Family Lies Chapter 17: Threat

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

Family Lies Chapter 17: Threat chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden

Emily took afternoon tea into Elsie’s sitting room, and sat beside her.

“Mum, I don’t know how much of this you understand, but everything is nuts, and I need to tell you about it anyway.  You know Dad, your Henry had a son with his student, Kerry. That son, Henry junior is making life hell for me at the moment.  He’s been sending death threats.  He put a fake bomb in the yard and scared me, made me afraid the girls or the grandkids would be hurt. He thinks Dad died and left me some kind of inheritance, but I never got anything.  I don’t even know if my father is actually dead. Now Henry’s practically certain to get bail, and I don’t know what danger we’re all in, or how long he’s been watching our house, or what other sources of information he might have. Now if my father’s alive, and can help explain to Henry that he’s wrong,  I need to know.  Mum, after Henry got that girl Kerry pregnant, what did he do? Where did Henry go?”

“Henry went away dear,” Elsie said.  

Emily tried not to groan in frustration. Instead she said, as calmly as possible, “Henry went away. Do you know where he went?”

“Henry treated that girl terribly.”

“Yes he did,” Emily agreed.

“A child shouldn’t have a child.”

“No, she shouldn’t.  That was very wrong.”

“I knew then.  I knew I couldn’t trust Henry.  Emily was just a baby, but she was going to grow up. She wouldn’t be safe.  I knew Henry had to go.  I couldn’t have him stay and be a threat to my little girl. Henry had to go. So Henry went.”

“You made him leave? You threw Henry out.”

“Henry had to go.  Henry went away.”

“Do you know where he went?”

Elsie looked at the vase of roses on a cabinet on the other side of the room.  “Roses always make me think of my husband, Henry.”

Roses made her think of Henry. Elsie had said it many times.  “Why?” Elsie asked, “Why do roses make you think of Henry?”

“Oh hello dear, what’s your name?” Elsie said.

“I’m Emily.”

“I have a daughter named Emily.  She’s a lovely little girl, and I’m going to keep her safe.”

“You’re keeping her safe from Henry.”

“Oh she’s safe from Henry. Henry’s gone.”

“Do you know where he went?”

“He’s gone away dear.  He won’t hurt Emily.”

Emily tried a new tack.  “The police are looking for Henry.”

“Oh, yes, I know.  They asked me.  I told them Henry had gone.”

“Did you tell them where he’d gone.”

“Oh no dear.  Henry was just gone.”

Maybe she didn’t know.  Maybe she’d never known. There was another question to ask.

“Did Henry have money? Family money? Someone in his family rich?”

“Who dear?”

“Your husband, Henry, was he rich?”

“No dear.  He was a teacher. He’s gone now.  Have you seen my little Emily? She must be here somewhere.”

“I’ll go find her.”

Emily left the room.  As much as she cared about her mother, dealing with her was difficult and sapped what little energy she had.

. . .

She was returning to her office when Jessica called.  Jack had agreed to meet, and Jessica had drawn up the paperwork for the proposed agreement.

“I still don’t like giving him any money,” Jessica said.  

“Neither do I, but if it buys me freedom from him, it’s worth it,”

“Well, we don’t give him anything if he refuses to abide by the agreement, right?”


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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