Chapter 9

Written by: SameerNagarajan

Karen looked at the painting.Pretty, she thought.
“Yes,” he said, his eyes still shining as he went to fix a drink, “Huka Falls, isn’t it?”

Karen remained thoughtful, thinking of the old woman and her comment, “There’s a painting, Waterfall.”

What if the old woman wasn’t referring to a painting, but instead to the waterfall itself? Was there a clue to the mystery there?

If she was referring to an actual waterfall, Huka was closest to their city; logical that an elderly lady would be more familiar with a nearby place. And a chance the painting, the object of the hunt, would be there.

But where? she wondered, - waterfalls are inherently risky places to keep paintings. The moisture levels in the air would be high and even a well-packaged painting would not survive beyond long. Whoever had kept it there was obviously very confident that it would be found!

That does change the perspective, she thought, far from hiding it, the mysterious Mr X wanted it to be found. Absently, she took the glass Tim handed to her as he settled down besides her. Briefly, she recounted her theory to him.

“Then it would have to be the original,” he said, contemplatively, “no other reason for someone to go the trouble of hiding it. But why near a waterfall, beats me, other than the coincidence of hiding a painting called Waterfalls near a real waterfall.”

“What if the person who hid it, lived near the waterfall, and that was the only possible chance he had?” said Karen, straightening up suddenly.

What was the name of the young man again, the one run over by the car? She jogged her memory.

Stanley Banks.

And his address was? Ah yes, she looked briefly at the details on the police website she had pulled up. Yes, he lived near the Huka. Yes, his mother worked as a ticket agent at the Falls. He’d been there all his life.

And what could he have to do with the painting?

To get that, she knew she would have to figure out the connection between him and the old lady. The old lady had seen his death, true. But what if she was not merely a witness, but someone with a more intimate knowledge of the circumstances?

She explored the website a bit more. The old lady had a record of being called in for questioning several times in the last 40 years. She was often the witness to a crime and could be relied on to provide honest testimony.

Too honest, maybe? thought Karen fidgeting with her glass, even as she said aloud, “surely a person cannot witness so many crimes in a lifetime, and still be disconnected from them?”

Tim raised an eyebrow, knowing no response was required of him.

She suddenly got up with a burst of energy, reached for her overcoat and said, “Tim, let’s drive to the Falls. They’ll still be open and there’s something we need to do.”

 

Comments

It's all coming together and you have made that happen with your careful pulling together of the threads. It was complicated by the last line of the starter but you've pulled it off. Thanks. Your use of dialogue is excellent...short, sharp. When Tim starts wondering why the painting is hidden at the Huka Falls the narrative comes perilously close to adding narrative. Sometimes dialogue is used to give background can flatten the impact. But fantastic job Sameer. I had to re-write my chapter three times because I had missed some detail you had in yours. That's really good. A lot of meat in 500 words!
Thanks Suraya! Yes that's a useful pointer on Tim wondering why the painting is hidden there. Something for me to watch out for in future as well. I note about the 3 redrafts of your chapter, hope it wasn't too much of a bother!