I did, indeed, decide to take a hint from the paintings in chosing my next direction. The only logical place to go seemed to be the town hall, really, so I headed directly there.
I walked past the Pickled Patriarch pub and a little strip mall, but by now I'm pretty conditioned not to expect anyone. I turned left onto Piers Street, which makes for a dead end. At the very end is a large parking lot, which connects to a roundabout right in front of the semi-circular city hall. From my map, actually, the hall looks like a big slice of cantaloupe, as far as shape goes.
At first, I found nothing. The door was locked and the windows all tightly shut. I walked all the way around the building but every door and window I found was firmly locked. I was about to give up when my foot nudged against something small. I bent down to pick it up, discovering it to be a little black meeting book. A cursory flip through the pages told me that it belonged to Edgar Piers... the current mayor! How careless he had been to drop it. I took it over to a picnic table (complete with a bucket for cigarette butts--charming!) and sat down to leaf through it.
I wasn't sure what I was expecting to find, but it wasn't this. The 23rd--three days ago--was circled, and filled in with "3 PM: Meet w/ 5 Petals @ Gardens". I already knew that Edgar must have been referring to the Cullingville Historical Gardens, which are just up the road from City Hall, and I had to stop myself from running off.
The Historical Gardens are a common haunt of the Five Petals. They double as a museum and botanical garden. I've never seen the Five Petals there, but I know that they have always spent a lot of time there. Interestingly, the Gardens have information about Nova Scotia and the surrounding area, as well as historical information about our neighboring community, Timothy's Settlement. It has no history about Cullingville.
I arrived at the Gardens not long after I left. Despite my best efforts, I actually had broken into a run. Things are getting weird. I went through the entry, which still had functioning motion detector doors, and picked up a garden map on the way in. A portrait hung over the front entry, showing the owner and maintainer of the gardens: Irving Piers. He's owned the gardens for as long as I can remember. He's looking a bit grey in the picture. Must be recent.
I decided to take a run into the security room. That's where I'm sitting right now, in fact, though to get here I had to snoop around in the "authorised personnel" room to find the applicable keycard. I'm about to queue up the security footage for April 23rd. We'll see what I find.