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"What's through here?" asked Charlie, hobbling over to a partially boarded over door straight ahead.

Constance fumbled through her notes, trying to hold them up to the little available light she had.

"This is very poor documentation," admitted Constance. "It only mentions these three rooms in detail, but makes no reference to the other nine rooms."

"I checked it out, and it's safe," said Kevin, seeing his client wanted to explore the rest of the house.

There was an opening in the boards, but Charlie was unable to get through with her crutches, so Kevin stepped forward, and with one great tug, pulled away the rotting wood.

"Watch out for the nails," he warned her.

When the wood fell away, Charlie was unexpectedly greeted by the clear brilliance of daylight. At first, she thought the roof had collapsed, but as her eyes adjusted once more to the light, she gasped in surprise. Before her was an enclosed inner courtyard, formed in the same Spanish influence as the rest of the house. A terraced arched colonnade with an overhanging ceiling surrounded all four sides of the courtyard, giving some protection from the weather, but still allowing it's occupants to enjoy the outdoors. Tucked under each arch, was a door, leading to another part of the house. Charlie realized that the overhang also served to protect people from the elements, making it possible to get from one side to the other, without having to cross the courtyard. Huge mounds of tumbleweeds that had blown over the rooftops and into this broad open space, filled much of the area. But even from Charlie's obstructed vantage, she could see the top of a statue, poking through the old growth, in the center of the courtyard.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I have no idea," replied Constance, stunned by the discovery of the courtyard.

"All right," sighed Kevin, "I'll do it."

The bodyguard stepped forward, and cleared the weeds away from the protruding object. Slowly by slowly, Charlie saw the top of a couple, both holding a pitcher, and gazing into one another's eyes.

"It a fountain!" she exclaimed, excitedly.

Around the base of the couple, was a large sandstone basin to hold water. It was mostly filled with sand and debris, but when Kevin wiped away a little of the dirt, Charlie saw a hint of turquoise tiles, lining the inside of the fountain. She limped forward into the sunlight to get a better look.

"Is that couple, Titus Heartsdale and his wife?" she asked Constance.

"I can't say for sure," replied the woman, "but I wouldn't be surprised."

Charlie brushed the toe of her shoe along the floor, revealing through the dirt and sand, the ornate sandstone blocks that had been arranged in asymmetrical patterns, that paved the courtyard. She looked up at the clear blue sky overhead and smiled.

"This place has a lot of possibilities," she thought to herself.

One by one, Kevin pulled away the boards to other rooms, while the women explored. To the left, was the library; to the right, two bedrooms, with adjoining bathrooms and antiquated plumbing pipes protruding from the walls. At the other end of the courtyard were two doors leading to two more bedrooms, one bigger in size than the other. Weeds sprang up through openings in the floor, while weather stains streaked the rose hued walls, betraying decades of neglect. Trash and debris from vagrants were often found cluttered in the corners of the rooms, while the foul smell of feces decaying in the heat made the women sick. After a thorough search had been conducted, they made their way through the courtyard, back to the entryway, and then outside.

In the back of the house, Charlie discovered a row of Spanish style bungalows, where guests or servants were at one time quartered. Beyond this, was the Mojave Desert, entirely encompassing the estate with it's vast barren stretches of land, and strangely beautiful vistas. As Charlie soaked in the view, she heard Vera talking to Constance in hushed tones.

"I think she likes it," whispered the old woman.

"Surely, not!" cried Constance, in a hushed voice. "This place was beautiful in it's time, but that time is over. It's in the middle of nothing, and needs a complete overhauling! There's no electricity, no running water, and an hour and a half from Twin Yucca. Adam would never consent to it!"
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