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She hadn’t expected this. Sitting on the front stoop of the home on her final day, months after she’d started, after she had somehow become attached to the people inside, she was left feeling hollow. It was as though someone had been scraping her soul out from the inside as she’d been immersing herself in the lives of those she didn’t even know, people that had somehow laid a grip upon her heart and her person in a way she could not describe. And in the process she had left herself wide open for this strange, unsettling disappointment.

Joseph McGregor had turned Himmel in as a war criminal, had turned on him after they had found the treasure. He’d given no credit to Joe Smith, who’d been found unconscious apparently at the site where Joseph had ‘subdued’ Himmel as he’d been trying to make off with the ill-gotten loot. This had been the story from the papers back in those days, how a ‘hero’ had captured a dangerous adversary and thrown him to the proper authorities, and then been awarded for his bravery.

It was all a lie. Joseph had come clean apparently a few years back, before his passing, and no one had cared. Confessions of this nature were supposed to be world-shattering in her view, but no one had cared. He’d even written to the local papers about it, and many of them had ran his article in which he’d detailed how he had betrayed Himmel, who was planning on defecting, and had rendered his fellow survivor, Smith, unconscious. The reward that had been given to him had been a paltry sum when compared to what he’d claimed to have made off with, a king’s ransom in fact in gold and jewelry that had made him rich beyond anything he’d ever imagined.

A few sound investments, a few good choices here and there, and he’d been set for life. Joseph had left everyone behind, or so it would have seemed. Despite the despicable nature of this act, it would seem that he still had a soft spot for those that he had been the closest to. He’d purchased the home she sat in front of even now when it had been built, and had kept track of Himmel, Smith, and his old girlfriend for years. When each one of them had been in need of care he’d provided it from afar, always keeping his distance, never interacting with them again. He was the reason they were here, and he was the benefactor that they’d never known about.

Maggie couldn’t decide if it was penance or an apology of some sort, but Joseph had finally done the right thing it seemed, in a way. The revelation still left her stunned, but she couldn’t help thinking that it was fitting somehow.

The End


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