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  • An old, battered suitcase was found with crumbling papers.
    Keeper of the family's correspondence over decades.

    Among those letters was one solitary file.

    "I believe" it said.
    Signed "Umbrella Monarch"
    No one knew who that was, offhand.
    Some sleuthing revealed the author. An uncle who had passed on a few years ago.

    She began to read it. She had not known the man at all, she realized.
    Through her childhood and adolescence he was the volatile journeyman.
    Not the doctor son, the astrophysicist nephew or the US-schooled engineer.
    The lesser loved child, always.
    And he died early.

    But these few pages, written when he was about 20, showed the diamond in the rough.

    "Torment," wrote the Umbrella Monarch, "is a precipitate longing for something lost that can never be repossessed."

    She wished she'd known him better.
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