The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 02

Cast of characters dressed in 18th Century clothing stand in front of white cottage

Kit Chesterton placed the posy of flowers on his parents’ resting place and straightened up. His dark eyes were sad, but a wistful smile touched his lips.

“I’m thankful I was able to come home to Jamaica and spend these months with Mama,” he said, turning from the graveside and looking to his brother, Geoffrey, sister-in-law Lily, and Tabitha Warburton, Mama’s maid and part of the Chesterton family for as long as he could remember.

“It grieves me I wasn’t here when Papa died. I never had a chance to say goodbye, or tell him . . .”

Kit’s words faded, and only the songs of birds and whispering of a hot, dry breeze stirred the silence of the leafy churchyard.

His gaze returned to the headstone.

Thomas and Clara Chesterton had adopted him as a child and, despite not being his biological parents, they had been everything he had needed.

Thomas Chesterton’s inscription was worn and weathered; a stark contrast to the freshly chiselled lettering of Clara’s name.

“Your mama was pleased when you wrote saying you were coming to visit,” Tabitha said as they left the churchyard. “These months were very happy for her.”

“For me, too, Tabby,” he responded softly. “It’s good to be home again.”

“Do you still think of Jamaica as home?” his sister-in-law queried. “Isn’t England your home now?”

“My work is there, but nothing else.” Kit drew a breath as they entered the lush gardens of the Chestertons’ villa where he’d grown up. “Jamaica will always be home.”

*  *  *  *

The brothers postponed sorting through their mother’s belongings until, with Kit sailing for England on the morrow, they could delay no longer.

They were on the villa’s veranda in the cool of evening, their mother’s little cherry-wood keepsake chest open before them.

Here Clara had stored her most personal possessions and those holding special memories. All her treasures.

Geoffrey glanced through a bundle of letters written in immature hands.

“Mama must have kept every letter you and I wrote from boarding school.”

He saw Kit open a package wrapped in muslin.

“That looks interesting.”

From the fabric fell a medallion, fashioned from wood and carved to depict St Christopher.

Kit turned the medallion on his palm. The necklet was on a strand of fine cord. It showed signs of having been worn.

“I’ve never seen this before.” He offered it to his brother. “Have you?”

“I can’t imagine Mama ever wearing such a poorly made trinket.” Geoffrey shrugged. “Perhaps she kept it because your given name is Christopher. You know how sentimental Mama could be.”

Scraps of paper had slipped from the muslin.

“What are they?”

“Old letters.” A frown creased Kit’s forehead as he leafed through the tattered pages. “But they weren’t written to our mother. They’re to somebody named Marietta.

“Why would Mama have another woman’s letters?”

He passed them across the table to Geoffrey.

“These are love letters!” Geoffrey exclaimed, scanning the lines. “Sent from some Englishman called Alexander.” He handed back the letters. “I doubt he was a friend of our family.”

“I don’t recognise either name,” Kit remarked, reading. “This Alexander wasn’t resident here. He writes about returning to Jamaica from England and marrying Marietta.”

“It doesn’t make sense.” Geoffrey shook his head. “What significance could someone else’s love letters and a cheap medallion have for our mother?”

Kit slid a page across.

“Alexander and Marietta had a son. An infant named Christopher.” Kit swallowed. “Christopher isn’t a common name here, is it?”

“No, Kit!” Geoffrey replied in disbelief. “You’re surely never thinking . . .?”

“Look at the dates on the letters, Geoff. They were written the year I was born. Two boys named Christopher born in the same year is quite a coincidence.

“Why would Mama keep these things?” he asked, gathering up the pages. “Unless Marietta’s letters and this medallion were important to her.”

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.