W A R D U N I
V E R S I T Y|
& Voices IV
AN ANTHOLOGY OF VERSE AND
The date was Monday, September 16, 1993 and the location was off the coast of Bermuda. Doctors Bailey and Maximilian Byrd and their crew set off on what was supposed to be a month long vacation in the Caribbean. They were nearing the outer boundaries of the mysterious realm known as the Bermuda Triangle. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. At 6:07 pm, approximately forty-five minutes into what would have been a two-hour flight, the Byrd’s jet, which was being followed very closely as they were very prominent and influential citizens, disappeared from all air traffic control radar. There were no signs of a crash and the plane did not drop in altitude or divert from its original course. The signal just vanished. The Byrds were never heard from again.
Until Now. “The Doctors Are Alive and Well,” read the front page of the Detroit News. “The Byrds Finally Fly Home,” boasted the Michigan Chronicle. Finally, after close to two years of searches and speculation, some closure was brought to the case. The couple was finally found, though by accident, inhabiting a tiny island within the realm of the Bermuda Triangle. For nearly two years the couple made the tiny, unheard of island their home, alone. Though they began their voyage to the Caribbean with nearly a dozen others including pilots, stewards, and personal assistants, they were the only two to survive that long, nerve-wrecking period of time.
September 29, 1995. Hundreds of detectives, forensics specialists and reporters began the major task set forth before them. Their mission was to solve this two-year-old mystery, to find out exactly what happened the fatal night Doctors Bailey and Maximilian Byrd and their crew disappeared without a trace leaving the two doctors the only survivors who lived long enough to tell the story.
The first weeks of exploration were very exciting for the crew. Pictures, notes and all sorts of documentation were taken daily. News reporting crews were always on the scene and it received live coverage daily. The Byrd’s were a very wealthy family and there was a lot of money backing the investigation. As time progressed however, things naturally began to die down. People were getting bored with the story. No new clues surfaced, the press stopped coming, and the investigators began to lose their moral. Things were getting difficult and some gave up thinking the case was impossible to solve.
A few months into the investigation, on one of the less hectic days, a mysterious couple was seen approaching the island in a small helicopter. One young detective whispered, “Oh my, is that the Byrd family?” Her older colleagues laughed and stated that the Byrds were major financial contributors to the investigation, but that was about it, and that they were the last two people any of them expected to see on the scene.
The helicopter landed on the new clearly marked landing pad and the blades spun to a halt. Swarms of government officials, reporters and cameras flocked the scene. At last the moment was here. The doors swung open and there was just press frenzy. Out of the midst of chaos and confusion emerged a symbol of pure beauty and elegance. Bailey Byrd emerged from the helicopter and even after two long years away from high society, she looked as if she never left. Following immediately behind her was the ever-so-charming Maximilian. Dressed casually as compared to their usual attire, the Byrds clearly stood out before the crowd. No one, I mean no one expected to see them there. Regardless of how much money they contributed to the investigation, the Byrds were just not known to really interact with the everyday people. Today was really no different, at least not from Maximilian. All he did was bark orders and complaints. “Why isn’t this done?” “Why haven’t you searched here?” “Is this the best my money can buy?” Furious and frustrated with the course the investigation was taking, he needed answers and he wanted them immediately. His unruly behavior was taken in stride by most everyone on the scene as they figured it was just part of his personality. Bailey however knew otherwise. Though she was accustomed to Max’s temper, this was unusual for him. He was really finding it very difficult to cope with his losses. On the fateful night of the disappearance, Max’s caretakers from birth, his nanny AG, and his mentor Jefferson were killed instantly along with the rest of the crew. The only other survivor was his cousin Jarrod who died of illness while on the island. Max wanted answers. He wanted to know that his dear friends and family did not die in vain. Realizing that the stress of the day was just too much for Max, Bailey suggested that they fly off the island and retire to their hotel suite.
That night, Bailey opened her arms to Max and he cried for hours. He just had to find out what happened that night. Why did the plane go down? Why was the island uncharted? Why did it take so long for them to be found? Tomorrow he promised Bailey that he was going to help out with the investigation in any way that he possibly could. This he owed not only to himself, but to Jarrod, AG, and Jefferson as well.
The following morning, the Byrds reached the island in the same fashion as before. There was the same routine with the reporters and cameras but this time there was something different about them when they exited their vehicle. Today the Byrds were dressed in jeans and sweatshirts! Bailey was not wearing any of the make-up or fancy dresses everyone was accustomed to seeing her in and Max was out of his usual uniform of double-breasted suit in blue, black or gray, hand painted ties and imported leather loafers. In plain clothes, the two looked as if they really belonged.
