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All day long the mystery of Alden Paxt ate at Len creeping into his consciousness while he waited for red lights, coffee shop lines, and printed spreadsheets.  So when his coworkers invited him to dinner that night Len politely refused wanting nothing more than to spend the night glued to his computer until it gave up whatever information there was to find on Alden. 

It was 11 pm and Len’s bloodshot eyes and mound of soda cans attested to his night long search for Mr. Paxt online, but nothing else.  There had been no record of death in 1927 nor any birth certificate 89 years earlier for an Alden Paxt.  While there had been some unusual headlines between 1838 and 1927, including a pregnant woman, in April of 1838, who was hit by lightning one stormy night and woke up childless, but no mention of Alden the mysterious.  Scrolling through pages of the  archaic Langston Township Chronicles, a local newspaper that had been around since the early 1800s, Len stopped on a page of birth announcements to read one titled “Baby Moses” which read almost like a lost puppy add.

Child found in shack off the Long River.  Aged at least three years.  Sick.  Looking for mother or mother’s whereabouts.  Please contact the Langston Township Police Force or Sister Mary Agnes of Saint Ivo’s.

Len knew the LTPF was still in working order, sadly understaffed with retirement aged officers, but he could not remember ever seeing or hearing of Saint Ivo’s.  In a last ditch effort to make his night of skulking around the internet worth while Len began looking into the second most mysterious person whose name he had read today “Baby Moses”.

Much to his dismay no church in Langston was now, or ever, named St. Ivo’s as far as he could tell, the only convent in a three town radius was called Saint Cathrine’s, and none of the Catholic schools had names anymore exotic than Thomas Aquinas.  Stumped Len typed Baby Moses Langston Township into the search bar.  To his surprise he found St. Ivo’s Orphanage listed as an official “safe haven” under the Baby Moses Project in Michigan.  As soon as he read the words orphanage his mind went into overdrive… abandoned children wouldn’t have birth certificates.

Len closed his laptop resolutely tomorrow he would go to the orphanage, and perhaps find his answers.

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Standing in the gravel parking lot Len felt more than a little unsure of himself.  He knew it was a long shot, but between Alden Paxt and Baby Moses Len had more questions than he could abide.  So he made his way to the office regardless of his misgivings.

“Yes,” the receptionist said curtly.

“I was wondering if a Sister Mary Agnes was still here and available to talk.” The woman hiked an eyebrow causing Len to run the math again.  It was possible but not likely that she was still above ground.  Still the receptionist picked up the phone motioning to a bank of pseudo comfortable chairs.

Nearly ten minutes later a motherly looking sister greeted him, “Len?  Welcome to St. Ivo’s. Would you care to walk with me?”

“You couldn’t possibly be Mary Agnes.”

The sister laughed out loud and threw a wink at the receptionist, “No, no I’m Mary Louise.  Come let’s talk.”

This time Len didn’t even pause.

“What did you want to talk with Mary Agnes about?” The sister met Len’s silence head on.  “Well my dear I know you never knew her personally because she joined our little family at the turn of the 20th century, so… I must admit I am curious.”

“It’s probably going to sound crazy,” Len started not making eye contact, “but I’m here because of Alden Paxt.” The sister was staring at him shaking her head.  “I mean… God dam.., ah dang it.  Sorry sister.”

“Who is Alden Paxt Len,” Mary Louise asked as a smile colored her words.

“He’s the proud owner of a very interesting unused tombstone from 1942 or ’27, its not important, but um because of him I came across Baby Moses’ add in an old copy of the Chronicles.”

“Really?  Well Moses is worth the trip I suppose.”

“You actually know what I’m talking about?”

“Of course.  I took over for Mary Agnes in ’68.  Moses was perhaps our most intriguing occupant.  He was such a miracle, and a mystery…”

“Did they ever find his mother?”

“No.  You know he nearly died.  No matter what they did that baby seemed to get smaller and weaker, a few years after he had been found he still couldn’t eat solid food or even hold his tiny head up.  Then out of no where he started to thrive.  Agnes hadn’t even bother giving him a proper name she was so sure he would die.  Everyone just kept calling him Baby Moses till one day he looked her right in the eye and said something along the lines of its Moses darling.”

“What?  How old was he?”

“There was no telling, he always was a bit of a runt, but the name stuck.  From then on he was Moses Darling.  That boy always had such an intense look about him, an old soul people use to call it.”

“You mean you knew him,” Len couldn’t believe his luck.

“During this teenage years, yes sir.  He always had an opinion and and amazing story for any situation.”

“Where did he end up?  Did he get adopted?”

“No, he didn’t have any interest in finding a family actually.  Which was odd.  All the other children without family ties seemed to crave a home and roots more than anything, but not Moses he wanted to wonder and learn.  He even wrote an essay that won him a scholarship out in New York City.” Mary Louise paused laughing to herself.  “He wrote that story and then disappeared off into his future.  Only thing I know for sure about Moses Darling now is that he wrote a book, because he sent a copy to Sister Mary Agnes for our library.”

“Is there any way I could borrow it sister,” Len asked brimming with hope.

“Oh I’m sorry, see she was buried with it, Agnes, we never even put it on the shelf.”

Knowing that his luck had to run out eventually Len took the news in stride, thanked the sister for her time, made a donation to the orphanage and left.

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Hope you are still with me and enjoying the story.  Part 3 will be up tomorrow.

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