There was nothing mysterious about their current situation. They were up against criminals. When they reached the third set of caves (of which there was two standing side by side) Nigel shone his light inside after suggesting June stay put off to the side of the entrance in case a critter had taken up
They entered a good distance inside the cave opening before rummaging around for a good place to set up for the night. Although musty, the cave was quite dry and there were sandy patches for sleeping bags.
June asked, “Dare we light a fire, heat up some coffee?”
“I don’t see a problem with it. We should be good for the night.”
They worked quickly to set up their mini camp stove and had the fixings going in no time.
As they huddled on their outspread sleeping bags Nigel asked, “Do you hold gallery shows often to display your art work? Or is that too esoteric these days?”
“Not in the least. I just don’t handle them myself anymore.” After a slight pause she added, “I ran into some trouble I wasn’t prepared for and it could have been a close call; my manager suggested we hire someone to run the gallery for me.”
“What happened? If you don’t mind my asking.”
Sighing June explained, “There were two incidents. One, an outright theft and the other, a deranged individual decided my art was inflammatory and he entered the studio looking like a patron of the arts until he drew out a knife and started slashing my paintings up.”
“You weren’t attacked, were you?” Nigel asked in concern.
“I would have been if a passerby hadn’t noticed the commotion and after calling 911, bravely entered, grabbed a fire extinguisher hanging just inside the door and dousing the man with it until he ran out the door.”
“Did they manage to capture him?”
“Unfortunately, no. Thankfully I never saw him again, but I heard reports from other galleries that he’d struck them too. Consequently, patrols were beefed up during the day to protect shop owners.”
“Did he say anything to you before he began his tirade?”
“He was screaming and not particularly legible, but it didn’t sound like he had it in for me particularly, just…”
“Just art in general? Perhaps he was a wannabe artist without the ability required.”
“Possible I suppose. I never really gave it much thought after that.”
“To be honest, I was relieved at not having to run the gallery and keep up with my painting. Each are fulltime jobs in and of themselves.”
“Glad you were alright. A scare was bad enough.”
“My manager was afraid he could have done some physical harm and jeopardize my ability to paint if not my health.”