Chapter 1: The Shock
Due south of Bangor Maine by some thirty-five miles lies Sears Island. It's a potato-shaped land mass of slightly less than two miles long by roughly a mile wide. Its area is listed as 940 acres. At the north end there's a land bridge connecting it to Maine proper. It was one of the last few unpopulated places on Maine's seacoast and the bird /refuge folk guarded it jealously. The state government had long cast its avarice-filled gaze at it wondering how to make money from the property. That was until an ancient law office in Bangor opened a locked box fulfilling a condition of a long term trust.
That's when the pudding hit the blower.
That box had been held for precisely one hundred years, from nineteen-ten to twenty-ten. Within the box were the keys to a long-term storage facility on the law firm's premises as well as a deed to Sears Island from a grateful government to one Jeremiah Sears deeding him and his family the property in perpetuity. It had been signed by then-President Ulysses S. Grant. An immediate search was begun for a living descendant of Jeremiah Sears.
That's where I came in. I'm Howard Faxon. I lived in the Fox Valley area of north-east Illinois. The Faxons and the Sears' have had moderately incestuous co-minglings for generations. Oh, there were some other families in the mix, such as Aunt Ruth proved and my uncle Jack Frasier as well. Old Archie Sears moved into the area about 1813 and lived in a dugout on the Robroy Creek for several years. Eventually he became a gentleman farmer. Things went downhill from there. (Or so the family legend goes... )
My cousin Jane had done the research to prove that she was a direct descendent of a captain of the Army during the Revolutionary War, thus making her a D.A.R. (Daughter of the American Revolution), a snottier, sorrier bunch of fools I dare you to find. Well, someone found that mess in the registered bloodlines of the D.A.R. and found me. I was purported to be the closest surviving male relative available.
Not being what you'd call an adventurous soul I was quietly settling into the long, slow decline that we call old age. What happened next served as quite a shock to my system.