"You've got to be kidding!" Guinevere Llewelyn stared in dismay at the many old and musty boxes that had suddenly taken up residence in her office. The room the Diocese lent her while she cataloged their historical collection of Old California manuscripts wasn't overly large to begin with and now these awkward cardboard obstacles were taking up what little room she had managed to make for herself. "Where did these come from?" Guinevere, known as Gwen to her friends, pushed her red hair away from her face in frustration. Her hazel eyes scanned the scene in front of her with weary fascination. As an Archivist she knew she probably should be thrilled at the prospect of adding to the Church's collection of manuscripts but somehow she just couldn't muster much enthusiasm for this random assortment of containers. Or the cockroach she was sure she had seen crawl out from behind one of the boxes.
"A former parishioner of ours, a Dr. Madigan, willed his entire library to the church with instructions that it should be put into permanent storage along with the rest of our historical collection." Father Parris looked down at the sagging boxes with an air of confusion. "But he didn't include an inventory with the collection and Monsignor thought that that you might take up this little project in your spare time."
"And just to motivate me he had all the boxes moved into my office." Gwen finished his statement with an emphatic kick at one of the nearest receptacles. "Great! Just great! I can't even reach my computer without climbing over these things. You can smell the mold coming out of these crates from here. These things are an archivist's nightmare. They probably have been sitting in someone's basement for thirty years!"
"I'm sure you can make something of this." The priest replied, backing up slowly and making for the outside door. "We all have such faith in you." He disappeared out the door quickly, leaving the young woman to survey her wrecked office ruefully.
"Faith is great." She muttered, picking her way to her desk. "But right now, I'd give real money for a paper shredder." Picking a box at random, she heaved the cardboard receptacle onto her desk and pried open its lid. An odor of mothballs and damp paper wafted from the container. "Wonderful. Just bloody wonderful" she fumed silently. "Not only do I have a major indexing project to deal with, there's probably water damage and mold on the contents to contend with. Wonder if the guy's will left me any leeway to ditch some of these things? They can't all be relevant to the church." Gwen sighed in frustration as she opened another of the twenty boxes, hoping vainly for something resembling an index to present itself. The first one had been filled with yearbooks from the various universities the doctor had either attended or taught at. The second box had contained stacks of old receipts going back to the 1950's. So far the collection was proving itself to be of more interest from a genealogical standpoint as opposed to a historical one. "This guy must have been an IRS agent's worst nightmare." She thought to herself, carefully stacking the molding slips of paper back in the box. "He must have keep every receipt and bill for fifty years." She pulled open the third box, shaking it gently to see if anything living leaped out of it. It would not have surprised her, given the condition of the cartons, to have found a mouse or a large spider in residence. Fortunately nothing leapt out at her other than dust mites. She gingerly lifted the first of a series of notebooks from the box, frowning at the name at the top of the journal – Mercedes Lord. "Thought this guy's name was Madigan," she murmured, lifting the journal carefully from its resting place. Her white-gloved hands moved slowly down a page of what appeared to be articles from a newspaper – the Lordsville Gazette – pasted into a diary. As she slowly read the words in front of her, a feeling of detachment came over her, a sure sign that her Gift of the Sight was about to strike. Slowly the stained pages in front of her faded to be replaced by other images, confusing and terrifying images she couldn't quite understand. A man and a woman in clothing from another century stood in a parlor arguing violently. Their words were indistinct, no more than a murmur. Suddenly the woman threw herself on the man, pummeling his chest in a frenzy of grief and anger. The man pushed her away angrily and walked away, leaving her sobbing on the floor. She stared after him, her expression a mixture of anger and something else – an inexplicable longing, a hunger that was unappeased. She crawled to her feet and staggered to the fireplace. The woman stared intently at the flames, then reached her hand towards the heat.
Gwen gasped, pulling her hand away from the journal. The vision had vanished as quickly as it had appeared. She scanned the words of the diary, hoping to make sense of the vision she had seen.
Jan. 4, 1882
He's gone again – gone to her. My own sister sleeps with my beloved under our roof as though she were Mistress of the house and I only a serving girl. They think I do not know but I have seen them on the cliff's edge walking hand in hand like lovers. He once walked with me in such a fashion, but now I am forgotten. But not for long. Soon everyone, even as far as San Francisco, will know my anger and grief. My faithless lover and whore of a sister will rue the day they betrayed me.
Gwen stared at the words with a frown. "Hmm…sounds like someone's marriage was headed for the trash. But what does this have to do with that vision?" Though there wasn't any supernatural event (other than her vision) associated with the diary her curiosity was piqued. "It won't hurt to learn a little more about these people," she reasoned, carefully laying the journal on her desk. "This might turn into a historical find after all – perhaps even adding to information about those early families in California." The excuse sounded lame even to her. Yet when she thought of the woman's face with its mixture of fury and hunger, Gwen knew she couldn't leave well enough alone. She turned and logged into her computer, making her way quickly through cyberspace to the one database she knew might have the answers she sought -in the database that belonged to the Legacy.