury condominiums touching the sky, the 7 train chugging along, and a bird’s eye view of the living collage of graffiti artwork that covered the walls of the building he was standing on.

Digging out his own aerosol cans from his backpack, he turned to face the half-finished mural of a little girl’s face he was painting on the roof. Kneeling on his knees, he started spraying her strawberry-blond hair, alternating between brown and orange cans.

“I promised you a portrait, little sis,” he whispered, glancing up at the sky. “I hope I make you proud.”

© Jade M. Wong

Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring WritersInspired by 5 Pointz, the name given to a building in Queens, New York whose walls contained graffitied murals drawn by artists all over the world.

The name “5 Pointz” signifies the five boroughs of New York coming as one, but because it became an epicenter of the graffiti scene, aerosol artists from Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and other countries around the world traveled here to add their artwork onto the walls. 

In 2014, despite protests from the artists, 5 Pointz was demolished by the owner of the building, with plans to be replaced by a luxury condominium. 

As a New Yorker, I was really proud of 5 Pointz and felt it added to the culture of the city. To think such a unique piece of artwork and history will now be replaced by yet another luxury condo saddens me. On top of that, the artists didn’t even get a chance to photograph or document their art work so it could be replicated elsewhere. Years of talent, art, and memories just disappeared overnight. 

38 thoughts on “[Flash Fiction] The Mural

  1. Sweet story, and the note afterward really put things in an even sadder perspective. How tragic that they weren’t even able to document the graffiti art before the building was torn down; heartless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely story. I really enjoyed it. I like what you wrote about New York afterward. Some talented artists go unnoticed and unappreciated. The photo prompt actually comes from my area in Austin. I’ve photographed that same spot myself. It is beautiful, and I hope they keep it there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Augh, my heart! It’s truly something special to immortalise someone in art – although it’s sad that inevitably, the mural will either be scrubbed away or the building taken down. The optimist in me is smacking the cynic and telling it to go away, so I’ll just stay in this moment: where an artist remembers someone he truly loves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww that’s such a beautiful sentiment! I agree, to immortalize someone in art, or song, or story, it truly is something and it’s such a strong testament to one’s love.

      I also love your idea of staying in the moment when an artist remembers someone he truly loves. Ahh, if only we could all just stay in that moment.


  4. Awww such a heart touching story! How sweet he is making a mural portrait of his little sister who has passed away. That is so sad that the owner demolished the artwork on the building just to build new condos. Great story Jade!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Knowing the backstory makes this a terribly sad story. The idea that the artist is creating a memoriam to his sister and the knowledge that building has been demolish to make way for a bland apartment block reinforces the thought: what a philistine society we inhabit!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. thank you for writing this and the background of the story as well as moving forward what has happened, such a poignant moment in your story Jade, to create something beautiful as a forever reminder of a love felt so deeply. but in real life art is destroyed for “something better” or is it really? Greed, politics and first world problems seem to overshadow the beauty of life.

    Liked by 3 people

    • As always, you manage to put into words exactly what I’m trying to say between the lines. So many times and in so many places around the world, art is destroyed and replaced with “something better”, but what I wish people would understand is that art is irreplaceable. One can imitate Van Gogh or Shakespeare or Mozart as much as they want, but they will never be able to capture the essence of their art.

      Liked by 1 person

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