Dona opened the door between the theater and lobby and saw Howard looking at a painting hanging on one of the walls. With a smirk she quickly walked up behind him.
"I would think that you would be gone by now." Dona said, "Seeing how this is still your day off."
"I remember this painting", Howard mentioned (not responding to her smart alec remark). "Yes, I use to come to this theater many times."
"To this run downed dump?"
"Oh..." Dona impulsively whimpered as if she said something wrong.
"About five years ago. We were here watching some God awful movie; in fact it was so bad we had to leave the show early. I think it was called “The Butterfly Effect”, you know the one with Ashton Kutcher. Anyways, right as we were leaving the lobby she noticed this painting."
They were looking at a pastel painting of a fairly young girl sitting on a faded green hill, overlooking a city sparkling in lights. She had an emotionless face but her beauty was unmistakable. She also seemed invisible to the chaos of the lights and seemed to live beyond those that dwelt within it.
"Susan was the one that spotted the painting. She went on about how it really spoke to her and all that artsy crud...
... Then she mentioned something."
"... She wanted children... It was a shock at first but I immediately compromised and agreed..."
Then he tilted his head down in despair.
"Two weeks later she left... without any warning..."
"... And you haven’t heard from her since." Dona quietly said.
"I'm sorry. I should have gotten over this by now."
He then turned and started to head out the door, walking right pass Dona as she depressingly stood there.
Just as Howard was about to head out into the street the fire alarm went off. Soon after the sprinkler system hanging on the ceiling went off as well.
"It's a fire!" Dona shouted.
The two rushed into the main theater due to the amount of noise they heard from inside the room. They busted the doors open and could see smoke from the screen up ahead.
Right as they were heading towards the blacking smoke the sprinklers went off.
"What happened to the sprinklers?" Dona asked.
"This theater is even too cheap to update its sprinkler system. This place really is a dump… Well it looks as if the fire has died down."
And sure enough the fire was settled and Howard and Dona returned to the same scene as before. Though instead of pondering over a corpse, they became bewildered about something else.
"What are we looking at Howard?" Dona finally said in bewilderment.
"I'm not entirely sure."
There before them was the burnt imprints of the name "Andrew" directly located at the center of the projection screen. Each letter burnt right through to the other side and was outlined by a blackish crust.
“Do you think its arson?” Dona asked.
“It happened too quickly and there were too many investigators on the scene. Also, it’s not like the culprit could get away because both sides of the screens were heavily occupied with officers.”
Howard then stepped on the other side and surveyed the ceiling for any suspicious objects. Then he looked back at the audience side and found nothing.
“Well I’m stumped.” Howard admitted.
“…Then what do we do Officer Holmes?” one policeman asked.
Howard turned his head and put his hand to his mouth. None of this makes sense. He thought Why would there randomly be a fire in a theater that was being investigated by another case? And what does it mean by “Andrew”? Is this the Prankster? Or some code?
“Sir?” asked another.
“I’ll tell you what we are going to do!” Howard boldly stated, while seemingly shredding any doubt he had of himself. “I want every forensic investigator to finish up the original case, while the rest of the police force surveys the in and outside of the building! And I don’t care if it takes the rest of the night! I want evidence!”
The large group of officers that huddled around him immediately spread out.
So much for his day off, Dona thought to herself.