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CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
“WHO WOULD like to open the meeting of the New KOR?” Hill asked Scarlett, Alexis and Christian.
“I’d just like to know why we’re here and what this has to do with the Rangers,” Christian said.
Hill looked around the room and seeing their nods of agreement said, “I’m sure that we all feel the same way. This whole this has got me puzzled too. But it appears that somebody is trying to link the four of us with the old King’s Orange Rangers.”
“And their purpose was to uphold the law and to protect.” Alexis said.
“Not really a whole lot different from what your job is, Sergeant,” Scarlett said, underlining her feeling that it was ridiculous for them to be having the meeting at all. ‘This should be police business,’ she thought but did not add.
“Yes, true, except that for some reason it is only us who have been recently recruited. Why have we received these buttons? It makes no sense.” Hill stated assuredly.
“But who’s to know for sure whether or not there are others who’ve received the buttons as well? Maybe we’re just four of many more?” Scarlett asked, shaking her button on the string.
“The tough part would be finding them. But truthfully I find it a bit confusing.”
“Why?” Christian asked.
“Well, it seems to me that someone, or some-thing, is trying to tie the past to the present – through us,” Hill said.
“But the same could be said about most things. Isn’t everything in this world tied to something else? If not for the wheel we wouldn’t have cars. If not for computers we couldn’t have put a man on the moon,” Alexis said.
“Okay, so what do you think if this. Glenda, from over at the museum, seems to think that maybe Perkins’ ghost is at large,” Hill said, smiling doubtfully.
“Perkins? Perkins’ Ghost? Why?” the others said at once, not smiling.
Scarlett practically jumped from her chair and asked, “Hey, I wonder if that’s what that fortune teller meant? What’s her name now…oh yea, Vadoma? She shouted at me the other day and said something about digging him up.”
Christian said, “This is bloody ridiculous. I’m not buying any of it. Ghosts don’t exist. This whole thing, including this little meeting, is utter nonsense.”
“Well Glenda actually said it. And for those of you who don’t know, the gravestone has been moved,” Hill informed them.
“Really?” asked Alexis, horrified. “Who would pull such a stunt?”
“Good question,” Hill stated as if they were finally getting it. “At first I thought it was a group of fool-hardy kids who had done it. But Glenda’s right, they never could have moved that slab.”
“How do you think it was moved? It took a bobcat to place it on there.” Christian added.
Hill allowed them to think about that for a moment before moving on. “Vadoma, the fortune teller, asked me something about the play that I had found confusing. She asked me if the characters in the play were fighting. Were they scripted to argue? At first I had no idea what she was talking about. But now that I’ve read the play it seems that what Vadoma said makes more sense to me.”
Scarlett asked, astonished, “You’re not letting a fortune teller direct this case? Besides, how could she know that? We didn’t even finish the third act. Who is that old battle-axe anyway?”
“Interesting that you should ask that!” Hill was quick to jump in. “I went down to the park and spoke with her about where she was from and where she was going. I never did get a straight answer though. She implied that she goes from town to town.”
“Travelling around, interfering and accusing people of crap,” Scarlett said, distressed.
“I have a question for all of you,” said Hill. “And this is not about Perkins. You all knew David really well,” and at their nods he continued. “I spoke with his wife, Tiffany, and she mentioned that he was pretty irritable and had no appetite. She put it down to stress, but I’m not so sure that was it. Does anyone know of any other problem that he had, at work, in the play or anything else?” His eyes moved from one to the other and rested on Alexis.
Curiously, she had her head down and was picking at her fingers. He wondered why.
“You got me there,” Christian said. “David was a perfectionist when it came to theatre. I could sure enough see him being stressed about that. Plus it’s bloody hard work, rehearsing and still having a full-time job.”
“You’ve got that right,” Scarlett agreed.
Alexis cleared her throat nervously but didn’t say a word.
