Epilogue Blood Farm 3
“Those people are the AIRS” the fire chief said while looking at them and then turning his face back upon my face.
“Heirs?” I said. “To Blood Farm?”
“WELL… they SAID they was. And STILL say so. But they ain’t. That lawyer showed ‘em”
“Yep. They come around pretty much right after you’d cleaned out Margaret’s house and the lawyer was selling it. Come to Alice and said Blood Farm was THEIRS. Just after Margaret give it to Alice. You know: TRUSTED IT she called it.” The fire chief looked back over his shoulder at the seven. They were paying no attention to us. He turned back and continued. “That lawyer… Alice got him to come right away. Well… it was actually ME who called him. Alice was VERY upset. Anyway. That lawyer showed them and they don’t like it”.
“Showed them the trust?” I said
“Well. MORE than that I guess. Seems… by THEIR figure it was theirs by AIR. But that lawyer shows them how Alice and Eb-bEE had SOLD the farm to Margaret’s mother. So SHE owned it. AND STILL DID. And had TRUSTED it to them. And it was still Margaret’s till SHE DIED. And it was STILL the mother’s after that. And that lawyer is still trusted by the mother’s AIR. IN FACT: seems to me… HE may well BE the AIR because he does all the TRUSTING. That trusting makes him in charge of EVERYTHING. Those airs don’t like that and tried to SUE him. He said to me ‘let’em SUE AWAY’ and laughed. And he’s been right I guess. He cleaned out Blood Farm and SOLD IT. He’s selling the clean out RIGHT HERE TODAY. Except I not seeing as much here as I saw there was at the farm. I’m not seeing the things I was interested in. Really: There’s quite a lot by my reckon that’s NOT here. Why are YOU HERE?”
“I read the sale and thought it was.” I said.
“You read that? I didn’t see that. The lawyer’s office told ME. And I had to keep calling them up. And the people who bought it too: They’s suppose to be here TOO. But I don’t see THEM EITHER. I called them after I talked to the lawyer’s office. I was at the house when this auctioneer cleaned it out. HE TOOK AS LONG AS YOU DID at Margaret’s.” He stopped talking and was staring down on my face but not AT me. I said nothing. Then I said:
“What happened to Alice?”
“SHE DIED. Don’t you know THAT?”
“No. How would I know that. I haven’t been up there since I was at Margaret’s”
“So how do you know about ALICE?”
“Margaret took me there”.
“Took you there?”
“After her mother died. Her mother stored things there. At the farm. In the attic”.
“There? I never heard THAT. But that was a WHILE AGO right?”
“Oh yes. Right after she died”.
“WELL WE WATCHED OUT for them; me and my fire boys. Check up on them.”
“So what happened?”
“After Alice died? That lawyer came right up after I called him”.
“But how did she die? What happened to the captain?”
“HE DIED. You don’t know that? HE DIED FIRST”.
“The captain died.”
“Fell down and froze to death right in the YARD”
“FROZE to DEATH?” I said.
“Jamie found him in the morning. Drove in the yard to check them after the snow and there he was dead face down IN the snow. On his way to the barn we guess. Alice didn’t know he went OUT. Thought he was in bed asleep. Went out to PISS probably. Fell down froze to death. Froze solid overnight. Just solid they said. I didn’t see him.”
I stood looking into the fire chief’s eyes while the auction hall hummed around us. “And Alice died too?” I said.
“NOT right away. LAST FALL. First week in November. NICE WEATHER that week. The Indian Summer. Jamie was checking her every day after Eb-bEE died. Go in say hello you know. She was fine. Happy actually. But alone there so we’d CHECK. So I said to him how was Alice today. He said fine but he didn’t see her. I said didn’t see her how you know she was fine. SHE ALWAYS COMES OUT THE DOOR. Oh he says the door was open and the laundry was hung out. Oh I said OK. But then later like a little bird told me I said I better go see myself. I did and the door was open and the laundry hung out. Everything just a BEAUTIFUL day. So I knock by the door and nothing so I called her. Nothing. So I stepped in and THERE SHE WAS. DEAD in …THAT chair.” He said pointing at Alice’s mother’s 1880’s oak rocking chair about ten feet up the auction hall wall from us.
I looked at the chair and said “Her MOTHER died in that chair.”
“RIGHT.” said the fire chief. “HOW do you know THAT?”
“Alice told me.”
“WELL SHE DIED IN IT TOO! That’s where I found her; just sitting. With her cigarette burned down in the saucer in her lap. DIED THERE SMOKING. She could have burned the whole place down doing that.”
“But she was dead.”
“Well, yeah… I guess. But it’s a firetrap in there. WAS a firetrap. Not one any more.”
“Alice smoked?” I said stupidly while endeavoring to mentally tally up the death stories.
“JUST there in the chair. HER MOTHER smoked a PIPE. She DIED with her pipe lit. ALICE didn’t like the pipe so always smoked a cigarette there. Only once a day. Sort a RITUAL. Died doing THAT”.
“Probably not so bad to die like that. For her.”
“DIE LIKE THAT? Well. I suppose. Funny to me: When I found her it didn’t SHAKE ME. She seemed so happy just DEAD there. Just like that; sitting in her house happy. She LOVED THAT HOUSE and all her things”. He turned looked over the auction hall. “I wonder where all of it went?” he said and stood facing the hall next to me.