Chapter 29: Aunt Mayra Questions Peter Lin
“None of us ever dreamed the kids would try to investigate the murders of Ameara and Nanna,” Mayra said, taking another bite of her sticky bun. ”
“Police Chief Bevin believes that the Randalls killed Mom and Grandmother Nanna because they were dealing in the illegal antiques business,” Anna told Mayra. “But I tend to agree with Samantha and Zen; it had to do more with our family’s knowledge.”
“See,” said Zen. “Me and Samantha, we figured out the truth, and the police still have no clue.”
“The police will never know the full truth, Zen,” said Mayra. “This is how this group works, in the shadows, where no one really knows who they are or what they’re doing.” Finishing her pastry, Mayra then confessed, “However, I must admit, I don’t recognize the name, Sentinels.”
“How about the name Maskhim, do you recognize that name?” Samantha asked.
“Yes, but how do you know—”
“Kenneth said that Great Grandma Nanna had the nerve to call the Sentinels by the name Maskhim,” Zen said.
“And Grandma Ameara mentioned how concerned she was about the Maskhim,” Samantha added. By the look of confusion on everyone’s face except for Zen’s, Samantha knew she had to go ahead and fess up about the diary. “I found Grandma Ameara’s diary in the attic. She mentions the Maskhim in there.”
“Samantha—!” Anna started to scold her, but Mayra intervened by calmly asking.
“Can you please bring me Ameara’s diary.”
Hurrying to her room, she grabbed the book and rushed back downstairs, opening Ameara’s diary to her last entry saying, “See this is where she wrote about the Maskhim and here in this note to Grandpa Innis she mentions them again.”
“Mom’s diary, I never knew she kept one,” Sam said, rubbing her hand over the book as though it were a long lost treasure.
“Is there anything else you two may be hiding from us that we should know about?” Anna asked, looking from Samantha to Zen.
“Hey, ask your daughter, Aunt Anna. It was her idea to hide stuff, and snoop around Grandma Ameara’s diary,” said Zen pointing the finger at Samantha.
Samantha narrowed her eyes at her cousin. Rat! “No, Mom, and I swear I was going to give it to you when I finished the investigation.”
“Samantha, this is not a game or a mystery from one of your Nancy Drew books you’re trying to solve. It’s our lives—”
“Well, it looks like I need to pay a visit to our new found relative Mr. Peter Lin,” Mayra interrupted again. “It seems he was coming for more than just a family reunion. He knows something about the Maskhim too.”
“Can I come too? This is the last piece of the investigation I haven’t worked out,” Samantha asked.
“Samantha Muaura Fairland Keen!” Anna spilled the contents of her teacup as she firmly planted it on the kitchen table. “Haven’t you heard anything I’ve said?
“Yes, but—” With the raise of her mom’s eyebrows, Samantha knew not to continue trying to argue her point.
“Who are these Maskhim?” Sam asked, as she flipped through the pages of Ameara’s diary.
“They are people you never want knowing what we have access to here on this property. They are the ones we actually thought were responsible for the deaths of Ameara and Nanna. The Maskhim are also the reason Innis felt it wasn’t safe for you and Sam to stay here in your home after your mother passed on. He didn’t want you two anywhere near here if they came asking questions,” Mayra explained while she put on her coat. “Anna, I’d like Samantha to come with me, please. She’s worked hard to solve this case and she should have the opportunity to at least hear the answer Mr. Lin gives to what he knows about the Maskhim.”
Yes! Thank you Aunt Mayra.
“Can I come too?” Zen jumped to his feet.
“No,” Sam said. “Remember, you said you had nothing to do with Samantha’s investigation.”
“I know Anna and Craig thanked you, Mr. Lin, but I wanted to express my thanks for saving Samantha here and Zen’s lives,” Mayra said, sitting in a chair next to Mr. Lin’s hospital bed.”
“Peter…please,” Mr. Lin, grinned, “Call me Peter.”