“Now getting back to Perkins and the KOR. According to Glenda, by the end of 1812 there had been more than twenty Canadians tried for high treason. Do you think that there could be a connection with that and these buttons?” Hill asked.
“I can’t imagine how or why,” Alexis was glad that the conversation had moved away from David.
“I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t see how this is accomplishing anything. I’m tired and I’m going home,” Scarlett said. “I’m fed up of having my play brought into every situation and blamed for everything. And let me say it again: my play wasn’t totally fact-based. Sure, Perkins died in the play, as he did in real life, but he’s still dead, so just leave him be.”
“No one is picking on you and your play,” Hill said, gently. “It can hardly be coincidental that your play happened at exactly the same time as the murder, the same time as Perkins’ grave had been altered and the same time that we each got a KOR button.” He went on, “I don’t mean to sound accusing.”
“Come on Scarlett, we’re all tired and upset with David’s murder,” Christian said. “Just hear Sergeant Hill out.”
“Your play does read really well. But what I found most intriguing was the last scene where the traitors were uncovered. It was Clopper who was the ringleader. You did that brilliantly.”
“Oh please, leave it alone,” Scarlett pleaded.
“But Scarlett, the Sergeant might be right. Maybe the past is somehow tied to the present,” Alexis said sincerely.
“I’ve had enough. I need to go,” Scarlett said, wearily.
That ended the first and last meeting of the New Order of the King’s Orange Rangers. No conclusions were made but each left with a lot to think about. There were not any minutes taken and it was never adjourned.
~ ~ ~
The first thing that Hill did the following morning was to phone Doc Lewis. His nurse, put the call straight through. “Sergeant Hill here…I’d like a few minutes of your time if you can spare it.”
“Sure, how about two o’clock this afternoon?”
“Perfect, I’ll be there.”
The waiting room in Doc Lewis’ clinic was empty. Business appeared to be slow. Hill liked to think that the people of Liverpool must be healthy. He waited no more than five minutes and was called in at bang on two o’clock, impressed by the efficient way in which Lewis ran his office.
“I figured you were here to see me about David Mosher so I had his file pulled,” Doc said.
“You got that right. I spoke with Tiffany and she mentioned some things that sent up a few red flags.”
“What kind of things?”
“Weight loss, lack of appetite and being down-right irritable. He also cleared out the bank account and bought her a reliable car. It sounds a bit suspicious, out of the ordinary. Apparently, he told her that she needed one.”
Doc Lewis had a paper clip marking the page with the notes containing David’s last visit. He opened the file. “It’s all spelled out right here,” he said, shaking his head sadly and turned the file for Hill to read it.
“Sorry Doc, but I can’t make head or tails out of that. You must write in some kind of code.”
“I’ve never heard it put so politely before.” He paused for a moment and shook his head again before he said without reading from the notes, “Well the long and the short of it is that David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer not eight weeks before he died.”
“You’re kidding me right? This is totally certain?” Hill was shocked to hear this news.
“I’m surprised that Tiffany didn’t make any mention of knowing this.”
“No, she wouldn’t. She didn’t know. He specifically asked me not to tell her and I was sworn to secrecy. I guess it doesn’t matter that you know, now that he’s dead.” After a pause he went on, “And he refused treatment. Surgeons could have performed what’s known as the Whipple procedure and attempted to remove all the cancerous parts, but there was no guarantee. Beyond that, there’s not much that we could have done for him. In the later stages of the cancer the patient can suffer terribly. And with pancreatic cancer, I regret to say that the overall outlook is not in anyone’s favor. Once jaundice sets in there’s no fooling anyone, not even Tiffany.”
“I suggested that she sees you as well.”
“Maybe I’ll give her a call.”
Both were lost in their own thoughts when Hill left the doctor’s office. Hill was trying to figure this surprise into the equation, and Doc Lewis was deciding whether or not he should tell Tiffany the truth about David’s illness, before she heard it from someone else.
END OF CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
“Linda has published fifteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”