The Man in the Black Suit by Sylvain Reynard
Check out the excerpt from SR’s latest fantastic book…
Cassirer Foundation Museum
“STOP PESTERING ME,” the museum curator scolded. She smiled at the telephone handset. “I’m almost finished.”
She was careful not to groan as she surveyed the files that covered her workspace. Her office was dark, illuminated only by the old-fashioned banker’s lamp on her desk. But the lighting was as she preferred it. Fluorescent lights gave her headaches.
“I’m coming to get you.” Her younger brother’s voice through the phone was tinged with exasperation. “We’ve been waiting an hour.”
“We?” All thoughts of files and their contents evaporated. The curator straightened in her chair, and the vertebrae in her spine snapped to attention.
Her brother paused, and she fancied she heard the sound of footsteps as he walked to a more private area. “There’s someone I want you to meet.”
The curator grinned. “You brought someone home? Have you introduced her to Maman and Papa?”
“Yes, and I would have introduced her to you already if you’d arrived home when you said you would,” he huffed. “Is the security system on?”
“I always keep it on after hours. Thierry is here, doing his rounds.” She glanced at her desk once again. “As soon as I hang up, I’m on my way.”
“See you soon. Drive safely.
She could hear the smile in her brother’s parting words, and she chuckled as she hung up. He worked in London while she curated the family art collection in Cologny. Clearly, he’d met someone special.
She was happy for him.
She tidied her desk and organized the files into three neat stacks. She called Thierry, the security guard, and asked him to escort her through the building and outside to her car.
With a last look at her desk, she retrieved her handbag and coat. Ten minutes later, she glanced at her watch. Thierry still hadn’t appeared.
She dialed his extension again, but he didn’t answer.
Conscious of the fact that her brother and his evidently serious girlfriend were waiting, the curator quickly switched off the desk lamp. She walked to the door and entered the hallway. Thierry was still not to be found.
She checked the doorknob to ensure the office was locked and made her way down the dark corridor. The museum lighting was always dim, so as to preserve the collection. Individual pieces received special, targeted lighting during regular hours but were left to repose in darkness afterward.
“Sleep well, old friends,” she murmured as she passed one of the exhibition rooms.
Her heels tapped across the floor as she pulled on her coat and adjusted her handbag. She flicked her long, red hair over her collar as she approached the main exhibit hall.
Something flickered in her peripheral vision. Startled, she turned her head.
Flashlights streaked the pitch-blackness of the hall. She could just make out the outlines of figures—some holding flashlights while others tore artwork from the walls.
They were dressed in dark clothing and wore ski masks. A beam of light glinted off a long knife as an intruder slashed a painting from its frame, damaging the masterpiece irreparably.
The curator cried out at the carnage. She clasped a terrified hand over her mouth as the sound escaped her lips.
One of the figures turned and shone a flashlight into her eyes.
Blinded, she jerked backward, unsteady on high heels.
Loud footsteps echoed as the intruder raced toward her. She fought to regain her balance and turned, preparing to run.
He grabbed hold of her hair and yanked her backward.
“No!” She dropped her handbag, arms flailing, and tried to free herself. She screamed and sought to elbow him in the ribs.
He avoided her elbows and struck her with the flashlight. She continued to scream and clasped her hands over his, struggling violently.
He lifted the flashlight and brought it down on her head.
Her hands went slack as she slumped against him. She felt herself fall to the floor. Everything went dark.
Excerpt From: Sylvain Reynard. “The Man in the Black Suit.”