Chapter Twenty Four
Michael surprised to see it was already after five knew he should leave before it got too dark out to see. It had been a long, informative and insightful day. Retrieving his coat and pocketing the containers of medicine, he said, “I see the wood boxes are getting low, Dad, if you’d like I can help you fill them before I leave.”
“Sure son,” said Henry, grabbing his jacket and following Michael out to the woodshed.
“I had to speak with you privately,” Michael told his father when they were alone.
“I gathered as much,” said Henry, “I’m betting it’s about one of three things. What to do about Harriet, the unbelievable crock of bull Jedidiah is trying to pull on Caroline, or the medication Caroline gave you to check out.”
“Actually it’s all three, but my main concern right now is Caroline. Someone needs to keep an eye on her until I have a chance to thoroughly examine this medicine. I do know one of them is Arsenicum Album mixed with powdered sugar. The little greenish blue one, I’m almost positive is Geranium leaves and ground Willow bark, I’d almost bet that the reddish brown one is Morphine and Rhubarb leaf mixed with foxglove, just by the smell.”
“Poisons?” Asked Henry. “You think Jedidiah’s slowly driving Caroline crazy so it will be easier for him to force her to marry him. Then after the ceremony he legally kills her off with the witch’s brew she just gave you?”
“I don’t know what to think, but if there’s another explanation I’d like to hear it!” Said Michael. “Anyway, after what Caroline told us, I don’t trust Harriet any further then I can throw her. I’m going to order the hospital security team to keep an eye on her,” said Michael.
“In the morning, snow or no snow, I’m deputizing Ben and Karr. Then we’re going to go over Mary’s Castle with a fine-tooth comb. Maybe we’ll even find the other children and solve this blasted case once and for all.”
“Not to interrupt but before I forget to ask,” said Michael, “what did I miss while at the hospital these past few days?”
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about?” said Henry, giving Michael a perplexed look.
“Didn’t Caroline call Mary her Granddaughter?” said Michael.
“Sorry, Son,” said Henry, “you don’t know? Mary’s first day here she dropped a photo which Angelia retrieved. One glance and she knew! She kept the information and the photo to herself until that night in the kitchen. She had wanted to show it to Caroline first. That’s why she was so determined to get her here.”
“Do you remember demanding answers because Mary was so upset? I wanted to ask the whereabouts of your sister and the others come morning. Unfortunately, she was rushed to the hospital before I had a chance to question her.”
“While doing repairs on the Gilfords Estate, Ben and Karr accidently stumbled onto the very rooms where the children had been held prisoners in the castle and tunnel. Can you believe they actually hid them right under our very noses!”
“So, I’m right, Jedidiah had to be in on the kidnapping!” Michael said with a grimace. “Why else would he tell Caroline that the children were dead? When, all this time he knew they were here or close? I’m also betting that it was Jedidiah or Zachariah that called the hospital, thanks to Harriet.”
“Ever since Caroline handed me her medicine, I’ve have a horrible sinking feeling that the whole bunch is involved in this. I’ll bet she was too drugged up to even notice them following her home!”
“I’ve always felt Jedidiah knew more than he was letting on. I’ll bet he’s been biding his time waiting for the perfect moment to show his true self!” said his father in disgust.
“The man’s been hiding behind a façade for years when in reality he’s a mean, hateful, despicable poor excuse for a human being!” Michael said scornfully.
“If we’re right I hope last night’s storm slows them down, at least until I can get enough evidence to lock them away for good!” Said Henry.
“We can’t let them get their hands on Mary, or her children, not again, not if I can help it anyway!” Henry said with a determination in his voice and manner that Michael hadn’t seen or heard in years.
“Sorry about not helping with the wood,” said Michael. “But I’ve got to make sure Mary and the children stay safe until I can move them somewhere else. Tell Angelia I’ll help carry in the wood next time!” Michael flung over his shoulder as he dashed out the shed door and was instantly swallowed up in a flurry of snow.