The Shadows of Rhodes Series

By Georgina Antoinette

Crime & mystery, Romance, Women's fiction, General fiction

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505
3 mins

Karpathos Day

The men greeted each other with boisterous bear hugs! Everyone passing by would turn to smiles. There were introductions and we were off to Stefano’s cottage, which was not far from the dig further south, which had been his obsession for the last ten years.
When we reached the “cottage”, we found it similar to what I would call a mountain lodge. All wood construction, it was big and roomy. The main room was entered through a wide and deep corridor. Antiquities were everywhere, yet it was uncluttered and orderly. The hard wood floors shined like marble. The fireplace was like a Greek exhibit, all kinds of archaeological pieces from years of hard work. His wife was very cordial and a bit on the quiet side. She excused herself from the room to let us talk.
“So? What is this about a picture of a house?” Stefano asked.
“Please to look, Stefano.” Dimitris said as I handed the photo to him.
“What can I tell you?” He asked.
“Do you remember seeing this house? I believe it is not far from Old Rhodes.” I said.
He walked over to a large desk, turned on a lamp and placed his wire rimmed glasses on his nose.
“Emily.” He said after looking carefully at the black and white damaged picture.
He took off his glasses and shook his head. He stood and slowly turned to look out the window in contemplation.
“Anything you can tell us would be helpful.” I said in a low voice, as not to disturb his thinking.
“This is a sad thing to remember, but it is full of contradictions. Are you certain about pursuing this?” He asked.
“We pursue.” Dimitris said.
“You must realize that there are many superstitious people in these islands. They believe that retelling of the stories may bring evil to them. You will ask questions, and get no answers or lies, or maybe they will cross themselves in blessing and turn away. What I am going to tell you may be fragmented, but I’ll try to remember as much as I can. Shall we go into my study?" He said as we followed him into another room with another desk, sofa, love seat and small bar. He offered us a drink but we all declined, waiting for the information I was seeking.
“Emily was the daughter of a woman who came to Rhodes, she said to get away from her husband. Not long after she moved in she became friendly in the neighborhood, people seemed to like her well enough, even though she was from Spain. The people didn't understand her too well, the accent you see. They had to communicate in English, what little they knew of it, as it was the common ground for them. The little girl was always kept in the house. They never saw her outside playing, like other children. The talk started of course, people wondered what was wrong with the child, or if she was abused. Of course the tongues would wag.”
“Would anyone like some water or something else to drink? I think we have tea.” Stefano offered. We all declined, waiting for the story to continue.
“The lady would leave, two or three days at a time, leaving the child alone, and she was only eight or nine years old. Soon they would see her wandering around at night. One night she broke a window at the church of St Steven. The police picked her up and held her until the mother came to get her.
“The lady was put on probation for neglect. Then the neighbors heard a lot of loud voices from the house, and the child crying. A man's voice was heard sometimes, arguing with the child, slamming of doors, a lot of ruckus in the house. The people of the road could hear it. Once a large car parked in front of the house and many men in dark suits went in. The neighbors didn't like all the drama with this woman.
“She lived there close to a year, there was always something going on. She sent a letter to her brother in Spain. Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. The governing counsel of the district were sent some articles that she wrote and were printed in a newspaper in Spain, making accusations against and connecting big time criminals to authorities in several countries. They hushed up all the details and nothing was ever investigated, but it wasn't long after that, that the woman left, or disappeared. The house was found in a mess, there was blood, a lot of blood in the bath tub and on the floor. It didn't appear that any of their personal items were taken, passports, letters, pictures all still there. Even the things you would think the child would need, still in the house. So it was strange. They did a superficial investigation, but didn't really try to find out what happened. Just too much for a small police department to handle, I guess.
“Of course, now the talk is that the house is haunted, and no one will go near it. It's because of Dáimônes Epialtês. They are afraid of a curse.”
“What were you saying about the brother?” I asked.
“When the brother came to find out where his sister had gone, they had no answers. He told the authorities in Athens that something was wrong, and showed them the letter she wrote to him. Apparently they did nothing.”
Andreas was hanging on every word, to imagine that this story had been kept quiet for all these years. He had never heard about this before.
“There was no obituary, no funerals that I heard of, and I doubt if the newspaper had anything pertaining to it either. It was a short lived event that was soon forgotten.”
“Oh my god.” Morgan gasped.
“There are more stories of what happened to them than you can count, but no one ever knew, or ever told what really happened. The whole thing was dropped without official investigation. It was all swept under the rug, no embarrassment for the authorities, or for the people of the neighborhood. All forgotten.”
“Strange.” I exhaled.
“Like I said, gossip and hearsay, but there is some truth in it all, it was hushed up from what I know. The gossip now is of strange men driving up and down the road, doing nothing, just looking. Neighbors nervous they say. If you continue to pursue this, it may be dangerous. So be careful.” Stefano warned.
“What you say, dangerous, why you say this? You try to scare them?” Dimitris sounded angry at Stefano.
“No, just watch out. If someone wanted them dead that bad, they may still be on Rhodes, and stirring up questions and digging into this, well, you just don’t know.” Stefano said.



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