He hunted the burglar but nothing stirred, another painting lost by dawn and no solution. His dreams the unsuspected thief, portraits hid under his bed.
He wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t tell where he’d been last night, doors closed, lights out, where no-one could see, but his shadow’s the thief after all.
Empty halls swallow sound. Detective stares. Lamplight flares through glass. His lordship passes, carrying painted images in frames. “Stop right there.” His lordship’s sleeping.
“Sleepwalking” said the doctor. “Dealing with hurts of the past.” “By hiding paintings?” “Hiding memories.” “So what do we do?” “Wake him up.” Or try.
Remembered never being good enough, not dressing, walking, talking right, never wise enough. Remembered anger. “Wake up.” Remembered love and no-one meant to hurt him.
He hung his mother’s picture back on the wall, felt memory’s blank space filling with the smile he always wanted. Pictures can tell, “I love you.”