Survivor: A City of Heroes novel


Chapter 23 - "Family"

"I'll go, just let me pass!"

The words were shrill, despite being carried on a man's voice.

Jon jumped to his feet, the bit of shingle temporarily forgotten; he ran toward the silos, looked around, spotted the man backed against the rickety hand-made fence, three of the Fir Bolg in a ring around him.

He jumped forward, claws appearing, attacked the plant-men without waiting for provocation.

They were tough, and wily. Three against one....the man in the coveralls leaned against the fence and trembled, his eyes wide. Jon fought hard....and with all of the built up adrenaline he was feeling.

Then stood, panting, staring down at the carcasses, before turning to the farmer.

"Thank you!" the man was repeating, over and over again.

"What's your name?" Jon interrupted him.

"Aubrey....Aubrey, sir." The farmer was still shaking.

Jon smiled at him, beginning to relax a bit himself. "Are you okay?"

"Yes....yes, I think so." He glanced down at himself as if he wasn't quite sure. "They said I was trespassing!" he continued.

"Aubrey....could you do me a favor?" Jon asked.

"Oh, yes, sir, yes, of course!"

"Would you mind answering a few questions for me?"

"I'll do my best, sir. What did you want to know?" The farmer pulled a spotted handkerchef out of a back pocket, swabbed his face with it.

Jon took a moment to think. "You live around here?"

"Yes, sir, I do. About five miles down that way." He turned and pointed northwest, the finger still shaking.

"Have you lived around here very long?"

"About ten years, I think. Why, sir?"

"I need some information about the people who used to own this farm," Jon explained.

"Oh, the Hendersons? They left, sir, they left when their oldest son was killed by the Tuatha de Dannan."

"When was that?" Jon said, trying hard to cover his excitement.

"Oh, let me see.....February? March?"

"....oh, you mean this year," Jon replied, disappointed. The farmhouse had been gone for a lot longer than a single year, for the foundation to have vanished so thoroughly.

"Well, yes, sir, that's when they sold the property to Mr. Wellborne, next door." He pointed in the direction of a comparatively large farmhouse just in sight to the north-northeast.

"Were any of the Hendersons named Jonathan?"

"Hmmm....let me think." He covered his mouth with a hand, himming to himself. ", I don't remember anyone named Jonathan....Mr. Henderson was Walter, his eldest son, the one that died, you know, sir, that was William, everybody called him Willie, you know....the younger son? I don't quite remember his name, but I'm sure it wasn't Jonathan...."

"How long had the Hendersons lived here?" Jon asked.

"Oh, they didn't live here, sir, they lived in a nice house in the town. Mr. Henderson just came out here to run the farm, oversee the field hands, you see, sir."

Jon blinked. "How long did the Hendersons own this property, then?"

"Well, sir, I'm not really sure.....I guess about ten years, maybe a little longer? Before my time, if you get my meaning, sir."

"And who did they buy the property from?"

The farmer wrinkled his brow. "Now, that's something I wouldn't have any way of knowing, sir. Maybe someone in the town might know....or Mr. Wellborne, I would guess he would have had a title search done before he bought the property." He paused, began to search Jon's face. "Why were you interested, sir? Is there something I can help you with?"

Jon frowned, thinking hard. "There used to be a farmhouse, there," he pointed. "It's been gone for a long time, all I could find was a piece of wood from the roof. I need to find out who lived in that house. I have reason to think someone lived there named 'Jonathan', but I don't know any more than that."

"Well, I wish I could help you, sir, really I do, you savin' my life and all, but I'm afraid that I don't know much more than I already told you. Except...." He paused, his frown now matching Jon's own.

"Yes....?" Jon's eye lit up, hope reappearing.

"Well, sir, I don't know about this place, but the place next door, the one where the Wellbornes live now, that's been here for a long time, sir.....and while my memory is not what it used to be.....I think I do remember something about a fine old family living there, a long, long time ago....that might have been, oh, 40, 50 years ago, maybe even more....but I think I do remember hearing that there was a son of that family named 'Jonathan'. Not too many people remember that, now, though, because I think his family always called him just 'Jon'."


Copyright, November 26, 2012