THE ARTIST by Steven Havelock
Above her, Deanna slipped.
A second ago Emily had looked down. Hundreds of metres below her lay their base camp. Deanna had been nearing the peak of the mountain.
As Deanna passed, Emily’s hand snaked out and grabbed Deanna’s hand. For a second, all time seemed to stand still. A smile spread across Deanna’s face, and then Emily said it…
Emily had been dating Deanna for six months. They had met at her brother’s funeral and things had just developed.
I believe Deanna loves me, yet I have a dark secret, an ulterior motive...No one must know...Ever...
All I have now is memories.
“Hey, little brother!” said Emily, sneaking into Dan’s bedroom and whispering as loud as she dared.
“Hi, big sister,” replied a drowsy Dan.
“Shush! Not so loud! They will hear!” whispered Emily back. “They’re both asleep. Let’s go down and see what Christmas presents we’ve got.”
They headed downstairs, all the drowsiness gone from them and replaced with the excitement of getting new toys.
Tears came to Emily’s eyes. Only memories…
“This restaurant is super kool,” said Rachel.
“Not cheap but worth every penny,” replied Deanna. “Dan’s a multi-millionaire. Not self-made, his father left him a large fortune in his will. His fortune’s only exceeded by his ego.”
“Oh wow,” Rachel’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Are you serious about this?”
“Bet your life I am.”
“What’s he like?”
“Total fool, not a clue about the value of money. He’s twenty three and has climbed several of the world’s largest mountains already.”
“They say he’s a playboy who’s bedded hundreds of women. I can’t believe you’re dating him. “
“Well, he’s never met a woman like me before.”
They stared deeply into each other’s eyes and knew how the night would end.
Emily lay in bed, under the duvet, tears streaming down her cheeks.
I’ve been lying in bed the past four days. Dead? No, I can’t believe it! I won’t believe it! The story the press bandied about was that Dan had died during a mountain climbing expedition in the Himalayas. I don’t believe it. My brother was a very fit and experienced climber. There’s no way he slipped and fell to his death. I’m going to do some digging. Something just doesn’t feel right about this.
A few weeks later, as Emily sat in her large house on the hill, tears once more streamed down her cheeks.
Murdered…The detective I hired has…Oh God…No…
Emily held Deanna’s hand, saving her from certain death. The air was thin and cold. In a split second, the last few months of Emily’s life flashed before her. She remembered: the detective had broken into her dead brother’s girlfriend’s house and stolen the hard drive.
His ex-girlfriend had pictures on her computer of….
Then she remembered reading the emails between her brother and his new girlfriend.
Hi Dan, thank you for the fabulous meal last night. I am amazed at how many of the world’s largest mountains you’ve climbed. I’m all set to tackle Everest with you. You are the love of my life, and we will tackle the world’s highest peak together.
Hi, I’m so pleased to finally find a girl that not only loves my sense of adventure and accomplishments but also wants to be there with me on my biggest test yet. We are all set to leave in two days.
Two days! I can’t believe it, we’ve only known each other a short time but it feels like I’ve known you my whole life.
Yes I know what you mean, it feels totally right. See you later tonight hun.
Emily remembered the other emails she had found on the hard drive.
To: Rachel Johnson
Hi Rachel, how are you? Missed you last few weeks, I’ve been working on that idiot millionaire, my plan is slowly coming together. The idiot’s wealth is only matched by his giant ego. Never done a day’s work in his life and hasn’t got a clue about the value of money!
Congratulations beautiful, I’ve missed been with you whilst you been working on the idiot millionaire but it’s gonna be worth it, we’re gonna be stinking filthy rich! Then we can spend our lives jet setting round the world!
Just me and you babe!
Emily saw the relief in Deanna’s eyes, relief that she knew was soon to be…
My plan was to get her to the top and then do the dreaded deed, but now it must be done this way.
“Why did you do it?”
Deanna saw Emily’s hard cold stare and her hope and relief vanished in an instant.
Emily saw the fear grip Deanna like death’s cold hand.
“What? Two-timing you?” Her voice was high pitched with fear.
“No. Why did you do it, kill Dan?” Emily screamed over the noise of the shrill wind.
“What?” Deanna’s eyes showed confusion.
“Tell me the truth and I will let you live!”
In a millisecond Deanna’s eyes registered understanding.
She doesn’t love me; she planned this from the start! She knows!
“Tell me the truth and I will let you live!” Emily repeated.
Deanna opened her mouth, and gave a low answer…Suddenly she felt her grip slipping and fear coursed through her body.
“The truth!” Emily screamed.
Emily saw the eyes of her victim, the wide eyes, fixed in a pale, ugly death grimace of fear.
Were Dan’s eyes the same when he fell to his death?
Deanna opened her mouth but Emily never heard her answer; the wind snatched it away before she could. Even if she had, it wouldn’t have made a difference. She already knew. She saw Deanna falling, disappearing into the distance with every passing second, getting smaller and smaller until she was just a speck.
Tears came to Emily’s eyes. She remembered…
The hard drive the detective gave me showed Deanna out clubbing at wild parties, at parties, where all the revellers were female…And then I knew...