Poking around in family closets produces skeletons…
British-born, Toronto-based, actress Shara Summers turns amateur sleuth when her sister is stricken with a mysterious illness. Summoned back to England to be with her family during a time of crisis, Shara discovers doctors are at a loss as to what's causing Astrid’s debilitating sickness.
After her aunt is found dead at the bottom of the stairs the death is deemed an accident. Shara suspects otherwise. Her investigation unearths shocking family secrets and a chilling realization that could have far-reaching and tragic consequences that affect not only her own future, but Astrid’s as well.
Ruth sat in her rocking chair watching the television, which was probably about ten years old, and looked like the most modern thing in the room. She wore a blue floral dress with a patchwork blanket over her knees. I was sure I had seen that dress before. Her hairstyle hadn’t changed, either. Her white hair was thinning and she wore it short and curly in the style of old ladies everywhere. When we came in she looked up, a toothless smile breaking out over her face. She had dentures that I recalled she never wore, something else she only saved for special occasions. When I was younger, Ruth had looked very scary to me when she wore her dentures, because we just weren’t used to seeing her with them.
My mother went up to Ruth and leaned in to give her a kiss on her soft wrinkled cheek. “How are you, Auntie Ruth?” she asked loudly. Ruth’s hearing had been going for as long as I could remember.
I shivered uncontrollably. The house was freezing. The only source of heat was a three-bar electric fire on the floor by Ruth’s feet.
“I’m doing all right, dear.” Ruth’s voice was husky, ravaged by age and lack of use. I supposed she didn’t talk to many people. “Mustn’t complain.”
Summer, still in my mother’s arms, began to cry and squirm, no doubt intimidated by the presence of this ancient lady. “Who’s this?” Ruth stroked one of Summer’s chubby legs.
“This is Summer,” Mum said. “This is my granddaughter. You’ve met Summer. Astrid’s daughter.”
Ruth frowned. “Astrid? Your little one?”
“Not a little girl anymore, Auntie Ruth. She’s all grown up now.” Mum pointed in my direction. “This is my other daughter, Shara. Do you remember? Shara lives in Canada.”
Ruth stared at me, frowning. There was no indication she recognized me. “It’s been a long time,” she said eventually.
“Hello, Auntie Ruth.” I didn’t know what else to say.
“Have you taken your pills, Auntie Ruth?” my mother asked.
Ruth frowned in concentration. “Pills? Think so. Can’t remember, you know. My memory’s not what it was.”
My mother thrust the crying child into my arms. “Watch Summer for a moment, Shara. I’m going to make Auntie Ruth some lunch.” She went off into the kitchen.
I sat in the faded armchair and bounced Summer on my knee. She kept crying. Ruth stared fixedly at the television. There seemed to be an Australian soap opera on, I couldn’t tell which. I wasn’t a fan and they all looked the same to me. “So what are you watching, Auntie Ruth?”
“Eh?” She swiveled round to stare at me.
I raised my voice. “The television. What are you watching?”
“Oh, I don’t know, dear. I watch everything. Keeps me company, you know.” And she lapsed back into silence, staring at the television. A few minutes went by then she said, “They’re stealing from me, you know.”
“They’re stealing from me.” Ruth continued to stare at the television. I wasn’t at all sure she was even aware I was in the room.