The Frown

[ Read this in Dutch ]

Mona-lizaflash fantasy story

La Joconde’s smile was not so much enigmatic as smug, betraying her glee in the secret buried between Leonardo’s death and her countenance frozen in paint. But what if that secret ever came out?  Read the entire story on the Daily Science Fiction website.

Publication history

The Frown


A good crowd today. Not the suffocating masses of a holiday, nor the unnerving quiet of a Tuesday morning in February. An art student is earnestly sketching. A group of Japanese tourists take turns posing with me, fingers forked in an incomprehensible gesture that sometimes even hides me from the lens. An elderly couple stands quietly, arms entwined, contemplating me with identical mournful gazes. Behind them, the south hallway of the Denon wing stretches. As always, I am pleased to note that no one walks by without making the turn into my room. Perhaps as many as three dozen pairs of eyes stare at me, mesmerized.

And none of them know who I am.

I shouldn’t look so smug.

But I can’t help myself.