Chapter Books

Timmy hears things that no one else hears. Is he going crazy or is there something out there? If something is out there why doesn't anyone else hear it?

All work herein is Copyrighted and may not be distributed or published without the prior consent of the author. Copyright 2006, 2007. Kim Bentz. All rights reserved.

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Kim Bentz, Writer and Photographer, living in Viriginia (Washington, D.C. metro area). Graduate of Colorado Springs Christian School, Student at American Military University. Government contractor by day. 

Kim lives with her husband of 30+ years, nearly 2000 books, a great collection of jazz records, and thousands of photographs taken all over.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Benedict arrived unannounced at mid-morning, slipping in quietly and moving through the mansion watching and listening. He had become accustomed to the near-reverence his six-foot, six-inch, muscular physique and reserved demeanor inspired, though it alternately amused and irritated him. Quiet by nature, his silence was often misinterpreted as disapproval or critical rather than mere silent watching and listening as was his wont. One learned so much more by listening than by talking, which he would have thought other Listers would know better than anyone.

After prowling the halls, he found his way into the living room. Some kind soul had rounded up light blankets and covered the three sleeping men and propped their heads on pillows as best they could. Benedict smiled. The professor he knew well, and though he had heard much about Walter he had only met him the one time. The other young man he did not know. He quietly stepped around them to look at the papers strewn on the table before them.

Magda found him by the window at a table overlooking the deck. The view did not have his interest, but he was intent on the papers in front of him, making notes in the margins. He stood up as her bells announced her approach, smiling and enveloping her in a warm embrace.

“You’re early,” she scolded him with a smile on her face. “We weren’t heading to the airport for two or three hours yet.”

“I was able to catch an earlier flight. Airlines work differently in Alaska. If there’s a plane leaving and you’re there, they won’t make you wait for the flight you are booked on. The weather changes too frequently and…well…it’s Alaska. I got out of Barrow early, so I was able to catch the last flight out of Anchorage for the night, saving me from sleeping in the airport.”

“Tell me about the boy.”

Magda told him everything she knew about him, his life before school, his family, and then told him everything she could think of about him since arriving at the school.

“Oh, Ben. We just can’t lose this boy. I’m sure we can reach him. I’m just sure of it.” She gasped and looked at him in alarm. “Oh, I’m so sorry. Does all this remind you too much?”

“No.” Benedict looked sad but serene. “I’ve come to terms with it. Have you?”

“There’s not a day that goes by…” her voice trailed off and she stared sightlessly out the window.

“Are you sure you can handle this, Magda?” She turned back toward him, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.

“I can handle it. It’s just seeing you again reminds me of what we went through. Few others really understand.” Reaching over, he clasped her left hand in both of his. “How is she, Ben?”

“She gets a little better every day. I don’t think she will ever fully recover, but she is better.”

They lapsed into silence, each remembering Samantha. Though she was born into a family of Listers and had many generations of Lister blood, she had been unable to learn to shut out the music and had only done so when she went quietly mad. She had been found one morning in the lake, where she had tried to drown herself to shut out the music. The resulting brain damage made her the equivalent of a five-year old and had taken away her ability to walk.

Samantha was Benedict’s niece, and he was her sole surviving relative under the age of 60 when her parents had died while on an expedition in the Artic. He had been her guardian and he and Magda her teachers when she left her bed one winter night and walked into the icy lake. He was the one who found her, and with Magda’s help had done everything in his power to restore her to herself once she left the hospital. For the past two years he had cared for her with the help of a team of dedicated professionals, taking them to his compound outside of Barrow above the Artic Circle.

“Will you ever bring her back here?” Magda looked out over the still frozen lake.

“She should be here the day after tomorrow.” He said it so quietly, so matter-of-factly that it took a moment to register.

“Are you kidding me?” Magda jumped up, and went around the table to hug him. “Oh, my precious girl.”

The professor woke at this outburst and turned to see Benedict. Jumping up he greeted him with a vigorous handshake, and within what seemed like moments, people began to feel the professor’s excitement and had come to investigate the source. A few were exuberant, but most remained quietly in awe of the dark giant whose fame and reputation preceded him. Magda’s husband and son greeted him with hearty handshakes and smiles all around in front of a tongue-tied group.

Noting signs of fatigue on his face, Magda dispersed the crowd, telling them to give him some time to rest from his long journey. She shot him an apologetic look as she realized that she had not already done so, she had some of the students gather his things and carry them to his room.

“We’ll meet back here at 3:00 to discuss the situation.” He called out at the departing group before heading to his room.

The air in the tower staircase was stale from misuse owing to his long absence. Fresh linens were on the bed and fresh towels in the bath, but it was clear that the room hadn’t been aired out for ages.

Picking up the phone, he called down to the Edna to ask for a good cleaning when someone got the chance. Edna and her husband, Bill, headed a staff of ten who cleaned and maintained the building and the grounds, and prepared meals for the staff and students.

“Bennie!” she exclaimed. “You’re here? No one said you were coming, I would have personally taken care of you.”

Benedict pictured her arthritic knees making the climb and smiled. “That is most definitely not happening. No need to climb these stairs. I’ll be down to see you in a bit.”

“Oh, pish. This old body has plenty of life in it yet. I’ll send someone else because you asked it, but I expect to see you in 10 minutes. I’m putting on the tea kettle right now.” With that she hung up, leaving him smiling into the phone.

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