Chapter no 22

Hidden Pictures

We drive back to Spring Brook and get right down to business. I grab all the drawings that I found in my cottage, plus the three pictures I took from Teddy’s bedroom. Adrian has the one drawing left on his desk, plus all his photographs of the Maxwells’ den. He’s already output the images on an inkjet printer so we can add them to the sequence. There are less than forty-eight hours before Russell comes to pick me up—and before that happens, I’m determined to convince the Maxwells we’re telling the truth. We arrange all the pictures on the pool patio, using stones or pinches of loose gravel to hold them in place. Then we spend half an hour moving them around, trying to arrange them in order, looking for some kind of narrative

that makes sense.

After much trial and error, we arrive at this:



“The first picture is the hot-air balloon,” I begin. “We’re in some kind of park or field. An area with a lot of wide-open space. Big skies.”

“So definitely not Spring Brook,” Adrian says. “There’s too much air traffic out of Philly.”



“We see a woman painting a picture of the hot-air balloon. Let’s assume for now this is Anya. Judging from her

sleeveless dress, I’m guessing it’s summer, or maybe we’re in a warmer climate.”



“There’s a girl nearby, playing with toys. Possibly Anya’s daughter. Teddy mentioned Anya has a daughter. It doesn’t seem like Anya is watching her closely.”



“Then along comes a white rabbit.”



“The little girl is intrigued. She’s playing with a stuffed rabbit, but here comes a real one.”



“So she follows the rabbit down into a valley…”