A Secret Grave 55: Vanished

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“And that was it,” Peter told me. “Victor called very excited about the message from Caroline and then I never heard from him again. Not ever.”

I toyed with the bread crumbs on my plate. “Do you think Caroline might have had something to do with Victor’s disappearance?”

Across the table from me Peter shrugged. “Sure sounds like it. But Victor had a lot of enemies, so really it could have been anyone. My theory was always the big pharma guys got hold of him and” – he made a cutting motion across his throat.

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It was awhile before Peter even realized he’d lost touch with Victor. Normally their communication was intermittent at best. Only during the time Victor was stressing over Caroline had Peter heard from him regularly. He assumed that the two had met as planned at Kerbey Lane and things had proceeded from there, with some sort of resolution over Mercer’s paternity. And that then, as was the pattern with Victor, the relationship fizzled. Declarations of undying love, followed by drama, disappointment, loss of interest.

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dead-flowers

Dead Flowers, Antony Oliver,  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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In the fall of 2006 Peter called to schedule an appointment with Victor only to learn that the clinic had been permanently closed. Aside from being frustrated (he couldn’t get rid of a chronic stiff neck), he didn’t read too much into it – Victor had opened and closed a number of clinics over the years. But for Victor not to answer phone calls or email was surprising. Peter made a few attempts to reach him, got sidetracked, tried again a month or two later without success. Eventually – and this did strike Peter as sinister – Victor’s phone was disconnected and his email shut down. He contacted the few people he knew who knew Victor, but none of them had heard anything. After awhile he let go of it. Victor was a talented, broken, brilliant guy who’d run into trouble and most likely would resurface. Perhaps his family had taken him in. Perhaps he was living on the streets. Perhaps he’d been murdered. Perhaps he’d reinvented himself and was running a clinic in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Australia. Whatever had happened, he was gone and didn’t seem to want to be found. And it wasn’t till ten years later, when Peter heard me talking about the rumor of a healer buried beneath my studio, that he thought about his old friend again. “You know,” he said now, reaching across the table and squeezing my hand, “the simplest solution would be for you to dig up your studio.”

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“Don’t think I haven’t thought about it, but too much agro. Anyway I like my friendly ghost.”

Peter squeezed my hand tighter and his face grew serious.  “Whatever you do, watch your step. I can’t explain why, but I don’t have a good feeling about this.”

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ Abandoned House, Brett Levin, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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