Why indeed?

I took a detour to stop and see if Mr. Petticord would talk to me.  Even though I had lived with him for a few weeks it took the better part of two days to find his farm.  Farm doesn’t sound right.  Farms are big.  Homestead?   Squatter shack?

I had to stop for directions a couple times.  What I learned from talking to people is that Mr. Petticord is a local legend.  Technically where he lives he’s trespassing on land owned by the state.  It’s protected as old growth forest but because he bought the land so long ago and never sold they can’t get him out easily.  It’s in the local news sometimes, legal stuff about how they’re trying to remove him again and he’s refusing to go..   

They’re going to get their way now though because he’s passed on.  When I found his barn-shed home he wasn’t there.  I idly tried my finding spell, not expecting it to work because of his wards, and it led me up into the hills to a family burial plot.   

Those freak me out a little.  I expect graves to be in cemeteries not on someone’s property.  You shouldn’t come across a grave unawares. 

Elbridge Monroe Petticord, born 1907 died a few weeks ago.  I asked Mr. Petticord once why he didn’t use magic to extend his life.  He harrumphed, he liked to belt out a good harrumph, and said that our normal lifespan is more than enough.  Anyone who wants more is “rubbish”.  Then he went off on a rant about how politicians are the only people that shouldn’t hold office.   

I wanted to know if he had died of natural causes or if the blood cultists got him so I looked up the lawyer that worked with him on the legal stuff in the paper and met him at his office in Rutland.   

The lawyer said that working for Mr. Petticord had been the family business for three generations.  His grandpa had started representing Mr. Petticord against the state in the 50’s.  I asked how Mr. Petticord paid them and he laughed.  He showed me a picture of his grandpa holding a Colonial silver coin that they sold to a rare coin guy for 2 grand in 1957.  He said that another time he brought in a gold sheet with an etching of a Spanish Conquistador on it.   

“I would have liked to have read that old fellers memoirs” he said. 

The lawyer directed me to a great-great-great- grandnephew in Tewksbury.  I met him at a hockey arena where he coaches junior hockey.  He said that Mr. Petticord had hitched a ride into town and called him saying that he was going to be dead in a few days and they better come on out to bury him.   

He a couple other relatives in the area went out to the land, found him dead and did just as he asked.  I questioned if it was legal to bury someone like that and he just shrugged.  I asked “So, uh, it didn’t look like he had been murdered?”   

He looked at me like I was crazy.  He asked why anyone would want to murder an old man living in the middle of nowhere.  

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