I remembered something. Whilst asleep, I dreamt. It felt more real than the Chambre. I could not have made it up, it must have been a memory.
I remembered how I escaped the Dame de la Chambre three months ago. Since I had entered the Chambre by flipping the painting whilst staring into the sub-paintings, I tried repeating this with the painting inside the Chambre. My vision faded and I awoke again in the real world, the real-life painting at my feet. I repeated the whole process and discovered I could enter and exit the Chambre at will.
I wondered if this was a magical painting. The Dame de la Chambre, a heathen relic of a forgotten time, and Christian Toth, both artist and sorcerer? A visit to the library shed little light on Toth. Only one book mentioned his mysteriousness, but it cited only rumours. Toth was a romanticist said to disappear for months on end, and some even claimed to have attended his one hundred and thirty-second birthday. Now these mysteries began to connect.
I also read that, because his works were so rare, the Dame de la Chambre likely valued more than all I owned. Its true value, however, was beyond finances. This one painting gave the owner the abilities to disappear and to escape death. And I was quick to exploit this.
It started with a dinner party where I disappeared before my guests’ eyes. They were astonished. Word soon spread and I started a little show, first for my family—yes! Edith and Olivia, I remember their names!—then for others. In the show, a curtain lowered for a second and when it rose I was gone. Tickets to these shows swiftly soared in price, making me a small fortune. Whilst I could have continued, I knew a one-trick show would eventually lose interest, so I abandoned show business and settled into a nice country manor.
That was the end of my dream.
When I awoke, I pulled the covers over my head. I needed to sleep, I needed more memories recovered. Why had I not written more in the first few days!
But the dream was lost. I was awake. Thus back under the fruit tree’s branch.