The Words of the Weber Family
My wife once said that this is the most suspenseful story that I have written. It is also an interesting example of the Principle being applied to every day life. See if you can figure out who the different characters represent in the Principle. Ben is the easy one. Have fun reading this one.
Slowly a door creaked open. Dennis and Wendy, a ten-year-old boy and girl, looked into their parent's room.
"Is Father up" asked Wendy.
Slowly Dennis tiptoed through the door. "I wonder what his plans are for today," he whispered.
Laughing quietly, the two children ran over, jumped, and landed in the center of the bed.
"Good morning Father," said Dennis.
"Good morning Mother," said Wendy.
Charles and Alice Martin looked up at their children. "Good morning," they laughed.
"What are your plans for today, Father" asked Dennis. "You've been working very hard lately. Are you working on something important"
"Yes, I am," said Mr. Martin. "You're very interested in how I am doing, aren't you"
"Yes," said Dennis. "I want to know you. I want to be like you."
Dennis' words reached into his father's heart. Mr. Martin was proud of his son and loved him very much. "You will face many problems in life," he said taking Dennis in his arms. He used moments like this to talk with his children about what he called life's lessons. "You see, life is like those adventure stories that you like to read. Remember that problems you will face are only temporary obstacles, and they can be overcome with imagination and courage. Now, go get ready for breakfast. Your mother and I will be ready in a few minutes."
Dennis and Wendy rushed out of the room, and soon they were both washed, dressed, and ready for an exciting day. Dennis raced out of his room and nearly ran into Wendy who was standing silently in the hallway.
"Shh…" said Wendy putting her finger over her lips. "Mother and Father are in the nursery. Don't disturb them."
All was silent in the house, and now the atmosphere had become very sad. Quietly the two children walked over to the nursery and looked in at their parents. This particular nursery had been deserted ever since they could remember. In it were the things that you would expect to find in a child's nursery a baby's crib, toys, a teddy bear… Yet never had the crib been slept in since they could remember. Never had they seen a child playing with the toys. Since before Dennis and Wendy had been born, this nursery had been empty.
But, it had not always been this way. Once the Martins had had a son named Quincy. He had been born thirteen years ago, and the sounds of his laughter and crying had echoed throughout the house. The Martins loved their first son and trusted much of his care to one of their servants named Ben.
However, a topic of much discussion in the Martin family was the inheritance that Quincy would receive when he got older. As special thanks for saving a man's life once, Mr. Martin had received a small box containing a fortune in very rare gems. It was this that he had decided to give to his first-born child. So, even before he was born, Quincy was the possessor of great wealth.
Ben, however, had been with the family for twenty years. He had dedicated his life to serving and caring for Mr. And Mrs. Martin, and he had sacrificed much for them. Suddenly, with the arrival of the new baby, Ben felt left out of the family. He now saw this baby receiving more love than he had ever experienced himself, and he became hurt and jealous. How could he understand a parent's heart for their child He had never been a parent himself.
But, the thing that cut deepest into Ben's heart was that this newborn baby, who had done nothing to deserve it, was receiving a fortune in gems, while he, who had sacrificed his whole life for the Martin's, was receiving nothing. Ben felt very hurt and jealous toward Quincy. But he never went to the Martins with his feelings. He had too much pride for that. He simply held his feelings in.
Finally, a year after Quincy's birth, Ben could no longer hold in the pain that he felt. Late one night, after the Martins had gone to bed, Ben had stolen into the nursery, quietly lifted Quincy into his arms, and walked out of the house. Neither Ben nor Quincy had ever been seen again.
The Martins had called the police, and a nation-wide search was begun. The search had continued for several years, even after the birth of Dennis and Wendy two years later. But, finally the police had given up hope, and with this the Martins had lost all hope of ever seeing their lost son again.
But even now, as the Martins stood looking at the empty nursery, a scene was unfolding in another part of the country. Somewhere in Florida, a group of young boys ran down a sandy beach. They laughed and shouted as they played a game of tag. Suddenly they stopped, for now they found themselves standing before a huge rock on the beach. Slowly the boys circled around the rock. Then one boy bravely dashed up onto the rock. "Ha!" he shouted. "Look at me! King of the mountain!" Then all the boys began dashing up struggling, shouting, and clawing at each other.
But, slowly and bravely, one thirteen-year-old boy began working his way to the top of the rock. He pushed and shoved at the other boys and fought them off. Finally he was left standing alone on the rock. "Look at me!" he shouted. "I'm Quincy! King of the mountain! Come on! Someone challenge me!"
But now the other boys turned and began walking away. Then one boy touched another boy on the arm. "Tag! You're it!" he shouted, and the boys started running down the beach again leaving Quincy alone.
