For me a lot of time at these parties is spent in the studio. Guests constantly drag me out there to see where the magic happens and also to talk quietly, share secrets. The trees peek in through the windows and outside on the deck it’s pitch dark, creating this feeling that you can say anything you want and it won’t matter, no one will see or hear you. I leave the main studio lights off, so there’s only the orange glow from the salt lamp and a few playful strings of lights adorning the trees outside. After the party I will smudge the studio with a big fat stick of white sage, but until then just the scents of oil paint, lavender, clove and geranium hang in the air.
My conversation with Emil happened out in the studio. I would have liked to ask him why he thought Victor’s landlady, Betsy Shapiro, who just seemed like a big sexy girl to me, might have been involved in Victor’s disappearance, his murder. And who was Roy, Victor’s older brother? But before I could ask any of these questions, someone else appeared, a journalist from an art magazine looking to talk to me, so we had to quickly drop the subject.
When Gharith Pendragon came out to the studio he was in ‘sunset mode,’ just a guest at a party having a good time. He was also, unlike anyone else at the party, wearing his Halloween costume, a wizard’s hat and cloak, lending the place a true air of sorcery and magic. Did I forget to add that owls nest in the trees around my studio? And that my mother’s ashes on the altar add an eerie little zing to the atmosphere? Gharith glanced around and said, “Yes, I can see why you’d be very productive in here.”
“You pick up anything about this place?” I asked him.
He must’ve shifted into ‘sunshine mode’ because he grew quiet and his eyes seemed to roll up slightly in his head. He muttered a few words to himself and then he laughed and said, “It sure is haunted.”
“You mean literally?” I asked.
“Oh yes, there are different beings here, including one who was murdered.”
“Is he buried here?”
“Was he a doctor?”
“Let’s just say he knew lots of secrets. And he worked with some kind of drug… it was fabricated from a plant and made you –“ he closed his eyes for a second “–kind of crazy and powerful.” When he opened his eyes again, he looked at me closely. “You need to be careful. I don’t know how to explain this, but if you continue down the path you’re on there are people who will try and stop you.” He closed his eyes again, as if seeking additional information. “They could even cause you bodily harm.”
To be continued…