It has been an extreme pleasure for me to go back and revisit Bruce and his turmoils. As I read the previous chapters I noticed at least two discrepancies and multiple typos. Do any of you know what they are? If so, you can become my official editor on the other two books that are in process.
Please enjoy Chapter 24!
Bruce went back to his room to gather all of his thoughts and put together a concise picture in his mind of what he was going to ask. In order to do that he had to determine what he knew.
1. He knew that they were not in the Atlantic Ocean
2. He knew that Jack told him that they were
3. He found journals dating back to the time his family left for their trip
4. Everyone was being paid extremely well.
5. Joe had a family back home but was not in a rush to get back there.
What he didn't know:
1. What the purpose of this floating laboratory really was
2. Who Monica was and why was she in charge
3. Had this 'mission' been going on for 7 years?
Entering the room for dinner Bruce felt nervous for the first time in quite a while. He sat down and looked around the room trying to determine who was honest and who was not; who had motives and who did not. He was pretty sure that Matt, Carl and Stuart were innocent of any wrongdoing. Joe was a bit of a mystery only because he was on a long trip with a family waiting for him. Steve had told him he would answer any questions - but would he really?
Figuring he had nothing to lose he loudly asked Monica, "Monica, why are we going up the Amazon when you told me we were in the Atlantic Ocean?"
Every voice went silent, it was as if a vacuum arrived and sucked out all the air and noise from that room. Monica smiled, looked at Bruce and said, "We can discuss this after dinner. It's about time that you knew the truth."
Bruce hadn't realized he'd been holding his breath, but that exhale felt like it'd been waiting for a very long time.
Everyone resumed eating and by the time dessert was served the noise level had risen above normal. Monica stood up to leave and Bruce immediately followed suit. They walked in a direction Bruce had not anticipated and had not explored. Monica opened one of the many doors and led Bruce into an office with walls lined with pictures. Bruce let out an audible gasp as he looked from picture to picture to picture. They were pictures of his father, mother, sister and himself dating all the way back to the 70s.
He stepped closer to the wall surveying the pictures and was struck immediately by how much he missed his sister. There she was, alive and well on this wall, when in fact she was dead and buried in an unforgiving ocean.
He turned towards Monica and simply asked, "What is all this?"
"Bruce, have a seat," she said and pointed towards the couch on the other end of the room. "There are so many things we need to discuss."
She sat across from him on the couch and started, "First of all, we were not hired to chart unmapped islands, even though that would be great fun. We were hired to find your family and the ship you chartered. We started out on this adventure at the beginning of 1994 when no one had heard from any of you."
"Who hired you?" Bruce asked.
"My mother," she responded. "She has a great personal stake in this venture."
"Who is your mother?"
"Your father's wife."
Bruce was dumbfounded. "His wife? But that was my mother. They can't possibly be the same person!"
Monica shook her head slowly and answered, "No they are definitely not the same person Bruce. My mother's name is Amanda Patterson and she married the love her life, Sam Patterson on March 1, 1965."
"Ok, that's fine. My father's name was Nicholas Patterson, not Sam, so there must be some sort of mistaken identity going on here."
"I really wish that was the truth Bruce, but it is not. Sam Patterson and Nicholas Patterson are the exact same person. Our father had two families."
The words 'our father' made Bruce's head snap back. "How can that be?" He asked.
"I can tell all as much as I know. Maybe you can fill in some of my blanks and I can fill in some of yours."