Family Lies Chapter 1

Drawing of a partly-built brick wall with a sign saying: "Under construction." Caption reads: "Work in progress."

Family Lies Chapter 1: The Message chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden

As promised, here’s the start of the new work in progress. If you were waiting to see what happens next in Group Meeting your choices are: to buy the book, or to wait until the next time I don’t have something new to post.

Emily looked at the sphygmomanometer cuff Jenny was wrapping around her upper arm.

“You know, I could do this myself,” she said.

“And yet you pay a live-in nurse.”

“Mostly to look after my mother.”

“Your mother’s not all that sick. She just has dementia. I could do her care in two half hour visits a day. Stop complaining, and let me do some work.  Your blood pressure’s up.  That’s from arguing with me. Arguing with your nurse is not good for you. Finger prick now.”

Emily obediently held out her hand for the blood glucose test.  

“That’s all good,” Jenny said.  “How about you get in the pool for your hydrotherapy.”

“How about you stop bossing me around?”

“I can’t. Bossing you around is what you pay me the big bucks for. Now be a cooperative patient and get down to the pool.”

Emily’s housekeeper Carole knocked on the door of Emily’s sitting room.  “Sorry to bother you.  I checked the mail as I came in.  Normally, I’d put it on your desk, but this is concerning.  I thought you’d want to see it right away.”

Emily took the piece of paper, which was not in an envelope, and apparently torn from a notepad.  Written on it in a semi-legible capitals were the words: “GIVE ME MY MONEY BITCH OR ELSE”.

All three women looked at it. 

“I think that needed a comma after ‘bitch’ and an exclamation mark at the end,” Emily said dismissively.

“Aren’t you worried about it?”  Carole asked. 

“I think you should take it seriously,” Jenny answered.

“Why? I know I don’t owe anyone any money.  If they really thought I owed them anything, they should have said who they were and what they thought I owed.  Surely whoever this is doesn’t think I’m psychic.”

“Still,” Jenny said, “there’s an implied threat there.  Maybe you should report it to the police.”

“And tell them what?  Someone sent me a nasty letter?”

“If we check the security footage, we might find out more,” Jenny said.

Emily checked her phone for the feed from the front gate camera. The note had been dropped in the letter box just after 6am by someone in blue jeans, a grey hoodie, and a disposable mask. It was impossible to know even if the person was male or female.

“At least they’re being COVID safe,” Emily said.

“I don’t think that’s the reason for the mask,” Jenny replied.  “If you don’t want to report this to the police, why not your solicitor.  Don’t you pay a stonking great retainer to a solicitor to solve problems for you?  Do you ever call her?”

“Well, she is on retainer to give me advice about legals relating to my shares and such.  I don’t know she does much with people sneaking mean letters into the mailbox type things.”

“Call her.”

“You must be the world’s bossiest nurse. I bet the junior nurses hated you at the hospital.”

Jenny smiled, “Yes they did.  Now call.”

Emily called. Jessica listened to the story then asked, “Could it be your ex husband? I know it was a long time ago, but did you do at all well out of the divorce?”

“I got three kids, the clothes the four of us were standing up in, and his bills. He got everything else.  I don’t owe him.”

Jessica made a slight humming noise while she thought.

“Look this could be nothing. Rich people are sometimes targets for all kinds of nut jobs, but to be on the safe side, shoot me a copy of the security footage and a scan of the letter.  Keep the original letter in a file, and don’t handle it too much because it might have fingerprints on it.  And keep a copy of the footage.  Like I said, it could be nothing, but let’s have a paper trail in case it turns out to be something.”

Chapters of Family Lies

Note, this is the first draft. What eventually is published as a book (if it is published as a book), will be edited, rewritten, and re-edited, and may not have much in common with this first draft.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


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