Totenmyer 1

Chapter One

World War II Begins 1939

Alchetta really enjoyed the holiday time in Italy during the month of July and part of August.  It would be the last peaceful holiday they would ever have together.  Themus was miserable because his two best friends Brandon Deere and Goderich Lafleur were set to leave London, England on The SS America on Aug 31, 1939.

The British Empire declared war on Germany and Word War II began on Sept 1, one day later.  Themus Munroe and The Bailey family could not get on the SS America because it was full.  Therefore, they took the next ship out.  They would travel with thousands of children to safety.  In all three million children moved out of London, England that day taken to the safer towns and villages all over Europe, Canada, and the United States.  The “Blitz” bombing would start in London, England on September 7, just five days after they left.  London would never be the same…

That summer in July while Alchetta was away with Themus Munroe and his two friends Goderich Lafleur and Brandon Deere, Retta interviewed a new manager to take care of the Bailey Hotel London.  She wanted someone to take care of it while she and Melville went on a holiday to Canada.  The new manager was in his mid thirties, slightly bald, with little black spectacles.  A bit roly-poly around the edges but he would do.

Mr. Stalin, Joseph Munroe’s Butler gave him a good reference.  The poor man was quite distressed to find out his services were not required anymore on August 30.  The Bailey’s figured with the war and bombing in England, they would close their hotel down and go to Canada to be safe.  Retta gave him notice advising him they would come back to England and rehire him if he was still around once the war was over.

It was on September 2 that Joseph and Themus Munroe along with Melville, Retta, and Alchetta Bailey boarded The RMS Queen Elizabeth.  As the ship pulled away from the docks, they watched London slowly disappear from sight.  Each of them prayed that the ravages of war would not touch their homes…

Themus sent a telegram to Goderich letting him know their change in plans hoping that they would see their friends again.  When they found out that the ship’s escorts were army ships for protection, they almost did not get Retta Bailey to board the ship that day.

Detective Bob Farley was worried about the bombings in London so he decided to move Ida Tinkle to a more secure location.  So far, she was behaving herself ever since Joseph Munroe took the Book of Spells.  Ida was quiet and serene completely opposite of what she used to be like.  The truth was that Ida Tinkle was depressed because Dr Peter Tibideau the immortal doctor that practices the dark arts dumped her as his lover after finding out about her cheating on him while collecting people’s organs for the black trade market in England.

Ida was his nurse and Dr Tibideau felt as his employee she was wonderful as his lover, she betrayed him by sleeping with all those men.  Even though he made a good fortune harvesting the organs from the corpses that she murdered, he was not aware that she was their lover too.  Ida hoped with time Dr Tibideau would miss her and help her escape from this dreadful jail cell.

Chapter Two

Retta Bailey’s Revenge

Alchetta was telling her mother Retta that ever since Joseph Munroe got the Book of Spells his health has deteriorated.

Alchetta said, “I’m afraid he will die before Themus and I get married.”

Retta looked at her daughter, “Alchetta I think that the Book of Spells might be cursed.  Some things we need to leave alone. Ask yourself this. Why would Ida Tinkle hide a powerful book like that in the London University Library – far from her home?  Maybe she knows something that we don’t.”

Alchetta was thoughtful, “Well one thing for sure is that I cannot ask her, I wonder if anyone else knows about the Book of Spells?  Maybe the Totenmyers can help.”

Retta was worried, “I don’t like having the book in our possession here on the ship. I hope it doesn’t bring us any bad luck or make us ill.”

Alchetta said, “The book was originally in Place Royale. Joseph said his grandparents built the mansion there in the 1800’s. I wonder if the book was there when his mother Destine died mysteriously. I do not think he was aware of it. How did the book get to London and why did Ida Tinkle have it?”

Retta was mystified, “I wonder if anyone kept a diary about it. Maybe the great – grandmother wrote about it.  It’s something people do back then – write letters or write in a diary.”

Alchetta grinned, “Do you have a diary mother?”

Retta smiled, “Of course I do. I know you have one. We bought you your first diary when you were eleven years old.”

Alchetta grimaced, “I only write in it once in awhile. My boring life isn’t worth writing about.”

Retta was surprised at her daughter’s bitterness.

Retta scolded her, “How could you call your life boring? We traveled all over the world to Africa, China and India how can that be considered boring?”

Alchetta smiled, “Yes but I never got the opportunity to make friends and now my social connections are limited. I would like to climb the social ladders that Lorraine Atkins has. Did you know that she is involved in every major charity event in Canada?  She’s even got Royalty attending her balls.”

Retta laughed, “Well don’t give Lorraine all the credit. Anthony’s architecture designs have helped to make a name for himself. He says that Robert Adam influenced him.”

Alchetta’s eyes lit up as she said, “Mother you’re a genius! I have been fretting over what designer to use at the Munroe Mansion. If I replicate some of Robert Adams designs and hold a party in honour of Anthony and Lorraine, the newspapers will pick up the story. I will find a way to link the name “Alchetta Munroe or better Munroe Art Gallery” and be famous for replicating various artists form around the world. I could get the ceilings done with a mixture of Robert Adam’s tastes along with that old medallion styled paintings maybe with Michelangelo’s works of art in them or Van Gogh’s.”

Retta said, “My dear you are always thinking. Such magnificent ideas come out of that little head of yours. Will you need to discuss it with Themus? After all it is his mansion.”

Alchetta bristled at her mothers words.

Alchetta looked at her mother in dismay and said, “What if Themus opposes the idea?”

Retta thought carefully then said, “Tell him you can hold gala events there. You will need a large ballroom and many garden walkways. Themus will need more property to build something like that.”

Alchetta pulled out the land surveys and said, “We will have to purchase this piece of land over here.  Joseph said that Anthony wants this land for his property.  Too bad for him I need it more than he does.  He is not expanding his mansion anytime soon. Jake told Themus that Anthony’s mansion built in the Medieval Era has not changed once.  The entire decor is still the same. He refuses to modernize it in any way. Lorraine, his wife, hates it. Personally, I think Anthony shies away from entertaining people. He is a private sort of person and values his home. Themus says that Anthony does not like to have too many people over at any given time. He has his business meetings at the Old Port Inn in Place, Royale.”

Retta sighed, “Alchetta darling not everyone is a social butterfly like you and Themus. If that is the case with Anthony, I doubt he will care if you buy the land. I would not write a letter asking to buy the land. It is best to ask the Totenmyers in person.  From what I gather from Joseph, The Totenmyers are very meticulous about who buys their land. Originally, the Totenmyers never wanted to sell any land to the Atkins after they found out that Anthony’s grandmother dabbles in the dark arts. Legend has it that evil things happened in that mansion. Even now, there is gossip about it being haunted. Sometimes they say screaming can be heard in the forest nearby.”

Alchetta giggled, “Mother where did you hear such a preposterous story from?”

Retta said, “In the local news from the Montreal Gazette. Sometimes they talk about haunted houses and the Atkins Mansion mentioned years ago. I think Raine and Luvena Carrington were talking about it with Patricia Rosewood.”

Alchetta was sombre for a moment, as she asked, “How is Luvena Carrington these days?”

Retta said, “Not good. She has been ill lately. I think the shock of her mother’s death has caused her a lot of grief. She refuses to go out anywhere or do anything.”

Alchetta was worried, “But I thought Canada would be good for her.”

Retta said, “I thought so too. She sent me a letter the other day. She is staying at Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. Patricia is with her and so is a girl named Merry White.”

Alchetta gasped, “Why I think that is the name of the girl that Goderich intends to marry.”

Retta said, “You’ can’t be serious! Merry White is too old for Goderich. She is in her late twenties!  Why would he want her?

