Once she hung up, the artist leaned into Michael and shoved the cellphone back into his hand. “And where d’you think you’re going?”
“Out!” said Michael. “I’m been here too long.”
“Tell me the truth. Why did you come?”
“To ask a question.”
“Ask away, my boy!”
Michael took a deep breath. “Remember what you said, about that old fool? You said, he was doomed to fling himself off the cliffs—”
“Oh, that.” Bull raised the bottle to his lips. “He’s dead, isn’t he?”
Michael gulped. “How on earth did you guess?”
“That, my boy, is for me to know, and for you to agonize over.”
“Just give me a clue.”
“No.” Bull flinched. “You’ll figure it out by yourself, sooner or later.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because, we have more in common than you think.”
“I doubt we do.”
“You shape reality in your virtual world.” Bull set up a new canvas on his easel. “I shape mine in art. But that, my boy, is just the surface of things.”
Michael stepped off the stage. “You’re talking in riddles again. Stop it. Stop torturing me.”
In place of an answer, Bull bent down and with a wink, blew at the candle. The flame still flickered for a while, until finally it turned into a spiraling thread of smoke.
“You better go now,” he said, darkly. “I’m in no mood for you.”
With another blow, the smoke looped into nothingness.
Without saying a word, Michael turned on his heels and traced his way back to the entrance. No longer did the occasional scraping sound across the stone floor arrest his attention. This time he thought he knew his way.
After only two or three mistakes, he found the door. It was still partially open, swaying noisily on its hinges.
(Volume I of High-Tech Crime Solvers)
Haunted by discovering the body of a beautiful dancer, Michael re-constructs her murder in a virtual reality. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve it in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ash?