"Come back!" shouted Quincy. He looked at the boys running in the distance and realized that he could no longer be heard.
Slowly, Quincy stepped down from the rock and began walking to his home a few blocks from the shore. As he walked up to the house, he heard the television playing inside, and news about wars, disasters, and murders echoed through the air. Quincy looked in the window before going inside. "Poor Ben," he sighed seeing the old man seated in front of the television. "Why does he watch that stuff His nerves have been so bad since Father and Mother died, and he spends so much time trying to protect himself and me."
Quincy stepped back from the window. He wondered what his parents had been like. Ben had said that they had died soon after he was born, and all that he would tell Quincy about them was that once they had been good people; but now it was a good thing that they were dead. Quincy couldn't understand what Ben had meant. But now Ben was his guardian and had raised him ever since he could remember. Slowly, Quincy walked into the house and said hello to Ben.
Later that night, after he had gone to bed, Quincy heard Ben coughing downstairs. Next he heard the front door open and close as Ben walked out of the house. "His cough must really be bad tonight," thought Quincy. "Ben doesn't like to go out for medicine during the night." Quincy watched out of his window as Ben walked off into the darkness, and then blinking his eyes sleepily, he rolled over and went to sleep.
Ben walked down the street looking back and forth into the darkness of the night. He didn't like the night time. Who could tell what lurked in the darkness that surrounded him He turned around and began walking home; but suddenly he began coughing violently. This cough was too bad to ignore. He just had to have medicine! So, now looking into the darkness again, Ben turned and began walking cautiously toward the store.
He had walked for several blocks when he approached an alley. Here he stopped. The store was at the other end of the alley; but the alley was dark. Ben looked at his watch; it was getting late and the store would close in a few minutes. So, rather than walking around the block, he decided to walk through the alley. Cautiously he ventured his way into the darkness. There was a movement in the shadows; but Ben tried to quiet his fears by telling himself that it must be a stray cat. Continuing to walk, he had the feeling that he was being watched. Again he tried to quiet his fears. He just had to get his medicine!
Suddenly there was a shuffling sound, and Ben turned around just as a human form leaped out of the darkness at him. He felt his arms pinned to his side and the blade of a sharp knife touched his throat.
"Give me all your money," whispered a voice in his ear.
Ben's heart leaped to his throat. "My wallet is in my back pocket," he stammered. He felt the stranger reach into his back pocket and take his wallet, and the pressure of the knife was eased from his throat. Quickly Ben twisted his body around and wrenched himself free of the stranger's grasp. He grabbed his wallet back and began running toward the store, the stranger running close behind him. Now Ben had another reason for making it to the store; here he would find help! With this in mind he quickened his pace and clutched the wallet tighter in his hand.
But, what was this The lights were being turned out in the store! It was closing! "Hey!" shouted Ben running faster than ever. "Wait! Don't close now!"
He could hear the stranger running close behind him. Panic stricken, Ben ran out of the alley into the street. But, he failed to see an approaching car. There was a screeching of tires and a deafening thud, and Ben felt himself fly through the air and land heavily on the pavement. Pain surged through his body as he rolled over. He heard the car screeching to a stop and voices saying, "My gosh! We've hit someone!"
Ben looked around and saw his wallet lying several feet from him. Helplessly he watched his attacker run quickly out of the alley, grab his wallet, and disappear into the darkness.
Now Ben heard other sounds. Two people were running toward him from the car. "What can we do" asked a voice. "He's hurt real bad!"
"Call the police!" said another voice.
Ben tried to move. But pain surged through his body again, and he passed out.
The next morning when Quincy woke up, the sun was already high in the sky. He blinked his eyes and looked around. "It's late," he said. "Why didn't Ben wake me up" He jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed. "Hello, Ben" he called out as he walked down the stairs.
There was no answer.
He walked into Ben's bedroom. "Come on!" he said laughing. "It's time to get up!"
But the room was empty.
Quincy slowly began walking around looking in every room. "Ben" he called out.
But there was no answer. He was alone!
Later that same day, the Martin's telephone rang.
"I'll get it Daddy," said Wendy rushing to the telephone. "Hello Martin residence."
"Hello," said a deep voice on the other end of the line. "May I please speak with Charles Martin"
"Sure!" said Wendy. "Daddy, it's for you."
Mr. Martin took the telephone out his daughter's hand. "Hello" he said.
"Hello," said the voice. "My name is Detective Adams. I worked on your son's kidnapping case a few years ago. Last night there was an accident in a small town in Florida. A man was hit by a car and nearly killed, and he is now in a hospital. This man had no identification on him; but because of the unusual circumstances surrounding the accident, we got his fingerprints and found out who he was. Mr. Martin, it's your servant, Ben!"
Mr. Martin nearly choked on the words. "Ben! After all these years! What about Quincy Is he…"
"We don't know yet," said the detective. "Ben is an a coma right now. There are no clues as to where Quincy is, or if he is even still alive!"
It didn't take long for the Martins to pack and prepare to leave. Airplane reservations were made quickly, and by the end of the day, the entire Martin family was on a plane bound to Florida.
In a restless hope, Mrs. Martin clutched her husband's arm. Seeing this, Dennis looked up into his father's eyes. His father had been unhappy for many years because of the loss of Quincy. Now there was a new hope. Quincy might still be alive, and his father was going to try to find him. Dennis wondered what his older brother looked like. He felt responsible for finding Quincy also, and he wanted to help.
"What are you thinking about" asked Wendy tugging at Dennis' sleeve.
"I'm wondering what Quincy is doing now," replied Dennis.
With a very soft whisper, Wendy said, "He must be lonely."
At that moment, Quincy was just coming in from playing on the beach. It was cold and windy outside, and not many children had been outside. He looked around. "Ben" he called out. But there was no answer.
Quincy stood silently listening to the wind beat against the side of the house. He then went into the kitchen and fixed himself a sandwich. Afterwards he wrote a note for Ben telling him that he would be out playing on the beach, and he left it where it could be found easily. Then he walked out of the house again.
When the Martins arrived in Florida, they were greeted by Detective Adams. The tall detective shook hands with each of them, which thrilled Dennis and Wendy who had never met a "real live detective." Then he drove them to the hospital where Ben was being kept. Mrs. Martin stayed with the children, and a doctor escorted Mr. Martin and Detective Adams to Ben's room.
"Ben has been very seriously injured," said the doctor. "He might die if he doesn't regain consciousness soon."
Mr. Martin looked down at his former servant. He remembered all of the years that Ben had been with his family, and for a moment, Mr. Martin felt the deep love that he had once had for Ben. But now this love faded and a feeling of fear filled his heart. What if Ben died before he regained consciousness How could they ever find Quincy without his help Mr. Martin expressed his fears to the detective as they walked out of the room.
"We've begun a search all around the city," replied Detective Adams. "If your son is still alive, he will be found."
Dennis walked up and joined his father and the detective in the hallway. "Don't worry, Father," he said. "Quincy will be all right. After all, he's older than I am. He should be able to take care of himself."
With tears coming to his eyes, Mr. Martin knelt down and embraced his son.
It was late in the evening when Quincy came in from the beach again. He was cold and tired, and very hungry. He looked around the house again. "Ben" he called out. Then tears began streaming down his face. "Ben Where are you Please answer me!"
Outside, the wind answered him by beating against the side of the house. Then all was silent again.
Wiping the tears from his eyes, Quincy walked into the kitchen. There was very little food left, and before long he had finished it all. Then he walked up the stairs to his room, and without even getting undressed, he climbed into bed and cried himself to sleep.
The next morning, Quincy woke up and walked around the house again. He called out to Ben time after time. Then he walked to the door, opened it and looked outside. He hesitated for a moment, and wiped his nose with his sleeve. Then, very slowly, he walked out of the house toward the town.
Back at the hospital, Mr. Martin followed a doctor into Ben's room and stood watching the doctor as he worked. Suddenly, Ben moaned and shifted his position in bed. The doctor and Mr. Martin stepped forward. Ben moaned again and opened his eyes. "What happened" he grumbled. "Where am I" Slowly, his gaze traveled around the room, and he saw the doctor and Mr. Martin.
"Hello, Ben," said the doctor. "You really had us worried for awhile."
Fear filled Ben's eyes and he tried to get out of bed. But his sudden movements now caused him to scream in pain. The doctor grabbed hold of him and held him still.
"Mr. Martin," he said, "I think that you should wait outside."
Mr. Martin left the room and was joined by Detective Adams. They waited together for half an hour until the doctor came out.
"I've given Ben a thorough examination," said the doctor. "He's going to be all right! You can come in and talk with him now."
Mr. Martin and the detective walked into the room. "Hello Ben," said Mr. Martin.
Ben turned and looked out of the window.
"It's been a long time," said Mr. Martin. "Twelve years! What has happened in that time"
Ben was silent.
"Ben" said Mr. Martin. "Where is my son Where is Quincy"
Ben closed his eyes. "Dead," he whispered. "He's been dead for years now."
Mr. Martin gasped! Clenching his fists, he walked blindly out of the room. Detective Adams followed close behind. "My son is dead!" wept Mr. Martin.
"That may not really be true," said the detective. "Ben is not in a rational state of mind! What he is saying just may not be true!"
