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The Family Secret

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It was a nice spring day; the flowers were all in bloom, there was a nice breeze, it rained the night before leaving a nice fresh rain smell. Joseph was on his way over to his grandmother’s house. His grandmother just died about two months ago and his grandfather had died about three years earlier and he was helping his parents move all of the stuff out of the house so they could sell it. He was going to be working alone today because his parents had to work and his brother was out of state.

When Joe got to the house he decided he was going to work on packing up all of the things in the attic. The attic looked like a typical attic in an old house; dark, full of dust and cobwebs, and packed full of everything people didn’t need or don’t use very often. But this one was twice as full as most because his grandparents were packrats.

First thing that he moved was a big chest, he opened it up to see what was in it. What he saw brought back a few memories, for in the chest were a few of his old Halloween costumes some of his old toys, and a few other things. Then he moved a few boxes full of old clothes, a box full of books, a couple of road signs (things his dad took when he was a teenager), a box full of newspapers, and a few other things. Then he went back downstairs and took a little break, he made a sandwich and drank some tea.

He went back into the attic and started to move an older looking box. The box was full of papers and smaller boxes and looked like it would fall apart from touching it, so he was very careful when he started moving it, but it didn’t matter because it fell apart and everything fell all over the floor. He started picking up all of the papers and small boxes until one of them caught his eye. This one looked an awful lot like a jewelry box; it had flowers painted all over it and a few decorative beads. He tried opening it but it was locked so he put it with everything else. Joe continued to move the things in the attic but his mind was on the strange box he found earlier, in fact he wasn’t paying much attention to anything else. He was moving another box, still thinking of the jewelry box, and he ended up tripping over a rug that was crumpled up on the floor and spilling everything in the box.

The first thing that Joe saw was a small decorative golden key, his heart started racing, what if this key was for the jewelry box! He ran down the stairs to the place where he was putting all the stuff from the attic and dug out the small box, the key fit! He turned the key and opened the box. On top he found a bunch of letters held together with a faded red ribbon, they were addressed to his grandmother from somebody named Dan. He opened the first one and read part of it:

Dearest Helen,

My beloved, I miss you so much I will be back home in a couple weeks and cannot wait to see you again…I didn’t want to ask you through a letter but I couldn’t wait. Will you marry me…I love you very much.

Forever with love,

Danny boy

How could this be, his grandfather’s name was Joseph? In fact Joe was actually Joseph Lee Franklin the third! He had to know what happened, so he read the next letter:

Dearest Helen,

My love, you have made me so happy…I will be home in three days…I’m cutting the trip short…as always I love you.

She said yes, how could this be? He had to know more, so he read more of the letters. All of the letters were similar to the others he had read until he got to the last one. This one was very interesting, and it looked like someone was crying on it, he read what he could:

Dear Helen,

I know you were excited about getting married…your parents…my parents…sorry about the troubles…getting your hopes up…please don’t be too mad…if only this was easier…I’ve found someone else…you can keep the ring…

Dan Patterson

Joe put the letters down and looked to see what else was in the box, he found some dried rose petals and underneath those were a torn photograph, an envelope, and a newspaper article. He looked at the photo, it was a young picture of his grandmother and there was someone’s arm over her shoulder. Next he opened the envelope, it contained two rings, they were both wedding bands one a males and one a females, and what looked like the bones of a finger. Then he read the newspaper article:

Two Found Dead In River

Today two dead bodies were found in the river outside of Limberton. Joseph Franklin was on his daily commute to work when he noticed the bodies floating in the river. The bodies were identified as Dan Patterson and his to-be fiancée Lisa Donnely. Police believe foul play was involved but they have no leads so far. What has eluded authorities most is that Dan was missing his left ring finger…

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