If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
– Richard Bach
After all the nonsense with the abstract photo on the wall, especially “seeing” Bast’s head appear there – or did it – Dana decides to speak to the artist who painted the picture. However, it may not happen as the artist is now dead – murdered in one of the short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012). She tries to get another interview with Detective Larry Hutchinson, the last person Bast interviewed before he disappeared on Halloween. Hutchinson is still playing hard to get, but Dana can get Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding to return. He’s the detective in charge of finding Bast. Dana decides to play on Fielding’s feelings for her to get some information.
Fielding has arrived at the library boardroom and is sitting opposite Dana, who is at the head of the table.
Dana: Thank you Fielding, I mean Don, for coming back.
Fielding nods: You’re welcome but I can’t go into police business.
Dana, smiles and puts her hand on Fielding’s arm: Don, Don, you don’t know what I’m going to ask. I want you to take a look at that painting on the far wall and tell me what you see.
Fielding: Painting? It’s an abstract, not very interesting from what I can tell from here. What of it?
Dana: Do you know who the artist is who painted that photo?
Dana: Okay, Don, humour me. Let’s go up to the painting and take a look at it.
Fielding shrugs again but gets up as Dana does the same. The two walk to the end of the room and stand in front of the painting.
Dana: Look at the artist’s signature.
Fielding: S.B. Stuart. So?
Dana: Do you know who S.B. Stuart is?
Don: The artist who painted the picture. What of it?
Dana: Don, Don. Don’t you realize that S.B. stands for Susan Barbara Stuart?
Fielding jerks forward: Susan Stuart. The woman murdered in “Missing in Action?”
Dana: One and the same. I googled her. She had the start of a promising career as an artist when she was killed.
Fielding: Hmm, interesting. But she wasn’t killed for her artistic endeavours.
Dana: True, but some strange things have been happening with that painting. At first I didn’t believe any of them, until I sat here with David on Boxing Day. At one point the lights went out and I swear I saw Bast’s face in that painting… and
Fielding: You were probably just imagining things what with the power outage.
Dana: I would have thought so, too, but it was David who noticed it first and pointed my hand to it. He’s also been drawing pictures of Bast a lot lately.
Fielding: He’s probably just missing his uncle. Tell me, when the lights went back on did you still see what you er, claim you saw in the dark?
Dana: No, and I don’t think David did. With him not speaking it’s kinda hard to tell although his body language said he didn’t. He kept staring at the painting and frowning – even went up to it and looked closely. When he started banging on the painting I went up to it to calm him down.
Dana: Interesting? Is that all you can say about it? I thought this might be of some help in your investigation.
Fielding: I’m investigating Bast’s disappearance, not Susan Stuart’s murder. Detective Hutchinson solved that one and the suspect is in jail awaiting trial. And certainly not any mumbo-jumbo about an abstract painting suddenly showing faces.
Dana: Don, Don, not just any face – my brother’s and David saw it too.
Dana: Okay, will you at least consider this and look into it?
Fielding: And call in a so-called psychic?
Dana: Come on Fielding. I know police forces sometimes call on psychics to help them find missing persons so I’m taking a leap here and presuming Cooks Regional does this too.
Fielding: Well, your leap is for nothing.
Dana: I understand. You don’t want to admit it. But please consider this painting, the artist who painted it, and that my brother, just before he disappeared was alone in this room with only the painting. Detective Hutchinson did confirm that he left him alone and Sara, my librarian friend saw Hutchinson leave but not Bast.
Fielding: Yes, but she wasn’t keeping constant watch on the exit down the stairwell from this floor.
Dana: Ah, so you did talk to Sara. What else did she say?
Fielding: Sorry, I can’t say. Police business.
Dana: Police business my ass. Bast is my brother, my fraternal twin. Don’t you think I have the right to know how your investigation to find him is going?
Fielding shrugs: I might be able to tell you some. Right now I have a meeting to be at. Look, D…Dana, I’m not trying to be evasive. I understand you and your brother are close. I…I’m somewhat conflicted here. Let me think about it and I’ll call you.
Fielding places a hand on Dana’s hand, stands up, appears about to say something more, but doesn’t. He leaves the room.
Dana: That went well. Damn the man. I’ll have to talk to Oliver.
You can read more about the characters and their stories in Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.