Alchetta smiled craftily, “Didn’t William White just comes into a fortune? Perhaps Goderich wants to marry her for money. He is a lovely man, but a bit boorish. Maybe they made a good couple. After all Goderich and Brandon are living out in the wilderness in Canada. Brandon said they would live in tents, as the natives do there. I wonder if the Totenmyers live in a tent.”

Retta smirked, “I doubt it.  Have you heard how rich the Totenmyers are? Lenno and Heta Totenmyer own most of eastern Canada and anything around the Canadian Shield, every lake and the lands surrounding it. He has sold most of it though. His family has lived a simple existence.

They hardly spent any of the money they have made. He owns all the fur trades across Canada and several canoe factories.  He only has one of each now; he sold most of them several years ago when Nuna Totenmyer ran off to England, changed her name to Patricia and married Barney Rosewood.  What a scandal that was!”

Alchetta said, “Barney Rosewood that name sounds familiar. Ah, yes now I remember! It is too bad that he died at such a young age.”

Retta said, “That is what happens when you sleep with Madame X.”

Alchetta said, “I remember now, Brandon said something about it before. But as for the Totenmyers I wasn’t aware that there was a scandal?”

Retta said, “Don’t you ever read the latest gossip? They say that Lenno Totenmyer killed Andy Littlewolf.”

Alchetta said, “Why would he do a thing like that?”

Retta said, “The Littlewolfs wanted Patricia to honour the arranged marriage agreement from before.  Andy Littlewolf was supposed to be her husband.”

Alchetta said, “The Littlewolfs are natives where would they get the information about Barney Rosewood’s death while living out in the middle of no where?”

Retta turned pale and started to tremble,”Alchetta please forgive me. I only wanted to stir up trouble…”

Alchetta glared at her mother and demanded, “What did you do now?”

Retta shakily said, “I wrote a letter to the Littlewolfs… I had no idea it would end with Andy Littlewolfs murder…”

Alchetta thought for a moment, “Is there any evidence of this?”

Retta said, “I don’t know. I asked them to burn my letter after reading they can only identify me by my handwriting. I signed it anonymous…”

Alchetta shook her head, “Mother how can I in good conscience ask Sasha Totenmyer for a spell of protection or anything?  If she is as supernaturally powerful as they say…She might already know who told them…”

Retta sighed heavily, “I can only ask for her forgiveness. I am a stupid woman. I was only trying to teach Patricia Rosewood a lesson for dragging our names in the mud in England and ruining your father’s reputation in public a few months ago…”

Alchetta was frustrated as she said, “Mother Patricia never did any such thing.  Unfortunately, we did not know the half of it. Themus told me later that everyone already knew about father’s affairs with Ida Tinkle and those other women.  No one ever told us for fear that you would ostracize them from society or worse not invite them to one of your fabulous garden parties.”

Retta pouted for a minute then said, “I am going to miss those garden parties. Maybe we can have some at your place once you’re settled?”

Alchetta patted her mother’s hand, “yes that would be a wonderful idea!”

Retta said, “But honesty Alchetta I’ve always known of your father’s indiscretions. I knew where his mistresses lived and who they were all six of them.  Why didn’t I know about Ida Tinkle?”

Alchetta turned three shades of red verging on purple as she held her breath then slowly let it out.

Alchetta said in a low voice, “Actually mother there’s more to the story. I know about father’s mistresses, more than you do.  You see when I was a child…father took me along, to play or rather occupy the other women’s children while he spent time in the bedroom with their mothers.”

Retta was enraged, “Your father did what? I am going to kill him! How could he do such a thing to you or to me?  He is mad. He must be!”

Alchetta quietly said, “We cannot blame Ida Tinkle for his behaviour. Father has only been seeing her for the past several months.  His other mistresses have been in his life since I was young. I think Joseph Munroe introduce him to the women. If I might be so crass to say that Father would try them out first then tell Joseph if they were any good in bed.”

Retta was horrified, “I though your father only had six mistresses, how many has he had?”

Alchetta innocently said, “Hundreds…When I was young he would tell you that he was going away on a business trip. Then he and Joseph would go drink and carouse with the women at the local brothels across town…”

Retta fainted…  Alchetta called for one of the servants to go fetch a doctor.  She went to the ships medical center but before she got there, a tall, handsome man stopped her and asked what was wrong.

The servant said, “Its Mrs Bailey, she’s fainted.”

He said, “I’ll come see what the problem is, I’m a doctor.”

She nodded wondering at his black cloak and top hat, he did not look like a doctor but she took his word for it and led him back to the cabin. Alchetta was surprised at how handsome and young the doctor was, his eyes held magic in them, literally.  Alchetta was smitten as soon as he looked at her and smiled with his straight beautiful pearly white teeth, an amazing complexion, tanned and gorgeous she could not take her eyes away from his… She became mesmerized…

Retta was suddenly hot to touch; feverish she began to mutter about the Book of Spells making her ill.  The doctor looked a bit shocked and looked at Alchetta.  She saw the look of recognition in his face upon hearing the words Book of Spells so she questioned him about it.

Alchetta asked, “Have you ever heard of the Book of Spells? I know that Joseph Munroe’s grandmother wrote it.  I am Alchetta Bailey by the way. I plan to marry Themus Munroe so I’ve been doing some family history research at the library.”

The doctor grabbed her hand and smiled, looking at her with his dreamy eyes.

He kissed her hand and said, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet the very wise Miss Bailey. I have heard so much about you. My name is Dr Peter Tibideau…”

Alchetta gasped, pulled her hand back and quickly started to back away from him with a wild look in her eye, “Why are you here? Please do not kill my mother or me. Did your nurse Ida Tinkle send you?”

The doctor spoke in a low melodious tone; she could not hear what he was saying at first.

Then he spoke louder, “Don’t fear me child. I do not intend to harm anyone. I do not work for Ida Tinkle. She used to be my employee – a nurse. I am glad shes in jail, thanks to you, they got all the evidence they needed to convict her for all those murders she committed in England.  It is a bit of an embarrassment for me. Now why is your mother mumbling about the Book of Spells?”

Alchetta said, “First you tell me how the Book of Spells ended up in London?”

Dr Tibideau’s eyes narrowed, he hoarsely said, “Whatever gave you that idea? The Book of Spells disappeared many years ago.  In fact, it used to be in my possession, locked safely away.  Until someone stole it how do you know about it?”

Alchetta did not know what to say. She did not know if she could trust the doctor.

Alchetta asked, “Was Ida tinkle working for you when the book disappeared?”

Dr Tibideau shook his head and said, “No it was another girl. It was around the same time that the Virgin Slyer was attacking several women in England, including her.  It was several months later that she found out that she was pregnant and committed suicide.”

Alchetta asked, “Why did she kill herself?”

Dr Tibideau looked down, paused and looked directly into her eyes and whispered, “She didn’t want to have my child. She thinks that I am the devil.”

Alchetta smiled, “That is strange, because Ida Tinkle was her sister and she’s trying to kill Joseph Munroe because of her sisters death. She wants revenge for it. Somehow Ida Tinkle stole the Book of Spells from you.”

Dr Tibideau said, “The Book of Spells is dangerous to anyone who touches it or keeps it in their possession. It causes illness, hallucinations and eventually death to a mortal…”

Alchetta’s eyes widened, as she put all the pieces of the puzzle together in her mind.

Alchetta asked, “Did the Munroe family entrust it to you because you are immortal?”

Dr Tibideau looked deeply into her eyes and as she froze, he shook his head yes and smiled.

Suddenly Retta sat up in bed and shrieked, “Alchetta what is Dr Tibideau doing here? He has come to kill us I know he has… He is the instrument of the devil… Alchetta run!”

Alchetta looked like she was in a trance, she softly said, “Mother, its okay. I’ve found out who can protect us.”  Then Alchetta turned to Dr Tibideau and said, “Joseph Munroe has the Book of Spells in his possession. He is very ill in his room. I will take you to him.”

