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Chapter 63

The intercom buzzed an alert of a visitor on that early Sunday evening, nearly two months after Detective Andretta’s murder. The sound was not only startling, it’s by-product was a series of nervous looks, and since the detective’s demise few words had passed between Barbara and Sophia.

Their eyes flicked back and forth to each other as the buzzer persisted.

With a racing heart, Barbara walked to the intercom and, although not discussed, each had suspected the police would eventually come knocking on their door.

“Yes?” Barbara asked nervously, as she pressed the intercom.

“Hi, Barbara, it’s Conrad. Sorry to come unannounced, but I need to speak to you and Katherine.”

Barbara could feel her heightened anxiety unwinding. “Come up.”

She walked out to the landing, but she could feel herself shaking. “It’s good to see you.”

As she followed him into the kitchen, curiosity caused her to ask, “What do you have there?”

The painting Conrad placed onto the table.

In the time it took to blink, Sophia and Katherine looked to each other.

“I bought this painting from a man who came into my gallery. He said he didn’t steal it, but for some reason I think he was lying.”

Conrad surveyed their faces carefully. He suspected the truth was still to come. Could the man who sold me the painting be Katherine’s rapist? “Katherine, I know you haven’t sold any paintings, but this was definitely painted by you. I’m not going to ask how he came to have it, but I’m returning it to you, as a gift from me. I think this is one of your best. It’s haunting! It appears to be sending a message, but we have to decipher it. Have you titled it?”

Katherine, still stunned by its return, looked each, before saying, “No, but I now have one.”

They waited with anticipation.

“Triumph over evil.”

There was a silence as the three adults looked at the teenager.

“I like it.” Conrad said.

Even though Conrad had become a good friend, Sophia was immediately suspicious. It made her feel uneasy.

Unambiguously, she said to Katherine, “You’re going to be busy! I can see another painting happening.”


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