Just then a policeman walked up. "I think I have some news for you sir," he said. "Some parents who live near the beach have complained that a boy in the area seems to have been deserted. They have tried to get him to come into their houses, but he has always run off. He answers to the name of Quincy! The boy seems to live in a house near the beach. We have the address."
Detective Adams grabbed Mr. Martin and the policeman and walked with them out to the waiting room where Mrs. Martin and the children were waiting. "Well," he laughed. "Aren't you anxious to see your lost son after twelve years. Let's go pick him up!"
It took half an hour to drive out to the house where Ben and Quincy had been living. The front door was open and the house was empty. Upon investigation, Detective Adams found the remains of Quincy's meals and also the note that he had left for Ben. It was Mrs. Martin who noticed that there was no longer any food in the house.
"How is Quincy eating" she asked. "How is he taking care of himself"
This also was a great concern of Quincy who was now wandering the streets of the town. He had been hungrily looking in the windows of stores for some time now. Finally he got up enough courage to go into a market, and soon he was walking back out with a package of salami tucked under his shirt.
However, Quincy had already come under the watchful eye of the store manager. Before he was even out the door, the air split with the cry of, "Stop! Thief!" Quincy started running down the street. But now he was being chased by both the manager and a policeman who had also been called into the chase. With quick steps, he darted in and out of stores and down alleys. Finally he lost them, and with a sigh of relief, he sat down on a park bench and began eating.
At that moment, however, an enraged manager stood next to the policeman as he radioed in the report.
"A man's business just isn't safe around here," complained the manager. "Crime is so high!"
"Sir," said the policeman. "He was only twelve or thirteen years old. Now please, let me radio in my report."
While the report was going out over the air, Detective Adams and Mr. Martin were walking out of the house toward the police car. The description of the young thief echoed through the air, and Detective Adams leaned over to the car window to hear the report.
"Mr. Martin," said the detective. "Could that be a description of your lost son"
The detective signaled a policeman to his side. He told him about the report and said that he would like to track down the young thief. "It just might be Quincy!" he said.
Soon another report was flashing out over the air and police patrols were soon alerted. All of this was unknown to Quincy who sat in the park eating. So it was when he was spotted by a passing police car. An officer carefully got out of the car and began walking toward the boy. Quincy suddenly looked up. With a cry of fear, he stood up and kicked the policeman in the shins as hard as he could. As the officer fell to the ground in pain, Quincy began running. The policeman tried to get up and follow, but it was hopeless. So, limping back to the police car, he reported that he had spotted the boy and gave his location.
The report fell on anxious ears. Detective Adams looked over at Mr. Martin. "Let's go," he said smiling.
Soon they were in the police car and speeding to the area where Quincy had last been spotted.
It hadn't taken long for many police cars to come into the area where Quincy was, and soon the frightened boy was dodging policemen again. No sooner had he slipped out of sight of one police car than he ran into view of another patrolman walking the streets. Quickly he hid behind a building. "Boy!" he said with tears streaming down his face. "They sure make a big deal over a little stolen food!"
Quincy took off running again, and as he did he was spotted by the patrolman who radioed in another report. This and other reports were heard by the Martins and Detective Adams as they rode across the town.
"We're getting close!" said the detective. Then he turned to Mrs. Martin and the children sitting in the back seat. Smiling down at the children he said, "Very soon now, we might find your lost brother."
Then it happened! As the Martins rode down a side street, a young boy ran out into the street ahead of them. He stopped and looked around in a panic. Mr. Martin leaned forward as the car came to a stop, and the young boy looked back at them. The boy had his father's eyes and mouth, and he had his mother's silky brown hair.
"It's Quincy!" whispered Mr. Martin.
The boy took off running again. Quickly the policeman and Detective Adams got out of the car and began chasing him. They were followed by Mr. And Mrs. Martin. Detective Adams and the policeman disappeared around the corner of a building. But soon they returned. They were walking slowly and looked very disappointed. "We lost him," said the detective. Slowly the four of them walked back to the police car where they had left Dennis and Wendy.
But the car was empty! Dennis and Wendy were nowhere to be found! Panic stricken, Mr. Martin began calling out the children's names. Yet, there was no answer.
It was Detective Adams who found the note in the back seat. "Dear Father and Mother," he read. "Because you love Quincy so much, we want to go out and bring him back to you. Even though we may be gone for awhile, please don't worry about us. Love, Dennis and Wendy."
Mrs. Martin gasped and put her hands over her mouth. Mr. Martin turned and pounded his fist on the side of the car. Detective Adams and the policeman looked helplessly down the street…searching.
There were now two more lost children!
To Be Continues in PART TWO...