Retta looked at Alchetta she was worried sick. Alchetta was acting very strange but she was feeling a bit better and she smiled when her husband Melville showed up in the doorway.

Melville said, “You called dear?  Oh pardon me, why is this man here? Who are you sir?”

Alchetta said, “Its okay father he’s a doctor. He’s here to help protect us from Ida Tinkle.”

Dr Tibideau pulled out two vials of potion from his coat pocket and handed one to Melville and the other to Retta.

Alchetta said, “Drink it, you will feel marvellous soon.”

Dr Tibideau did not give Alchetta any of the potions explaining that she was not ill, but they were.

Both Retta and Melville retired to their bedroom to rest.

Alchetta and Dr Tibideau left shortly thereafter walking over to Joseph Munroe’s cabin where the butler and caregiver Mr Stalin answered the door.

Mr Stalin said, “I’m sorry Alchetta, Joseph cannot see you, he is terribly ill. I was just getting ready to call for the doctor.”

Alchetta smiled, “I brought the doctor with me.”

When Dr Tibideau walked in through the door Mr Stalin turned white and tried to block his path. He pushed him aside without touching him slamming him up against the wall where he could not move as Dr Tibideau walked into Joseph Munroe’s room. The doctor walked over to the closet, opened up a secret panel and found the safe.  He opened it easily and pulled out the Book of Spells. He pulled the cheesecloth back and saw that it truly was the book. There was a look of triumph in his eyes as he turned and smiled at Alchetta.

Joseph cried out weakly, “Don’t let him take it!”

Alchetta soothingly said, “Now Mr Munroe its okay. The Book of Spells has been making you very ill. The doctor is going to give you a potion to make you safe forever…He will protect all of us from darkness… Your grandmother wishes this… She entrusted him as the keeper of the book.”

Joseph tried to crawl out of bed but he fell heavily to the floor.  The doctor raised him up in the air without touching him and placed him back in the bed.  Dr Tibideau held him down with his magical powers as Alchetta forced his mouth open and poured the vial of liquid down his throat.  Joseph fell back against the pillow and stopped breathing…

Dr Tibideau said, “He will rest in peace now…”

He put the Book of Spells in his bag and said, “I need to take this where it belongs. Thank you for your help Alchetta. You can all enjoy your trip to Canada. You will be safe from now on.”

Alchetta looked at Joseph, he was quietly starting to breathe again.

Alchetta asked, “Dr Tibideau how did you know to bring a potion?”

Dr Tibideau said, “I made your father ill first, then Joseph and finally your mother.  I was waiting for a servant to come and get me. You are lucky they caught me when they did.  All three might have died…Then he walked out of the room.”

Alchetta was crying, wondering where she was.  Mr Stalin limped into the bedroom saw Joseph breathing and sent a servant to fetch Master Themus.  When Themus arrived no one could tell him what had happened, they could not remember a thing…

Chapter Three

The Effects of a Potion

It seemed like they had been at sea for weeks and weeks, but really it had only been a few days.

Retta, Melville and Joseph recovered from their illnesses and strangely, their bodies began to look younger day by day.  Alchetta found it a curious thing indeed, for her and Themus did not feel different at all.  She shrugged it off as the sea air bringing a speedy recovery to the three of them.

Alchetta turned to Themus, “Do you see how strange these three are acting? Almost like you and Brandon – college kids at a frat party?”

Themus noticed how different they were.  Before they acted like a reserved bunch of parents that never did anything fun or lively.  It was very curious indeed.  He asked Mr Stalin about it.

Mr Stalin said, “I wonder if it has anything to do with Dr Tibideau seeing Joseph a few days ago…”

Themus said, “Let’s go ask him.”

The two men went to find Dr Tibideau but he was not on board in fact there was not any passengers listed with that name.  When Themus told Alchetta what happened she freaked.

Alchetta said, “I don’t remember a thing. Mr Stalin are you sure I was with Dr Tibideau?”

Mr Stalin nodded yes.

Alchetta turned to them and said, “Themus you once told me about Jesseline Thirkill getting a potion given to her by Ida Tinkle and Dr Tibideau.  It made her look young and beautiful…But when she refused to do what she was told  it made her ugly and hideous to look at. I think Dr Tibideau used the same mind control technique on me that Ida did on Jesseline.  I cannot imagine, oh lord what if he made me pull the trigger and kill your father?  I could never forgive myself.  And why didn’t he kill us when he had the chance?”

Themus said, “Alchetta, that’s not the whole story. Jesseline drank two potions and two different spells came upon her.  One spell made her beautiful and rich.  The other from Ida Tinkle came in the form of a letter.  She said it smelled like floral perfume, a new fragrance that she had never smelled before.  Anthony Atkins put a spell on the letter to make Jesseline hideous for one day.  Ida must have added another spell on top of it to make her hideous until her death.

Ida wanted Jesseline to suffer before dying. We still have not figured out why she went after Jesseline.  We know that she was planning to have Jesseline kill my father Joseph. Then things changed and Ida killed Jake and Jesseline instead, making my father suffer.”

Alchetta was worried, “Do you think that Ida Tinkle is still working with Dr Tibideau?  What if this whole ghost thing was a set up we have not seen or heard from the ghosts at your father’s estate in England since we left for Canada.  I am sure ghosts can travel if they want to.  Ever since the Book of Spells disappeared, everything has changed.  What if it is not Anthony Atkins controlling Ida Tinkle but it was Dr Tibideau because he wanted to get his hands on the Book of Spells.”

Themus said, “Why?”

Alchetta said, “As something of honour. He is like a knight who protects a royale gift.  It is coming back to me now.  I remember how shocked Dr Tibideau was to hear about the Book of Spells. In fact, there was a hint of fear in his eyes and then relief.  He worried about it I think, about it getting into the wrong hands.

Imagine using all that power to do evil.  Ida was using the Book of Spells for her own revenge against Joseph Munroe only he is not to blame.  I hope that Dr Tibideau lets Ida know of her mistake and then she forgives and forgets. I can understand her anger and grief over her sister’s death. They were fraternal twins. Ida really loved her twin sister.  It wasn’t till after her death that Ida turned to the dark arts to plan her revenge against Joseph Munroe.”

Themus was shocked and so were Retta and Melville.

Retta looked at her daughter and said, “Where did you find out about all this information?”

Alchetta looked strange and she quietly said, “Dr Tibideau keeps the Book of Spells on an altar, with candles, it is where he prays to the dark side…”

Retta gasped, “Alchetta! What has come over you?”

Alchetta looked blank for a moment, looking around at the worried faces peering closely at her and she asked, “What is wrong?”

Alchetta looked behind her there was no one there. The hair was standing up on the back of her neck and she had goose bumps.  She felt like someone or something was breathing down the back of her neck.  She shook it off and smiled at Themus.

Alchetta said, “Is this ship haunted? It is giving me the creeps.  I keep hearing a voice in my head.  It is telling me that my mind is beautiful and that I have a lovely soul.  Mother you do not think I am going crazy do you? Maybe from all this stress…”

Themus was a bit worried about Alchetta and decided to change the subject.

Themus said, “Alchetta darling we all know you have a beautiful mind and that you are a genius at heart.  Dr Tibideau was a very handsome man maybe he bewitched you somehow.  As long as he doesn’t try any funny stuff we’ll be okay.”

Alchetta stopped again and said, “Dr Tibideau says that the government is working on projects to develop a flying machine that will take men to the moon.”

Themus and Melville paused then smiled at each other. Themus winked at Melville.  If Alchetta wants to play mind games, then we will play along, humour her then sedate her later…

Themus said, “Melville I find it amazing.  World War II has started with Poland, the German Nazis fighting, and now the government is planning to fly to the moon.  I say we find out which company is building these flying machines and invest in it.  Alchetta, how do you buy shares in this company?”

Alchetta said, “Look up the information for NASA and the Dryden Flight Research Center they are planning to open a lab in Cleveland in 1940.  President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States is encouraging everyone to invest in this new project of his.”

Themus looked at Melville and then winked and asked, “Do you think they can do it?”

Melville did not wink back, in fact, he had a serious look on his face when he said, “Themus as crazy as it sounds let me tell you from past experience, it’s a great idea and yes they will do it.  When I was younger, around your age Themus, the wanted me to invest in a similar project like this one.

A young inventor wanted to build an airplane. When he told me he could make it fly, I laughed at him and told him to go away.  It was a year later that reading the paper I was mortified to find out the other man who did invest in this idea was a multimillionaire for a small investment.  I would have been a richer man if I would have trusted in something for once.”

Themus roared at this statement then jokingly said, “Yes but fate has a funny way of presenting the same opportunity to you.”

Themus looked at Retta when he said to Melville, “Another opportunity came your way and now you’ll have several successful hotels over the next few years.”

Themus was inferring to the fact that Retta was a very rich girl when Melville married her.

Alchetta smiled thinly, “It’s been a long time. I’m so glad your happy and healthy father.”

Melville patted his belly and said, “I feel younger but I haven’t gotten any slimmer. Too bad Dr Tibideau does not have a potion for losing weight. I sure could use it.  And it would make him a millionaire.”

Alchetta quietly said, “I think Dr Tibideau likes to keep things low key. He does not want to attract any attention to himself. He has very few clients. He told me he works in research and development. I wonder if he works for the government.”

Melville said, “Like a spy – how exciting – I would love to be a spy for the government.”

Retta said, “Hush darling, someone might over hear you. We must keep this to ourselves. Alchetta promised him…”

Melville looked at Alchetta’s blank face. She had no idea what they were referring to but she would find out.

Melville said, “Do you know how much money time Magazine would pay for a story like this – or even the tabloids?”

Alchetta curtly said, “Money cannot replace your life father.  He would kill all of us if anyone did that.”

Melville turned white as a ghost and humbly said, “I was only kidding…”

Retta scolded him, “Darling that was in poor taste. What if Dr Tibideau happened to read your mind at this inopportune moment then what would you do?”

Melville sat down and went into a stony silence….

Chapter Four

Themus’ Mother

Themus and Alchetta decided to go for a walk around the ship. The air was cool so Alchetta slipped on Themus’ jacket.  The waves lapped up against the ship and the lull of them sounded peaceful.  Looking on either side of the ship the war ships with guns seemed such a contrast to the beauty of the night.

Themus was laughing as he thought aloud, “I cannot believe how your mother reacted when we first came to board the ship. She created quite a scene.  I’m sure the people on the ship will find it amusing to talk about for years to come.”

Alchetta turned red with embarrassment and snarled, “Themus Munroe don’t you dare tell Brandon or Goderich what happened. They will never stop teasing me about it!”

Themus had tears in his eyes from laughing so hard, “But it was priceless!  I should have taken a photo of it. Imagine your father being strong enough to hoist your mother over his shoulders while she is kicking and screaming, carrying her up the ramp and dumping her at the very top of it on her rump.”

Alchetta gritted her teeth, “Mother is lucky that she did not break her back or something. I have never seen my father act so angry before.  He was not going to lose a dime and try to get a refund for his tickets. Father has been waiting a long time to travel to Canada.  He also wants to visit New York City sometime soon. He wanted to take Mother on a cruise before but she refused to go anywhere with him. She is leery of trains because of that accident that killed her friend Blaise Marchand.  She’s not comfortable on a ship because she lost her parents in the Titanic disaster and a plane is out of the question.”

Themus sarcastically said, “I’d like to put her on a horse, slap its ass and see her scream bloody murder!”

He chortled at the thought then stopped when he saw Alchetta put her hands on her hips and scowl at him.

Alchetta said, “Now you listen here Themus Munroe, I am not going to put up with you mocking my mother. Even though I will admit, it was the funniest thing on earth to see. We must try to forget it; I have something important to ask you.”

Themus stopped laughing when he saw the look of trepidation on Alchetta’s face.

He said, “Dearest what is it?”

She said, “It’s about the renovations on the Munroe mansion in Canada.  I have an idea on how to pay for its constant upkeep and my plan is to make a name for ourselves.”

Themus grinned, “Alchetta you know I love parties, I like to drink and gamble. I like to let loose when fathers not around. I would love it if you took care of the renovation and anything else. You can manage the books too. Just give me ample spending money for my clothes and my fun. That is all I require.”

Alchetta was surprise and a little hurt, when she said, “Themus don’t you care about how your home will look?”

Themus grabbed both of her hands and kissed the backs of each very lightly as he said, “Alchetta you love being in charge. I love your taste in clothing. Your mother told me that you chose the designers for the hotel. In fact your hotel is nicer then the Munroe estate in England. Anything you choose will be a hundred times better than anything I could. Did you notice how shabby our furniture is in the drawing room?

Father refuses to part with it. I want a modern look, very fashionable but like you, with some artistic flair.  So when you volunteer to take care of things I am going to give you full rein to this beast of a castle and I am going to sit back and see your handiwork. Then I will brag to everyone that it was all your idea… That way if they hate it, you will be the one to blame not I.”

Themus roared at his own joke as he continued, “Just think society will lap it up like a rich creamy bowl of milk. I am helping you by keeping out of it, trust me on that. Do I make myself clear?”

Alchetta was not pleased with his tone of voice. She realized that she had struck a nerve somewhere. Then it dawned on her. Themus has never been to the Munroe Mansion. He felt like a stranger because for the first sixteen years of his life he lived alone with his mother. Completely unaware, that he had a living and breathing father.  Sworn to secrecy – Alchetta told Themus that in order for them to be married in the future she had to know about his past.  Themus was evasive about how his mother came to know Joseph Munroe.  He relayed the fact that after an evening of sex, Themus came into being. Joseph who had left London, England in a hurry with no word of his whereabouts had no idea that he was going to be a father.

Themus’ mother raised him on her own, a quiet and studious child, Themus enjoyed reading mystery books. He enjoyed Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys and any stories about haunted houses, adventures and nature stories.  He taught himself to read and did very well in school. Themus enjoyed writing poetry. Many times the other boys would work with him to make up a poem for their little girl friends.

Themus brought up in a strict home and taught to have good manners and become fluent in the art of conversation. His mother said when he was older, it would be important for him to know art, history, science, sports and politics. When she suddenly became ill around his thirteenth birthday, he took care of her nursing her for three years until she died shortly after his sixteenth birthday.

On her deathbed, his mother confessed to Themus that he had a father whose name was Joseph Munroe and that he lived somewhere in London, England. She wrote a letter addressed to Joseph and then she died.  Themus took care of her belongings selling everything to raise money to take a train to London. That day when he appeared on the Munroe doorstep, Mr Stalin was shocked to see a younger mirror image of Joseph Munroe. He introduced the boy to his father and the rest is history.

Joseph Munroe, saw a younger reflection of himself that day. Themus felt at home in London. It would be a different story in Place Royale.  Alchetta knew that Themus was annoyed with her. When he got in a bad mood, it was best to leave him alone with his thoughts.

Alchetta said, “I’m sorry Themus. I will not ask you again. I will ask Goderich instead because he loves Robert Adam’s designs and he will enjoy helping me picking out things for the mansion.”

Themus smiled, “My father loved Robert Adam and so do I.”

Alchetta felt better and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow then goodnight.”

