Hand Me Down World: Chapter Twelve

Michael sat at the table, Frank and Allan across from him. He opened the files, one by one, and read through them. Setting aside those on the people that Toffer had ruined, he looked at the two men before him. “And you helped him?”

Allan put his head in his hands. “Oh, God. Yes. But what was I to do? Everyone who stood up to him were destroyed. Made to look as if they were something they weren’t.”

He looked at Allan. “I don’t expect there was much you could do, Al. You only ran his messages. And the files to and from his hands.” He turned to Frank. “But you. Wasn’t there anything you could do to stop him?”

Frank shook his head. “I did whatever I could to prevent. But I had very little choice as well. So I kept records that could take him down. I built a case against him. All we have to do now is figure out who we can trust.

“One of those file boxes have the falsified files in them. The ones I gave him. I highlighted every lie and insinuation, every piece of dirt that was made up. I gave him crap hoping that he would drop this stupid witch hunt of his, this vendetta against people who have done nothing to him. But, he has gone insane. Power mad.”

Michael nodded. “I can see that. Did you do any workups on me?”

Frank shook his head. “No. I wouldn’t stoop that low for him and he knew it. He will go after you without any formal file. He’ll try to pin it on you simply based on who your wife is and her origins. That is his usual mode.”

Michael looked away. “Then we will be ready.” He looked at Frank. “I hate to ask you, but can you take the files on his past and work up something of a case against him?”

Frank shook his head. “Not unless I have a safe place to do so. I’m sure I will have to move my family somewhere safe now that I have left his employ. I may leave my furniture and the majority of my belongings there just to make him think we are still there.”

Valeria walked in and looked at Frank. “Hi, Frank.”

Frank smiled sadly. “Hi, Val. I wish we were here in better times. Betsy would be ecstatic.”

Michael looked at his wife. “Is there enough room in the basement for Frank’s family?”

Valeria nodded. “Yes, and maybe one more, why?”

Michael took her hand. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to give them a safe place to stay for a while.”

She nodded and smiled. “We could use the extra help around here. Not that it really matters. I don’t see why they can’t stay here.”

Michael looked at Frank. “It is decided, then. Gather your family and as much as you can. You will be living with us until this all blows over.” He turned to Allan. “You get as much as you can from your house and return here as well. Do you have any family? A wife? Kids?”

Allan shook his head. “No. I am a bachelor. I have always lived alone.”

Michael nodded. “Just be careful. Both of you. Be back here before dark. It’ll be harder for him to do anything to you in broad daylight.”

The two men nodded, got up, shook Michael’s hand, then left. Michael watched them go, then got up. He turned to Valeria. “You don’t mind, do you?”

She smiled and shook her head. “No, Love. Our home is open to any who need sanctuary. Maybe now, we will be able to end this nightmare.”

Michael grimaced. “We can only hope. It is still going to take a little time to get it all arranged and a case built against him. This won’t be an overnight deal.”

She hugged him. “I know, Honey. I understand that nothing happens overnight. But at least we have some hope of an end now.”

He held her. He couldn’t help but be amazed at how wonderful she was. It made him love her more every day. She was his sole inspiration.

He kissed her on top of her head. They stood there in an embrace for the longest time. He didn’t want to move. Nor did she.

The spell was broken only when Shasta entered the room. “Frank Folger and his family are here.”

He looked at his daughter. “I hope you don’t mind us sharing our home for a while.”

Shasta shook her head. “No, Daddy.”

He smiled at her. “Show them down into the basement. They will be living there for a while.”

She nodded and left to do as he had asked. Moments later, Allan had returned as well. He, too, was shown to his room. Both men came into the dining room when they had finished unpacking.

Michael looked at them. “We must be careful. He will be searching for you. He can’t touch you here, so he will wait until you are out on your own. You must not leave unless it is an emergency.”

Frank looked at him. “What about my kids and school?”

Michael nodded, then looked down. He remained silent for a while, then looked back up. “I don’t usually advocate this, but I think you will have to enroll them into homeschooling. Just for as long as we need to keep them safe. A year, maybe two, should be all that we need. I would do it as soon as possible. That way, they do not miss on anything.”

Frank nodded. “Alright. I will do that. I will plan for four years, but hope for only two.”

Michael nodded. “I am planning on doing the same when things get too dangerous. But, for now, my daughters stay in their school. They can bring word from there on the state of things.”

Frank nodded. “And while we wait, I will work on making a case against Toffer French.”

It was set, then. Toffer would have a surprise coming his way soon. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it would be soon. All they had to do was prepare the paperwork, then find the witnesses to everything. Witnesses that could not be bought.

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