Chapter 1

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

The art dealer shook his head, his short grey dreadlocks swishing about like a child’s curls.


“This or nothing. Take it or leave it.” He looked around, a bit bored, tired. His backstreet gallery was empty apart from the one buyer. “This painting has to go, I tell you, and if you dawdle longer it will go by the end of the night and you will never see it again. Pieces like this don’t resurface.” He didn’t even know the artist, but he wanted to be done, and a few crafty words could go a long way.


“Who else is interested?” His black-haired conversant, a stranger, seemed uneasy.


“That I cannot say. I keep things confidential.”


“It was the young lass I saw running out the door in a mad rush a bit ago.” It was a statement.


“Might have been,” the art dealer drew on his pipe, held in the smoke and exhaled. For a few moments, the grey cloud covered his conversant’s face. For a few moments, he couldn’t even remember what he looked like. Some people just weren’t memorable. “But if you took him for a lass, you’re going to have a damn difficult time finding him. If that is your intention.” A cued smirk. It was so easy to rile people up.


The young boy had been rather ecstatic to find the painting. He said he had overheard something about it from someone somewhere some time ago. It all seemed very vague, purposefully so. It’s not my business who any of these people are, but they sure make for some weird individuals. He breathed out another cloud of smoke and his conversant erupted in a tirade of coughs.


“I’ll take it.” 


Decision-making. Good, good, good.


“That’s better.”


“But pack it up fast; I have somewhere I need to be.” The strange buyer seemed more on edge than ever. More and more curious by the minute. 


“I have someone I need to show it to immediately.”


A useful piece of information, or was it? It’s not an art dealer’s job to care about who the painting was for or how it was going to be used, not in this kind of place anyway. Jackson made his living selling random bits and bobs of art he had found over the years. He was planning to retire soon and live on one of those Amsterdam canal boats. And then he wouldn’t have to deal with anyone ever again. No more people. Soon couldn’t come fast enough. 


Yet it was a curious thing. The human brain. Human words. Why had this man given him this information? Why had he been so perturbed by the idea of Waterfall going to another buyer?


A semi-answer came before he could enquire.


“Which number is this one anyway?”


“What do you mean?”


“It’s a series. Waterfalls – the painting series. Five. Two lost forever. One found, two more to go,” the stranger offered cautiously. “Which one is this?” His eyes bored into the canvas, searching.


I loved this chapter. What a great angle to take and those people were so real. I could hear every inflection in their voices. Terrific
I found this chapter very interesting though the style was difficult reading for me, possibly my colloquial english roots. I liked the twist of the painting being one of a series. Very enjoyable chapter.

What can I say, Anna, that I have not said before. I think you are developing a personal style and can't wait to read your first book. Loved this.