Friday, February 07, 2020

Tea Time

This is Chapter 7 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Thursday Noon, July 9, 2020, Decorah Iowa

After the reading of the will each of the people who had been mentioned in it had been given a packet of papers that related to their individual endowments. The group began to disperse but one man that Sean had recognized from the assisted living facility came up to him.

“Ted Benson,” he said, extending his hand, “I’m from Tina’s facility. I can’t express how much gratitude I have for your aunt’s action here today, her generous gift will really help us.”

“It was her way—always thinking of others,” said Sean, ignoring the proferred handshake, “Your people have been very good to her… and Edwin.”

“And this is her grand-niece!” Ted exclaimed, stooping down and extending his hand to the girl, “Your great aunt always spoke highly of you. You are a very lucky girl!”

Mareka eyed the man, stepped back, and said, “Hi.”

Sean was also put off by the man’s over-intense interest in his daughter. He was still wary of groups. In addition, he and Mary had always tried to shield Mareka from publicity; the press had had a field day with his involvement in the death of his half-brother Billy Clarkson as well as his relationship with Mary. There were even more crackpots and hate groups now than there were back then, especially since the last presidential election.  The couple had made concerted efforts to reduce their public profile.

“If you’ll excuse us… ” said Sean, as he led Mareka away from the man and over to where Mary and Edwin were talking.

“Sean, I need to check in with Jo, to tell her when we’ll be back at the apartment tomorrow.” Jo was Sean and Mary’s personal assistant and Mareka’s nanny, Mary and Sean thought of her as a family member.

“Assuming our flight goes as planned—the flight schedules are nearly back to normal—we should arrive at SeaTac around 4:40 and get to the apartment about six,” said Sean.

“Jo’s got a lead on a place near Northgate: not a McMansion, a nice yard, a creek in back, and a guest house. She thinks it is the place we’ve been looking for,” Mary continued, “Let’s go to The Magpie, the wi-fi is better there and I could use some coffee.”

“I’ll go with you,“ said Sean, “Mareka, do you want to go to The Magpie?”

“Yuck, coffee,” said Mareka, “Edwin, can we go to your store, and have a tea party?”

Edwin had a small antique/curiosity shop just around the corner that Mareka liked to visit.

“If it is alright with your parents,” said Edwin.

“Sure, we’ll come over when we’re done,” said Mary.

As they turned to leave, Sean noticed that Ted Benson had been standing behind them.

Edwin’s shop was a bit of a disaster. He had started it in 1955 as a toy store and had done quite well servicing the needs of the baby boom generation. Over the years, however, it had morphed into a junk shop. Mareka had been in it a couple of times, when she and her parents had come to visit Tina. Edwin would sit with her at a small table—the only uncluttered space in the store—and they would ‘have a chat’ while he made tea for himself and cocoa for her.

“So, Mareka, this reading of the will, what do you think about it?” asked Edwin.

“I liked Mr. Goldman. He has the best eyebrows!” said Mareka, wiggling her own, “But I didn’t like that other man that talked to me. I didn’t like it when everybody stared at me. Why did they do that?”

“I think they were surprised that you were mentioned in Tina’s will,” he said, “They didn’t know you, they we very surprised when you got those shares.”

“What are shares? Are they like money?”

“They can be sold, but your shares will be held for you until you are grown-up, you will get them on your twenty-first birthday,” said Edwin, “The nice thing is that you don’t have to think about them until then. The shares mean that you have a share in many businesses, if they make money your shares are worth more. If the businesses don’t make money, then they will be worth less. ”

“Oh. Okay.” Mareka seemed troubled.

“Tell me about the stones, then,” said Edwin, changing the subject, “Your mother said you had a bit of a fright in The Ice Cave.

Mareka brightened considerably. “That was great! The stones are my friends, I liked the stones in the wall too, I’m learning about my powers from them.“

“Of course,” he said, “I remember Emily talking about them. You can look into those further, when you get home. There are a lot of stones in Washington. You’ll have plenty of time to study them, your mother will help you.”

As they sat talking, Edwin would peek at the child—for only a fraction of a second at a time—as he sipped his tea. He knew that she was getting to the self-conscious age and he didn’t want to break the mood. When he looked he could find traces of Emily in Mareka’s demeanor: her bird-like eyes with an awareness of her surroundings; the way the corner of her mouth would turn up in a half-smile; the music of her laughter.

As if she had been reading his thoughts, Mareka said, “What was Emily like? Am I like her?”

“Oh yes, a little I guess. You are both special, in having your powers. You smile like her, you laugh like her.“

Mareka smiled, then her expression turned serious.

“How did Tina die? Did she have the virus?”

“No, for the most part we’ve been spared that here. Her heart just gave out. She was very old.”

“Edwin, are you going to die soon?”

“Oh, someday. Probably not this afternoon.”

Mareka then spoke in a lower-pitched voice, the voice of a woman:

“Edwin, I love you.”

It’s Emily’s voice,” thought Edwin, “I love you too, Mareka,” he said.

By the time Mary and Sean came in they had both stopped crying.

Thursday Afternoon, July 9, 2020, Phoenix, Arizona

“Reverend Andrew Stevenson, Church of the Righteous Word, sermon 237, and… we’re on the air…”
Andrew Stevenson still got a thrill every time the director mentioned his name at the start of his weekly sermons. He had made it the hard way, on his own (with the help of The Lord, of course), and all those who doubted him, who scorned and reviled him, where are they now? Not preaching to a world-wide ministry and not with one hundred thousand Twitter followers, to be sure. And it was a righteous ministry, not like those immoral, Satan-worshipping pagans, harlots and blasphemers—the world was filled with them and their false gods.

“Friends, I am going to speak today of one of the modern perils to the true faith, the resurgence of witchcraft and demonology in a most unexpected place—Iceland! This Godforsaken rock in the North Atlantic is the current hotbed of evilness in the world today. They’ve given up on their Christian heritage and embraced the Devil, even establishing a ‘church’ devoted to the pagan gods. And who is leading this church? A witch from Seattle—the west coast center for Satan’s minions. She calls herself Mary Robinson, and has made a fortune deluding innocents by selling spells, spells that enslave the users to sin and condemns then to eternal hellfire. In the old days, the days of God-fearing people, we knew what to do with witches. The Bible says, “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live! Who among you has the nerve to cast the first stone?”

Next chapter: Change of Plans

By Professor Batty

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