Rose Brier Hill: The Home Coming

Jude, Nathan and Matthew lost their parents right before Christmas. Four months later they find an uncle they didn't know about. Moving to Rose Brier Hill becomes an experience Nathan will never forget.

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1. Christmas Cross

 Fourteen-year-old Matthew didn’t know that much about death. The fact was he hadn’t gave that much thought to it. That changed when his parents died leaving him, and his twin brother Nathan in the care of their older brother Jude. Their death had changed Jude. Their death had changed all three of them. Nothing would ever be the same. Nothing could ever be the same.

Matthew glanced around the small two-bedroom apartment. Unless Jude found another job, the place they had called home their entire life was going to be gone as well. It appeared that death wasn’t done with them. Not until it took everything. Matthew was afraid that was what death would do. Take everyone and everything he cared about.

 “School sucks,” Nathan said as he slammed the front door.

 Matthew turned to him in surprise. The boys were identical, same brown hair that tended to curl around their ears, and dark brown eyes. They even sounded the same, but that was where it ended. Nathan was the sweet one, the one that loved school. Nathan was a favorite in school.

 “You picked a fine day to be sick,” Nathan turned and glared at him.

 Matthew gave a slight cough. He wasn’t sick, and Nathan knew that. He was even sure Jude knew that.

 Nathan tossed his books on the couch. He turned facing Matthew then crossed his arms.

 “What happened?” Matthew asked surprised.

 “What happened? I’ll tell you what happened. You know Maya, her dad has bought this building and they plan on tearing it down. It doesn’t matter if Jude finds another job or not. It doesn’t matter.”

 Matthew closed his mouth, that wasn’t what he had thought would be coming out of Nathans mouth. “What are we going to do?”

 “I don’t know. What can we do?” Nathan sighed and went to the tiny yellow kitchen. He pulled down a glass. He filled it full of water listening to Matthew walk in.

 “Jude will flip,” Matthew whispered coming up behind him.

 Nathan only shook his head. Jude would have to know. That much Nathan had figured out. Jude had known, but he hadn’t told them. He hadn’t wanted to worry them.

 “How long?” Matthew asked.

 “Thirty days, this place is set to come down.” Nathan answered.

 Matthew gave a slight nod. That would explain the empty apartments below them and the few on top. “That isn’t long enough.”

 “It doesn’t matter, it is what we have.” Nathan answered.

 Both boys heard the door shut. They watched the kitchen door until Jude came through carrying boxes. All they could see was the top of his blond head.

 Jude dropped the boxes, “We’re moving!”

 “We know,” the boys answered together.

 Matthew was afraid to ask the question. He looked at Nathan.

 “Where are we going to go?” Nathan asked.

 Jude grinned, “I will tell you that it is thirty miles east from here.”

 “We’ll have to change schools,” Nathan crossed his arms.

 “I don’t mind changing schools,” Matthew grinned. He wouldn’t mind that at all.

 “Thirty miles, isn’t that the mountains?” Nathan asked. He had an uneasy feeling creep into his gut. Something told him that he should know what laid thirty miles east. Their mom had grown up in the mountains. She had sworn that she would never go back there.

 “Mountains,” Matthew asked. “You found mom’s family didn’t you?”

 Jude shook his head, “I didn’t find them, but they did find me. Well, it was more of mom and dad’s lawyer that did the finding.”

 “Lawyers, what do they have to do with anything?’ Matthew asked.

 “The will,” Nathan guessed and received a nod from Jude.

 Matthew rolled his eyes. Of course, it would have been the will. That was the one thing, that neither he nor Nathan had wanted to hear. It looked like they were going to hear it anyway.

 Jude sighed and took a seat at the table. It wasn’t long until his younger brothers joined him. “I don’t know how to explain, because I’m not even sure myself. Our grandparents are alive and so is an uncle. He would have been young when I was born. He is only like twenty-two.”

 “So?” Matthew asked looking at his brother. He didn’t want to hear about an uncle.

 “Mom has a house and land that was willed to her and her heirs, which is us. She knew about this place, but she wanted nothing to do with it. Our great-grand parents left it to her and her brother.”

 Nathan felt that feeling bubbling inside. There would have been a reason. A very good reason, for their mom not to want anything to do with it.

 “I don’t understand,” Matthew shook his head. That didn’t make any sense, none at all. Not so much the house. She had a brother, they had an uncle and she hadn't told them.

 “The house is well over three hundred years old.” Jude said slowly.

 “That is old,” Matthew murmured thinking the house would be on the ground by now.

 “It is,” Jude agreed and then yawned.

 “You’ve seen it,” Nathan announced somehow knowing that was where Jude had been.

 Jude nodded then pushed up from the table. He grabbed a box and tossed it to Matthew.

