Book one in The Cave Chronicles: Jeremy and the Secret of Millow Chapter 3
Posted July 31st, 2018 by chicken123
Uncle John and Alfred
“Let's start from the beginning, with my family. I was poor before your Uncle John hired me. I lived on a farm with my two sisters, Mother, and Father. Our farm was right outside of London, in the countryside. My family made a living from all of our pigs, cows, chickens, and yearly crops. We were getting by, but just barely. We hardly had anything to eat since we sold most of our animals and crops, and my dad and I gave up most of what we had for my sisters and Mother.
At night, we each had a thin blanket to sleep on floor with, because there were no beds except for my mother and father’s bed they shared. There were only two bedrooms. One for Mother and Father, and one for Lily and I. The other room was the kitchen and sitting area.
Mother would always send me on trips into town, to see if anyone there wanted to buy any of the meat or crops we had at the time. One of those days I was in town, I was walking past the drug store, when I overheard your Uncle John talking to another man about houses these days, and that he needed a housekeeper to help him keep up his place. Since my family was poor, I jumped right in on the conversation and offered to be his housekeeper. He said he payed good, and I knew that my family would appreciate everything that I was doing for them and the farm. I gave no thought that the farm would suffer without my strong hands and back.”
“What did your family say when they found out?” Jeremy asked.
“They said they were happy for me, but I could tell that they were disappointed, not to mention I could see it in their eyes.”
“Over the years, the farm became more and more rundown, all because i had left. My family and the farm was suffering. I regularly visited to see how my family was doing, maybe bring some money for them, but it was never enough. On the way to one of my visits, I noticed there was no ring of smoke coming out of the chimney like there normally was. The house was all boarded up, and the door was locked. Everyone was gone. My family, the animals, everything. There was a piece of crinkled paper nailed to the door. It said, “Notice of Eviction.” I didn't know if I would ever see my family again. I started to walk to your Uncle John’s place, which was in London at the time. He had houses everywhere. I just so happened to look down, and I saw writing in the dirt. That meant my family hadn't left too long ago! The writing said,”We got evicted from the farm. Because of you. We couldn't keep up with all of the work, and we couldn't pay our bills. We moved somewhere better than London. Have fun being a housekeeper.”
“When your Uncle John heard that my family had left London and that I had nowhere else to go, he took me in like a father. I had always looked up to him. He even made me his butler, instead of housekeeper, because having a butler was a popular thing those days. Then, he received news of his sister having a baby, which was you Jeremy. You were born in Cuba, where John was when he disappeared.You only saw him once, Jeremy, and you were a baby of about two weeks old. He never told me about his job, so I read through some of his files, and he was a secret agent. He was always disappearing in the middle of the night.”
A week after he arrived to see you, he got called away on an important case. Turns out the whole thing was a setup, and disappeared in the woods with only his hat to be found. As a matter of fact, I have his hat here in Cuba! Many people think he’s still alive, but I am certain he is dead. After he disappeared, I moved into his mansion named Millow, in Cuba (the one he was staying at while he was visiting. He used it sometimes on cases, or to visit his family and friends), and I have kept the place up and running since then. You also moved to Montague Michigan. And that brings us to today! Any questions?”
“Yeah, how do you have Uncle John’s hat? Why doesn't anyone else in my family get anything from him, if they knew him and I didn't? Why do I get to stay in Cuba, and not the rest of my family? I was born in Cuba!?
“One at a time, Jeremy! I have your Uncle John’s hat, because when he disappeared, someone from the group he was with brought it to me. No one else in your family gets anything from him, because he didn't have time to add them in the will, and he fell in love with you the minute he saw you, and he knew that you were going to do great things in the future. And yes, you were born in Cuba.”
Jeremy sat there dumbfounded. His mom had a brother that he never knew about. And now he was invite to stay at a mansion in Cuba named Millow for the summer? Who names their mansion Millow?
“Jeremy? Are you still there?” alfred asked with concern.
“Yup, Uh-huh, yeah. I’m still here!” Jeremy replied.
“Ok, well I’m going to hang up now, and let you process everything that I just said to you. Have a wonderful day!” Alfred said after he hung up.
Jeremy’s head was spinning. But before he could do anything else, he had to have a chat with his mom.
* * *
“Mom!” Jeremy hollered.
“In the kitchen!” His mom yelled back.
“Mom,” Jeremy said out of breath, “Why didn't you tell me about my Uncle John?” his mom’s face turned white, and she dropped the glass she was holding in the sink.
“How do you know about John?” she whispered. Jeremy blurted everything out, “Well, this butler dude named Alfred called who told me all about his life and Uncle John’s life and how Uncle John was a secret agent and he disappeared randomly in the woods and how he disappeared in Cuba and--”
“How do you know this much?” His mom asked with concern.
“Alfred told me.”
“Alfred? As in butler Alfred? I haven't seen him since I was your age! Why did he call you, though?”
“He invited me to stay at Uncle John's mansion, Millow, for the summer.”
“Millow? It's been so long since I’ve heard that name or been there. Your Uncle John loved Millow. And you. He fell in love with you the minute he saw you.”
“What did he look like?"
“I’ll go get a picture of him for you to see!” Jeremy’s mom said as she walked out of the kitchen and towards her room in the hallway. Seconds later, she walked back into the kitchen, carrying an old picture of man with brown hair and green eyes. He looked just like Jeremy. There was no mistake. This was Jeremy’s Uncle John. Jeremy could see the tears in his mom’s eyes as she looked at the picture. The picture was fading and crinkled, and had quite a few splotches on it. Jeremy guessed that the picture had been looked at a couple times, and a few tears were shed in the process.
“Can I have this?” he asked. His mom looked a little reluctant, but then handed it over. Jeremy didn't know why he has asked for the picture, but it felt like something was tugging him to it.
"So can I go to Millow for the summer?" he asked. There was a long pause. Then his mom sighed.
"I guess. But we'll have to go over some rules first, OK?" Jeremy ran and hugged his mom. Hard.
"Oh!" His mom staggered backwards. Then he ran to his room to plan his trip and look at the picture of Uncle John. He sat down on his knees.
Uncle John had the same soft, hazel eyes as Jeremy, and the corner of his eyes wrinkled when he smiled his charming smile. Jeremy found himself feeling brave at that moment, looking at the picture of his heroic Uncle. Some part of him deep down, felt that he had know Uncle John his whole life. It seemed like he had been with him through everything, even though he couldn't see him. Jeremy felt that he was smiling down at him at that moment. Jeremy stood up with a grunt and folded the picture tenderly. Then he carefully tucked it in his back pocket and walked into his closet to find his suitcase.
See more stories by Ava