Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.


Chapter Five Hundred and Ninety-nine : A new home

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE

Sunday night — 8:11 p.m.

“Okay,” Jacob said.

He looked out to Blane, Nelson, Tres Sierra, Tanesha, and Jeraine. They were meeting in the television room in the basement.

“Just admit it,” Nelson said, up front. “Your construction is delayed and we are going to have to wait for fucking ever to move in.”

“Sort of?” Jacob said at the same time Jill said, “Not really.”

“How much is it going to cost us?” Tres Sierra asked.

“Anyone else with their predictable questions or complaints?” Jacob asked.

“Do the kids have their own rooms?” Blane asked.

“What’s the garden space look like now?” Tanesha asked. “Am I going to be able to grow anything?”

Tanesha exaggerated the “anything” to a whine. Everyone laughed.

“Jeraine?” Jacob asked.

“I’m just waiting until you tell us what’s going on,” Jeraine said. “Then, I’ll complain.”

Everyone laughed. Blane pushed Jeraine and Jeraine laughed. Heather slipped into the room.

“What did I miss?” Heather asked.

“A lot of complaining,” Blane said with a snort.

“I missed out on complaining?” Heather asked. “About what?”

“The house,” Nelson said glumly.

Everyone turned and looked at him. For a moment, the room was silent and then everyone laughed. Nelson grinned at the attention.

“Okay, let’s get on,” Jacob said. “I don’t know when the next hockey game will be hoisted upon me.”

They grinned at him.

“I never liked this design,” Jacob said.

“What?” Blane asked at the same time as everyone in the room.

“I know! I know,” Jacob said. “I should have said something. I just…”

When they settled down, Jacob looked at Jill and gave her a nod.

“Jill was right,” Jacob said. “I was exhausted. Just exhausted.”

He nodded.

“I had a chance to think about it while I was in Dillan,” Jacob said. “I talked to Jill yesterday and this is what we came up with.”

Jacob gestured to the screen on the wall. A house came up on the screen. Everyone fell silent trying to absorb what they were seeing.

“I’ll walk you through this,” Jacob said. “What I realized what that you…”

Jacob stopped talking. He shook his head. Jill stood up and went to the screen.

“From the street, everything looks the same,” Jill said. “That’s what you’re seeing here.”

“I’d like to point out that, this doesn’t look any different,” Jeraine said, pointing at the screen.

“Thank you,” Jill said.

Everyone laughed. Jacob grinned.

“I don’t know how to use this program,” Jacob said, shrugging. “Jill set this up.”

Jill clicked the computer and they were zooming around the building.

“Jacob’s idea was to dig out the basement,” Jill said. “To create this.”

The image showed a walled in sunken garden with raised beds and a place for the children to play as well as tables and chairs for people to sit. The view zoomed to looking back at the house. Everyone made a noise of surprise.

“We thought we’d make this basement wall a glass wall,” Jill said. “It’s a supporting wall, so it will be a little bit of a trick, but we called the Engineer yesterday and he said he thought we could make it work.”

“We’ll put the kitchen down here,” Jacob said. “This will be your open living space. We’ll make window wells around every window so that it’ll have lots of light. There will be a space for watching television, for the kids to play, and a few computer stations for homework and work.”

“Where will I stay?” Tanesha asked. “The last plan had me in the basement.”

“And my recording studio,” Jeraine said.

“Ah, exactly,” Jacob said. “Hold onto the recording studio. Tanesha, we have a couple of options for you. Jill?”

“Jake realized that the only thing that would work was if each of you had your own room and a sitting room,” Jill said. “We put the adult rooms on the second floor.”

“Where the kitchen was?” Nelson asked.

“Where the original entrance was,” Jill said. “So the original first floor.”

Everyone nodded.

“There are four adults — Heather, Blane, Nelson, and Tres,” Jill said. “We fit them here.”

“First,” Jacob said, “we thought of putting them in a line, but it makes all of the rooms kind of small.”

“And not very private,” Jill said.

“We put two on each side of the hallway,” Jacob said. “Each room is not as long but each one has its own outside space. They will each have sitting room for when the kids stay with you. The ones in the front have a patio with actual land. The ones in the back have private patio space.”

“We’ve reshaped the front yard a bit, but not much,” Jill said. “It should help sound proof the front rooms and give more privacy to the front space.”

“We thought that you could keep your own garden here,” Jacob said. “Nelson could stargaze in the back.”

“Perfect,” Nelson said.

“We put the kids rooms on the top floor,” Jacob said. “While they are young now, they will be sixteen sooner than later.”

“If they’re up here, they can’t creep out?” Blane asked with a laugh. “What are you going to do with yours?”

“Lock them up,” Jill said without missing a beat.

Everyone laughed.

“If you have more kids,” Jacob said. “We made four rooms upstairs with a play room. Each room, like the ones on the first floor, has a full bath with a shower and a bath.”

“We can make the other rooms into offices,” Jill said. “Or whatever you think you might want.”

“My recording studio?” Jeraine asked.

“Ah yes,” Jacob said. He looked at Jill.

“That,” Jill said.

“Well…” Jacob said.

They laughed when Jeraine looked offended. Realizing they were teasing him, Jeraine grinned from ear to ear.

“You told me, more than once, that your dream was to have a place for people to stay while they worked for you,” Jacob said.

“Like the guy on the coast,” Jeraine nodded. “People come there and stay. They hang out, relax, and come up with great music. There isn’t anything like that for people like us.”

“What are people like you?” Nelson asked.

“He means, African-American,” Blane said.

“I thought he might have an additional eye or something,” Nelson said, looking Jeraine up and down.

Jeraine laughed.

“But I get what you mean,” Nelson said. “There is no place for prejudice in my life. If this is your dream, it’s my dream too.”

Everyone nodded.

“We realized that we don’t have a real privacy on this side of the house,” Jacob said. “The houses are getting taller and we’ve dropped the backyard. So I realized that sunlight comes from the right side of the property.”

“So together, we designed this,” Jill said.

She looked at the screen and clicked. A three story extension to match the house pressed up against the boundary of the property. It was not very wide, but it fit the 1900s feel of the original house.

“We put the recording studio on the floor so that there’s a straight wall along the garden,” Jacob said. “There is a nice apartment on the second floor and another on the top. There’s space in each to hang around and get inspired. They are narrow.”

“They look like storage containers,” Jeraine said.

“They’re a little narrower than that,” Jacob said with a nod. “But! Jill has made them beautiful.”

“These apartments will be gorgeous,” Jill said. “Two bedroom. Modern elegance, but warm and comfortable. They will be beautiful places to hang out.”

“If you decided you don’t want people to stay here, you can always rent them out,” Jacob said.

“Will they be able to see into the house?” Nelson asked. “The backyard?”

“No,” Jill said. “There are lots of windows but they won’t have a view of the backyard or into the house.”

“Why would my clients ‘lure at children’?” Jeraine asked.

“Because they’re music people?” Tanesha asked. “Drugs, drinking. Seems like a no brainer.”

“We can insist that people are sober here,” Jeraine said.

“You won’t get a lot of clients,” Tanesha said.

“Good question,” Jeraine said with a thoughtful nod. “Good question.”

“What do you think?” Jacob asked.

“I like it,” Jeraine said. “Looks great.

“What about me?” Tanesha asked.

“Because your needs are a little different,” Jacob said, “we wanted to give you a few options. The first is one of these apartments off the recording studio. This would give you quiet for studying and a lot of space for when Jeraine is here.”

“I like being with everyone,” Tanesha said.

“We can either put a bedroom for you in the basement,” Jacob said. “Or give you a space with the other adult bedrooms.”

Tanesha shook her head.

“I want to stay out of that mess,” Tanesha said with a laugh.

“We can put you in the attic,” Jacob said.

“With the kids?” Tanesha asked shaking her head. “I’d worry all the time about waking them up. Especially when I study all night or…”

Tanesha looked at Jeraine.

“She thinks that I am loud,” Jeraine said. “I’m quiet as a mouse!”

Everyone laughed.

“What’s happening with Nelson’s carriage house?” Tanesha asked.

“I’m moving into the house,” Nelson said with a nod. “You’re welcome to it.”

“We’re moving the gym to the basement, so you’ll have plenty of space,” Jill said.

“You’ll redo it for me,” Tanesha said.

Jill gave her a firm nod.

