Secret of the Family Tree: Digging Up Old Roots

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A centuries-old secret can no longer stay buried. When budding Sleuth, Samantha Fairland-Keen digs into her families past, she uncovers a twenty-six-year-old murder and the hidden truth of her ancestor’s origins!

Mystery / Fantasy
4.7 6 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1: Ameara

The fresh scents of grass and evergreens floated on the rhythm of a spring breeze over Hearthshire, Vermont. Enjoying these sweet melodies, Ameara Muaura Fairland knelt in her front yard beside her eight-year-old daughter Anna as they eased their hands into the moist soil, preparing the ground for planting fairy roses.

“That’s right, Anna, dig deep,” she instructed. The flowers were for Terrance, a massive old tree that grew so close to the Fairland’s stone home that its arm-like limbs appeared to wrap around the dwelling.

“Why can’t I use a shovel, like Megan’s mom does?” Anna asked. “Megan’s mom even lets us use gloves when we help.”

“Awww, but then you miss out on all the fun of getting really messy,” Ameara explained, while using her dirt-covered finger to draw a smiley face on a giggling Anna’s forehead. “Isn’t that right, Sam?”

Looking around for her youngest daughter, six-year-old Sam, Ameara found her stretched out on the grass, flat on her belly, face to the earth, whispering with her eyes closed.

“What are you doing there, Sam?”

With one little finger, Sam jabbed at the ground. “Momma, can you tell those people down there not to take me?”

Glancing back at Anna, Ameara asked, “Now why would you tell your sister something like that, are you trying to scare her?”

“No,” Anna said, staring down at her shoes.

“Sam, the Core People are not coming to take you. If they did, you’d be one lucky little girl. Remember I told you the story of the Core People, and their room filled with colored rocks. You can even hear the Earth singing in their world.”

“Oh, that’s right,” said Sam, sitting up and pulling grass from her wild bushy hair. The family’s Irish wolfhound Gypsy napping next to her seemed to sense she needed help and licked the young girl’s face from chin to temple.

Ameara patted the ground beside her. “Come here, Sam. Help me plant these flowers for Terrance.” Wiggling across the ground like a snake, Sam squeezed in between her mother and older sister.

“Speaking of Terrance, Anna, I thought he said he wanted tulips this spring?” Ameara asked.

“Yeah, well that was before a Barn Swallow told Terrance about fairy roses. So, now that’s what he wants.”

“I guess a tree as old as Terrance has a right to change his mind.” Putting the tiny purple blooms to bed in their newly dug home, she sat back on her heels, admiring their handiwork. “There that should do it.” As she stood and dusted off her pants, Ameara’s thoughts wandered back to the phone call she received from her mother earlier in the day. “I wish I could brush away that conversation,” she said, under her breath.

“What’d you say, Momma?” Anna asked.

“I said let’s get ready for dinner.”

With, Anna and Sam tucked in for the night, Ameara finally settled down into her own bed with her diary. She didn’t get far in her journaling when her husband Innis entered the Ameara room holding an orrery. She watched as he cranked a little metal lever on the orrery’s wooden base, making the spherical planets revolve around one another.

“What do you think?” he asked.

“So that’s what you and Kitchet dug out of the attic. Very nice, I am impressed.”

“Yes, and fitting all the pieces back together was a pretty daunting task,” Innis said, placing the orrery on his nightstand. “It’s not quite done yet, but when it is, I’ll put it in Anna and Sam’s room.”

“They’ll love it.”

Staring back at the blank lined pages in her diary, Ameara tried to concentrate on anything except for breakfast with her mother in the morning.

“What time are you leaving tomorrow?” Innis asked as if reading her mind.

“Oooh…around 7, 7:30, I guess. Mom said she’d be in her office early.”

“What’s the matter? You seemed anxious all during dinner.”

“I’m worried, Innis. I’m afraid the news Mr. Lin brings concerns the Maskhim tracking Mom’s movements.”

Nanna Fairland, Ameara’s mother, was a professor of historical geography at Eastern Vermont University. After Ameara’s father died, Nanna decided it was time to leave the confines of the university to do field research, which was common for geographers to do. What was uncommon was the data Nanna gathered. She was mapping out locations across the globe that she knew stored knowledge of humanity’s true past, information that a small group operating within every government known as the “Maskhim” wanted to get their hands on, and this had Ameara worried.

“We don’t know that’s what Mr. Lin has come to tell your mother. We don’t even know who Mr. Lin is.”

“Isn’t it enough that this Mr. Lin knows who the Maskhim are? Innis, you know how these people work; they’ll do anything to keep humanity in the dark about their lineage. And if the Maskhim suspect our family has this knowledge—I don’t want to think what could happen to us!”

“But you’re forgetting its part of Nanna’s job to study different cultures. She’s not exactly setting off any alarm bells by visiting these areas. Let it go for the night. I bet by tomorrow you’ll be laughing at yourself for getting all worked up about nothing.”

“I hope you’re right,” Ameara sighed. Turning back to her diary, she made a small notation under the date, March 19, 1987.

Mr. Lin, Maskhim. What does he know?

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