Family Lies Chapter 12: Sunday Lunch

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

Family Lies Chapter 12: Sunday Lunch chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden

After a quiet couple of days, Emily was happy to have her daughters and their families come for a barbecue lunch.

Emily’s oldest daughter Alannah, with her husband Steve, were at the barbecue, cooking steaks. Jody, Kym, Elsie and Emily were sitting nearby, talking, while the children ran around the garden, playing.

Emily filled her daughters in on all she’d learned from Jessica, about her having a half-brother, and that Josh, the boy who had delivered the threats, had been his son.

“Have there been any more threats since the police picked up Josh?” Jody asked. 

“No,” Emily answered, “thankfully.  Maybe U. N. Known, whether or not he is Henry Henderson, has given up now that Josh isn’t around to be manipulated by him.”

“I hope so,” Kym said. “That rock incident was scary.”

“Has anyone heard from Dad?” Jody asked.

“More than I wanted to,” Emily said.

“About how he wanted to take the kids to a theme park, but Mum only gave him a thousand dollars, so he couldn’t?” Kym answered. “Yeah, I heard.”

“You gave him a thousand dollars?” Alannah asked.  “And that wasn’t enough?”

“He wanted enough to buy a new car,” Kym answered. “But no, the latest is he called me yesterday and told me he’s going to get half Mum’s money.”

“How’s he going to do that?” Jody asked.

“He’s suing me for a divorce settlement, or says he’s going to,” Emily said.

“But doesn’t that only apply to what you had at the time of the divorce?” Jody asked.

Emily sighed.  “I did try to tell him that. Jessica Flowers tried to tell him that. He thinks I had money all along and was somehow hiding it from him. One of his workmates told him I would have done that.”

“I wish you’d had money all along,” Alannah said.  “We could have done with it.”

“Oh we really could have,” Kym said. “Anyway, he’s convinced he’s getting a court to make Mum give him half her money.”

“Won’t he end up having to pay Mum?” Jody asked, “he got the house and everything.

“Did he eventually take the kids for a day out?” Emily asked.  

“Of course not,” Alannah said.  “I don’t know why you give him money at all.  He never uses it for what he says he’s going to.”

“I keep hoping he really does plan to do something nice for you or the kids,” Emily said

“Don’t hold your breath,” Steve said. 

Alannah and Steve’s daughters Kitty and Jess, and Jody’s daughter Leah came running over.  

“Grandma, Kitty found something strange under the roses!” Leah said.

“Roses always make me think of my husband, Henry,” Elsie said.

“So you’ve told us,” Emily answered her.  To the girls, she said, “Show me this strange thing you’ve discovered.”

The children led her to the rose garden, where Kitty got down on the ground to point at an object hidden under the prickly bushes. 

Emily bent down as far as she could, then got down on her hands and knees, knowing it was going to be hard work to get up.

She saw what appeared to be a metal box, with wires coming out of it. A screen showed digital clock. Emily didn’t know for certain it was a bomb, but with her whole family there, she did not want to take risks. 

“Girls, I want you to walk as quickly as you can. Don’t run, but walk very fast out to the front of the house.”  She called out to the other adults:  “Can someone please get Mum’s wheelchair, and everyone walk quickly out to the front of the house.  Just leave everything, and go, please. Right now.”

Her daughters and son-in-law looked over at her, surprised by the tone of her voice. 

On her hands and knees, Emily used her walking stick to try to push herself up.  Steve grabbed Elsie’s wheelchair and began pushing it.  Kym came over to Emily and helped her her feet, and looked under the roses.  

“Is that what it looks like?” Kym said, warily.

“I don’t know and I don’t want to take chances,” Emily said. “Let’s just get out to the street in front of the house, and call the police from there.”

It was the first time Emily had ever regretted the size of her huge garden, and while she wanted Kym to leave her and go on ahead, Kym stayed with her as she walked slowly up the path.

Once they were the last family members in front of the house.  Kym told the other family members what they’d seen, while Emily called Detective Carstairs.

In minutes, they were surrounded by vehicles with flashing blue lights, a black vehicle labelled “bomb squad”, curious neighbours, dozens of people in uniforms, along with the two detectives who had visited the house before.


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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