“Done!” Tanesha said. “That is if I can still eat at the house? Study there? Sleep over?”

“As long as I can escape to your house,” Heather said.

“Of course,” Tanesha said.

“What about Tink?” Tres asked. “Where will she go?”

“She’s asked to stay in the Castle,” Jill said. “We are making a place for she and Charlie.”

“She’s eighteen,” Heather said with a shrug. “It’s what they both want. We can fight it but…”

“That’s never going to work,” Tanesha said.

Everyone nodded.

“We’re making a bedroom for her in the basement,” Jill said. “She said that she wanted her own place. It will be against the glass wall.”

Jill moved the cursor so that they could see the small bedroom and bath.

“If things go well with them, this will be a nice guest room,” Jill said. “If she needs a place, she will have a safe, lovely place to grow.”

“It’s likely that she’ll do a little bit of both,” Heather said.

“She likes to be with the family a couple days a week,” Blane said. “In the basement, she will be in the middle of everything, which she likes.”

“We can set up a room for you, just like this, on the other side of the basement,” Jill said to Tanesha.

“Can we add it later? If the other doesn’t work?” Tanesha asked.

“Of course,” Jill said.

“We’d planned on making a room for Jabari on the top floor,” Jacob said.

“Can we have one in the carriage house and one in the house?” Jeraine asked. “He loves being with his friends but…”

“Of course,” Jacob said at the same time Jill said, “That’s what we thought too.”

No one said anything for a long moment.

“I like it,” Nelson said. “How long will it take?”

“It’s going to put the schedule back,” Jacob said. “But not by much — maybe a week or two. And…”

Jacob pointed to Tres.

“It won’t cost much more,” Jacob said.

“If we rent out even one of the apartments, we can make enough for some of these bathrooms,” Tres said.

“Exactly,” Jacob said.

“Awesome!” Tanesha said.

Heather began to clap. The others joined suit. Jacob grinned and Jill nodded. They got up to leave, but Jacob had one more thing to say.

“One more thing,” Jacob said. “I’ve secured first right of purchase of the property to the east of this. That opens the possibility of expanding if you need to do it or…whatever makes sense.”

Not sure what to do with the information, they hugged and congratulated Jill and Jacob, as well as each other, and left the room.

“That went well,” Jill said.

“Yea,” Jacob said. “I think it did.”

Jacob put his arm around Jill and they left the room. In the hallway, they saw Heather stop to talk to Nelson. Nodding to them, Jill and Jacob went back upstairs.

“I just wanted to check in with you,” Heather said to Nelson.

Blane came up behind Heather. He looked at Heather, and they nodded.

“What can I do for you?” Nelson said, a little too formally.

“We wanted to talk to you about your father,” Heather said.

“My… what?” Nelson asked, clearly irritated. “What does he have to do with anything?”

“That’s some of our question,” Blane said.

There was a noise in the hallway and they all turned to look. A yellow tennis ball bounced down the stairwell. Buster and Sarah raced after the tennis ball. Buster pulled up at the last moment to let Sarah grab the ball. They raced off up the stairwell.

When they turned back to each other, Nelson looked down at the ground.

“I can’t really talk about this,” Nelson said.

“Here’s the thing,” Heather said, “Jill and I went to see your father.”

“You what?” Nelson asked, his voice rose with indignation.

“He’s not himself,” Heather said.

Nelson looked at Heather for a long moment before he blinked. His indignation evaporated and he looked confused.

“What?” Nelson asked.

“Your father is not himself,” Heather said. “It was my opinion that he was under the influence of a substance or possibly an object.”

“What?” Nelson repeated.

Nelson was so confused that Blane put his hand on Nelson’s arm.

“Why don’t we find a place to sit down?” Blane asked. “Our apartment is over there.”

Nelson gave Blane a nod. They walked to the apartment. Nelson sat down on the couch. Blane took a chair from the table and set it near the couch. Heather stayed standing.

“You can sit down,” Nelson said.

“I wanted to show you,” Heather said.

“Show me?” Nelson asked.

“I wanted to show you what I see when I look at your father,” Heather said. “It doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve showed a few individuals and they don’t have any idea either.”

“Who did you show it to?” Nelson asked.

“My friend Hecate,” Heather said. “My grandfather, Perses, Hera, my grandmother.”

