Closing Accounts

      E.P. Cowley
Closing Accounts

When a young artist paints the Mayor's portrait, he hangs it in City Hall. The trouble is that this is no ordinary painting. Everyone sees something different and whose account is true? The painting launches a train of strange events in a world that teeters on the edge of apocalypse. The story is told in four linked accounts woven together, ending at the same moment in time.Fifteen-year old Letty has painted the Mayor's portrait. He hangs it in City Hall for all the world to see, but the trouble is that this is no ordinary painting. Everyone sees something different and whose account is true? But Letty's painting is only one strange occurrence in a world that teeters on the edge of apocalypse. Michael, the reluctant soldier, is forced to join the General's rag-tag army. Assigned to the regiment in the capitol city, he finds his way into a company of mysterious people who are working to rescue the city's orphans from destitution. A man named Joe is the leader of this strange crew and Michael learns to trust him, even in the abyss called Belltown. Thaddaeus, the forgotten artist, stirs up the crowd of regulars at The Tower Inn with his disturbing paintings. Is he mad? Or is he a prophet? Marching to the beat of his own interior music, he never asks what the world thinks. He is too busy straining after an elusive tune, following wherever it might lead. Mayor Jared Hobic is happily corrupt: sucking up to the General, cheating on his wife, slithering like a snake into his position of power and influence. Everything is going his way until a young girl paints his portrait. Now he's plagued by a knocking sound. Is it in his head? Is he losing his mind? And who is this mysterious man named Joe who eludes his grasp? Mayor Hobic is certainly beginning to lose his grip on his carefully constructed life. The story is told in four linked accounts woven together and ending at the same moment in time. Threaded throughout the tales are images of a strange man named Joe, the paintings of Letty; and the bread lady, mysterious and serene, who is always at her table in the market square.
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