Family Lies Chapter 20: Revelation

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

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Chapter 20: Revelation

Emily woke up in her own bed, feeling groggy.  

Jenny was sitting in the armchair beside the bed. “I persuaded Doctor Thompson to come here and treat you,” she said.  “Both she and I know how much you hate hospitals.  The shock from the blast knocked you out, but then the doc gave you a sedative, to keep you relaxed while we patched you up.  You’ve got a couple of deep cuts that needed stitches, but mostly it’s just minor cuts we had to make sure there was no glass in them and dressed them.”

“That poor security guy,” Emily said. 

“Yeah, he wasn’t so lucky. There wasn’t anything anyone could do for him.”

“I said hello to him this morning, it was just a normal thing.  Then he died, working to protect me.”

“And he did.  If you had been closer to the bomb when it went off, you would have died too.”

“And the family? Is everyone OK?”

“I told them you needed to rest and banned them from the room.”

The door opened slightly and a small head appeared around it. “I heard talking.  Is Grandma awake? Can we see her now?”

“Yes,” Emily answered.

Three small girls excitedly ran into the room and jumped into the bed beside Emily.

They were shortly followed by the Emily’s daughters and son-in-law, who had heard the girls’ excited chatter.

“This is too crowded!” Jenny insisted.

“You’re right.  I should go down to the lounge room where we will all fit more comfortably,” Emily said. She kissed each small child and told everyone she would dress and join them downstairs.

Jenny helped her change into fresh clothes, carefully avoiding pulling or putting pressure on any of the many dressings.

“What happened to Jack?” Emily asked.  “He wasn’t far away when it went off.”

“Far enough to not be here when the police arrived,” Jenny answered.

* * *

Much as Emily hated it, she allowed Jenny to put her in a wheelchair, to take her in the lift downstairs to the lounge room.  The whole family was there, including her mother.

Emily tried to make light of the situation.  “I guess I need to get the glazier back in.”

“I’ve already called,” Steve said.  “I hope you don’t mind.”

“Mind? Of course not.” She reflected, not for the first time, that she was grateful Alannah had married a man as unlike Jack as it was possible to be. She looked around the room, relieved to see that everyone looked fine, if worried. 

Jenny helped her move to one of the armchairs with the electric lift.  Elsie was already in the other.  As soon as Emily was settled the three grandchildren joined her in the chair.

“No crowding your grandmother.  She’s sore!” Jenny commanded.  Her tone of voice would allow no argument.  

The girls stood beside the chair instead. Emily suggested they go and grab some pillows and use them to sit on the floor, next to her chair.

Once they’d left the room looking for suitable pillows, Emily asked: “What have the police said?  Surely Jack didn’t leave a bomb by himself. Have the police caught Henry?”

“Oh no,” Elsie answered. “The police won’t catch Henry.  Henry’s gone.”

“Grandma, we’re talking about the other Henry,” Jody said gently.

“Henry won’t come back, ever,” Elsie said, firmly. “I had to do it.  He was a threat to little girls.  He won’t hurt my Emily.”

“You had to do what?” Emily asked, afraid of the answer.

“Oh hello dear, who are you?” Elsie asked. No. Of course there wouldn’t be an answer. Before dementia set in, Elsie would never have told her anything about her father.  Since dementia began, Emily had learned so much that she hadn’t wanted to know, but could she believe her mother had killed her father? Was that too much to accept? 

Kym interrupted her thoughts.  “Detective Carstairs said to call her when you were awake.  She needs to come and talk to you. Shall I call now? Or do you want a break first?”

“Call her, I guess.  I’ll have time for coffee before she gets here.”

Kym went to make the call.

Alannah said, “Mum, we’ve been talking, and would like to continue staying here until Henry, and Dad, I guess, are securely locked away.  You still have better security than any of us.”

“I’m always happy to have you all here,” Emily said.  “I just wish the circumstances were better.”

“Do you think Dad knew he was delivering a bomb?” Jody asked.  “I mean, I refused to answer his phone call, and Alannah told him to bugger off, and Kym…”

“This is not your fault.  None of it is.  Who knows what Henry told Jack about that parcel.  We all know Jack is easily manipulated by men he thinks are smarter than him.  And Henry, he’s completely off his rocker. No amount of facts or reasoning would get through to him. He’s just not in touch with the real world.”

* * *

Steve took the children to the home cinema to watch a movie. Jenny took Elsie back to her room, for her afternoon nap.

That left Emily with her three daughters when Detective Carstairs arrived.

“I do need to interview you alone,” the detective said, “but while you’re all here I can tell you we have Jack in custody. Once he was told we had him for murder, and that all of his children and grandchildren were in the house he blew up, he gave us a location for Henry. Unfortunately, Henry wasn’t there. There’s signs he left quickly.”

“So Jack thinks he killed us?”

“He’ll find out soon enough that you all survived.  But for now, we’re going to let him stew.”

“I hope you find Henry soon.  In the meantime, we have something else to tell you about. Something my mother said, makes it appear that…” Emily found she couldn’t say the words.

“Grandma implied that she’d killed her husband,” Alannah said.

“Do you have any details? Where the body might be?” Detective Carstairs asked

“Roses,” Emily said quietly, and found she was crying.

“Grandma says all the time that roses always make her think of Henry,” Jody said.

“She had a rose garden, in the house I grew up in.” Emily said, “ She wouldn’t leave the place, not until it became obvious, even to her, that she couldn’t live on her own any more. She looked after that rose garden so carefully.  I always thought it was because she loved roses.”

“Okay, I’ll look into that, now I’m going to give you a moment to compose yourself, and once you’re ready, I’ll get your statement about the explosion.”

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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