 “When are we leaving?” Nathan asked getting up and taking a box of his own.

 “Friday, just pack what you want to keep out. Everything else is going into storage.” Jude muttered as he walked into the living room.

 Nathan turned to Matthew. “He just told us a whole lot of nothing.”

 “What else can we do?” Matthew asked.

 “Nothing,” Jude answered from the doorway. “There is nothing else we can do. We have been lucky that nobody has shown up here and dragged us into some kind of home. You two know that. We don’t have a choice. Mom’s brother has gotten custody of all three of us.”

 “How?” Nathan asked surprised.

 Matthew eyed Jude.

 “It wasn’t hard Nate. Look at it this way, this is one worry we don’t have to worry about anymore.” Jude answered kicking a box toward the sink.

 “Why didn’t you tell us?” Matthew asked.

 “I wanted to see what kind of person he was. I wanted to see the place. I had to make sure the two of you would be okay. I have to take care of the two of you.”

 “I thought we were taking care of each other,” Nathan reminded him with smile.

 “We are,” Jude pulled both boys into a hug. “We can make it through this. The dude is nice and all. We’ll be okay and we’ll be together. Right now, that is the important thing.”

 Matthew nodded. Right now, being together was what counted. A house beat the street and an uncle beat a foster home. They could make it work.

 Nathan bit his bottom lip. He was just going to have to wait and see. Their mom would have a reason and he planned on finding out what that reason was.

 “Let’s get busy! We have a lot to do,” Jude turned loose and grabbed another box. He looked at Nathan, “You’ll love the house. It is awesome, really, really awesome.”

 “Right,” Nathan agreed dragging a box to the room he shared with his brothers. They had the biggest bedroom. He  got to the door before glancing over to his parent’s room. Other than picking out the clothes, to bury them in, nobody had stepped a foot inside the room. He was also willing to bet that some of his questions mulling around in his mind, had answers in there.

 Matthew stopped beside Nathan and watched the door as well. They were going to have to pack up the room. He took a step toward his parent’s room. He hadn’t planned on it. It felt like his feet had a mind of their own and he was just following them.

 He turned the knob, and then slowly pushed open the door. He took a deep breath and smelled the spice that his dad wore and the soft scent of musk. It still smelled like them.

 Nathan pushed past the smell and looked over the small shelf. It held the photo boxes and her flowered jewelry box. He took the three photo boxes and the jewelry box. He opened the jewelry box and found it held a little of everything. That didn’t surprise him. She hated to wear jewelry. She only wore her wedding band and a cross necklace.

 “Nate,” Matthew whispered.

 Nathan turned around finding Matthew looking in a drawer. He walked over and glanced into the drawer. Wrapped in red with a blue bow on top of each one, was Christmas presents, three of them. He reached in and pulled the first one out. It was for Jude.

 “They have to be the same thing. They are the same size.” Matthew pulled out the other two.

 “Is that what I think it is?” Jude asked coming up behind them.

 Nathan reached Jude the red box and took his own from Matthew.

 “On the count of three,” Matthew said. “1,”

 “2” Jude murmured.

 “3” Nathan announced and took the top off. A silver cross necklace, just like the one their mom wore lay in the box.

 “Her brother had one on,” Jude remarked pulling his out.

 Matthew slipped his on over his neck.

 Nathan studied his for a moment before putting it on. He glanced back in the drawer and saw a Christmas card. “Brosh Asher 501 Rose Brier Hill”

 ‘That would be our uncle,” Jude said taking the card.

 “I have heard of that place,” Matthew turned to Jude. He had a lot about that place. The kids at school had mentioned it. One of the parents had grown up around the place.

 “It is supposed to be haunted,” Nathan make a face.

 “What if mom saw it? That could be why she never wanted to go back.” Matthew said thoughtfully.

 “You have got to be kidding me,” Jude shook his head. “There are no such things as ghosts. We’re going and that is the end of it. I’ll finish in here. Go back up your stuff.”

 “Going,” Nathan said grabbing the box. The photo boxes and her jewelry box would be going with him.

 Matthew make his way to his their room and perched on his bed. Their parents had died right before Christmas. That had been four months ago. Finding the presents hadn’t really surprised him. What did surprise him was the card and where they were going. Why had they never meet their uncle? Why didn’t she mention any of them? They had thought she was an only child.

 Their dad had been an only child. His parents had died when Jude was born. His family was never mentioned either. They took a trip to the graveyard once a year and put flowers on the graves. Who would do that now?

 Nathan had taken to emptying his drawers into the box. He had it full before he turned to Matthew. “Why would she give us crosses? Why would she give one to each of us?”

 “I don’t know,” Matthew answered.

 Nathan shrugged; he didn’t know why that bothered him. However, it did and to know that their uncle wore one as well. It was like, she knew something was going to happen.

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