Themus stood by the railing enjoying the moon and the stars but then he felt a presence near him, uneasy he turned around and there were two ghostly figures – a woman with red hair and his younger brother Jonathan.  Themus was frightened as the voices said, “Beware of the curse of Munroe Mansion.”

Then the two ghosts disappeared. Themus walked to his cabin shaking and with his teeth chattering at their words. It sent chills through him…

Chapter Five

Disturbing the Peace

 

Themus tossed and turned all night long. He kept having nightmares that the ghosts were chasing him through the underground tunnels – he heard screaming, sat up in his bed, and bumped his eye on the bedpost at the sound of his own screams… He woke up from the noise as he kept hearing the words echo through his head… “Beware of the curse of Munroe mansion.” Finally, after tossing and turning for hours he fell into an exhausted, uneasy state of mind and barely slept that night.

 

The next morning Themus woke up. His head was throbbing.

 

He looked in the mirror and yelled, “Oh God no! Look at me!”

 

His one eye was black and blue and he had a purple and black bump the size of a goose egg above his right eye. How was he going to explain this to Alchetta?

 

A spooky little voice said, “Tell her the truth” and Themus jumped and ran out of the room terrified… Retta saw Themus rushing towards them first.

 

Retta said, “Oh my poor Themus!”

 

Melville cracked a smile and jovially said, “Alchetta I didn’t know you were such a violent creature!  Boy when you said you had a fight with Themus I had no idea!”

 

Then Melville looked at Themus and said, “You might want to put some ice on that goose egg to reduce the swelling. I’ll go get you some of my painkillers. I know what it’s like to have a black eye.”

 

Melville got up and walked away from the table.

 

Alchetta glared at Themus, noting the look of terror on his face she attempted to soften her voice, “Themus you went to the bar didn’t you? What d id you do, get drunk, hit on a woman and get punched in the eye? Who is he? I’ll knock him out!”

 

Alchetta’s clenched fists were too much for Themus.

He roared, “I had a nightmare last night, sat up, hit the bedpost and gave myself a black eye.  Although I do like your version of the story better At least then I wouldn’t look or feel so stupid.”

 

Retta started to giggle then Alchetta joined in. By the time Melville came back, all three were laughing hysterically with tears in their eyes.

 

Melville pipe up, “Aw are you crying because you missed me? I was only gone for ten minutes.”

 

That made all four of them laugh hysterically and people around them were getting mad.

 

Alchetta grinned and said to the snotty woman to the left of her, “Someone spiked our morning coffee.”

 

Their laughter was getting louder by the minute.

 

One of the servers came up and the arrogant woman hissed, “They are all drunk. She says they spiked their coffee.”

 

The server apologized to her and turned glaring at Alchetta and in a pious voice he said, “I’m sorry but you are disturbing the guests. I am going to have to ask you to go get into the middle class dining room instead. They won’t mind the likes of you…”

 

Melville got up and said, “Very well then, It feels good to laugh for once after everything that’s happened I’m not about to stop. Come on Retta let us not cause another scene. ”

 

Surprising her, Melville bent over, picked up Retta, and hoisted her over his shoulder.

 

Retta was kicking and screaming, “You put me down this instant Melville Bailey. I paid for first class. How dare they make me eat with those low lives!  I want the captain.”

 

The server coldly said, “Mam if you don’t quiet down this instant. I will have the Captain ban you from this dining room for the rest of the journey.”

 

Retta yelled, “Don’t you threaten me young man.  Do you know whom you are talking to I am Retta Bailey, I’m an heiress and you my dear sir are NOTHING…”

 

Alchetta clamped her hand over her mother’s mouth before she could finish.

 

Alchetta turned to the server, red faced and apologetic, “I am so sorry sir; my mother hasn’t been herself lately.  She is ill. Please excuse us.”

 

They quickly left the dining room and Themus looked for the signs to the middle class dining area.  Melville put his wife down and they walked down the two flights of stairs in silence.  They all stopped in the doorway of the dining area.  It felt so strange, they had never seen anything like it before and all four of them groaned in dismay.

 

Alchetta gasped, “What a difference one class makes.  This looks like our servants kitchen quarters.”

 

It was a large simple room with wooden tables and chairs; no Victorian laced tablecloths, no silver candlesticks or silver wares, no flowers on each table and no table service?

 

They walked over to the buffet grabbed a plate and followed the line to serve themselves.

 

Melville joked, “At least we won’t have to wait to be served.”

 

Themus grinned, “That’s true.”

 

Retta was silent. Mortified, by her behaviour she could not understand what was happening to her. She was always so serene, careful of her manners. For years, she played the perfect host at their card games or bingo nights at the hotel. The people there were more relaxed and not such stuff shirts as the people on this first class ship.  Retta started to miss the hotel. She felt out of her element, out of her safe zone.  She began to worry about Lorraine Atkins hearing about her incidents. Would she hold it against Alchetta and make life difficult for her in Place Royale?

 

What would Alchetta do without her and Melville? How would their darling baby survive without them around to coddle her?  Once Alchetta was married, they would have to leave.  She did not know where they would end up due to the war in England.   Retta did not want to stay in Canada.  She had a thought.  Maybe they could travel a bit and go to New York City.  She would love to attend a fashion show and buy something extravagant. Something fun to forget all her troubles she worried about the hotel, wondering if there would be anything left of it after this war.

 

Retta had to admit to herself that she was having fun for the first time in a long time. Come to think of it. She never had fun at the hotel for it was always work first, play, relax never.

Retta turned to Melville, “Do you realize this is the first vacation we’ve taken since our honeymoon?  We have not travelled since we opened the hotel almost twenty-seven years ago. I was pregnant with Alchetta then. Every year you asked me to go somewhere and I always refused.  I am glad that you dragged me on this ship. I feel like I am living life for the first time. Melville we should tour different parts of Canada and the United States before we try to head back to England.  This war should be over soon.  Poor Retta had no idea that World War II was going to last for six years…

 

Retta stopped for a minute then she smiled and said, “Melville let’s go on a train ride.”

 

Melville looked at his wife in shock as he asked, “Retta are you feeling okay? My dearest you are terrified of trains?”

 

Retta looked puzzled, “Why am I terrified of something that I have never been on before? Do not be silly Melville. We’ll go on a train and that’s final!”

 

Alchetta stood there, jaw dropping, she whispered to Themus, “I think Mothers mind has cracked. She is acting like a different person. What has come over her?”

 

Themus grinned, “Maybe it’s the Canadian Air. We should be half way across the channel by now at the rate that we are travelling.”

 

Melville grinned, “Don’t let that fool you boy, were going to be at least two weeks. We should arrive around mid September just in time for the fall harvest.  And then we get to experience Thanksgiving in October.”

 

Alchetta said, “What is that?”

 

Themus said, “Canadians and American’s celebrate Thanksgiving every year at different times.  In Canada it is sometime in October where America celebrates it in November.  They have a lovely meal of Roast Turkey, potatoes, dressing, vegetables, squash and pumpkin pie. The Natives taught the pilgrims to be thankful for their first harvest when they landed in America during the time of the Mayflower or something like that.”

 

Retta said, “I’ll enjoy a good feast after this fare of food.”

 

Themus agreed he was already missing the familiar flavours of his dishes back in England.

 

Themus said, “Alchetta we need to hire an English Chef for the mansion.”

 

Alchetta’s eyes widened, “I never even thought of that.”

 

She pulled out a leather notebook and jotted it down. Themus peered carefully over her should as she snapped it shut.

 

Themus joked, “Is that your little black book?”

 

Alchetta said, “No it’s my diary it’s not meant for prying eyes.”

 

Themus grinned, “Are there any secrets in there?”

 

Alchetta looked at her father then looked away as she smirked, “I’ll never tell.”

 

Themus said, “You know that’s a great idea. I think I’ll get a diary for myself.”

