Mr. Charleston’s work was unmistakable. The village’s only major celebrity, he’d mixed his paints himself from pigments he found in the neighbourhood. Charcoal foraged from the woodburners’ remains. Ochre dug out from deep in forest reserves, his brushstroke as good as a signature to all who lived in that antiquated hamlet. 

 It was this the locals had in mind when the record-breaking work had been shown on the national news, sold at auction. The date on the painting just last year. They gathered spades and cut old fence posts for the pyre. Poured gasoline into the excavator.

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