The Family Pool (7)

The Family Pool:  Optional Epilogue

That’s good, my boy,” came Uncle Daniel’s voice on the phone. “Take some time out, do London. It will broaden your horizons. Might just be what your business needs. Maybe you’ll find yourself a new girl there too.”

Uncle Daniel,” said John, his voice straining. “Please.”

Sorry,” replied Uncle Daniel with a jovial chuckle. “I forgot, you’re not quite ready for that. Well, let time heal the wounds, my boy. You’re a real Adams now.”

Thanks, Uncle,” replied John.

Did you manage to get Mary’s accounts unlocked?” asked Uncle Daniel.

I’ll do that when I’m back,” said John.

Happy hunting,” called Uncle Daniel cheerfully and rang off.

Yes,” muttered John to himself as he switched off his phone. “Happy hunting indeed.” He looked up at Mr Jenkinson.

So where are you taking me, John?” asked the old man.

John lowered his voice. “Tom, do you trust me?”

Tom Jenkinson nodded.

They boarded the Boeing.

*

John leaned back in his seat. He had ushered his father-in-law into the window seat, because he himself flew so often, it didn’t really matter.

He had been uneasy about the family custom of the Family Pool since he was a child. He’d known that sooner or later, everyone’s turn came. But he hadn’t expected that it would be that sinister, and that he’d have to perform the deed himself. In fact it was one of those things you never tried to think about if you were an Adams, because the mind boggled if you tried.

Many Adams’ had been lost in and around Richardsmere. It had also, apart from that, been the family’s prime holiday destination. He’d really meant to take a last-minute break with his Mary until the Order came.

There was no space for a baby in the family. It was Jenny’s turn to have toddlers, and Wendy’s; and on the other side of the family, Anneline’s. Not Mary’s. So the forced move up into the house had upset the whole family; especially as poor Aunt Suzine had to be sacrificed years before her time. She had been going dilly and strange with age, but she hadn’t yet been over the hill. He had personally always thought that she was merely eccentric, as she had been all her life.

He hadn’t expected the Clan to take action and do away with her! Mary had been right; they could easily have stayed in that spacious apartment raising babies until the youngster or two were at least a few years old. But the Adams’ didn’t work that way. You got married; you moved up. The apartment had been empty for years; this was why it had been available right away and he didn’t have to wait with marrying Mary. Then, you had a baby; you moved up; into a child-safe house. When your children were of school-age, you moved into a larger house with more facilities. All was nicely timed; it had been ticking neatly for generations. But sometimes there was simply one too many… like his twin, Timmy. He was actually quite surprised that Mary hadn’t picked that up.

Mary had been right; they could easily have survived in the Midlands or even Durban on her salary while he stayed home and built the business. Besides he liked having his son named after a dynamic family saint. But that was not how it had been destined to go… and now, everything was uprooted… he had to start again. And he was currently just tucking in a few loose ends.

He leaned back in his seat and tried to sleep while ice floes floed past underneath. One thing was certain: Uncle Daniel was never going to see him again.

To command him to drown his own wife and unborn baby! The power of power.

*

This is not England,” commented Tom Jenkinson with a wry smile as they drove the small yellow rental car through the streets of Adelaide.

John shook his head. No, it was not England. And Uncle Daniel would be arrested right around… now. The bottom of Richardsmere would be dredged, for all those Adams’ and attachments who had “gone missing” over the years. The only two entries into the genealogy, which had been handed over to the forensic police, of actual drownings in Richardsmere were indeed that aunt in 1967, and his brother Tim. After this the genealogy had begun to look a bit strange.

He had not drowned Timmy. He had in fact not even known it was happening, or he would have come running to his brother’s rescue. All these years he had seriously believed that it had been accidental. And he had beaten himself up for surviving, and for not being there, and all sorts of things.

He stopped the car and helped Tom out, and led his father-in-law to the lifts of a huge flat block overlooking the sea. He could see that Tom had no inkling of the whole sinister setup back at Richardsmere. Poor Tom!

They stepped out on the tenth level. John glanced down to the floor, thirty metres down, over the not very high rail. A very unsafe place. Especially for an elderly man who wasn’t completely steady on his feet. If Tom tripped…

He knocked on the door of number 1023. It opened, and a young woman with mousy-brown hair cropped short in a pixie-style faced him, with a tiny baby in her arms.

John!” she squealed delightedly, and, “Daddy!”

John bent over his son and kissed the newborn baby on its fluffy head.

Pleased to meet you, Donovan Thomas Adams,” he said with a tender smile. And after kissing Mary too, and allowing her to greet her father and usher them all into the flat, he turned to the overwhelmed Tom.

Sorry that I had to fool you into thinking she was dead, Tom. It was the only way to get her out of that accursed family pool. We’re starting over. We can’t afford to bring any money over, they’ll find us that way. Sorry about your pension, Tom, you’ll have to rough it with us for a while, but I didn’t want them to find you, either. We have the lump sum Uncle Daniel gave me as spending money; I transferred it into a new account that he can’t access. It’s enough to tie us over for a little while, until I find a job.”

Rubbish, John,” replied Mary. “I’m qualified and there are three companies who have already made me an offer. Good offers! You do what you do best and build a new business, okay? I think I got used to Swarovski and fine art.”

Oh dear,” said John. And Donny opened his mouth hugely – and yawned.

*

© Lyz Russo

2011

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