 

Alchetta smiled, “Copy cat!”

 

Melville winked at Themus and said, “Make sure you get a diary with a lock and key. Women are known to have prying eyes.”

 

Alchetta said hotly, “I would never pry into Themus’ diary. I trust that he will not look at mine either… If I don’t look at his” and she smiled broadly like a cheshire cat.

 

Melville looked at Retta, “Do you keep a diary?”

 

Retta smiled, “Don’t all women?  It is where we can be a star and no one needs to know. If we are good or bad, unjust or fair we write down our dreams and goals and a year later we still have the same ones at least I do. Nothings changed for me…”

 

Melville sighed, “Yes I feel that way too. I am suffering from a mid life crisis I think. I want to feel young again. I’m afraid of getting old.”

 

Themus said, “I don’t understand why anyone fears getting old. There are people I know who are in their eighties that are more physically active then people in their forties. It is as if they woke up out of a slumbering sleep one day and realized that they may only have a few more years left to live.  Then they start living all over again. Some even get married. Most wedding planners are for the every young. There aren’t many things for people who are aged.”

 

Retta said, “some things need to change.”

 

Alchetta agreed and said, “Yes society need to start looking at it in a different way. Life isn’t over at sixty, it’s just beginning.”

 

Themus chuckled, “Maybe someone should start a magazine like that. Teach people how to start living after sixty.”

 

Melville was pensive for a moment and quietly said, “Depends on who makes it through World War II. I hear that things are getting intense in Europe. Why do they declare war then demand our young ones to fight?  They are impetuous imps that have no sense of urgency to the matter. To them it is a game.”

 

Themus retorted hotly, “Even one who is frivilous can be taught to be responsible.”

 

Alchetta said, “But how long will it last? During the war I suppose and then afterward they will revert back to how they were before it all started.”

 

Retta sighed, “Why is it that people cannot change?”

 

Themus said, “I believe they are born that way. It’s in their blood to be wild and carefree so they do it.”

 

Alchetta asked, “What about a serial killer? Do you think they are born that way too?”

 

Melville said, “I don’t doubt it, although science hasn’t’ proved it yet. It is sad though that the Euthanasia Society of America in 1938 was killing all those newborn babies who are considered defective and cannot be cured. Too bad they couldn’t do the same to serial killers if they are in fact born that way.”

 

Themus replied with, “Maybe science should study the brain of these known serial killers and see what makes them tick? They should have done that with Albert Fish – The Brooklyn Vampire – then he wouldn’t have killed and ate all those children.”

 

Retta looked at Alchetta and whispered, “This conversation with science is going to turn to politics, and they will start arguing in 3, 2, 1…”

 

Both women grinned at each other when Melville hotly said, “The Government should study Ida Tinkles brain and Dr Peter Tibideau. If they can control minds they can use that technology during the war.”

 

Themus retorted, “They probably will in the future. I do not believe that anyone can control a mind though. I believe it is the power of suggestion. They get a person so angry that he or she cannot think straight then they suggest something and BAM they do it without a second thought.”

 

Melville paused for a moment, “You know it would happen that way. Nevertheless, in Ida Tinkles case who is giving the power of suggestion Dr Tibideau or Anthony Atkins?”

 

Themus sighed, “Anthony has been a close friend of my father and my late brother Jake. My brother told me that Anthony was very kind and caring. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that he had anything to do with any of this. What if Ida Tinkle is crazy maybe she talks about it, gets it in her own mind that is how it is, then acts out her fantasy world?”

 

Melville became quiet as he pondered these thoughts.

 

Themus added, “Every serial killer has always said they thought about it, dreamed about it then they wanted to know how it felt to kill somebody. Once the deed was done they felt euphoria of having accomplished something no matter how vile it was.”

 

Melville said, “So what you are saying is that they are losers or feel like a loser who wants to accomplish something in life. Therefore, they choose something that comes easy to them. Something they dream and then once the deed is done they feel happy and content inside… ”

 

Themus interjected, “Which causes them to do it again and again.  They like those “feel good thoughts” about themselves.”

 

Melville added, “Then they reason with themselves and some come up with a crazy excuse as to why they had to do it.”

Themus said, “Many blame religion as a scape goat and the courts buy it. They even think that because someone is clinically diagnosed to be insane that it is acceptable for them to murder someone. Instead of making them pay the price in a jail cell. They pat them on the head, give them medicine that makes them crazier and stick them in a mental ward.  Half the time they escape and go out and do it all over again.”

 

Melville said, “Because they have programmed their brains to think in a certain pattern, they automatically repeat the same pattern over and over again.”

 

Themus said, “Yes Melville you are brilliant! I should write an essay on these thoughts and send them to my University Professor to see if the school can do a study on these theories of ours.”

 

Melville said, “I am sure they will love to do another study on human beings.  They are always looking at different theories and philosophies.  It is the age of reason that we live in as for Ida Tinkle, I’d love to hear her explanation as to why she murders so many men…”

 

Themus replied, “Honestly I hope they keep her in jail and throw away the key.  She is a threat to my peace of mind and my family.  She’s killed enough of my family members thank you and I do not intend to be victimized by that woman ever again!  I will kill her with my bare hands if I have to have a peaceful life.  I am sure Alchetta will understand if it comes down to that.”

 

Melville whispered, “You would be doing me a favour as well.  She wanted to kill me too.”

 

Themus smiled, “I forgot about that.”

 

Melville winked, “Good let’s keep it that way…Now I think it’s time to retire to our rooms I am exhausted from this journey and stressed out about our discussion about serial killers.”

 

It would be a few more days before they would reach the shores of Quebec.  With storms and gale force winds, they spent the next week in their cabins, feeling green from the rocking of the ship.  If they were not eating something, they were reading the books borrowed from the library. After that, they concentrated on brushing up on the history of Canada so that they would know a little bit about it when they landed on its shores.

 

Chapter Six

Chago Sima Meets Lorraine Picard

 

Meanwhile on a train heading for the western parts of Canada a handsome Spanish man sat deep in thought. Chago Sima was remembering the day when he first met Lorraine Picard several years ago.  Chago was traveling in a circus with his grandmother Evette a wise old woman who always carried a crystal ball with her in a purple velvet pouch. When Chago was a young boy, his parents worked on the trapeze in the circus they would fly through the air like eagles.

 

Chago loved the eagle for it was wise and could see into the future. One day Chago had a dream that his parents flew through the air and then they fell off a mountain. They kept falling to their death – Chago woke up sweating. He was sixteen at the time. He tried to warn his father of his dream but neither one of his parents would believe in his gift. Much to Evette’s dismay, her daughter refused to believe in such things. She married a handsome young Spaniard who felt the same way.

 

Little Chago did believe because he had gifts that he never told a soul about. When he dreamed of his parent’s death, he decided he did not want to believe in his gift anymore. He figured he could try to stop it from happening – Unfortunately, fate cannot be stopped. Our destinies are written before we are born – that is what Granma Evette would say. A month later, Chago’s dream came true. During a highflying act off the Mountain of Lava, both of his parents fell to their deaths. Chago became very bitter about the whole thing.

 

From that day forward, he refused to listen to his gifts because he chose not to know what the future held for him.

 

One day Lorraine Picard, a beautiful dark haired girl, caught Chago’s eye. Lorraine went to see Evette for a tarot card reading. Lorraine heard that destiny and fortunes would change drastically in the near future. There would be turmoil in her life, she would have a child and then… Evette stopped, she could not say anymore.

 

She looked at Lorraine and said, “Remember that sin has its consequences. What you do to others will come back and haunt you. ”

 

Lorraine laughed at Evette and mocked her, “you know nothing old woman!”

