A Secret Grave 123: Silence


Well, that was quite a story! Alicia promised to bring her dog along next time. There was still no news about the stolen painting, nor obviously about whoever was behind the theft. Not even a hint. The police were working on the theory that the culprit, who was quite possibly ill, had wanted the painting for its “intrinsic” healing powers. I should point out here that Victor’s portrait had not been for sale. Alicia was trying to push me to paint another one, but I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Though, through Janet Lamar, I had acquired some photos of Victor as a teenager that might help in reconstructing his face.


awkward teenage years

Victor at fourteen (left) and seventeen Robert Anderson Miller IV Conard HS Senior Picture. 1973, InAweofGod’sCreation / 126.Robert Anderson Miller III Taken for Aetna Life Insurance c 1950, In Awe of God’s Creation (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


As you can see, these aren’t very inspiring. Still, I tacked them up around my studio in the hope that some kind of information might, almost psychically, instill itself in my brain. Otherwise, there wasn’t much happening on the Victor front. Ramona had begun to go out with Lloyd Peterson – not just talk with him on the phone – but so far she’d gotten nothing out of him. Emil was back at work on his third book – he’d rented a little cabin in the hill country where he could go for complete solitude if he needed it. Alicia told me that while he was making good progress on the manuscript, she’d get desperate phone calls in the middle of the night from Emil freaked out by the country silence, coyotes howling practically outside the door, weird bird calls, luminous eyes shining out of pitch darkness when he went for a walk. “What freaks him most,” Alicia laughed, “is he can’t just run out for some Thai food or sushi whenever he wants.”


country silence

and shadows reached out to claim her soul, Laura, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/


No word from either Betsy or her sister, Janet K. Johnson (AKA Fairchild) since the gala benefit. And nothing about Caroline, whom I supposed was still off in Bolivia caring for her arthritic father and schtooping Sergio Hochmann. Her son, Mercer, was still mixing paint and doing odd jobs for me, but he remained silent, shtum (a new and useful word I just learned) about his parents. So nothing. All I knew was that if Gharith had been accurate about Ricky, Alicia’s assailant, he was also likely accurate about Victor’s dead body buried in concrete beneath my studio, and so my general malaise on that subject increased. Easter was coming up. It would be a year since I’d begun my investigation. I’d met a lot of interesting people and been very busy on my blog. All sorts of stories and interesting theories swirled in my brain. But there was nothing definite, no hard evidence, and so I decided – belatedly – to go online and research Victor’s family, the Gottliebs, and their origins in the pale of Russia.


To be continued…


Cover photo ~ https://giphy.com/search/creepy-forest


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *