Friday, January 14, 2011

Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?

A Friends of the Library Mystery

“Anthony,” began Celia, “please don’t do this. Everything you’ve studied about medicine tells you that these words you are saying are a lie. You know, deep in your heart, that underneath the skin, we are all made of the same blood, bone and sinews.”
As she spoke Celia stepped in front of László and Emajean, trying to form a protective shield. One of the men stepped up and grabbed her by the arm and flung her to the ground. He raised his club to strike László , who had knelt to help Celia back up. Celia saw the club descending towards László ’s unprotected temple, pushed up from the ground and over to the man, ramming into him with all her might. As László fell back on his heels, Celia’s head moved into the downward path of the club. It landed with all of the man’s force upon her occipital bone, crushing it inward, driving the pieces into her brain.
“Celia!” screamed Emajean and dropped to the ground, trying to revive her friend. The two men with clubs took off running out of the quad. László examined Celia and then pulled Emajean into his arms. “It’s no use,” he whispered. “She’s gone.”
Suddenly Anthony Harper was on the ground with them, cradling the lifeless body in his arms. “You were right, Celia. I didn’t listen. But you were right.” Tears ran down his face as he raised it to László and Emajean. “You need to call the police. I am responsible for this.”
László shook his head. “No, Dr. Harper. I have never agreed with you regarding your politics and your views on the races, but I have always admired your skill as a doctor. If you take responsibility for this, you will never practice medicine. It is better for you to use your skill to do good, to promote life. Otherwise, Celia’s death is in vain.”
Anthony Harper looked at Emajean. “Do you agree to cover this up? To give me a chance?” he whispered.
She nodded affirmatively, and then buried her head in László’s shoulder and sobbed. László held her for a moment and then said, “We must agree what has happened here. Two ruffians from town approached us trying to take our money. When Anthony and I tried to defend the ladies, one pulled out a club, but in trying to hit me, hit Celia instead. We are doctors. No one will question this story.
Now go call the authorities, Anthony. Save your outrage at yourself and pour it into your story so it will be convincing!”
Anthony ran towards the Administration building yelling, “Help! Please! Someone, help!”







Celia’s senses returned slowly. A low hum of machinery and that antiseptic smell of hospitals was distressingly familiar. As she peered in the low lighting at the monitors and listened to the buzzes and beeps, she became aware that she although she was again in a hospital setting, it was at least a 21st century hospital setting. She began to hope that she was back in her own time.
The door to the room opened and her dear Rob came in. When he saw her eyes open he hurried to her side. “Celia?” he asked. “Are you back with us?”
Celia’s eyes filled with tears as she smiled and whispered, “I’m here. What happened?”
Rob answered, “The elevator at the library didn’t stop properly at the doorway so when you stepped out you fell. You hit your head and passed out. They brought you here by ambulance and we’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
Celia asked, “How long have I been out?”
He smiled, “about three hours, but boy am I relieved to see you awake again. You had us worried! I’ll go find the doctor so we can talk about taking you home.”
Celia relaxed and began to smile. She was back! She wasn't stuck in 1933 anymore!





EPILOGUE
Celia was restless. She had been home from the hospital for three days, and had been unable to concentrate. The dream, if that was what it had been, had been so vivid, so lifelike. She had known Emajean and cared about her and László. She felt bereft of that relationship she and the girl from the 1930’s had shared.
After the kids had gone to school and Rob had gone to work, she sat down in her home office comfy chair.
“Emajean,” she said to herself as she lifted the 1933 Loyolan from her bag. Turning to the page with the graduation photo of the young woman, she teared up. “My friend,” she whispered, tracing the photo with her finger. She held the book by its covers and shook it, pages down, to see if there were any more secrets for it to yield. For the first time since the Annual had come into her possession, there were no photos falling out.
She thumbed through the photos that had fallen out before. This time, each one of them had names on them. There were photos of Emajean with some of the other nurses Celia had met. The young man was indeed Walter as the young girl was Frances. When Celia turned the baby's photo over it said "Celia."
Celia turned on the computer and called up her file on Emjean. Rob had been sweet enough to give her a year’s subscription to Ancestry so she wouldn’t have to go back to the library with the broken elevator. She smiled as she logged in, and went to the tree she had started for Emajean.
Suddenly she sat up straight. Something was wrong. After 1930 the file was empty. Emajean Murphy was gone! There were no City Directories and no further entries.
With butterflies in her stomach she tried searching “Emajean Timar” and there, in the Chicago city records for 1935, she saw entries that said:

Husband: Laszlo Timar: Birthplace: Hungary; Occupation: Physician
Wife: Emajean Timar: Birthplace: Michigan; Occupation: Housewife
Mother: Anna Timar; Birthplace: Hungary
Child: Celia Timar; Birthplace: Illinois, 1934

And when Celia saw who was living next door, she laughed out loud.
Husband: Teodor Timar: Birthplace: Hungary; Occupation: Salesman
Wife: Hulda Timar: Birthplace: Hungary; Occupation: Nurse




THE END

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