The Case of the Misplaced Hero
by Camille LaGuire
Episode 1 - Aunt Flavia Jumps in the Lake
ALEX BEGAN LIFE only twenty-three years ago, in Michigan. He was the son of wealthy parents, who were always a bit mysterious and distracted. They died before he was old enough for them to explain anything to him.
They left him in the hands of lawyers, who took care of his estate, which was large, and mostly pretty boring. He would have much rather have been left in the custody of his Great Aunt Flavia, but apparently his parents, or their lawyers, had been concerned that she would be a bad influence.
And they were right. She was a bad influence, and she managed to influence him very well, in spite of the lawyers, because she was all the family he had. He got to spend summers and holidays with her. And she was anything but boring.
Aunt Flavia lived in a world of her own, a world full of imagination. When he came to visit, they would play at pirates all summer long; and at spies and castles and swordplay at every week end. He learned to ride horses, and became a passable swordsman.
His aunt had even made up a secret language she called "Awarshi," which they spoke to one another all the time, like a secret code, even in public. This much annoyed the trustees who acted as Alex's financial guardians.
One summer Alex and Flavia were out boating on Lake Michigan, when a wind came up, and she fell overboard. It happened so fast Alex didn't even hear the splash. She was simply gone. Alex was frantic. He circled, and called for help.
The authorities and local fishermen searched for hours and found no sign of her.
She turned up on the beach that evening, weak and suffering from exposure. She had a gash on her side, and bruises on her wrists.
The injuries looked suspicious to the police, especially since she was vague on how she got them. That is, she was vague until she realized that the police thought Alex had attacked her and thrown her overboard. She bristled at the very idea, and suddenly she could remember every detail of her ordeal:
She fell in, and was sucked under, that was all. There must have been an unusual undertow.
"An undertow that grabbed your wrists?" asked the policeman.
"Hush," she said, and she fixed him with a look which made him look away. "When I came up, the boat was no longer in sight. I could see the beach, so I swam for it. I'm an old woman. I'm not strong, and I very nearly didn't make it, so don't question me like a criminal."
"No, ma'am, of course not--"
"There was a pontoon or a raft a little way from shore," she continued, with another sharp look to silence the cop. "I tried to climb onto it, but I lost my grip. That's when I hurt my side. So I just held on and rested until I could stay afloat well enough for the waves to push me to the beach."
The policeman looked doubtfully at the bruises on her wrists, but she pulled her hands away and crossed her arms. She could not be shaken from her story and no one wanted to badger a sick old woman, so they let her go home.
As the police drove them home, Flavia gripped Alex' hand tightly and she whispered to him in her own private language.
"Kinchura," she said, which was her word for dearest, "I am too tired. I must rest. And then I have something to give you."
Stay Tuned for Episode 2: "Flavia's Advice"
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