Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
A Change in Plans ...
Billy and his sister Amanda finally arrive at his home in Farris, Ontario. It is a very lovely place with lots of room for friends or guests.
“I don’t see why you need to stay in an apartment when Julia and I have oodles of room here.” Billy says as he pulls into the driveway. “After Julia experienced her miscarriage, she’s been feeling really depressed. I wish you would consider staying. You will be a splendid salve for her broken heart.” Billy remarks regarding his wife of three and a half years.
“I don’t know, Billy. I am really looking forward to the adventure of being independent.” Amanda chides.
“Hey, you’ll have your own room with a private bath and a fantastic view. I’ll even give you unlimited access to one of my cars to journey back and forth to classes. Think of the money that you will save on renting a boring old apartment. Talk about an adventure. Wait, you haven’t already signed the lease yet, have you?” Billy is wondering if his offer is too late.
“Well, no but they are reserving it for me until I've had a chance to give it a look-over. Right now, they are holding it on approval and—” Billy interrupts.
“Then it’s settled, you are staying here! I’m sure mom and dad will be relieved. And anyway, Julia will soon be back at work again . So, it’s still like having your own place.” Billy retorts convincingly.
“Okay, You win. Now tell me some more about this supernatural business!” Amanda exclaims excitingly while the last of her things are being brought into the house.
“I’ll have Julia fix us a snack and then the three of us can settle down in the living room. She’s fantastic at spinning yarn regarding Minerva Jenkins. You do know that she is a famous fiction writer?” Billy brags.
“Oh yes, what did you say shes write under the pseudonym of?” Amanda tries to remember.
“Julia Hancock!” Billy announces and Amanda’s eyes become two wide saucers.
“Imagine that? My sister-in-law is the renowned fictional writer Julia Hancock? Again, how did you manage that feat?” Amanda is once again extremely impressed.
“I told you that I met her at a party given by a mutual friend. It was like love at first sight!” Billy remembers. “If you haven’t been so busy stuffing yourself with food at our wedding reception—you would have remembered all about it.”
“Oh, yeah!” Amanda replies sheepishly as Julia comes into the room, giving Billy a welcoming hug and then Mandy the once over.
“Mandy Gordon, I remember you—couldn’t keep you away from those tasty entrées.” Julia laughs.
“Guilty as charged!” Amanda joins in the merriment. “Now will someone please tell me about Minerva Jenkins!”
“Right. Let me bring a few goodies in from the kitchen and I will begin my tale of sorrow and suspense.” Julia says mysteriously then goes into the kitchen and returns with a tray filled with scrumptiously delightful tidbits.
“That looks really tantalizing!” Amanda retorts, grabbing a handful before Julia can even put the tray down on the coffee table in the lovely living room.
“Now let me begin!” Julia remarks.
The Tale of Minerva Jenkins ...
“It happened quite a few years ago during a period of time when men seemed to enjoy more liberties than women. And, in this very town of Farris. Midas Jenkins was a rich landowner who had two daughters but no male heir. Their names were Tabitha and the younger sister, Minerva. Just as with the biblical Rachel and Leah, Midas wanted Tabitha to be married first, then Minerva. So, Tabitha was betrothed to Raymond Hollingsworth by arrangement. However, it was the beautiful Minerva who Raymond really wanted. Therefore, he decided he would marry Tabitha and have an illicit affair with Minerva.” Julia explains to Amanda.
“Wow, what a cad!” Amanda replies disdainfully.
“Yes, but Minerva was devoted to her sister Tabitha and would have none of it. In fact she knew that Raymond’s only interest in Tabitha was that she would be the chief inheritor in their father’s estate and that she, Minerva would be the object of his whims and follies. Also, unbeknown to her father, Raymond had rendezvous with several of the town’s fallen ladies.” Julia pauses for a moment to sample a few of her stuffed crabs while Amanda anxiously taps her foot.
"Fallen Ladies?" Amanda looks at Julia quizzically and then nods her head in understanding.
“Then one moonlit night, Tabitha finds Raymond deeply involved with one such conquest—Brandi Wooden. She confronts him about it, and he laughs in her face. Tabitha cancels the engagement and tries to leave the cliffs in tears.” Julia continues.
“The Cliffs?” Amanda questions.
“There are some very steep cliffs at the end of Destiny Forest. Many go there to feel the cool, refreshing breeze as well as some serious necking.” Julia informs Amanda.
“Okay, please continue with the story!” Amanda says.
“Raymond claims that Tabitha slipped and fell to her death. However, Minerva is not convince of this. The body has never been found—must have been somehow washed out to sea because all that remained is a beautiful handkerchief at the bottom of the cliff with the initial T!” Julia completes her tale.
“How could that be possible unless there was a mighty strong tide?” Amanda questions, loving an unsolved mystery.
“That’s what everyone thinks, but without a body, well—” Billy interjects.
“How does this all tie in with the happening around Destiny Forest?” Like a good detective, Amanda wants all the facts.
“It is speculated that on one night during a full moon, Minerva goes out to Destiny Forest with a Vodoun Woman (a witch.) Together they performed some kind of unholy mumbo-jumbo and brings back the essences of Tabitha Jenkins.” Julia rejoinders.
“Oh wow, what happened next?” Amanda is on the edge of her seat.
“The spirit informs them that she was indeed pushed off the cliff by Raymond and her crumpled body was taken out to sea.” Julia whispers and as both Amanda and Billy look at each other—Julia nods.
“Then there’s the proof!” Amanda exclaims.
“Who is going to believe a bereaved sister and a crazy old woman?” Billy resounds the voice of reason.
“Exactly!” Julia agrees.
“It is speculated that the witch turned Minerva into some kind of avenging beast. Raymond went into the forest with his latest conquest and both were shredded. There was a look of horror frozen on his dead face and the woman was totally unrecognizable. After that, only the foolhardy will traverse Destiny Forest during a full moon.” Billy decides to assist his wife in the tale.
“So why was Mr. Lucas there?” Amanda shakes her head in disbelief.
“He was a little tipsy but had enough sense to run. Then he fell and if I hadn’t come along looking for him—” Billy replies
“You could have gotten yourself killed! The next time someone is stupid enough to venture out at midnight on the night of a full moon, you had better not be the one to retrieve them!” Julia is emphatic and the trio sits back, caught up in their own imaginings regarding Minerva—the Darken Vessel.
To Be Continued ...
The Darken Vessel: Minerva 3
- The Darken Vessel: Minerva 3
Once Amanda is settled in her new accommodations at her brother Billy’s house; it’s time for her to meet the famous Megan Farmer, who now has a doctoral degree in Micro-Biophysics and Genetic Medicine and is the co-chair of the same foundation.
© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS