Chapter 3 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK
After the reception, Sean drove Mary and Mareka into town. It had gotten noticeably warmer since the ceremony, but Mary wanted the windows down.
“I like the air here, it’s different than in Seattle,” said Mary.
“It’s stinky,” said Mareka.
“That’s the manure they spread on the fields,” said Sean.
“What is manure?” asked Mareka.
“Cow poop,” said Sean, “It helps things grow.”
There was a minute of silence then Mareka said, “I heard someone talking to Edwin about Tina’s mother Emily. He said he knew her. When was that?”
“In 1944, at he end of World War II. Tina and Edwin were teens in high school when your great-grandmother Emily came back from New York. To the farm where Tina was living with Emily’s brother Henry and his wife, Alice, remember I told you about them?” explained Sean.
“Why was Emily in New York?”
“She was an artist and was making a living there,” said Sean, “You know about her paintings.”
“Why didn’t she do her paintings at the farm?”
“She had to be in New York, that was the best place for an artist to be then. It still is.”
Mareka was quiet for a few seconds and then asked, “Why did she come back then?”
“She came back because she wanted her baby, my mother Marilyn, your grandmother, to grow up with Henry and Alice and Tina. She thought it would be better for her to grow up here than in New York City,” said Sean.
“Oh,” said Mareka, pensively, “Who was my grandmother’s father?”
“It was a man named John Regelind the second. The paintings were in his estate, passed on through his son, John Regelind the third, to me. He was Emily’s patron—he supported her in her artwork,” said Sean, “The paintings were supposed to be shown but then came the depression, and then the War. Nobody had any money to buy art back then.”
“So Edwin knew my great-grandmother when she came home to have a baby. And then what happened?”
Mary gave Sean a glance.
“Emily went back to New York and left her baby with Henry and Alice and Tina. And then she disappeared,” said Sean, “And that’s all we know.”
“Look, Mareka,” said Mary, “There’s the Whippy Dip. Would you like an ice cream cone?”
In their Reykjavík flat Þora Sigmundsdóttir and her nine-year-old son, Vilhjálmur Stefán, were sitting down to dinner with Þora’s uncle Hilmar.
“Ísbúð Vesturbæjar! Ísbúð Vesturbæjar!” said Villí, pounding his fists on the table. His request to go to the ice cream store was met with disapproval by his mother: “Næ, næ,” said Þora.
Young Villí was the son of Þora and Sean Carroll, the result of a fling when Sean was posing undercover as his brother, Billy Clarkson. Þora and Sean had reconciled, their extended ‘family’ consisted of Sean and Mary, Villí’s cousin Mareka, and Þora’s uncle Hilmar. Although Sean made efforts to be involved in his son’s life, Hilmar was the de facto father of Villí. He was also the leader of “the New Religion“ that was supported by Mary Robinson with her “spells” that she discovered when was helping Sean in his search for his grandmother, the artist Emily Carroll. Young Villí was a handful at time, tonight was one of those times. Although he was two years older, Villí and Mareka had been close since early childhood.
“Mareka gets ice cream,” pouted Villí.
“Eat your supper, then we can discuss ice cream,” said Hilmar, “You can’t always get what Mareka gets.”
They ate in silence. Finally Þora said, “Very good Villí, Hilmar, will you escort Villí to the Ísbúð?“
“Koma, Villí,” said Hilmar, “The ice cream is waiting.”
After Mareka ate her ice cream cone, Sean, Mary and Mareka headed back to the car.
“It’s only two o’clock,” said Mary, “We can’t get into our hotel room until three. Any ideas about what we can do till then?”
“We could go to the Ice Cave,” said Sean, “It would be nice to get out of this heat.”
Mary, remembering the last time she was in the Ice Cave, had an involuntary shudder. The last time she was there she had been exposing herself to various “power centers” in her quest to gain enlightenment via the books of Emily’s that she had discovered. It had been a harrowing experience. Still, she reasoned, she had been at one of the other power centers earlier in the day—in the church cemetery—and hadn’t had any exceptional sensations or revelations.
“I would like to see that again,” Mary said, “Mareka, that’s a place where your father went to when he was about your age, isn’t it Sean?” Sean looked at Mary carefully, surmising that she had thought about it and was willing to go there again in spite of what had happened there eight years ago.
“Yes, my Great-uncle Henry took me. It’s neat.”
“Where is it? Is it far?” asked Mareka.
“Do you see that hill, over there, above the parking lot? It’s up there, it’s not too far,” said Sean.
“We’ll have to get a flashlight,“ said Mary, “They probably sell them in the Cenex,” said Mary.
Hilmar and Villí were walking down Hofsvallagata, on the way to the ice cream store.
“So, tell me Villí,” said Hilmar, “How did you know that Mareka is getting ice cream? She lives far away.”
“I just know, she tells me her thoughts some times,” said Villí, “I tell her mine.”
“Is that something special, something that only happens between you and her?“
“Já, And the stones too, sometimes they tell us things.”
“I know about the stones, I know that Mareka hears things from them. You know that those things are secret, those secrets are between you and her and me and Mareka’s mother.”
“I know, the other kids they don’t believe me anyway.”
They turned west on Hagamelur, heading towards Ísbúð Vesturbæjar, the ice cream shop.
Sean parked the car and walked with Mary and Mareka to the stairs that led to the entrance of the Ice Cave.
“Is this how it was when you were a little boy?” said Mareka.
“Pretty much, the trees are bigger, but the stones are the same,” said Sean, ”How are you doing, Mary"”
“I’m good,” said Mary, “Mareka, are you ready with the flashlight?” The cave’s entrance was only a few yards away.
“Ready!” said Mareka, excitedly.
“Remember, it might be slippery… ” said Sean.
The group slowly entered the cave where there was an immediate drop in temperature. The beam from Mareka’s flashlight wandered over the walls and the floor of the cave and, after a few dozen steps, the light from the cave’s entrance was no longer visible.
"Stop!” said Mareka.
Mareka dropped the flashlight and the cave was plunged into darkness.
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” she screamed.
Villí and Hilmar were just starting to eat their cones when Villí dropped his.
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” he screamed.
Next chapter: Stone Cold