“I don’t want to take up too much of your time, Peter. I just wanted to meet you and also welcome you to the family. And, oh yes, I almost forgot, Samantha has a question for you.”
This caught Samantha off guard. She didn’t know Aunt Mayra wanted her to ask the question. “Um, I found a note from my grandma Ameara…she wrote you were coming to share information about the Maskhim. What was it?”
“I wanted to tell Professor Fairland what my grandfather told me. He told me the story of how my great, great, great, grandfather Raoul Pépin hid from the Maskhim in China to protect his family. After my grandfather died, I went to France to find Raoul’s family, but they were all dead. I knew Raoul also had family in the United States by the name of Fairland in Vermont. I located Professor Fairland and she agreed to meet with me,” Peter said.
“You only wanted to tell Nanna about Raoul?” Mayra asked.
“Yes, and return the book.” Then clutching the pendant around his neck Peter said, “Anna said it would be okay if I kept this, it meant so much to my grandfather.”
“Of course, it belongs to your family, our family.”
“There was nothing else your grandfather may have told you about the Maskhim, something important?” Mayra pressed.
Before answering, Peter’s deep-set black eyes looked towards the door, as though he were checking to make sure no one else was listening. “He said they are hiding a great truth about people.”
Sitting up straighter in her chair, Mayra leaned in close to him, “Do you know what the truth is the Maskhim are hiding?”
Pointing towards the ceiling, Peter whispered, “That we all come from up there, in the stars.”
Leaning back in her chair, Mayra appeared satisfied with Peter’s answer. “What are your plans? Are you going back to— where are you from and what type of work do you do?”
“From the village of, Molin, in China, but I have nothing left there.”
“Where are you staying in Hearthshire?
“I am not staying in Hearthshire, I am staying in Maynard. I was wondering, is it possible for me to visit with the Fairlands when I leave the hospital? I wanted to stay in Vermont a little longer.”
“Our home is your home,” said Mayra.
Samantha noticed how pleased he looked after Mayra said he could come out to the house. Poor guy, no wonder he was so desperate to get close to us at the funeral.
“One more question, if you don’t mind,” Mayra said, “Do you know if the Maskhim are connected to a group calling themselves Sentinels?
“I know nothing about the Sentinels.”
Outside Peter’s hospital room, Samantha asked Mayra, “So, what do you think? Do you think the Sentinels are working with the Maskhim?”
“Mmm… I don’t know Samantha. I know it’s a little strange that the Randalls obviously knew the name Maskhim, but said they were working for the Sentinels.”
“Do you think the Maskhim and Sentinels are two different groups trying to find out the same information?”
“I’ll have to get back to you on that after I do some research,” Mayra said, as she lowered her voice. She took Samantha by her elbow, leading her further down the hall. “But there’s something about Peter that just doesn’t fit.”
What’s that?” Samantha ears perked-up, sensing maybe there was another mystery brewing. “Do you think maybe he isn’t really related to us?”
“No, that’s not it. I’m wondering what exactly Peter meant when he said he has nothing left in China? I took it to mean he has no finances, because he didn’t say what type of work he does. But if Peter has no money, how is he able to fly all over the world, if as he says, he has nothing?”
“Yeah…that’s true, where is he getting his money? That’s a good catch, Aunt Mayra!”
“I can think like a detective too you know,” she said, pushing the button for the elevator. “We’ll figure it out Samantha, but let’s remove our detective hats for now. The rest of the family is probably waiting on us. Remember, we’ve an appointment to meet with our neighbors.”
“There you are Dr. Raymond,” a nurse said, spotting the doctor just as he stepped from around a corridor next to Peter Lin’s room. “Dr. Hail is expecting you in his office. Right about now,” she said, glancing at her wristwatch.
“Vicki, can you please let Dr. Hail know I’ll be a little late for our meeting. I need to make an important phone call,” Dr. Raymond said, as he watched Samantha and Mayra board the elevator at the end of the hall.