A tribute to artists and the homesick everywhere. Projects like Vexations wouldn't be anything without artists.


Late morning light streamed through the curtains of Vex’s apartment’s windows. With her hair still dripping from the shower and freshly applied makeup drying on her cheeks, she lifted her phone from the receiver and dialed.

“Painted Sky Realty. This is Blake Macintyre.”

“Hey, Blake,” she said. “This is Vex. I gave you a ride in my cab yesterday.”

“Haunted house girl, what can I do you for?”

“Exactly that, actually. Do you know much about why that place is considered haunted? As far as I can tell nobody died there.”

There was a short pause, a rustle of papers. “I don’t know much about it, I’m afraid, it has to do with the condition that the house is in. The, ah, lack of a paint-job mostly.”

“The drawings on the walls?”

“Yep,” he said. “I’m told that every time someone paints the interior, wallpapers, or tries to renovate the drawings magically reappear. Sometimes months later, but they always come back. Some of the artwork is actually pretty good. But I don’t need to worry about that anymore. My boss took the case off of my hands.”

“You’ve been officially initiated?”

“Looks to be that way. Oh, did you find the original owners? Why are you so interested in that house anyway? You into things like that or something?”

“You could say that,” Vex said. “Apparently a famous family lived there back in the nineteen-thirties, the Von Appeldorns. I’ve never heard of them.”

“I have,” Blake replied.


“There was an article in the Republic yesterday about Katrina von Appeldorn. She’s a fairly famous artist who lives in Scottsdale. She paints desert scenes, my wife happens to have a print of hers hanging in our dining room. Window Rock, I think. Maybe she’s related.”

“With a name like that, I don’t doubt it.”

“Hey, I have a client coming in right now. I’ve gotta scram. If you’re ever in the market…”

“If I ever am, you’ll be the first I call. Goodbye.”

“Ciao,” he said and hung up the phone.

Vex set the phone back on its cradle, shrugged on her coat, and set out looking for a copy of yesterday’s Arizona Republic.

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