See? I knew I was ambitious when I started this Blog Fest. So I have missed a few days and I apologize but here is the conclusion to the story of Dessa and Trudy and the haunted farmhouse on Dodson Farm.
“In 1956, my grandparents were married. They had been married and living in the house down the road for two years. How could my grandmother not know that her husband was living in this house with another woman and their kids?” Dessa tried to put her jumbled thoughts together but her mind was racing. “My mother was born the same year this picture was taken, and my uncle would have been five years old.”
“So your prediction of Bud Roseberry having two families was accurate. That’s creepy. How did you know?”
“You think I knew??” Dessa snapped. “You think if I had known my grandfather was cheating on Grandma I wouldn’t have said anything? I had no idea. I just saw it on an episode of Law & Order.”
“Your poor Grandma. Maybe we can find some more answers in the boxes upstairs. All that stuff belonged to the Roseberrys, right?”
Dessa agreed and shakily led the way to the stairs. The footsteps they had heard earlier had stopped for the moment but she felt uneasy making her way up. Once they got to their room, they began going through the boxes of family belongings and it wasn’t long before Dessa found a letter in an unopened envelope. On the envelope was simply a name, Meredith.
“Who’s Meredith?” Trudy asked.
“That was Bud’s- I mean, my grandfather’s- other wife. The one he killed. Should I open it?” Dessa asked Trudy.
Dessa carefully opened the fraying envelope and removed the letter. Just as she was getting ready to open and read it, there was a knock on the front door downstairs.
Both girls felt their hearts leap out of the chests.
Dessa was the one to answer it. On the other side of the door stood her grandfather, the man she knew as PopPop, and who she had just now discovered was Bud Roseberry who killed his family and lived with a second, harboring decades of secrets. He was dressed in the same denim overalls and red flannel shirt Trudy pulled out of a box moments earlier, the same clothes in which he died. Trudy screamed from the top of the stairs. Dessa found herself speechless.
The apparition said nothing. He looked at Dessa with cold, dead, unfeeling eyes, then turned and silently walked down the front porch steps before disappearing into the night.
Time seemed to stand still. Dessa was still holding onto the door with a death grip when Trudy approached her.
“There’s something here, Dess.” Trudy stepped over the threshold so wear Dessa’s grandfather had just stood. She picked up an empty syringe. “Where the hell did that come from?”
Dessa’s heart sank. She suddenly knew what her grandfather, her murderous, cheating grandfather, had been trying to tell them. She turned and bolted up the stairs, ignoring the footsteps that still resounded.
“Dessa, what’s happening?” Trudy followed her up the stairs and into the bedroom where Dessa was reading the letter.
“Dearest Meredith,” Dessa read aloud. “I know your secrets. I will expose you for what you are. He will pay the price for both of you. He is mine. I will end you and one day, I will end him as well.”
When Dessa turned to look at Trudy, her face was snow white. She recognized the slim handwriting.
“What do you know?” Trudy asked, certain her friend had figured something out.
“My grandmother killed my grandfather. Somehow she found out about his double life. I still don’t know why PopPop killed his family, his own wife and kids, but he did and then they bought the land to keep it secret. Grandma wrote this note to Meredith and threatened her. She claimed that she would one day kill him too.”
“But you grandpa died of a stroke, Dessa. Out in the fields while he was working.”
“No.” Dessa said darkly. “Grandma made it look like that when she killed him with this.” She held up the empty syringe.
“She drugged him with something?”
“No. She killed him with air.”
Trudy looked lost. “Is this another one of those Law & Order things?”
“Yes, an air embolism. A shot of air directly into the blood stream will cause a stroke. No one would be looking for a hole in my grandfather’s neck the size of a pin hole. Grandma was a nurse for over forty years, if anyone would know about syringes and the power of an air embolism, it’s her. My grandmother got away with murder, literally.”
Suddenly, the house became very still. An eerie quiet fell on the house. There were no more footsteps coming from the hall. No one knocked on the door. Even the customary settling of such an old house seemed to cease, as if it was at peace again.
“Are you going to confront your grandmother?”
“I don’t think so.” Dessa smiled. Trudy looked horrified. “I think PopPop just wanted me to know the truth about how he died.”
“Your PopPop was a cold blooded killer, Dess.”
“So I guess in a way, they were perfect for each other.”
Dessa never confronted her grandmother about the evidence she and Trudy discovered in the old farmhouse.