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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ridge House - Chapter 2



Mud Hole would be Better than Ridge House

Once I had stepped into a deep mud hole and couldn’t get out. When they found me I was up to my neck in mud. They threw a rope to me and I managed to get it around my shoulders and four men pulled me out. I would rather be back in that mud hole than to be where I am now.

The Widow said he was sick but I know a drunkard when I see one, and he was a full blown drunk. He was sober enough to keep me busy repairing things he had let go for years.

He would try to hit me and yell at me to speed things up but I was going as fast as I could. I asked for some food and he said that I only was allowed to eat twice a day.

I thought if that is the case the breakfast was going to have to be a lot bigger than what I had the first morning. I was so weak from working and hunger that by evening I could hardly stand.  After all I was a growing boy.

My angel said to wash up and she would feed me. When I came back she said, “You missed some spots so do it again.
Once I returned and she had a nice big bowl of stew ready for me. It looked like most of the meat had been picked out but it was filling.

After an hour I felt much better but then was sent back down to the dungeon.

This same thing went on for six weeks, and I had managed to make a little headway.

I was tired of being abused by Gregory for no reason and one day there was a beam hanging by a thread. I was going to remove it but Gregory hit me and sent me to do another task.

When I returned a couple of hours later he lay there with the beam on top of him.
When Lady Johnson saw what had happened she at first blamed me, but I told her he sent me to do another task saying he wanted to handle this job alone.

She knew where I was so she knew I had nothing to do with it. She told me to take Gregory’s body to the poor people’s section of the grave yard and bury him there. I could hardly manage the task but finally I managed to get him under.

There was no one to say words over him and since I had been to many funerals I thought I would say something. I started by saying, “Lord” we send Gregory to you today. He wasn’t a bad sort (I knew I was lying about that part but I had heard preachers do that before for some of the worthless ones) so if you can some mercy for him we would appreciate it Amen.”

That was about the best sendoff I could give him so I got my shovel and went back to Ridge House.

I wasn’t very hungry that night but since my angel served it I ate it all.

Six months had passed when I was summoned to the big room and to my surprise there were three young men there with Lady Johnson (her grandsons). They were laughing and she was laughing with them. I had never seen her without her face in a frown.

When she saw me she called me over and said, “Stay,” then she told the young men to go and check out their rooms and see if everything was to their liking.

After they left she said that since Gregory is dead I would have to do his work and mine ( I was already doing it.)

I said, “That would be fine if there were some changes made.”

She swelled up as if she was going to bust and sputtered out, “What changes?”

I said I would now live in Gregory’s old room and eat at the table where he ate and get the food he got and the wages he got.

She told me that my father always got my wages and I still would get nothing.

I said, “Then let him do the work.”

She said, ‘He isn’t going to do that and you know it.”

I said, “Do I? The only way I will work is if from now on I get the same wages Gregory got?”

She said, “Okay and what are the other demands?”

“One, people will treat me with the respect they gave Gregory.”

She said, “Done!”

I said, “Fine then everything is settled and the work will get done in a first-rate manner.”

As I headed to my new room my angel walked with me and said, “I’m glad you have a nice room, for we can visit every night before we go to sleep.”

Things were looking so much better because almost a year sleeping in the dungeon was about all I could take.

The three grandsons appeared to do little of nothing. They would ask me to do small things they could have done for themselves.

Lady Johnson laid out for me a number of things to do, as there were going to be parties thrown in the future for the grandsons.

After a month I had everything finished she ordered and several more she didn’t have on the list.
Then the first accident happened.  Joseph the butler tripped going down to the wine cellar.

I was the first to discover him and upon inspecting the stairs I found a wire that would act as a trip wire and that was what he tripped over to his death. I quickly removed it before some else tripped over it.

Joseph had been with Lady Johnson for many years and she was overcome with grief.

The party was canceled for now even though the three grandsons insisted it go on.  They rescheduled it for two weeks later while moaning about it messing up their schedules.

The only person Lady Johnson would see for the next three weeks was Connie, and after that she got up and dressed, and acted as if nothing had happened.

The sheriff had been called in and I told him about the wire but he ignored that saying no one in this house would ever have done that so forget it.

He went on and said no autopsy would be necessary for it was obvious what had happened; he slipped and fell because he was old.

As a last resort I asked about the skinned places on his legs where the wire scraped him as he fell.  The sheriff said that could have happened anytime, anywhere.

After that I shut up and he left.  

I knew there was a murderer in the house and I wondered when he would strike again and who the next victim would be.
 
To be Continued
 
 

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