I've always thought it was forever lost to the public's eye—kept hidden behind walls thick enough to hide the bloodstains of its notorious past, much like how Elizabeth Bathory was bricked off in her room until she took her last breath, the Portrait of a Lady was not supposed to see the light of day. Until it was teared off from its confinement.
Although the real story behind those “unfortunate” incidents were far from supernatural...
“Hey honey! Looked what the guys found during the renovation at the old coop!”
“Well, that does look like a fine piece of art! Do you think we could sell it for a dime or two?”
“More than that luv, I think we've hit a jackpot on this thing! See here—“
An incoming text pulled me to the present—The Lady is in hand, but the Emperor's on our heels. Also, do something about your friend.
Surreptitiously hiding my phone, I leaned towards my assistant who quietly sat beside me in the car, “Have the driver turn right on Wellington Avenue. Quick.”
At my instruction, she straightened up and called out to the driver as I leaned back into my seat, calmly gazing out the window. It was moments later that I spotted the signature black ringlets that made up Roe's hair, my car smoothly passing through the crosswalk enough for me to notice the troubled look she had on her face.
I couldn't help feeling smug about that. It was a good thing she wasn't able to notice me behind these tinted windows.
The prized painting was already out of the library's hands, I'd be damned if I let a two-bit psychic get in the way.
Author's note: If you're reading my story for the first time and wonder where it all began, do visit My InkWell Story Map. It all began in The Ink Well Fast and Furious Festival and continues on The Ink Well Weekly Fiction Prompt. I'm a work in progress, and so is my story. Thank you for your patience.