(Photo credit: Marabelo)
Even such is time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joy, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days:
Apart from which earth, and grave, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.
Linda repeated Sir Walter Ralegh‘s poem ‘Epitaph’ over and over again as she watched the body of her assailant self-combust. It all started with a strange shadow falling in front of her snarling attacker, who fell down immediately and began to shake uncontrollably, foaming in the mouth. She struggled to release herself but it was futile, she persisted and only succeeded in falling back, hitting her head on the tiled floor. She gritted her teeth in frustration, staring hard at the ceiling and wondered what she would do next and that was when she began to choke.
Linda dragged herself away slowly, so she could see what was happening and her heart stopped in her mouth, her attacker had been reduced to ashes, save for his lower limbs and shoes, he was burnt out. She whimpered as she struggled feverishly, rolling to her side, she managed to stand to her feet but with her hands still tied back, it was very painful. Sweating profusely, Linda refused to look at the ashes on the floor, the only thing on her mind was freedom.
Outside, a little girl skipped along the slippery sidewalk, her long blonde hair dancing with the wind, her short, pleated skirt swirled around her knees. The smell of rain and rotting leaves hung heavily in the air. She stopped suddenly and a chuckle escaped her pink lips when she saw a black BMW parking beside her.
She stared at the shrivelled old man on the back seat.
Bernstein Joel Bonnke tried to smile but it ended in a grimace and he put his bony hands on his parched lips, he knew that he looked awful.
The driver of the BMW got out, a tall, lean, bony man with bushy eyebrows. The man opened the door for Bernstein, who stepped out like royalty, his eyes still firmly trained on the girl, who curiously, was still staring at him. The leafy street was deserted at that time of the day, it was mid afternoon, and Bernstein was glad for the privacy.
He approached the inquisitive little girl, a fixed smile on his gaunt face.
‘How are you my lady?’
‘I am fine, you don’t look well, are you ill?’ she asked, her blue eyes searching Bernstein’s face. And he felt uncomfortable under her piecing gaze, his visit to London was meant to be a quick one, he doesn’t want to leave any trace or clues if he could help it.
‘Yes my dear, old age is my disease,’ he answered smoothly and reached for her head, she allowed him ruffled her hair for a few seconds, then without warning, a chill went through his body, it was akin to an electric current. He removed his hand quickly and scampered away, his body guards glared at the girl but she was unperturbed. She watched as they all entered the last house on the street, she could not move and her eyes never left the end of terrace house.
Someone called her, and she turned her attention to the petite woman standing on the front porch of the house across the street, it was her mother. She skipped towards her, there was a wild look on her face.
‘Mama, are you okay?’ Amber asked anxiously.
There was no sound and her mother later screamed in reply. Amber turned to look at what had upset her so. What she saw turned her blood to ice.
Gordon held his sons close, the tears refused to fall. He was still in shock. He had just come in from the police station. The police had interviewed him all night, and they had interrogated each of his sons as well, though they stated blandly that they were merely following procedures but Gordon knew better. The bullet that killed his twenty-three year old son was the exact replica of the bullets he used for his semi automatic assault rifle. He was mourning for his son, praying that his wife would return home safely and trying to prove his innocence and that of his sons.
It was a horrible way to live.
Luke, Gabriel, and Peter moved away from their father’s embrace, the tragedy of Eliza’s death was still fresh and with the police breathing down their necks, they were practically living in hell. The police seemed to be hounding them than pitying them.
Luke stood up and went to his room, he’d hardly spoken a word since he heard the news. Gabriel stood up and sauntered to the window, then turned back abruptly and said with clenched teeth,
‘You caused these entire problems dad! If mom hadn’t disappeared, Eliza would still be alive now!’
Gordon thought about Gabriel’s accusations and replied calmly,
‘Eliza’s death had nothing to do with your mother’s disappearance. I believe he was killed because of the contents of your mother’s diary.’
‘How do you mean?’ asked Gabriel shrewdly, his dowdy appearance further heightened by the stubble on his jaw. At twenty, his life peaked too soon. He bagged a first class honours degree in Engineering from the University of York but sadly, was not keen to do anything else but smoke cannabis all day, a habit that had put him at loggerheads with his mother. Gordon also suspected that Gabriel was jealous of Eliza’s success.
Eliza was running his property business, and doing a good job of it. After college, he had refused to go to the University; rather, he had leached on to him, following him to auctions. Within months, Eliza had bought three properties, renovated the houses, and made a profit of more than three hundred thousand pounds.
Gordon was a proud father.
‘There were some things in your mother’s diary that Eliza saw, I was certain he was shocked when he did. He gave the diary to me and shortly after that, he was killed.’
‘Where’s the diary?’ Gabriel asked quietly.
‘I have given it to the police,’ Gordon said carefully, looking at his son, ‘they believe the contents of the diary was behind the death of Eliza and could be behind your mother’s disappearance, hopefully, the diary would clear our names.’
Gabriel locked eyes with his father, and Gordon shuddered with fear. It was the cold, ruthless eyes of a killer.
Who in heaven’s name is Gabriel Leonhard! Gordon thought with a deep sigh, he wondered when the nightmare would end.
My publisher, Arrow Gate, has indicated their interest in this story, so I am afraid, this would be the last post on this story! But if anyone is interested to know more about the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Leonhard’s family and the grotesque Bernstein Joel Bonnke, you can subscribe to my newsletter and when the novel is released next summer, you’ll be the first to get a copy.
NP: July has been a special month for me, I signed up for WordPress on 17th of July, 2012 and my first post was on the 31st of July 2012. So it’s exactly a year ago that I started this blog, although I didn’t start serious blogging until mid October, it’s been a great journey so far. I have made great friends and didn’t regret starting this blog.
I also celebrated 13 years of wedded bliss to my sweet husband Kay! It’s been a great month!! (He refused to have his picture taken, he’s so shy! :) ) I hope you all had something to celebrate… the gift of life!!!
I love and respect you all, you’re all awesome!
Much love, always!