 

Evette said, “For dishonouring me – you will have great hardship and an heir will not come easy to you. Only one who is gifted shall be able to provide you with child…”

 

Lorraine grinned and walked out of the beaded curtained tent. She bumped into an attractive poor Spanish boy.

 

The boy smiled, “Hello my name is Chago Sima,”

 

Lorraine shook his hand, “I am Lorraine Picard.”

 

Chago looked around, “Where is your family?”

 

Loraine smiled, “I am alone. My mother would ground me if she knew where I was. My sister Elsa said I would never have the nerve to come to a place like this.”

 

Chago looked troubled, “why would she say a thing like that?”

 

Loraine looked around then whispered, “My mother old her that you kidnap children and eat them. I think she wanted us to stay away. Mother does not believe in these things. I find it interesting. I’m trying to learn how it works, How do they know what People do or say before they come here?”

 

Chago sighed, “It is the spirit world, the dead, and they speak to my Grandmother. They come to warn the living of what fate has in store of them.”

 

Lorraine laughed, “Your grandmother was telling me terrible things. I refuse to believe her. My life will be wonderful. She is a crazy old woman. She even cursed me, saying to not have a child unless it’s with someone who is gifted!”

 

Chago looked startled at this, for he had a vision of a small child, dark skinned that looked like him but he thought that it was impossible. True she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.  She would never consent to marry him. Maybe it was just a fantasy. He did not believe in his gift anymore, it was too painful…

 

Lorraine said, “I’m sorry…was it something I said?”

 

On an impulse, Lorraine leaned forward and kissed Chago. A fire of passion rose up between the two souls – a white whirlwind started and then Evette shouted, “Enough! It is not time…”

 

She grabbed Chago’s hand and waved Lorraine away much to the girl’s fury. Lorraine did not respect any type of authority especially not some ugly old gypsy woman. She would come back and see Chago if she wanted too, no one would stop her…

 

 

Chapter Seven

The Gypsy Camp

 

It was later after Chago cooled down that he came back to the camp, surprised to see everything packed. Chago asked the Ringmaster what was going on.

 

The Ringmaster said, “Your grandmother wishes us to leave immediately?”

 

Chago was angry; He wanted to see Lorraine again. He wanted to know what his dream meant.

 

Chago ran for his grandmother’s tent, “Why are you doing this?”

 

Evette sighed, “Listen Chago that girl will only bring great heartache into your life. She will never want you, the same way you want her. I know you fell in love with her, but this is not your destiny…You have great things to accomplish, she will only hinder you…”

 

Chago screamed, “I do not care what you say, I do not believe you!”

 

He turned on his heal to walk away as Grandma Evette said, “Her sins will have its consequences; don’t let it change your destiny. You will regret it.”

 

Chago refused to listen. He went and packed up his things, put them in a burlap bag, slung it over his shoulder and headed towards town. He would find Lorraine, He would marry her, and then his prophecy of the child would come true.

A small voice of reason went off in his head, “How will you support such a girl? Her clothing was of the highest fashion. She must be from a very wealthy family.”

 

Chago would not let anything stop him. Rich girls fall in love. It was their destiny to be together and have a child he just knew it…

 

Chapter Eight

The Beating

 

Lorraine went back home and crawled through the basement window shut it and slowly made her way up the stairs.

 

Elsa hissed, “Where have you been?”

 

Lorraine proudly said, “I went to the Gypsy camp by the circus.”

 

Elsa was horrified, “Lorraine how could you? If mother found out, she will ground you for a month. She would ground me too for not telling her. I forbid you to go there ever again. I have been waiting months to see the Chanel Fashion show in Paris and you are not going to ruin it for me. If I see you leave this house again at night, I swear I will tell mother!”

 

Lorraine grabbed Elsa’s hand and started crushing it, “Who do you think you are?”

 

Elsa began to whimper.

 

Loraine said, “I am stronger than you and smarter than you will ever be. No one is going to stop me. Besides, I met this handsome boy named Chago. He is so dreamy looking.”

 

Elsa whimpered, “Please I beg you, I’ll do anything you want me too. Just wait until after the fashion show. It is in two day then I will not care… Please?”

 

Lorraine bends Elsa’s hand back more and says, “Say mercy…”

 

Elsa was crying, “Mercy… Mercy… Mercy…”

 

Loraine hissed, “You will NOT tell a soul or I’ll cut off all your hair when you are sleeping, got it?”

 

Elsa cried, “Mercy…”

 

Lorraine let go of Elsa’s hands.  Elsa began to rub her wrists, which by now were throbbing in pain.

 

Elsa said, “Aunt Blaise is coming too. Maybe she will buy us some new dresses.”

 

Lorraine stopped for a moment, “Elsa you’re not so dumb after all. That is a brilliant idea. Quick take these scissors and make holes in your dresses and mine. Make it look like moths. We will go catch some tomorrow, put them in a jar, and tell Father we captured them from our closet. He will believe us, Mother will not.

Elsa was dubious, “Won’t Mother wonder why all of a sudden we have moths?”

 

Lorraine, said, “I’ll tell her I went out for a walk in the country and they attached themselves to this hideous cotton dress she bought me.”

 

Elsa looked at the yellow flowered dress, “I don’t think that dress is hideous. I would love to have a dress like that. ”

 

Lorraine hissed, “Father won’t allow it. He says you are nothing to look at so Mother does not need to buy you pretty dresses. I am the one he plans to marry off to a rich man. It costs mother every dime she makes for us to look wealthy. Now run along and do as you are told.”

 

Elsa was tearful, “I hope she believes us, last time she gave me the strap I couldn’t sit for three days. It is unfair that I get the strap for both of us. Mother says you cannot have any markings on your bum. It does not matter for me. I will never get married; I am too stupid and ugly.”

 

Lorraine mocked her and said, “Yes you are the ugliest sister on this planet, now go and do what I told you or I will get the switch and beat you myself.”

 

Elsa looked terrified for her sister had beaten her several times before.

 

When Elsa told her mother Lisette, she said to Elsa, “If your sister beat you than you probably deserved it. Lorraine is a smart girl; she knows what she is doing…”

 

Elsa would walk away in tears feeling unwanted and insecure. Lisette would look worried until Byron her husband curtly said, “Never mind the girl. A bastard always needs a good beating every now and then. It reminds her who is boss. Lorraine is my daughter she can do no wrong…”

 

Lisette shook her head in frustration, “Why do you take your anger out on that child? She didn’t do anything wrong – I did.”

 

Byron bitterly said, “You are a whore! Sin has its consequences now I will beat the child and you for disturbing my evening.”

 

Byron grabbed the switch and started belting Lisette on her back.

 

Lisette cried, “Mercy…mercy… Mercy…”

 

Byron stopped when the welts on her back started to bleed.

 

He barked, “Elsa comes here!”

 

Elsa was crying, “Mommy why do you let him do this to us!”

 

Byron hit Elsa on the bum several times yelling, “Bastards don’t deserve anything. You are stupid. You are ugly. I wish I could kill you!”

 

Elsa winces as he screams in her ear. She could smell the whiskey on her father’s breath. Elsa felt sorry for her father he was always crazy and mean when he was drunk. That was about ninety-nine percent of the time. Usually she would hide for days when he was like that. Only if mother got it then she got it too. There were times when he almost killed their mother. Lorraine would go out and tell people that her mother Lisette was ill and so was Elsa.

 

People knew the truth. They could hear the screams of pain coming through the walls. They could see the bruises on the two women they felt helpless. There was no law to protect the innocent. Men were allowed to beat their wives to death. They owned them. It was the same for servants and slaves.

 

Many hated the Picards. Byron Picard grew up in a violent home. His father used to beat him everyday along with his mother, brothers.  He never touched his sisters and Byron hated them for that reason. One day Byron had enough. He beat their father to death and buried his broken body out in a forest somewhere. Their mother told the constable that her husband, known for his affairs, had run off and disappeared with a young girl named Ida Tinkle. She showed the constable a letter, Byron was careful to write the same way as his father. All it said was “I hate all of you I am going away to start a new life – Dolson Picard.”

