August 2, 2021

Book 5.Release 6.

By aarondkey

“Keep looking unless you’ve finished,” Timonthy said and he went into the study again.  He leant over the open laptop. He was in an e-mail account. There were no personal messages that would have given him a clue to the user’s identity. Paris was right. Someone was doing a lot of shopping and by the look of the e-mails they were mainly garden related orders.

In a way it made sense that Stolid’s friend would also be a gardener, he thought slightly bitterly.

“Paris,” he shouted and as she came in the room.

“I don’t understand it,” he said impatiently. “How do we know when this computer was used? Anyone can send an e-mail to this account, and the owner can send an email from any other computer. That’s right isn’t it?”

“Yes,” she said and sounded uncertain. “But if you look at the internet history, that can only be what this computer has done.”

She took over the mouse and showed him a different page. There was a list of dates and times. He understood now what she said originally. Apart from their own use, the last one was two days ago and before that it was quite regular every few days or so. It seemed to mean that someone was coming into the house on a regular basis, not every day but often enough to use the computer, sort the post and perhaps tidy the house and garden as well. The whole situation was making his head ache.

“Let’s go and get lunch,” he suggested.

“Shall we walk or drive?”

“Oh, let’s walk. We’ve sat down enough today.”

They got their coats on and walked down the hill idly.

“The Shack or the Haven?” Timonthy asked.

“I think the Shack today,” Paris said decisively. Either way the route began the same way. They crossed the main road and walked past the old village church. Further down the lane, houses gave way to fields, tarmac to gravel. They walked through a muddy field edged with trees, over a brook and through a hedge framed archway.

“I suppose Uncle Stolid has lots of friends who we know nothing about?” Paris said as if continuing his own thoughts. “That is probably the case,” he said without emotion.

Now they were on a well tended gravel path which ran along the skirt of the hill separating them from the sea.

“We will never get back to how we were, will we?” she said. “If Uncle Stolid meets someone else it may be awkward for all of us to meet together as we used to, especially if they don’t like us.”

“I’m afraid Johnathon was the glue that kept us together,” Timonthy admitted. “But you don’t need to worry. You have your whole life in front of you, a whole lifetime to make the friends you want to spend time with.”

“I know I’ve got friends and one day hopefully I’ll find someone to love but you were my family,” she said.  “All of you were my family. Now I feel like I’ve only got you and a mother who doesn’t care about me very much.”

“I’m sure she does,” he said and wondered if he really meant that.

“I want us to stay together if we can,” she said.

They rounded the edge of the hill and the sea appeared in the distance just edging over a hedgerow and a grassy bank.

“You and I will always be together. For the rest of them I don’t know if that is possible,” Timonthy said sadly. “But I will do my best to make it happen. Let’s concentrate on finding Stolid. If we manage it, I promise that I will do my best to invite him to join in any family celebrations we have. I can’t do anymore than that. It depends on how much he wants it. You’re not the only one who’s feeling all alone but we still have each other, don’t forget.”

She squeezed his hand and he felt touched by the gesture. It was true that Johnathon’s death had changed his life more significantly than just depriving him of a friend.