A few weeks passed with nothing unusual happening, and the mysterious man was nowhere in sight. On day Elisa received by mail a box wrapped in colorful paper and a green ribbon on top, addressed to her but with no sender’s address. Luckily for her, there was no one at home when the package arrived so she could move the box to her room unnoticed. She hurriedly opened the box and inside she found a white teddy bear dressed with a checkered green and red vest and pants, and an envelope. She opened the envelope and found inside a black and white picture of a couple with two kids; one was a baby in the arms of the lady and the other was a boy around 10 years old smiling happily while looking at the camera, standing in front of them; and a man standing beside the woman had his left hand on the boys shoulder and was smiling happily.
This box brought with it a new series of question: Who was the couple in the picture? Did they have any connection to her? And what was it that the mysterious man wanted to tell her?
After thinking throughout the night and meditating on her next step, by morning she had decided, so she went to her old house, and climbing the staircase, she entered the attic. There were lot of old objects, and cases, and after inspecting a little the content of the attic and the order of it she started looking for old picture albums and letters.
After 4 hours of searching through the dust, rags and a couple of falling boxes, she finally found, in a small casket, a picture of the couple, together with her parents, when they were younger. This was the connection she had searched for, the relation between the two couples and naturally, between her and that couple. She turned the picture, and on the back there was a date, 8 July 1985, and four initials: H&J and T&S.
She knew immediately that H&J were the initials of her parents, and T&S were the persons to whom the necklace belonged, namely Thomas and Stephanie. So now she needed to find out more about the T&S couple.
Said and done, the next day she went to the library and searched through the newspaper archives for the names, where she found several stories but only one attracted her interest. It was about an airplane crash, and several deaths which included Sir Thomas L and Madame Stephanie L as well as their girl. Miss Caroline L age 5. The article was the following:
“Yesterday, at 11 o’clock in the morning, a terrible accident ended the lives of several people including the distinguished Sir Thomas and Madame Stephanie L, along with their little girl Miss Caroline L, of only 5, as well as the copilot, Mr. Seth M. and a pregnant lady called Catherine S., coming from Italy. The plane started experiencing problems as it was approaching the landing site, when the turbine suddenly exploded sending the plane in free fall, towards the lake near the airport. Authorities are still investigating the causes of the technical problems experienced, and might be suspecting foul play.”
This was probably the Lytton family she had heard her aunt and uncle talk about. But the newspaper clearly stated that the girl, Caroline, had died along with her parents, so why was the mysterious man looking for her? Or was it just a rumor that he was searching for her? Regardless, she found it most likely that these were he people she had seen in that picture with their children. And if the girl was the only one who had died, that meant that the boy was still alive. But could she be certain that the boy in the picture was really the son of the Lytton family? There was no mentioning of the Lytton’s having a son.
More days pasted as she was turning in her head all that she had found out, and everything was leading to the Lytton family and the boy in the picture remained a mystery. She decided to conduct some investigations on the mansion of the Lytton family, so one afternoon, after asking people were the Lytton’s used to live, she noted the address and didn’t wait long to go there.
It was a mighty mansion, seated in the middle of a vast yard, which was framed by an imposing, black wrought iron fence, with flowers sculpted on it; on equal bases there were pointed spikes meant to discourage trespassing, and these were covered by vines usually called traveler’s joy, while the little white flowers blocked half the view of the garden. The mansion’s grandness was emphasized by its simplicity, illustrating neo-Georgian architecture, it was a structure at which people turned their heads, admiring its beautiful and imposing build. The garden was clean, with beds of dark-red roses, surrounded by trimmed hedges, which formed a circle, and in its center there was an old cast marble fountain with sparkling water gushing from the center of it, forming a beautiful view. Next to them, there was a road especially made for vehicles , and further away there were two marble bird baths.
Elisa approached the fence and while looking through the vines she saw the main door open and a man came out, in an expensive suit, got inside a car, and left the house through the giant cast iron gate that closed heavily after them. When the car passed Elisa, she could distinguish through the window in the back seat a raven-black head bowed over a newspaper. She knew who that was, and she realized what that meant: him, the mystery man, was the son of the Lytton. But why did he guide her through all this information? Something wasn’t clicking together. What was she missing, what was the piece of vital information that she lacked?
She then approached the iron gate and tried to open it, but it was tightly shut. Out of nowhere, an old man, wearing a black tailcoat, enquired on the purpose of her presence there.
“I am looking for the young master of this house” replied Elisa.
“Young master?” the man said surprised, “Unfortunately the young master died a long time ago along with his family. There is only Sir Earl now.”
“Ah I see, but then who was the man in the car?” she inquired.
“I’m sorry I can’t tell you that, and it’s better if you don’t ask so many questions little miss, or people may think you’re up to no good”, the man said. “Well have a safe trip home, goodbye!” and he turned and left, entering the house.
“Hmm, are they just hiding things or is my suspicion wrong? It seems that, after all, the only way for me to get the answer is to talk to the mysterious man and ask him.” She turned on her heels and walked back home, determined to give it more thought the following day. .