Secrets of the Lighthouse
“Yeah, one of the members of the lighthouse preservation society in charge of this tower said perhaps it wasn’t on that date, as previously supposed. They have a newspaper interview with the lighthouse keeper, Bradford Wilson, who said he witnessed the whole thing. They said that he was an upstanding citizen and would have no reason to lie.” Zoeth made a wry expression, “I said thanks a lot for the vote of confidence in my integrity.”
“Really ignorant people,” Joe said, “Do you have a copy of the article?”
“Yeah, just a second…..” Zoeth searched her purse again, mumbling as she did.
Frank looked over his shoulder at his brother. Joe raised his eyebrows at Frank, but his big brother didn’t change his expression. Their attention was drawn back to Zoeth as she exclaimed with success.
“Here it is!” She reached the paper into Joe’s outstretched hand. She watched as the two brothers read silently. She thought again how good looking they were. Despite their different hair color and eye color, there were physical similarities where she could easily see they were brothers. Frank was more quiet, she noted, more reserved. Joe was not. She could tell that Joe was very much on her side. Frank seemed likely to remain more suspicious. She was curious what their individual reactions to the keeper’s statement of what allegedly had happened would be.
“He seems smarmy,” Joe stated. Frank’s mouth curved into a slight smile at his brother’s words.
“You got that from this article?” Frank asked.
“Yeah, the smarminess just jumps right out at you.” Joe arched an eyebrow at his brother, challenging him to deny it. The half smile on Frank’s face stayed in place.
“Mmhmm.” Frank looked again at the paper, then over at Zoeth, “Whatever happened to this guy?”
“Well, he continued as the lighthouse keeper for several years. I’m not sure how long.”
“What about Alexander Powers?” Joe asked.
“He disappeared. As far as I know neither he nor Sarah were ever heard from again.” Zoeth tucked a lock of hair behind her left ear. “The police said that there was no record of an arrest, or even a warrant, but some records were destroyed in a fire.”
Frank sat in silence for a few moments, thinking it over. Joe asked Zoeth if she would like something to drink or eat, as they had bought some supplies earlier.
She smiled at Joe’s thoughtfulness, “No, thank you.” She looked at her papers and then back at Joe. “When I heard the Hardy brothers were in town and looking into the lighthouse, well, I got pretty excited. I’ve heard of you two and your dad. You three guys have solved a lot of difficult cases.” Joe felt a little embarrassed at the praise, but appreciated Zoeth’s words.
“Well, I don’t know how much we can figure out while we’re here, but we’ll do our best,” Joe said.
“That’s all anyone can ask,” Zoeth stated with conviction. Joe and Zoeth talked more while Frank looked back over the papers. The date on the newspaper article fit the widely accepted story. This was just a copy of the newspaper though. He sure would like to see the original. Even then, that wouldn’t be true evidence because not everything in newspapers are correct. Frank didn’t believe something just because it was widely accepted, there were a few things he knew of contrary to popular belief. He couldn’t discount the story though, until he found out otherwise.
“Where’s the original newspaper clipping?” Frank asked when there was a pause in the conversation. Zoeth was slightly startled with Frank saying something since he had been quiet for awhile.
“Uh, I’m not exactly sure, I’ve never gotten to see it. They have these copies at the newspaper morgue in town.” Zoeth took out a scrap of paper. “I’ll write down the name of the town historian.” After doing so she handed it to Frank, who accepted it with a thank you, but didn’t say anything else.
“Well, I guess I better be going. If you guys have any more questions, just call me. I wrote my number on the other side of that paper, Frank.” Zoeth stood up, as did Frank and Joe. “Those are all copies so you can keep them to look at.”
“Nice meeting you two.” She smiled at them as they walked her to the door. Joe returned the smile as Frank lagged behind.
“You, too. Take care,” Joe said opening the door for her. She waved to them as she got in her car. As she drove off, Joe closed the door back and turned to his brother.
“You need to work on your people skills,” Joe told his brother. Frank looked at him quizzically. “You zoned out.” Frank gave Joe a look.
“You did. You think Zoeth is making it all up?” Joe asked his brother, trying to guess what his brother was thinking.
“I never said that.” Frank went back into the living room to look at the papers again. Joe let out an exasperated sigh.
“So you believe her?”
“I never said that either.”
“I could just scream…,” Joe said, quoting a line from McHale’s Navy that the family had been enjoying on DVD. Frank chuckled.
“Joe, I’m just looking at it from every angle, that’s all.”
“So am I.”
Frank arched an eyebrow, “Not exactly, Bro.”
“What? We saw the date of the letter, we caught that right away, there was no proof, no indication of murder….”
“If the letters are real.”
“You are taking the jerks’ side, are you?” Joe was incredulous.
“I’m not taking anyone’s side, that’s the difference. You are taking Zoeth’s, I’m trying to look at this objectively. I said ‘if’ the letters are real.” Frank skimmed through the papers again. “I’m not saying anything against Zoeth, but Joe, you tend to think almost every girl is all sweetness and light.”
“No, I don’t. I know some of them lie, but Zoeth was telling the truth,” Joe said with conviction.
“What do you base that on?”
Joe looked at him, not really wanting to answer that.
“Why do you think she is telling the truth?”
“Because she is,” Joe said stubbornly.
“There has to be something in what she said that made you believe her story. Is it because you want those who promote the haunting to be wrong since Zoeth is nice and you want her vindicated? Or because it steams you that loud screaming is keeping a precious little one from getting the rest she needs? Those are good emotions, Joe, and fine thoughts, but that doesn’t tell us who is telling the truth here. So, why is it that you believe Zoeth?” Frank asked again.
“Because she’s telling the truth.”
“I could just scream,” Frank said with a groan.