Charity’s Ball
By Daisy Jones
Date: April 29, 2016
Ch. 9Revelations (II)

Jess looked her straight in the eyes, realizing her questions needed answers while contemplating how he would give them. He took a long deep breath and then released it with a muted sigh, signaling his eminent and thought-provoking reply.

“Charity, your parents were the two happiest people on earth when they first met and fell in love. In fact, it happened in broad daylight right in the center of town, and several people witnessed the actual moment, including me. Anyone living in Proctor could tell you that. A few years later when they found out you were on the way, they moved heaven and earth to prepare for your arrival.”

“What do you mean? What did they do?” Charity drank in Jesse’s stream of valuable information like a thirsty kitten in front of a saucer of cream.

“Well, there’s the whole Josiah’s Mountain thing,” he mumbled while regretfully wincing over a long-forgotten vow of silence.
“Oh please, tell me everything you know, Uncle Jesse,” Charity begged while preparing the tea kettle.
“Your mom wouldn’t take kindly to me spilling these beans, if you get my drift, Charity,” he cautioned.
“That’s not fair, Uncle Jesse. I need to know. I deserve to know, and I want to know everything you do. I’m vested in this place up to my eyeballs. I need to know what I’m dealing with here!” she exclaimed in a frantic tone unfamiliar to him.
“What are you dealing with, Charity? Has something happened?” Jesse realized in that moment she had a right to insist on full disclosure, and he’d be the only one to give it.

“Well, yes and no. I found something; something I think is significant that belonged to my father.”
“What did you find?” Jesse leaned forward with apprehension, clearly expressed through his generous brow and wrinkled forehead.

Charity felt relief at telling Jesse about the journal’s existence. The weight of that much information was starting to become heavy on her young and fragile shoulders. She disappeared into the bedroom for a moment and re-emerged with Josiah’s leather-bond notes.

“It’s his private logs and journals. It includes detailed sketches, recipes, herbal cures, incantations and his personal notes. I recently found it buried in a corner of the garden shed.” She watched his reaction for a clue but instead got his full unedited response. Jesse stared at the mound of information as if it were untouchable. Although he had never personally encountered Josiah’s journal, Jesse often heard Sarah refer to the contents as the source of his sacred text. Jesse knew that meant it held the secrets and misunderstood knowledge that fueled much of Josiah’s work and personal goals. It was probably also the cause of his ultimate undoing. He cleared his dry throat and responded while choosing his words carefully.

“Well, Charity, your father was a naturalist and a medicinal healer. He used natural cures, including a few extra things, and he and your mom helped a lot of suffering folks back then. They had quite the reputation. Sometimes, I’d come by for a visit and find folks lined up at the gate for their appointment with your folks. They did a lot of good for a lot of people.”

“Can you tell me more about the extra things my father used?” Charity implored. Jesse felt the grip of trust chocking back his next revelation as he exhaled deeply to clear his guilt-ridden gut.

“Josiah was an Alchemist. He practiced certain rituals and chants. What he was able to do with that plus his use of herbs and crystals was amazing. Your mother was equally gifted and had a way of relating to people and getting to the root of their ailments and maladies. Sarah could diagnose conditions and Josiah knew which elements were needed to cure them. It was a miracle; a true miracle how they helped all those people. And animals were always running around. This place was a regular Garden of Eden for a while.”

“Yes I have heard a few stories; mostly through my mother’s filters. I never understood why she was so secretive about his final years. I don’t remember much since I was only five, but I do recall vivid fragments of spending time with him. He used to take me on mid-day walks through the fields and orchards when he picked fresh herbs and specimens for his research. We would pack a lunch and sometimes Mom would join us to make it a real family picnic. We were always surrounded by all kinds of wild birds and animals and I remember playing with them and feeding them bread crumbs and ground corn meal from the gardens. We were all very happy, until suddenly one day, he was just gone. Mom never recovered. She was unwilling to discuss it openly with me. I couldn’t bear to see the pain in her face when I pursued the topic, so I never really pressed the issue. How did he die, Uncle Jesse? And where is his grave? Please, tell me the truth?” Charity said all the right words to ask very important questions with such conviction; Jesse could no longer deny her plea.

Jesse looked up toward the heavens and sincerely implored, “Please forgive me Sarah.” Then he cupped his aging fingers gently over Charity’s delicate hands as if to shield her vulnerability from what he was about to reveal. “Charity, I’m not sure how much you know about the events leading up to your birth, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you everything I know.” Charity sat mesmerized before him, waiting to hear the story of her lifetime.

It was in this moment she learned of Josiah’s plans of a special gift for her that went awry and the fact that it was buried deep beneath what they now call Josiah’s Mountain. It was explained in great detail how on the night of its creation, something remarkable happened to Charity while she was still in Sarah’s womb. Jesse confirmed that the midwife witnessed proof of that as well as Sarah’s unbelievable ease of childbirth, described as nothing short of a euphoric miracle by her and Josiah, moments after Charity’s birth. As each detail was retold with no lack of information spared, Charity learned of her father’s return to the mountain shortly after her birth and how it forever altered his grip on reality or anything of the earth. Although Josiah did he best to cope with his earthbound limitations, he never truly integrated with his previous goals and priorities. When questioned further, Jesse admitted that he never knew what actually happened at the top of the mountain on that day almost twenty-five years ago; only that everything changed for the Adam’s family afterwards. Since the secret of the apple seeds was never shared beyond Sarah and Josiah, not even Jesse would be able to connect the dots of the potential held inside Charity’s latest orchard harvest.

“And what of his disappearance, Uncle Jesse? Is my father really dead or just gone?” she pressed on for full disclosure.

“His body was never found, and anyone that went near the place for years afterward, experienced a gut wrenching illness that lasted for weeks. As a result, the final report was closed and labeled inconclusive. By your mother’s own account, she stated that her Josiah died on that day. It was always considered a curious statement that made one wonder what message might be hidden in her words. He died in her heart on that day. She never fully recovered from him leaving both of you alone.”

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color