The Coming of the Ghost


Rolf recalled being at home in his villa when he saw the news of Kenneth’s death on Argentine television. While having his third Brandy of the day in the study with Helmut, they struggled through their ongoing game of chess. When he heard the name Kenneth Aragón and explosion in the same sentence, Rolf Grover froze. Then the newscaster announced Kenny’s death. Rolf dropped his glass of brandy. It shattered as his life was once again broken into little pieces.  Feeling as if he had been hit in the stomach, he fell back into his chair. Helmut was quick to ask him what was wrong. He said sadly, “One more wonderful light has gone out in the darkness of my life.”


Sitting there for several minutes in silence, he remembered the young man who had been like his own son. Helmut patted his hand as tears streamed down his expressionless face. It was then that the phone rang. Helmut answered it for him. It was Anna. Lifting the receiver to his ear, Rolf heard Anna’s strong voice at the other end of the line. “Rolf, Kenneth is gone. I have lost another one,” her voice cracking with grief. Then she asked, “When does it end?” The voice was now low and weary. Her emotions strained, Anna tried to be strong as she’d always been.  Rolf assured Anna that he would be right over. Hanging up the phone, Helmut insisted on driving him. Then they walked into the cold dark night.


The three spent the night taking calls, first from a shattered Christina, and later from a broken Benjamin. Anna was strong for them never letting on that her heart was in pain. As the night gave way to the sun’s rays, a lonely Anna cried for her Kenneth. Giving his memory all of her love, she smiled as she remembered the first day they met.


Rolf sat in the early morning sun by the stone courtyard fountain, remembering his little Kenneth. His pride and joy, the loss left Rolf empty and pained. His three pups had been taken from him by the Colombianos.Now it was his Kenneth the Colombianos had taken. But he still had his Anna. He would protect her from the evils of this world.


Rolf had another reason for being. Kenny’s little Anna, was scheduled to arrive at the Argentine estancia in March with the Romeros. Eagerly preparing for their arrival, Anna and Rolf spared nothing. Two adjoining rooms on the second floor had been redone as bedroom and nursery for Kenneth’s only child. Rolf had Helmut hire and supervise carpenters for the rooms. Anna brought in an interior decorator from Buenos Aires. The result was magical. Little Anna was to have the very best.


Rolf and Anna personally interviewed five nannies, finally selecting a fine German nanny, Frau Height. By the time of little Anna’s arrival, Frau Height was waiting nervously at the front entrance of the estancia with the other staff.


César and the Contessa’s lives had been interrupted again by the deep sense of loss they felt at Kenneth’s death. He, like his father, had been ripped away from them. The little girl they brought with them had never known either man. César and the Contessa were the only family little Anna had known after the loss of her mother, so soon after birth. Becoming as their own, they treated her like a princess. Little Anna’s safety had been the most important consideration for her father. Now her grandmother would take on the duty of protecting her.


The pilot alerted them that they had begun the decent. César could make out the landscape below as he looked out the window. Looking out the cabin window, he saw Casa Castillo. The estancia was a beautiful sight as the plane made its final approach to the landing strip.


After landing smoothly, the jet taxied for a short distance and came to a stop. A car waited for them as the jet door opened. John began unloading luggage as Kenneth, the limo driver, greeted them at the door of the plane. Walking them to the waiting limousine, Kenneth opened the door for the trio. Once the car was loaded, they were off down the long stone road leading to the estancia. Beautiful flowers and shrubs lined both sides of the stone roadway.


When the limo reached the front of the estancia Anna, Rolf, and Helmut were waiting with the estancia staff. Jose’s grandson, Miguel, walked toward the car and bowed as the Contessa stepped out of the limo. Jose’s granddaughter, Lita, handed her a dozen red roses. The others clapped as César, holding Little Anna, got out of the limo. Little Anna’s grandmother took the girl from César and held her close. Rolf and César greeted each other with the abrasso, as Helmut welcomed the Contessa. Then they all walked up the stone steps into the estancia.


Little Anna settled in nicely as Frau Height doted on the little girl. The two bonded instantly. The next few days were relaxing for all. César and the Contessa joined Anna and Rolf at cards in the evenings. Soon, the estancia had come alive. Neighbors were invited to dinner almost every night. The couples rode together in the early mornings and took lunch in the local towns. Rolf and César spent time at Rolf’s newly constructed shooting range at the Brenner Villa. Later, they spent leisurely days enjoying skeet shooting.


After two weeks, it was time for the Romeros to return to Spain, business called. It was a tearful goodbye as the Romeros boarded their flight. As the jet became a speck in the sky, little Anna ran to the house. Grandmother and Rolf chased after her.


It was a month later, and May had arrived. The sun was shining brightly as Grandmother Anna was writing a letter to the Contessa in the large study. Her task done, she stood up from her desk to turn off the study television. Walking by the tall French windows which brought the brilliant Argentine sunlight into the study, she stood looking out the window. As Anna’s eyes adjusted slowly to the bright sunlight, she gazed at little Anna sitting on the stone bench next to the courtyard fountain. There she sat eating her little box of Bavarian chocolates given to her by Rolf that morning. Anna watched as the tiny girl sang a German lullaby taught to her by Frau Height. Her crossed legs swung backward and forward in time to her song. Anna could see Kenneth in her. Little Anna’s fine golden hair looked angelic as the morning sun filtered through it. She was very much her father’s daughter, strong willed and tough. But, little Anna favored her mother’s family as well.


Anna worried about how the child would be raised if anything happened to her. The fear soon left, replaced by the joy of having her granddaughter with her. Anna was taken with the child’s beauty, little Anna had her mother’s long angular body and high cheekbones. Her fine delicate features promised an exquisite face, with a wide mouth and thin lips. The straight nose and strong jaw were inherited from Kenneth. Rita’s other gifts to little Anna were the pink rose petal color of her lips and light green eyes like her mother's.


Anna thought of Kenneth as she looked down at his daughter. She began to cry at the thought of little Anna at the fountain. Her granddaughter would never know her mother, just as Anna had never known her own mother.


Rolf was checking in on her when he found Anna standing crying in the study. He came up behind her and put his arms around her. Holding her, they peered out the French windows admiring little Anna’s beauty. As the two looked out on their little Anna, an expose on La Eme had begun on the television set. They listened intently to the words, discussing the recently deceased father and son, who had led the Eme. As they continued watching, little Anna sang her song and ate her chocolates. The series host stated that the House of Aragón had fallen with the deaths of Michael and Kenneth Aragón.


At that very moment, Kenneth Aragón stood up from the high winged-back, Louis the XIV chair.  Walking over to the television set, he switched it off. Suddenly, his strong voice echoed in the room. “Mother, the reports of my death has been greatly exaggerated. The house of Aragón hasn’t fallen, it’s now an empire.

03/24/2017 10:39 AM