Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Iyar 5766 - May 17, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Gita Gordon

Serializing a new novel.

Chapter 21: Belem—New York City, November 2001 — Part 2

Fay and Eli are back in New York City, after months and months in the Amazon jungle.


It was a strange subdued homecoming. Their chauffeur was not meeting them. There was no one from work waiting to give a run down on the events at work. Instead only their lawyer Maurice was meeting them. He had arranged for the apartment to be cleaned and food to be left in the refrigerator and cupboards. However, the staff had not been notified that they were returning and were still on paid leave.

Eli and Fay had given instructions to this effect because they felt they needed a while to adjust to their old lives. Besides, living in the jungle had made Fay wonder why she had ever agreed to have strangers move in to care for them. She was more than capable of doing that herself.

As they walked through to the arrivals hall they saw Maurice. "Welcome home" he said. "I couldn't fetch you by car. Something is wrong. It just wouldn't start. But I'll call a cab."

It was on this journey that they heard that their son had disappeared. No one at Harvard knew anything except that he had said he needed to be in New York for a couple of days, had left and had simply not returned. "I didn't want to tell you while you were still in Brazil. That's why I kept making excuses each time you asked to speak to him. But now you must know. For some reason he is hiding. At the beginning of the year he sent money for the rent to be renewed using money from his trust fund. The letter was posted from Chicago. I hired private detectives there to look for him, but so far they found no trace of him."

Just then the cell phone rang. Fay and Eli listened to the one-sided conversation. "No, I can't be at the office. No, I'm sorry, but I'm tied up for the morning."

Eli said, "Listen, you call back and say you can attend to whatever it is that is needed. The taxi can drop you on the way. If we coped with assassins and jungle snakes I reckon we can cope with going home without you."

Eli felt that after hearing the news about their son they needed to be alone and he felt relieved when Maurice agreed.

It was a strange feeling walking through the great glass doors of the apartment block after such a long time away. The man at the door was new and didn't recognize them. However when he realized who they were he greeted them in a friendly fashion.

Then they were at their front door and Eli opened it with a feeling of relief. It was Fay who pulled him back. "Gas, I smell gas."

Then the phone began to ring. "Strange, no one knows we are back except Maurice and he should be busy with that client. Should I answer it?"

Fay felt deep inside her that something was terribly wrong. She thought of the words that Pedro had written on his farewell note. "You have enemies in America, or Manuel would not have done this thing."

"If its important then they'll call again," Fay said. "Let's go to the janitor and arrange for someone to attend to the gas leak."

During the months they had lived in the jungle she had learned not to ignore her instincts. Eli had learned that it was wise to rely on her judgment and, curious though he was about the phone call, he deferred to her.

Just then there was an enormous noise and a flash of light and heat from the doorway as it was torn off the hinges and collapsed onto the passage floor. The room appeared as a blackened ruin. Together they stood, side by side, looking at the scene with disbelief. As they walked down the corridor and turned the corner to make use of the service phone to report the blast, they heard the sound of feet running from the elevator.

"Police. Open up. What has happened here? Did you hear the explosion next door? Is there anyone living in that apartment?"

Fay was about to walk towards the men, but this time it was Eli who acted with dispatch and held her back.

"It can't be the police. They have arrived too soon for anyone to have called for them. Something isn't right."

Beside them was the cupboard with cleaning materials for the staff who saw to the corridors and entrance. With a partnership of understanding developed during their many hours together, they quietly crept into the cupboard. Their caution was rewarded when they heard.

"Where can they be? The timer was set precisely for when they arrived. The phone rang just at the right time. Gus will be mad if we've messed up again."


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