Death Fire 14


“During the summer I volunteered at the old mental hospital. My foster parents were happy I wasn’t in trouble like most my classmates. A woman was brought in by her father. He signed her in and insisted that the doctors keep her.”
I hesitated to continue because what I knew would hurt him. I didn’t want to do that.
“Her name was Roberta Davis. She kept saying you promised to let me have him back ,you lied. Where is my son? I must have been about sixteen at that time. I volunteered all through the year a day or two a week so that I could work with Roberta. She told me her father had kept her son and stuck her in the mental ward so she couldn’t see the child. When I left for college she still resided there. I met Ina after she came in and visited Roberta. I wasn’t allowed in of course, but as I was delivering lunch trays she left the room. I heard the last of the conversation. She said, “he is a grown man and I raised him like I promised so just forget about it. He doesn’t even know who you are. Dad made sure of that. He is in the military and a good man. You just either lay down and die or disappear because he will never know you.”
I took lunch to Roberta not long after she left. Roberta looked at me and said, no matter what you do in life don’t trust relatives they will turn on you. She rolled over and until I left for college she barely spoke another word.”
It was that summer they found the underground river. A bunch of us kids went down to see it. It was pretty neat there were fish that hadn’t been seen but one other time and that was over in Indiana when they found a under ground river. So it was a big deal. They brought in a bunch of scientific people. Mainly Archeologists so they could see how old the river was. Going back I told Roberta all about it. She showed interest for the first time in months. She started going on walks around the grounds with me. The doctor was very pleased.
Once I left for school I wrote her once a week. I never heard anything but I hoped it helped her. I got a letter inside another letter. A girl I had worked with caught me up on all the news from around here and she said that Roberta asked me to send you this.
The letter was just a few lines it said don’t write anymore. I have it figured out. Every thing is fine. Study hard. Love Roberta.”
I never heard from her again. Letters from the girl who included the letter to me later wrote saying that Roberta went for a walk and wandered off. She claimed part of the fence was down on the property. She was just gone.
“The whole time I knew Roberta she was either so depressed or so angry that she had to be restrained so she didn’t hurt herself or someone else. That’s why I never understood why with me she never showed signs of being depressed or angry. Because they wouldn’t let me take her for walks if she was dangerous.”
Josh motioned for the waitress and ordered us dessert and coffee.
He didn’t say anything for a long time. “Well what you have told me fits with everything Aunt Ina has told me right down to the fight. I was in the military for fifteen years starting at eighteen. Ina said Granddad found my mom living in a commune of hippies. She said it was a bunch of kids that dabbled in wiccan. But they sold Mom out for Granddad’s money.”
“Ella will you not think bad of me if I told you that I could feel Mom at that cabin today?”

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