 

The Constable hated Dolson Picard and was glad that he left. He had a thing for Mrs Picard but she did not want anything to do with him, or any man. It was several months later that she killed herself out of guilt. She confessed in a letter stating, that she alone murdered her husband because he was beating her and the children. The coroner confirmed it during the autopsy. He cried when he found out that most of Mrs Picard’s bones were broken in several areas of the body never healing correctly. They found Mr Picard’s body out in the forest according to the directions in her letter and they buried him beside his wife in the local cemetery.

 

Chapter Nine

Blaise Marchand and Byron Picard

 

 

Byron Picard was angry as a child and started getting into trouble with the law, until his Uncle Jerome Cartier took him in with the rest of the children. They all did chores in his vineyard and were properly fed, clothed and treated with kindness, which they were thankful for.  Byron met Lisette during one of the wine tours of Cartier’s Winery in Paris, France. Lisette’s family was excited; the Cartier’s were very wealthy. They welcomed Byron into the family and had a large wedding. It was not until after their daughter Lorraine was born that the beatings began.

 

Byron was not sleeping with his wife anymore for she had many affairs with the local men. One day she got pregnant and several months later gave birth to Elsa. Byron refused to acknowledge the child as his own. It was only in their home that he called Elsa the bastard child. Outside of the home, he did not talk about Elsa at all. People were always shocked to find out that the Picard had two daughters. Lisette never talked about her children while attending any of the local charity events. It was her escape from reality.

 

Lisette would visit her many lovers. They felt sorry for her so they gave her money. Lisette kept the money tucked away in a safe place. No one knew about it. Lisette was planning her escape, but Byron always changed that plan one way or the other.

 

When Lorraine was a child, she was always excited to see her Aunt Blaise. Elsa loved her aunt for she would always give her a hug and ask how she was. In fact, Aunt Blaise was just about the only person that treated Elsa like a human being.

During  fashion shows in Paris the girls would be sitting at the back of a small room they had to crane their necks around the women with the big hats. Some classical music came on and the young models filed out one by one.

 

The announcer said, “And this piece is for our spring collection. Notice the cut and design to flatter the chest.”

 

Elsa said on queue to Aunt Blaise, “I have nothing to wear nor does Lorraine.”

 

Aunt Blaise was surprised.

 

She asked, “What happened to the dresses I bought you last year?”

 

Elsa sad, “Moths ate holes in them they had a feast. Lorraine caught them, I helped…”

 

Elsa gulped and Aunt Blaise smiled. She knew that her nieces were up to their old tricks and she knew who the culprit was.

 

Aunt Blaise winked, “I want you to pick out a few dresses for yourself. Lorraine will have to wait until the next fashion show…”

 

Elsa looked afraid and said, “Please don’t. She will be angry.”

 

Aunt Blaise said, “Not if her father wants to foot the bill, then she can order a dress. Don’t worry Elsa I will handle this.”

 

Aunt Blaise placed her orders and to Lorraine’s surprise, she escorted the girl’s home. Aunt Blaise went up to the girls room and found the scraps of material in the garbage and the scissors on the desk in their room.

 

She marched down the stairs and brought them to Byron, “Brother, due to your lack of discipline, Lorraine decided she needed a new wardrobe. She cut holes in every single dress, went, and caught moths in a field to back her story. Now both of us know that Elsa is not bright enough to hatch up such a plan as this. Moths only eat one garment at a time. It is impossible for two little moths to make this many holes in one day. What are you going to do about it?”

 

Byron laughed and said, “Lorraine is a delightful child. Surely, Elsa suggested such an evil thing to get her sister into trouble she hates her. I’ll fix that bastard…”

 

Aunt Blaise hissed, “You are as evil as father was. If you lay another hand on Elsa, I will personally kill you! I can see the bruises on that child and Lisette. I will go to the police and tell them it was you who murdered father not mother. You are such a coward to allow mother to take the blame for something you did. Now I have bought Elsa some new dresses. Lorraine can patch up the one’s she has ruined. You need to teach that girl that there are consequences to her sins. If you do not do something about this, she will end up like you only worse. Do you want that to happen?”

 

Byron looked like he wanted to kill his sister, but he feared her husband Duvall. He knows if he laid one finger on his sister, it would mean certain death for him. Byron felt defeated.

 

Aunt Blaise quietly said, “Byron the girls are almost sixteen. You cannot beat them anymore they can have you charged. I will back up their story. I will ask Duvall to beat you – a coward! He will enjoy beating you to your death. It is what you deserve – an eye for an eye. I will not put up with this anymore. I am taking Elsa home with me. You need to let Lorraine learn a lesson, and then you can buy her new gowns in the fall. I want both of the girls attending Raine Carrington’s finishing school. I will pay for their education. You will pay for Lorraine’s clothing. I will take care of Elsa. Do we have a deal?”

 

Byron knew he could not double cross his sister. He would be happy to get rid of the bastard. He would have to give Lorraine a beating for what she did – disgracing the family and making him look like a coward to his sister. He would never forgive his daughter for doing such a thing.”

 

Byron called both of the girls into his office, “Lorraine, Aunt Blaise has told me what you did to all of your dresses.”

 

Lorraine spluttered, “Elsa did it! She wanted a new dress! I had nothing to do with it!”

 

Elsa screamed, “Oh NO you don’t Lorraine, I’m not smart enough to do such a thing. True she made me cut all the dresses. She threatened to hurt me if I didn’t do it.”

 

Aunt Blaise said to Byron, “Give me that switch!”

 

Aunt Blaise grabbed Lorraine, put her over her knee, and beat her bottom several times.  Byron looked helpless; he tried to grab the switch. Aunt Blaise said, “Don’t you dare…”

 

She continues to beat Lorraine then she turned around and grabbed Byron. She held him down over her knee and spanked him too. Byron was crying like a baby. Lisette came in horrified at first then she started to laugh and Elsa joined in.  Lorraine was angry and Byron was ashamed.

 

Aunt Blaise said, “You two are going to behave from now on if either one of you lays a finger on Elsa or Lisette I will kill you. Do I make myself clear?”

 

Byron whimpered, “I’m sorry, Blaise, don’t tell Duvall that you did this… Please. He will tell everyone…”

 

Aunt Blaise looked at Lisette and Elsa, “No one is to breathe a word of this… Ever… Especially you Lorraine. Now Elsa go and pack your things, you are coming home with me. Lisette, you make sure that Lorraine wears her holy dresses until September. Byron has agreed to buy her new clothes when she attends Lady Carrington’s School. I am paying for the girls to get a proper Education. Byron, I will be checking in on your wife, if I see one mark on her, Duvall will tell everyone what I did to you today…”

 

Chapter Ten

Lisette’s Words of Wisdom

Lorraine sat there sore and in shock. After Aunt Blaise and Elsa left, Lorraine saw the fury in her father’s eyes.  He picked up the switch and ripped Lorraine’s clothes of off her. He beat her until she was black and blue. Lisette did not stop him until she felt that Lorraine had enough.

 

After he was done Lisette whispered, “Lorraine – Sin has its consequences and you just go what you deserved.”

 

Lisette walked out on Byron Picard that day, wandering the streets she went to stay at a seedy looking hotel. She spotted a handsome young boy – Spanish looking.

 

She asked, “Are you from the circus people?”

 

The boy did not answer her. He kept walking, he knew her kind and he did not want anything to do with her.

 

Lorraine that night took her things in a bag and limped towards the gypsy camp. She would show Chago what her father did to her. He would kill him, she was sure of it…

 

 

 

 

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