An Unlikely Conclusion — Chapter 1
Ruth Squire Kirby clutched the letters close to her breast and drank in the hint of violets emanating from the parchment, Mother’s signature fragrance. In the cold, upstairs bedroom of her childhood home, she’d found the beribboned stack on the mirrored bureau, exactly where Mother intended for her to look. It was over.
Trembling, she’d opened each one and read the heart wrenching words, the story that ended so tragically.
The goal was now accomplished. She was married, and to the man her parents had chosen. The journey to this wish had been fraught with unspeakable danger, death, and destruction. Lies and secrets, exposed to the light of day, completed the circle of deception and impacted her life forever.
Each letter told the story. Mother’s story. She could only imagine the fear that beat in her mother’s heart as each year went by, never knowing when, never knowing who would show up at her door and seek revenge.
Whether divine providence or accidental misfortune, two women, mother and daughter, battled a male dominated world. Unwilling to leave the future to old world propriety, each woman took charge of their destiny—many times clashing with one another while fighting separate inward struggles.
Tears slid down the smooth softness of her cheeks as she, once again, read the tale as described by the woman who lived it and mourned the mother she never really understood.
Priscilla Squire removed the white gardenia from her graying hair, and sighed, relieved. The dream she held so dear was now a reality. Her only child was a married woman.
“I’ve never seen a more beautiful bride. Her raven hair and creamy complexion stood out against the lovely wedding dress. She truly was a vision.” The handkerchief she’d given Ruth to carry was folded carefully in her hand, a keepsake. “Her life is beginning the right way, the way it’s supposed to begin, with love.”
She pressed the perfumed memento to her nose. “I’ll cherish this day forever. My daughter will have the happiness I could never find.”
The screen door banged softly shut as she walked outside to quickly wave goodbye, anxious to get out of her sturdy shoes and best navy dress. Even though surgery had been a couple of weeks ago, she was still weak, but she wouldn’t have missed this for the world.
The automobile disappeared around the corner, and she was about to go in, when a cold hard object jabbed the small of Priscilla Squire’s back sending shock waves through her spine.
The scream died in her throat as the assailant twisted one arm behind her back and spat, “Scream and I shoot you now.”
“Not here, please.”
His raspy voice breathed hoarsely in her ear. “Agree to meet me, tonight, or your daughter will never get off that train, old woman.”
The familiar stench of whiskey soured her stomach. She’d know the odor anywhere. It was burned in her memory. “Zapelli.”
The gun jammed harder into her back. “Tonight.”
She flinched at the pain, but nodded and tried to remain upright. Fainting now would put Ruth and Peter in danger. There was no choice. Nothing could ruin her daughter’s special day. She wouldn’t allow it. Not her past sins, not this wretched man—nothing.
“Where?” she whispered.
“You know the place. The dock. The alley where you killed my father. The same alley where you destroyed my business. Midnight.”
Before she could agree, he was gone. She stood, shaking, on the front porch of Mrs. Whitewood’s boarding house steps. All the guests were gone. Robert was on his way to the station, taking their daughter and her new husband, Peter to meet the train. She was completely alone.
A man was dead because of her. It happened long ago, and now, the debt arrived at her door and demanded to be paid.
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