Eldest thought of that mysterious and untraceable email from someone using the name, “Tisiphone”, the Fury in Greek myth known and the avenger of murder. It was clear in his memory.
To: The head of the family long serving as staff and caretakers of the castle at Dachaigh Nan Trolls
From: A friend
I feel obliged to warn you that the man who has inherited the estate of your late employer is not to be trusted. It would not be an exaggeration to say he is a monster. I am not merely suspicious, but 99% certain, that he is guilty of the murder of his parents. They died in an unexplained auto accident (left the road on a mountain curve and down a steep cliff). The car was so thoroughly smashed and broken apart that the cause could not be determined. This happened a few weeks after a violent argument between him and his father about his demand that his father release some funds in a trust so that he could invest in a project hoping to develop a product to greatly extend human life span, even perhaps, indefinitely. He did make that investment immediately on receiving his inheritance from his parents. This concerns the safety of you and your family because he has expressed the speculation that you are somehow a surviving remnant of the extinct human species known as Neanderthal, and that a study of your genetics and physiology by whatever means necessary might provide a shortcut to that goal, and that your isolated location would facilitate that process. His only motive in this other than extending his own life is to become extremely rich selling that means to very wealthy, powerful and unscrupulous people. Please, be exceedingly careful in dealing with him, this monster with only greed and no conscience what so ever.
“That was you, was it not?” Eldest asked.
“Yes, and there’s more that doesn’t relate to your situation, cruelty to animals, among other things.” Margie replied.
“I’ll venture that you do not wear black in mourning for him – your father, perhaps?”
“Hardly! Father was the sort of man who sees girls as just needing to be pretty, make his idea of a good marriage, and provide grandchildren. I never quite fit that mold, which is why I was left out of his will but for a pittance. And Mother is well off being out of the Hell of being married to him.”
“And, you are that confident that he caused the accident.”
“Yes, the only other reasonable explanation would be that Mother finally grabbed the wheel and took them over the edge, but she was so beaten down, it is hard to imagine.”
“Well, then, your brother’s fate has a certain taste of Karma.”
“He definitely had it coming, and if you hadn’t done it, I would have when he left. I was hacked into the car’s computer systems – brakes, accelerator, etc.”
“It seems there was more than one monster in the family.”
“Indeed, I would call it being raised by wolves, but I like wolves. I may be a monster too, but of a different value set. ‘And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.’”
Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”