Over the weekend, I bought an old painting from my local thrift store. I walked home feeling immensely cultured and proud of myself, filled with visions of some day being in my sixties and telling my then-BFF Taylor Swift about the first piece of art I ever collected. HOWEVER. As soon as I reached my flat and started messing around with places to hang the painting, I noticed an accursed detail: MOULD.

THERE IS MOULD ON MY NICE NEW PAINTING. (Either that or the artist has made a very questionable choice with some black paint.)

A photograph of a framed painting, depicting a still life of fruit and drinking vessels.

A perfectly innocent and mould-less painting, or SO I THOUGHT.

While this was a very upsetting development to begin with, I quickly realised that there was more to the situation than appeared. The mould was only growing on a pair of painted lemons, which lead me to the realisation that they were, in fact, Demon Lemons.

The Picture of Demon Lemons

Once upon a time, a pair of lemons made a deal with the Devil. The deal was this;  that they should remain forever young and beautiful, while an enchanted portrait (ahem) bore the marks of their aging, rotting, and decrepit natures.

A close up of a painted lemon, marked with spots of black mould.

Fig 1. A demon lemon.

Need I say more?

If this sounds at all like a certain famous novel written by Oscar Wilde, then that is pure coincidence. Regardless, why not give said novel a read, and a few other books on souls and mould and the like while you’re at it? I will be updating my TBR accordingly while I try to exorcise this painting.

Send thoughts and prayers.

The picture of Dorian Gray / Wilde, Oscar
“Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is the story of a man who makes a devilish pact never to grow old. Dorian Gray remains forever young, indulging in unspeakable pleasures while his portrait bears the mark of his corrupt existence.” (Catalogue)
Forest of souls / Lee, Lori M
“After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, Sirscha Ashwyn’s plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo. Then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life. Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Library of souls : the third novel of Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children / Riggs, Ransom
“Time is running out for the Peculiar Children. With a dangerous madman on the loose and their beloved Miss Peregrine still in danger, Jacob Portman and Emma Bloom are forced to stage the most daring of rescue missions. They’ll travel through a war-torn landscape, meet new allies, and face greater dangers than ever.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Princess of souls / Christo, Alexandra
“Sixteen-year-old witch Selestra Somniatis, bound to steal souls for an immortal king, discovers her fate is tied to Nox Laederic, a reckless doomed boy who is trying to bring down her kingdom.” (Catalogue)

Soul music : a Discworld novel / Pratchett, Terry
“Arriving in the city of Ankh-Morpork, Buddy finds a magical guitar which enables the group, a rock-playing troll, an ax-wielding dwarf and an Orangutan pianist to drive crowds wild. But the instrument causes conflict between the motley crew and Susan, Death’s granddaughter, who is just adjusting to her new post. Many of the ensuing comic situations involve Death trying to get drunk.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Daughters unto devils / Lukavics, Amy
“When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. […] When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The last witchdoctor / Barron, Rena
“Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse. Shame and disappointment dog her. When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hell followed with us / White, Andrew Joseph
“Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him–the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Soulfire / Harris, Chaz
“On the eve of George’s thirteenth birthday, a man with a forked beard and a crooked nose clambers out of the grandfather clock in the upstairs hallway. The man claims to be from Mythika, where the evil Lord Helwrath has been murdering Creators – those who use their imaginations to keep Helwrath’s power in check. When George enters Mythika, he joins forces with a talented group of young artists determined to stop Helwrath before it’s too late.” (Adapted from Catalogue)