Well, here we are pulling into the driveway of this chateau, and what a place this is too. There is wonderfully landscaped grounds and a huge chateau, made with large blocks of stone and it has two towers on the front side, one is 5 stories and a bit, the other is 4 stories. The chateau itself is 3 stories, I can only imagine how many rooms there is in this place. Even the guest cottage looks rather large. Last evening Lena got a call from the company she works with and they wanted her to go help out a client up in Belgium, so she was unable to come along after all. If only I had known what was going on. I stop the car and we go up to the door which was actually a double door of solid wood with an elaborate door knocker. A young lady answered, which I figured was the maid, the owner must have servants looking after this huge place.
Another young woman came out, “Hi,” she said, “you must be my new PI and helpers.” We just talked about some normal things at first, then she took us over to the guest cottage. On the way she became more serious in her talking. Seems she is afraid to talk about anything inside, she feels that someone is always listening. So we sit down on one of the many outdoor benches and talked for a bit. Seems she doesn’t even trust any of her servants. I asked why she keeps them and she said it’s too hard to find anyone willing to work out here. It is a long ways from the nearest town, so the servants live out here. She said things have disappeared, like dishes, lamps, jewelry, even a couple small statues. But she said none of it was really worth much.
She has received notes tacked to doors inside, usually with just one word, such as “leave”, “death”, “old”, “run”, “chains”, and other things, but nothing really made sense. She kept them all to show me which is good. Plus she has heard noises, screeches, laughing, grinding, footsteps. But no one else in the chateau has heard anything, or so they say. Then she gave me one that was in a sealed envelope and had my name on it. She received that one yesterday after talking to me. I opened the envelope, the note just read, “woman, train, death”. Lena! I immediately called her but no answer. I’ll have to try later. We talked a bit more, but I didn’t learn much. I asked her if anyone hated her enough to kill her? Maybe family after the inheritance?
The only other family is a cousin and she also received a chateau. Hmm, a wealthy family. It was her uncle that owned the chateau before her and they found him drowned in the swimming pool. He was a large strong man and excellent swimmer, but it was considered an accident. His parents had purchased the chateau about 30 years ago. His mother died of a heart attack 5 years later, 15 years after that his dad was found at the bottom of the stone steps out front with his head broken open. It was ruled an accident. Hmm, too many accidents here it seems. Just before her uncle died Linnea had been talking to him and he confided that he started getting notes about 6 months before. No notes were ever found and no one else knew anything about the notes.
Okay, now we have a connection. “Someone is after your property for some reason,” I said, “and since there are no more relatives after you, what will happen to your estate?” “I haven’t really thought about that yet,” she confided, “I am hoping to have a family some day and it would go to them, but, right now, I don’t know.” “There must be something important about this place,” I said, “have you looked into the history of it?” “No, I never have,” she said, “but there is likely something here that talks about the chateau’s history.” “Good,” I said, “that’s where we will start.” The cats remained quiet through all this but listening very intently. Then Linnea took us into the guest cottage, which really was large. And on the table a note, which read, “Leave”. Forget it, we’re here to stay.
To Be Continued.
©2021 Steve McLeod.