July 15th, 2001
At this moment the only diary remaining in my possession is this 2001 journal that I took along with me on a three-day business trip to Los Angeles. Yet it is only now, on my return that I feel the need to include a new entry.
I had a visit from an old acquaintance. Only, he chose to drop in when I was conveniently away in LA. I never would have guessed who the unwelcome intruder had been if he had not chosen to taunt me with his special calling card. Yes, the thief had been proud to announce his accomplishment.
My heart had skipped a beat as I noticed the first evidence of his invasion – my front door was wide open.
The second was the fact that my entire security system had been disabled.
The third (If my heart had recently skipped a beat, it now made up for it by galloping frantically towards my drying throat) – the door of the large safe in my study, normally hidden from view by an enormous framed print of Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri’s voluptuous Druuna, was also wide open.
Druuna, if she had ash-blonde hair would have a remarkable resemblance to Nikki, stood upright against the front of my desk – placed mockingly in a blaringly loud announcement of the trespasser’s discovery of what lay behind her sensual, naked form.
I moved swiftly to the breeched strongbox and gazed at the even louder emptiness that screamed icy daggers into my already shattered disposition.
On my desk lay the jewelry and spare cash that I had also kept in the safe, and I knew that this burglar had come with a definite, singular purpose, seeking only my most prized possessions – I realized in that moment that I would discover the only items missing from my treasure-filled mansion would be - my diaries!!!
The safe had been emptied, except for a single, rectangular, slightly yellowed picture that lay face down, placed there purposely by the criminal.
I had picked it up and turned it over. I knew it well. It was a photograph of me; I was holding a board marked, ‘F.B.I.’s Most Wanted!’
I had hissed
the intruder’s name from between my clenched teeth, “Tallis!”