Picture Perfect 87
Morrison’s farm was a mile or so north of St. Peter’s in a wooded area. The dirt road to the house wound around a pond so that the house was unexpectedly revealed. Dan didn’t think the reveal was accidental. The building was a perfect pyramid with a deck along all four sides. Each face of the pyramid had its own entrance way set inside a triangle that was also perfect. Each entrance was was roofed with solar panels. The top third of the house was glass. Around the house were random domed sheds. Some fully covered. Two larger ones that could have been houses.
“Wow! I’ve never seen pyramid house like this before. Amazing.” Dan said.
“Not quite what I thought when I first saw it.” Stephanie parked the car by a domed shed to the left of the house. “I thought how much weed is that man smokin’.”
The remote truck was already there. A tall thin man came out of the back of the truck to greet him.
“You must be Dan James.” Laughing he shook Dan’s hand. “Over to you John. David Morrison. You guys are certainly well equipped. State of the art two years ago. Get QTel to invest in the Chrox image processors.”
“Uh … I’ll do that.” Stephanie said.
Dan knew from the bio information Morrison was nearing 80 but he looked like he was in his 50’s.
“I’ve been reading your Cabot Trail book” Dan said.
“Thanks. I had to do something to keep up with my sons.”
“This is some house.” Dan said as they walked up the steps to the porch.
“Thanks. I’d say I designed it myself but I think the Egyptian influence is undeniable.” He laughed. “It didn’t start out this large when I moved here in 66. Followed some draft-dodger pals of mine who wanted to get back to the land.”
“That was a big thing then, wasn’t it.” Dan said.
“Oh yeah. We were dreamers who woke up hard. I stayed. They went back when their folks cut off their credit cards. I had no folks to speak of so I stayed.”
He lead them around to what Dan supposed was the back of the house. The entrance here lead to a kitchen. The crew was set up there for interview.
“When did you expand to this?” Dan asked.
“Started it while Madeline was pregnant with Paula. We do a lot of the carpentry ourselves. I had a real construction background, unlike my buddies who came with dreams. Since then I’ve become a master carpenter, electrician.”
“And published writer.” Stephanie added.
“You aren’t here to talk about me.”
“No” Dan said. “This house deserves a show of its own.”
“It has in fact. H&G Canada were here two years ago. I wasn’t so keen myself but anything that brings people to Cape Breton is a good thing. That host, what’s his name …. nope … escapes me now … was more interested in his camera time. Or he was spooked by my anti-American blather. Draft dodger’s is a different show.”
“Are you ready to start?” Stephanie asked.
“Sure.” Dan took a deep breath to relax while his face was made right for the camera. He still wasn’t used to being fussed over in this way.
“We’ll start in here.” Stephanie walked into the living room. “We can make the most of this amazing light.”
The light from the multi-coloured glass roof was almost spectral thanks to the fog that hadn’t dissipated yet.
“We’ll start with the camera directly up to the peak while you three are talking. Is that enough light for you Phil?”
“It’ll be fine.” Phil muttered.
“I’m here in Cape Breton with Jennifer Devereaux.” Dan began motioning for Jennifer to join him
“We’re on Cape Breton Island with David Morrison. Father of the missing child Paula Morrison. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us.”
“I can’t say that it’s my pleasure, Dan, but I am happy to see that someone is finally taking an interest in this case.”
“I’d like to start by asking you if you remember anything about that day.” Dan knew the key to getting the details they needed was a direct start.
“First, Dan & Jennifer I’d like you to tell me what you see in these pictures. I have never shown them to anyone. Not even my sons.”
He put four photos on the coffee table between them.
“Polaroids.” Dan said immediately. “We’ll need gloves to handle them though. As they age the surface gets more subject to cracking.”
One of the crew handed him and Jennifer thin rubber gloves. While Dan was put his on the camera
Cameron moved behind him and over his shoulder to allow the viewers his point of view.
Dan leaned over the pictures without touching them. “They are all of the same girl. This is Paula.” He moved one into a better light. “I recognize her from the police file photos.” The four picture were progressively closer to her, with changes in angle. “She’s showing off her oversized t-shirt I’d say, or maybe it was the haircut.”
“Both.” David said.
“She doesn’t seem too thrilled by one of them.”
“Or perhaps by how someone was reacting to them?” Jennifer said.
“Bingo.” David said.
“These were taken shortly before she went missing.” Jennifer said.
“She a bit young to be a fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees.” Dan said.
“Wow!” David sat back. “I don’t think I ever told the investigators about that. How …”
“Eye shadow, haircut very early Goth look. Siouxsie was one of the first Goth bands to make it big.” Dan said. “Hair and makeup don’t go with her age though. Suggests conflict.”
“Rose didn’t approve at all. Thought it was too … morbid for a girl that age.”
“And you?” Jennifer asked.
“Personally, I was happy she didn’t go the Madonna slut route. These were taken the day before she was abducted.” He said abducted with conviction.
“There’s some doubt about that?” Dan asked.
“At first no one was willing to connect her with the others. Though even we didn’t realize there had been as many as you’ve brought to light.”
“Willing?” Dan asked.
“She had a history of … I don’t want to call it running away … but when she got upset she’d take off to her cousin’s in Whycocomagh.”
“This happened after the boys where born?” Jennifer said.
“Earlier. When I remarried. I wanted her to have mother. I didn’t really understand father complexes. She was hostile from the get go.”
“You aren’t my mother!” Jennifer blurted out.
“Exactly.We realized after a week she was actually gone and not with her cousins. We called the RCMP. We’d contacted them once before and they were convinced she had run away. Perhaps with with a couple of the boys who were gone from the reservation.”
“Reservation?” Dan asked.
“Oh yes. I figured you knew that. Madeline was Mi’kmaq.”
“Hmm.” Dan studied the face closer. “Hard to tell here. None of the other photos I’ve seen show that sort of genetic marker. There’s usually something around the eyes.”
“My genetics are pretty strong. The boys other the other hand look more like their mother.”
“Your second wife, Rosemoon, was also native?”
“Oh yes. I have some in my background too. Grandmother who was Blackfoot. I also thought a native mother might be good for her. As it turned out it wasn’t. They fought about everything. The last fight was about her need to change her name. She wanted to become Raven Stone.”
“I wanted to change my name when I was her age too.” Jennifer said. “I was sick of people calling me Jenny. I wanted a name that couldn’t be shortened.
She wanted to fit in somehow.”
“Fit in?” Dan asked.
“Seal. Wolf. Raven. Not Paula.” Jennifer said.
“Right again!” David shook his head. “You guys are good.”