Max and Bailey led the search for the day and they decided to show them exactly how they lived for the past two years. After about an hour of walking, the couple approached a small mountain that was not visible from the other side of the island. Disregarding it as “just a mountain” the investigators were ready to head back until they saw Mrs. Doctor Byrd do something unexpected. Everyone turned to see Bailey on her hands and knees, removing large rocks from the base of the mountain. Her meticulously manicured nails now covered with dirt and debris were digging out a crawl space right before their eyes. Max soon joined her and moments later, an opening emerged. In total disbelief, the camera crews were immediately on it. The two entered and everyone followed them in. No one was ready for what lay ahead of him or her. The inside of this mountain was hollowed out and skillfully decorated from floor to ceiling. It looked just like home and that is exactly what it had been to Max and Bailey for the past two years. There were paintings on the wall made from paint extracted from wild fruits and straw mats on the floor created by Bailey; a ceramic fireplace in the center of the room; wooden shutters that allowed sunlight to enter; a basin for water that functioned as a sink and tub; candles, cutlery, place-settings, and glasses for two; and the most remarkable furnishings of all, Max’s woodwork. The bed frames complete with canopy, the detailing of the hardwood floor, the massive dressers, and the magnificent table and chairs. The wood was a heavy oak native to the islands. It held a rich mahogany color and the smell was breathtaking. Max and Bailey really discovered talents they never knew they had before during their stay on the island. And today, everything was just as it was the day they left, even the table where Max had his last meal with his wife and cousin.
It was just two days before their rescue, but how were they to know that then. Jarrod had been ill for quite some time, but Bailey and Max continued to reassure him that he was going to be ok and Bailey just had this gut feeling that they were going to be rescued very soon. Because Jarrod was feeling so under the weather, Bailey decided to make a special dinner for the boys. Out of an old gown of hers that was badly torn in the course of the accident, Bailey crafted a very elegant cloth. It was a deep blue with hand-embroidered trim. It was made of the finest imported silk with chiffon edging. She made Jarrod and Max’s favorite dish- soup with clams and mixed vegetables along with baked fish and a plethora of fresh fruits. She managed to salvage stemmed glasses and a few bottles of wine that they had taken with them and chose the finest amongst them for her special dinner. She set one of her hand-made candles in the center of the table and picked the most beautiful purple wildflowers for the hand-blown glass vase Jarrod made. She set the table for three, as usual, but departed early into the meal. She had a feeling that this night should be special for Max and Jarrod.
The two, who were as close as brothers, wined and dined and laughed all night. They whispered into the early morning hours about their boyhood and plans of leaving the big money markets back home and working with their newfound talents of woodworking, pottery, glassmaking and weaving. They talked of opening a shop and making it the new family business. They found so much pleasure in working with their hands. No one knew that the two would never see this day together.
The morning after their dinner, Jarrod wanted to take a walk by himself. Several hours later he returned hysterical and Bailey immediately got him into the bed. She and Max held him and talked to him to try to keep him conscious, but he could not fight any longer. Jarrod died in the arms of Max and Bailey less than twenty-four hours before their rescue. The back room where they dined remained untouched. The chairs were next to each other, as a result of their late-night chat, the glasses and bowls were empty as well as the wine bottle lying on its side in the center of the table with the red-stained cork on the floor.
They buried Jarrod’s body on one grassy slope of the mountain where he and Max would often times run to talk. As the couple was approaching their home, they heard the sound of a small airplane. They ran to signal to the plane, and the pilot saw them!! The plane could not land properly so they signaled for a helicopter to come and make the rescue. Max ran back to the mountain and sealed their entrance shut as the helicopter was making its landing. The two entered the vehicle and Max vowed never to return. A single tear dropped from his eye as they flew over Jarrod’s grave.
Seeing Max here this day, so composed was amazing to Bailey and she wanted to cry all over again. But that was enough for one day. The search would go on and the two would be right back on the scene tomorrow. As they were getting ready to board their helicopter and call it a day, Max suggested to Bailey that the two spend the night together on the island. Bailey agreed and the couple bid farewell to the others and went back inside their new home. The two whispered all night their plans of residing at least part-time on the island and spending their days doing something they love. They decided to open a small, family operated home furnishing store based on the island. Five years later, Jarrod’s Place is still one of the leading stores in the industry.