Friday, January 20, 2012
Mistaken Identity ~ Part 2 of 4
Eloise thought Bethany would be alone and was surprised when that sniveling little Gertie was gaping at her. Eloise was not happy and took it out on Gertie while she cowered in the corner. Eloise told her to be quiet and she wouldn't get hurt. With all the strength Gertie had in her frail little body, she picked up her umbrella and started striking Eloise on the head. In one move Eloise grabbed the umbrella and tossed it to the other side of the room with Gertie still clinging to it. Gertie's arm was terribly bruised but she didn't let the pain stop her from trying again to stop Eloise from harming her friend. Bethany grabbed Eloise by the arm and paid for the gesture by receiving a painful blow to the side of her head. Bethany passed out at that point while Eloise slipped off her fancy dress and put an old patched up garment on her. What did it matter what she wore, she would be dead anyway if someone found her before the buzzards did.
Gertie watched in horror as Eloise picked up Bethany's limp body and tossed her like a sack of potatoes from the train. The last thing Gertie saw before fainting dead away was a sign that said “Now Leaving Camden Corners”.
Eloise donned one of Bethany's beautiful dresses and fixed her hair with Bethany's combs. She was lucky that she and Bethany were the same size and had the same hair color. She looked in the mirror and was very pleased with her appearance. She knew that the new Bethany Howell was much more beautiful than the old Bethany Howell and she was out to impress the world with her new found money.
What Eloise didn't realize was that she would not have access to Bethany's wealth until Bethany turned 18. Could she keep up this charade for the next 7 years. Well, she was going to have to but at least she could enjoy all the things money can buy while she waited.
Gertie woke up from her stupor and cried uncontrollably at the fate of her dear friend. She had always known Eloise was evil but never realized how evil she was until that day. Gertie knew what Eloise had planned and she would not let her get away with it. She would tell the conductor what happened and he would stop the train and go back to find Bethany. Eloise would go to prison for what she did even though she was still a child herself.
Eloise could see the look of hate in Gertie's eyes and told her not to even think about reporting the accident or hers would be the next body to be found by the buzzards. Not only that, Eloise would find her way back to Boston and kill Gertie's little brother and sister.
Gertie knew she had to keep quiet for now but she willed herself to be strong. She would avenge Bethany's murder. It might take years but she would do it.
Aunt Isabelle welcomed Bethany and her friend Gertie into her home.
“Bethany is pretty,” she thought, “but she looks so different than I remember her. Her lovely honey color hair is the same and although she seems to have a hard streak in her it is probably because she just lost her parents. Gertie, on the other hand, is very sweet and gentle although it seems she is a frightened little waif.
The years went on and Eloise was just as sour as she had been the day she walked into Aunt Isabelle's house. She was terse with the servants and treated Aunt Isabelle like a senile old lady. All she could talk about was the fact that all the money would be hers soon and she wouldn't need Aunt Isabelle any longer.
Gertie had grown taller and stronger. The day of Bethany's murder still haunted her. She was determined to find a way to outsmart Eloise before she got her hands on any more of Bethany's money. She had come to love Aunt Isabelle and took comfort in the fact that Bethany had inherited many of the older woman's good qualities.
Gertie had taken pleasure in reading the daily newspaper to Aunt Isabelle. Isabelle's eyesight wasn't what it use to be and she enjoyed this time with Gertie as much as Gertie enjoyed being with dear Aunt Isabelle. There was a small article on the second last page.
Mystery girl found near railroad tracks in Camden Corners, New York. Authorities determined she had been a stowaway on the train headed to St. Louis. She suffers from a head injury and cannot remember even her name although she was wearing a child's handmade bracelet with the letter B on it.
Aunt Isabelle had dozed off and didn't see the light come back into Gertie's eyes. She knew her dear friend was alive and being cared for. She wanted to shout it to the rooftops but knew Eloise would find a way to get to Bethany and finish the job so Gertie remained silent. Gertie had become friendly with Sheriff Dingle and his deputy Hal Lawson. She had come close to telling them the whole story before she stopped herself for fear Eloise would be true to her promise of hurting her brother and sister.