An Artist’s Story

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived an artist. He was known far and wide for his beautiful paintings. Many people came to him to paint their portraits and also placed orders for paintings on certain topics. He had many fans but also many enemies. One day as he was enjoying the view in his balcony, he got a letter. This letter was an order from a “A Fan”. The fan wanted a still life painting of a bottle of painkiller and the backdrop was to be of his balcony. ”Odd” he thought ”but many people place crazy orders”. Well then, I best go and get a bottle of painkiller from the medical room”. As he made his way down he doesn't notice a crook, an evil person or whatever you want to think of him as, lurking in the shadows. He didn't realise the destructive plan the wicked people hiding behind him were conspiring; he didn’t realise anything.

The artist went to the medical room and found a bottle of painkiller to paint.but it was out of was placed in such a way that it was the first thing he noticed.”another odd thing”he thought.And it was the only bottle placed like that he went back to his balcony. He started painting peacefully. Suddenly, out of the blue a person with a masked face pushed him. He fell (obviously) and landed on the ground with a loud thud. The man with a masked face escaped (again, obviously). Now, this man thought that the artist was dead, but of course he wasn't dead, but he had an awful pain in his left leg. Luckily he had the painkiller with him and sprayed it all over his leg. He murmured to himself that the painkiller saved him or he would have fainted with pain. Then he dragged himself to a telephone and called both the ambulance and the police.

After he told the police what had happened, the police told him that they would investigate and find out who that person was and whether there was a team and all the other details and then arrest them. Then he was taken to the hospital and was told that he had a fracture in his left leg. He had to stay there and get the treatment. The police told him that they would place a few men outside his room just to be safe.

Though the artist was still worried, he controlled his fears and started the treatment. Meanwhile, he received another letter. It said “I hoped my letter would take you out of danger by taking you out of danger and if it didn't I hoped at least you would get relief from the painkiller. Second part of my idea worked”.  The letter did not give any details about the person who wrote it or about what danger. It was just signed as ‘By a fan’ and said “wait for further instructions”. 

Two days later he received another letter. This one said ‘From a true Fan’ and it urged him not to trust any instructions he received from any anonymous person claiming to be a fan as they were plotting a major conspiracy against him.  The artist was completely confused. Who would conspire against him? What is the conspiracy? Who should he trust? The fan or the True Fan? He didn't have any answers.  

He gave both the letters to the police. However the police laughed at the letters saying that someone was just having fun at his expense. He was initially relieved but the more he thought about it the more it was clear that that something sinister was happening. He could not wait to get discharged and go home so that he could investigate the matter in more detail. 

As soon as he was discharged he went home and gathered all the details he could find: the 2 letters from the fan, 1 letter from true fan, the painkiller that saved him, the lock that was opened by the thief to get in. 

He took all these items to a private detective and explained the story in complete perfection. The private detective took his story seriously and unlike the police promised to study it in detail and asked him to come back after a week. 

The detective went to the house and checked everything in great detail. He checked all the neighboring houses from where anyone could have observed the artist to know that he was in danger. He questioned the artist to know about who all knew that he had a balcony in his house. The artist said that he never invited anyone to the house and no one knew about it. 

The detective observed each of the artists canvases to understand his paintings. He spoke to the artists neighbors to know if there was anything suspicious. He checked everything for fingerprints. 

At the end of the week when the artist went to meet the detective, he was surprised to see the police officer investigating the case and the doctor who treated him at the hospital already in deep conversation with the detective. 

When he arrived they asked him to take a seat. The detective said this was one of the hardest cases he ever investigated. There were no fingerprints in the house. The letters didn't have any fingerprints. However from the postal stamps it was understood that they were posted at a post office near his house. The artist lived a quiet life and the neighbors did not see anything suspicious. In fact he was so inconspicuous no one had ever spoken to the artist himself. The artist always did all house work and repairs himself. He had inherited the house and no one has gone into it for decades. 

When the detective ruled out all the possibilities he could come up with only one possibility. Had the artist staged the entire chain of events himself. He did a handwriting match and found that the handwriting results were very interesting. But why would he do so was the question. He discussed with the inspector and understood there was no obvious benefit in staging all this. Then he met the doctor and then it came to light that the artist was living a dual life as he was a split personality and he had written the letters to himself and didn't realise that he had done so. 

The artist broke down on hearing this. He was heartbroken that he was having such an extreme medical condition and that he had caused so much inconvenience to so many people. 

The doctor intervened and said that it is not a problem as now that the problem has been identified it can be treated and that he needs a fifty day treatment. 

Fifty days later the artist walked out of the hospital and walked like a man with an urgent mission. He walked straight to the post office….

- The End - 


  1. Dear N, you have a brilliant story here. Now flesh it out to conjure a nail biting, deeply layered novella. I see great potential!

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