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BLOOD FEUD Book One: Blood Is Thicker Than Water:

It had been almost a month since Stephen's mother had died. He was still wrestling with the fact that she had died alone, found by a servant. His father, Josef Kalinski, was gone more than he was at home. He owned several big businesses that took up most of his time. And Stephen, now twenty-eight years old, was beginning to reluctantly help with some of the smaller details of business. Stephen was in Italy when he got the news of his mother's passing. By the time he made it home, his father had already had his mother cremated, although he did wait for Stephen to arrive for the funeral service. Stephen had a lost feeling inside not getting to see his mother one last time. It just didn't seem real to him, she wasn't even sick. He held a certain resentment for his father because of his rush to cremate the body.
As days passed, Stephen wondered more and more about his mother. Her name was Mary Ellison. Beyond that fact, Stephen really didn't know much about her. He remembered meeting an aunt and uncle once when he was about seven years old, but, they only visited about two times in the twenty-eight years that he had been around. Anytime that Stephen would ask questions about where her family was or where she came from he always got the runaround answers that really told him nothing. He just couldn't seem to get past the grieving stage and it was eating at him to the point that he couldn't concentrate on anything else. When he asked his father about her background, he said that she had grown up in and around the coalfields of West Virginia and Kentucky and that he had met her while on a business trip and fell madly in love with her. Although his father had given him more information than he had ever gotten from either of them before, he still felt like his father was hiding something.
As was most always the case, Josef was gone once again to cement yet another deal that would bring them even more money and power. Stephen was grateful for having pretty much anything that he could want, but, right now the one thing that he really wanted was to be able to find out more about his mother. Why did she have to die so young, at least forty-nine seemed awfully young to Stephen. Was there something in her family history that could give him the answers the he was so desperately searching for? All that he had been told about her death was that it was heart failure. He couldn't ever remember his mother being sick or even having a bad cold. How could she just drop dead from heart failure without any warning?
Stephen decided to take advantage of the fact that his father was away and do a little snooping through his mother's personal effects to see if he could find some answers. At first, he only found a few keepsakes from his chilhood, drawings that he had made as a child, little poems and stories, and even a lock of his hair. These things brought back bittersweet memories of a time that he had lost forever. Then, while looking for more boxes in her closet, he stumbled across a diary. He never knew that she had kept one and wondered if his father even knew about it.
As he held the book in his hands, he started to weep. He knew that inside the pages of this little book, he would find a lot of answers to questions that had been gnawing at him for a long time. He decided to start from the back of the book and go to the front. He wanted to know what her last thoughts were about. Had she been sick and just kept it from him, or was it really just as sudden as his father had said it was? August 19th, 1964; wow, that was less than two weeks before she had died! Stephen felt a tear start to trickle down his cheek, he had not seen her for at least three months before her passing. He was coming home in two weeks when he got the call about her death. He wiped away a few tears then started to read.
It is a beautiful morning. The sun coming through the windows feels good against my skin. I know that I don't have much time left but, I am glad that I made the decision to go this way. At least I will be at peace soon. I pray that God will forgive me for my past and that he will watch over my precious son. He is special and I believe thathe has the strength and the gifts to overcome all of this. This will be my last entry, and I have probably said more than I should say but maybe someday it will be of some help.
What kind of cruel joke was this? Stephen now had even more questions than before, Forgiveness, forgivness for what? And what did she mean by making a decision to go this way and that her son had gifts to be able to overcome, overcome what? Stephen quickly decided to go to the front of the book and try to piece together the mystery he had been left with after reading the last entry. As he began to read, thing began to reveal themselves. Even though it wasn't much, every little detail that Stephen could gather brought him closer to finding out what his mother was talking about.
The very first entry in the book was dated January 17th, 1959. Stephen wondered if his mother had only started her diary in 1959, or were there more books to be found. Stephen quickly began reading through the pages, finding out how much his mother had cared for him and watched over him. Even though this was good therapy for him, Stephen wasn't getting any closer to finding out what his mother was talking about on the last entry or where she really came from. He just knew there had to be more diaries. He began to tear the closet apart searching for more books but, to no avail. Then it hit him, the attic! His father hated clutter and would always move anything not in use up to the attic.
Stephen used to play up there when he was younger but he never really paid much attention to what was up there. He hadn't been in the attic for at least twenty years, but, he knew that if their were more diaries, that is where he would find them. He found a flashlight and headed for the stairs. He knew there were lights up there but they were pretty dim and there was always the chance that the bulbs were shot! As he opened the attic door, he could smell the musty odor coming from the room. It seemed a lot smaller now that he had grown up but he still felt a little uneasy being in there alone. He started going through boxes , finding old clothes and toys that he used to play with. He had gone through about six boxes when he found a box of old pictures. It was odd, he was looking at pictures that appeared to be very old, but his mother and father didn't look much different than they did a year ago. Stephen just shrugged it off and figured they couldn't be as old as the y looke. Some of the photos had people that Stephen didn't recognize. Could this be some of his relatives from his mother's side of the family? Then he noticed that under the photos was another, smaller box. Inside the box were three more diaries. Could this be what he had been looking for? He took them out of the box and blew the dust off of them. When he opened the first one he saw the date, March 7th, 1942. He decided to dig down to the last book and start from there. When he opened it, he wasn't prepared for what he saw. February 20th, 1887. That couldn't be right. Stephen figured that maybe his mother had kept one of her mother's diaries as a memento. Still, it was very odd how the handwriting was almost identical to his own mother's diary. It must run in the family, he thought. He was getting excited now. Maybe this was the break he was looking for to find his lost family. Although he could find no mention of whose diary he was reading, he did however, get some answers as to who his relatives were.
There were several first names mentioned and a couple of towns, but the thing that pulled it all together was when this person mentioned a horrible feud that had been going on for some time. And then the one name that clinched it, William Anderson Hatfield, better known as "Devil Anse". Could it be possible? Was he related to one of the oldest, most feared families in Appalachia? His father did say that he had met Mary on a business trip in the coalfields. Stephen remembered that they had studied about the Hatfield-McCoy Feud in school. A barbaric bunch that would just as soon shoot you as to say howdy! Some say the feud started over a pig, others say it was forbidden love between a young Johnse Hatfield and the lovely Roseanna McCoy. Stephen was really excited to find out anything about his family. He knew where they were from and a little about family history, if indeed this was his family. He decided what better way to find out more about his relatives than to take a trip to where it all began! After all, what good is having all this wealth if he couldn't make good use of it. His father was going to be gone for at least another three months and he relly didn't care what his father thought about the idea anyway. He would leave him a note to let him know where he had gone. Heck! after all, he would probably be done in plenty of time to get back before his father even knew he had left.



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