Sarah returned misgiving thoughts about returning to Temple Bruer and wondered if it was a mistake, but she had promised Philip she would return after visiting her sister. Philip wasn’t able to pick her from the hour long drive back to the castle, instead Sheriff Crosby was kind enough to pick her up.
The drive was long and quiet. Sarah, saw many of the valleys and hills that surrounded the estate. A beautiful sight she once took pleasure in seeing when she first arrived, not it was discouraging. From afar, the mountains rose, and disappeared up into the misty sky. A variety of green vegetation covered the rolling lands, some being farmed while others unattended. It was a gloomy day, the sun didn’t seem eager to step out from behind the grey clouds. It always looked like it might rain, but sometimes it never did.
“Philip, must be a busy man,” Sheriff Crosby broke the silence.
“He’s always doing something,” Sarah acknowledge.
“I don’t see him much these days,” Sheriff Crosby admitted. “I’ve been meaning to visit him, to see how things are. I normally do, with folks that live so far away from town, just to make sure everything is all right. He use to come to town every so often, lately he hasn’t been seen.”
“I barely see him myself,” Sarah said.
“There use to be folks that lived nearby,” Sheriff said. “As I recall, a family had a home a few miles away. Nobody has seem them for a while. It’s not unusual, some folk move away. They were very reclusive people… Maybe, you have seen them?”
“I didn’t know we lived by anybody,” Sarah said.
“No unusual to not see them, strange people they were,” Sheriff Crosby continued. “The father was rather unpleasant. Didn’t seem too friendly with strangers. I always saw him with a hand sickle. I believe he farmed those lands. I can’t say, it was hard to talk with him. I didn’t want trouble so I left them alone. Do you know if Philip might know of them. I kept meaning to ask about them, but I seem to forget.”
“He has never spoken of a family,” Sarah said. Then again, Philip didn’t tell her much of anything. “Did you ever know about Philip’s other wives?”
Sheriff Crosby cleared his throat.
“I met only the last two,” he said. “Doesn’t Philip mention them?”
“No,” Sarah grimly said. “What were they like?”
“I can’t say about the first one, and the other two I didn’t know them well,” Sheriff Crosby said. “I only met them a few times. His first wife drowned in the pond, I believe. It was Sheriff Bronson who oversaw that. His second, and third wife simply packed away and left one day.”
“Are you certain they left?”
“Well, that’s what Philip told me,” Sheriff Crosby said. “I wouldn’t believe the rumors. It’s just hearsay.”
“The rumors that Philip buried them somewhere in the estate,” he said. “I can assure you, I’ve walked through the estate, and I saw nothing unusual. Is there something I should be concerned about?”
Sarah hesitated to tell him further.
“He gets angry if I ask him,” Sarah said.
“Some people don’t like talking about the past,” he said.
The rest of the drive was solemn. When they arrived at the castle, the skies had turned black, as thunder could be herd crackling up ahead. The winds had picked up speed, blowing harshly around. Sarah dreaded being home.