Kian waited with Aidan as the local police cleared her house. Once inside, without hesitating, she poured herself a drink.
The first floor was a mess. The two men had not gotten upstairs, but on the first floor, every drawer, cupboard, and closet had been opened. Emptied, the contents had been thrown in all directions. Cushions were tossed this way and that, with every piece of furniture overturned. Only her father’s books remained untouched. They were still on the long rows of shelves at the back of the large room, just where Red had left them. His files, however, had been dumped all over the floor. Off to the left, the adjoining country kitchen was trashed. Refrigerator and freezer were emptied right onto the old linoleum. It looked as if the two thugs had swept their arms through the cabinets and cupboards, knocking everything out.
“Oh well, now I don’t have to decide what to keep and what to replace,” Kian mumbled sarcastically. She swept up the broken dishes and tossed them into a cardboard box Mr. FBI had retrieved from the barn.
The agent started in the living room, righting furniture and making neat piles for Kian to go through later. Every once in a while he’d pop into the kitchen and ask her about certain odd items. Kian would explain, but wondered why he wanted to know.
The process brought back sad memories. There was a drawing of the stone structures on her land that had been brought home by her father when Kian was six. There was an old rag doll that had belonged to Kian’s great grandmother. Her mother had said something about a long story behind it and that she would explain later.
“Later?” Aidan asked.
“Yes, when I was ‘old enough.’ Mom would always say that and I hated it.” Kian frowned. “Everything was ‘when you are old enough.’ Old enough never came.”
“I don’t understand.”
“They vanished when I was 10.”
“Vanished. In thin air. They went away like they did sometimes, only this time they didn’t come back.” Kian swung her arms in the air, almost spilling the ice from her glass. “Vanished. You know, left. Gone. Vamoosed.”
“Well, where did they go?”
“Who knows!” Hunching her shoulders, Kian turned around and headed toward the pantry. She poured more Stoli and Kahlua into her glass. “Want one?” she asked.
“No, thanks,” the agent said. “I’m on duty.” He disappeared back into the living room.
Kian went into the bathroom. She filled a large trash bag with old ointments, pills, tapes, and gauze pads. She remembered all of them from her childhood, especially the bandaids. Whenever she skinned her knees, and that happened often, her mother would dress it, always using one with a different design–rabbits, monkeys, ballerinas. Once her mom drew a funny face on one because there were only ordinary bandaids in the house. Kian’s shoulders drooped and she leaned against the sink for support. Memories. Even the good ones reminded her of what she had lost.
“I need you to see something,” the agent said as he rounded the corner.
Kian wiped tears from her eyes. “What’s up?”
“I found this in the mess on the floor.”
Kian took it from him, a puzzled look on her face.
“I think it is vellum,” the agent said.
“Processed animal hide. The ancients used it like we use paper, but it was far more precious. Imagine a time when what you wrote on was so valuable, so hard to come by, it was like gold. That was vellum.”
The funny marks were not like hieroglyphics or other writings Kian had ever seen. They were more like a series of vertical lines, some short, some tall. The agent looked at her. “Do you know what this is?”
“Never saw it before. What’s with all these lines?”
The agent took the piece and studied it. “I think it is Ogham, a form of writing, but I need to consult someone I know. This could mean something. It could be valuable.”
“Does this have anything to do with Uncle Jacob or with my parents?” That was stupid, she thought, how would he know?
“Probably,” was his response.
With that, Mr. FBI reached for his smart phone and snapped a picture. “Sending it off now,” he said as he touched the screen and Kian heard the whoosh of a departing message. He rolled up the vellum. “I’m going to put it behind your dad’s books in the library. That’ll be good enough for tonight, especially since I will be sleeping on the sofa.”
“I am sleeping on your sofa. I am not leaving you alone with some crazed gun-toting thugs out there, especially after you’ve been drinking.”
Kian bristled at that and then spit out, “I am sure your wife and children will love this!”
“No wife, no children, and no girlfriend either.” As Kian turned to leave the room, he added, “You?”
“Wife, kids, boyfriend?”
“Nope,” Kian responded. “No husband either.”
“You like pizza?”
“Find me your yellow pages and I’ll get one delivered.”
“Great. By then I’ll be ready for another drink.”
The pizza arrived an hour later. Kian did pour a third drink, but Aidan gently took it from her. “Look, I know you are upset, but if those bastards come back, I can’t have you impaired.” Kian handed the glass over. He was right. Besides, if she kept it to two, she’d feel fine in the morning.
Out on the deck, the cool evening breeze cleared Kian’s head a bit. Still, neither of them had the energy for conversation. In the end they ate their pizza, sitting in silence watching the stars.
When Lucky started scratching at the door, Kian announced it was time for bed. She felt she should offer the agent something more comfortable than the broken down sofa. There was a spare room on the second floor with a single creaky cot. She suggested that and added, “I could find some blankets or something, too, if you want.”
“I’d rather be down here if those guys come back. Besides I’d also like to spend some time cleaning up your father’s papers, if that’s okay. I’d like to know what the intruders were looking for in there.”
“No problem,” replied Kian. “Can I get you anything else?”
“A blanket or something would be nice.”
“I’ll put a couple on the sofa. You can choose.” Kian reached for the door, and then turned. “You got a name? I can’t keep thinking of you as Mr. FBI.”
“Aidan. Aidan Scott.”
“Well, Mr. Aidan Scott, good night.”
Ogham: I was informed by someone in the know that the word is pronounced O-am, not Og-am. The alphabet may have been created by the Druids as a secret method to encode messages during the Roman conquest of Britain about 55 AD.
But has Ogham been found in the Americas? Yes.
Barry Fell translated many examples. Here are some from West Virginia.
Mystery Hill in New Hampshire may have been built by the Clets, if the Ogham found there is any indication.