Archie's knees were beginning to ache. And his hips. And his ankles. Yet he hurried along the grand halls, making his way to the south wing. He was trying to refrain from using his cane so much, in case he might alert the intruder of his presence; as a result, his progress was slowed all the more.
As he hurried along, he continually glanced back and forth along the walls, checking for a glimpse of Henry in the paintings. Henry knew something, Archie was sure. He figured Henry got spooked and was hiding somewhere in the museum but it would inevitably take hours to find him.
Archie continued as best he could. He was nearly there now. His heart was racing; he wasn't even sure what he would do if he caught the thief. Archie wasn't foolish enough to believe that he could hold his ground against whoever was in his beloved museum, not after he saw what had been done to Jennifer.
And yet, he continued.
Archie slowed his frantic steps as he approached the door to the south wing. He gasped in shock and disbelief to see the heavy security door sitting wide open, its precious contents so vulnerable within.
He nearly let out a moan of grief when he drew nearer, only to see the empty wall before him. He approached the wall, running his knarled fingers over the blankness, as if for confirmation of its lack of a painting hanging there.
The painting, simply called 'Babbo', had been a wonderful and exquisite abstract design. The incandescent colours were simply magnificent; the smooth lines were as though they had been invented for the painting alone.
But it was not only the beauty of the painting that had made it special; more so, it was who had painted it. Her name was Victoria Isabelle Prufrock. She was an incredible woman; one who had won the hearts of everyone she met. People had always said she had a certain air about her; a magic. Archie knew it to be true. She had been enchanted in every sense of the word.
Victoria had died just one year ago. In fact, it had been on the very day she had painted Babbo. It was found in her apartment, the very last piece of art she would ever create. Archie sadly remembered the day.
It hadn't been difficult for Archie to procure the painting for his museum. No, it hadn't been difficult at all; after all, she had been his daughter.
Victoria had been famous for her art so it was natural to think that dozens of people out there would want to steal it. There was one foul creature, however, that Archie knew would stop at nothing to get the precious keepsake that was Babbo. He was sure that it was this pitiful excuse for a being that was somewhere in his museum at the very moment.
Archie decided; whatever he had to do, he would not let the thief walk out with his daughter's memory under his arm.
With a renewed vigor, he turned and hurriedly made his way back along the darkened corridors.