Nelson nodded.

“My grandmother was birthed from the sea,” Heather said. “She can be brutal, but she knows a hell of a lot about of hell of a lot. She is also immensely powerful and knows about powerful objects.”

“No question,” Nelson said. “I’m not doubting, I just… I guess is never occurred to me that the problem with my father wasn’t me.”

“It’s not,” Blane said.

Nelson’s head jerked to look at Blane, who gave Nelson an affirming nod. Nelson fell forward so that his elbows hit his knees. He looked up at Heather.

“You’re sure?” Nelson asked.

“I am,” Heather said. “Let me show you.”

Heather held her hands together for a moment before pulling them apart. An image appeared when her hands were nearly a foot apart.

“You can see your father’s physical outline,” Heather said. “And his energetic outline.”

Heather pointed to a five inch radius of energy that exists around all people.

“Now…” Heather pointed to an odd darkness around Pierre’s head and what looked like a dark hand over his heart.

“What’s that?” Nelson asked.

“We’re not sure,” Heather said.

“How do we find out?” Nelson asked.

“I went to see the hoard from the salt mine,” Heather said. “I brought Perses and Hecate with me — and Sandy and Tanesha — well, you know how I do things.”

“And?” Nelson asked.

“We looked in the crates your father packed,” Heather said. “Until we got to one that Perses wouldn’t let us touch.”

“What?” Nelson asked. “I’m sorry. I feel like I keep saying ‘what’ over and over again. I’m just…”

He made a gesture like his mind was blown. Blane and Heather nodded.

“To cut to the chase, we now think that the Nazi’s stored some of their ‘dark art’ objects, art, and other materials in the salt tunnel,” Blane said. “These are things they knew that they could not contain and used the salt mine to hide it from the world.”

“Sandy talked to Seth and he confirmed this with some experts,” Heather said.

“My father’s been polluted by these Nazi objects,” Nelson said.

“That’s what we think,” Heather said.

Nelson didn’t say anything for a long moment. Then he sighed. He shook his head and sighed again.

“Why?” Nelson asked. “Why did you do all of this?”

“You are our family,” Heather said. “It’s our right and job to support and help you.”

“You’ve been upset,” Blane said. “Distracted. Angry. Heather could see that there was something fairly seriously wrong with your father.”

“It’s what family does,” Heather said.

Nelson’s eyes welled with moisture, but he just shrugged.

“Thanks,” Nelson said with a nod of his head. “I… uh… It’s hard for me to imagine that…”

He looked up at Heather.

“You’re sure it’s not me?” Nelson asked.

“It is not you,” Blane said. “As I said, Seth spoke to someone with a list of known Nazi occult items and, right now, some of them are sitting in Seth’s house or in the special containment in New York.”

“Wow,” Nelson said.

“What has your father been asking you to do?” Heather asked.

“He’s adamant that we need to ‘acquire’ the hidden treasure of the Templars,” Nelson said. “Just last night, he ranted at me for over an hour about the items said to be in the cache.”

“Like what?” Heather asked.

“The Chalice of Christ, of course,” Nelson said. “Adam’s apple.”

“What’s that?” Blane asked.

“No one is sure,” Nelson said. He shook his head. “Who is the expert in Nazi occult?”

Heather said the name.

“One of them,” Nelson said. He closed his eyes for a long moment. His hand went to his chest. “I am the foremost expert on Nazi occult objects. It’s well known among the experts that the Templars have their own dark object expert. That’s me.”

“What?” Blane asked at the same moment Heather said, “I wondered.”

“It was something my father made me study,” Nelson said. “Not just Nazi. All dark objects, including ones the Nazi’s missed.”

“Why?” Blane asked.

“He wanted me to be prepared to deal with the lost treasure if I was forced to,” Nelson said.

He sighed.

“What can we do for my father?” Nelson asked.

“Nothing,” Heather said. “We can only remove it by destroying the object that caused it.”

“How do we do that?” Nelson asked.

“Good question,” Heather said with a nod. “The answer lies with Abi and she’s stuck with the fairies.”

“But we have a plan,” Blane said.

“Oh, good,” Nelson said. “A plan. What could possibly go wrong?”

No one said anything for a moment and then they all laughed.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…

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