Mark Bonner is a young college graduate from Ohio with an exciting new job. He has been hired as a private English tutor at the estate of Raul Garcia, a wealthy businessman of Zacatecas, Mexico.
But there is more to the Garcia family than meets the eye. The Garcia's oldest daughter, Ana, is inexplicably missing. And there is something about one of the guesthouses, which the rest of the family avoids. The maid, Marisol, crosses herself when she passes near the guesthouse, and whispers, "¡Brujas!"--the Spanish word for "witches".
Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", "Thanatos Postponed" is a tale of a family with more than one secret, and a story of death "postponed".
I graduated from a state university in Ohio with a degree in English and a restlessness to see the world, to have great adventures. Isn't that what young people are supposed to do?
But the concrete options that lay before me were considerably more mundane.
On one hand, I could have gone to work in the family business: a small chain of modestly successful dry cleaning shops in Dayton. But I had no interest in the dry cleaning business. My father had dragooned me into service there during the summers of my teenage years; and I cringed at the memories of the chemical smells, the fussy customers, the monotony.
I might also have pursued a teaching career. But how could I teach before I had completed my full education, including its informal segues? How could I teach before I knew something of the world? (And besides: While I had a degree in English, I had neglected to acquire a teaching certificate as an undergrad.)
Or I could have opted for that timeless choice of the overly educated but essentially directionless: I could have gone to grad school.
But none of these narrow possibilities would have represented any real break with the life I had known thus far. They were all variations on familiar themes: school and work, school and work.
I decided, therefore, to go abroad. I knew that the world was hungry for the English language. I would go abroad as an English tutor.
It took only a few months for me to line up an opportunity through an international agency that specialized in such matters. It was decided that I would spend six months in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, in the mountains of north-central Mexico, where the Spanish had originally mined silver.
I would live at the private estate of a man named Raul Garcia, a businessman in his mid-forties. Señor Garcia had four children between the ages of fourteen and nine. Their names, I was told, were Ana, Maria, Felipe, and Reinaldo. My task would be to give them private, intensive instruction in my own language.
I knew very little about what Mr. Garcia actually did as his occupation. My contact at the employment agency said that he had “various business interests” in Mexico. I required no further explanation. This was to be an adventure, after all...