It had been a bad winter, and water had seeped in under the garage door. Jack had forgotten his old portfolio case was in there, presuming it had been stashed up in the dry safety of the loft years before.
It was a shock when he found it. The case had always been battered, but now it was rotten. The top half was still dusty black leather, but the bottom had matured into green crocodile skin.
Nervously he tugged open the zip and freed it’s contents onto the garage workbench. His school days paintings, the promising collection of a 15 to 19 year old. From rough holiday sketches of rolling Southern French hills, through chalk rubbings of damage from the great storm, to nightmarish oil dreamscapes and still lives, they were all here. It was the first time in years the corrugated paper had seen the light, and Jack was amazed everything looked half as good as it did. He had really worked at his art back then, and it showed.
Unfortunately, half good was right. The bottom of each sheet was pure mould, the stagnant water having covered his art with it’s own. Nature’s vandalism. Jack sighed. If only he’d taken more care. Then he noticed what the elements hadn’t destroyed.
His wooden artist’s box had kept his brushes, paints and crayons miraculously safe, leaving him the tools to replace what was lost. Dumping the portfolio remains in the bin he took the brushes inside, guided by his rediscovered muse.