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Trigger warning: suicide


All assets should be distributed as dictated in this will without exception or appeal. These are the final wishes of Jennifer P. Nelson as witnessed by barrister Morris S. Rothstein.

Jenny signed her name grandly at the bottom of the document. Morris shook his head as she slid the document over to him. He picked it up and flipped through the pages, giving a deep sigh.

“Jen, are you sure about this?” He asked. “Once this is officiated, if anything happens to you, then we can’t-”

“This is what I want,” she said firmly. “It’s about time I started to get what I wanted. Even if it’s after death.”

Morris sighed again. “Well, if it’s what you really want, Jen…”

“It is,” she assured him. “How soon will it go into effect?”

“Right now,” he said, pulling out a seal and pressing the document. “All I have to do is drop it at the firm and that’s that.”

Jenny smiled. “Thank you, Morry.”

Morris nodded and stood up. He tucked the document into his briefcase and started to put his jacket on. He paused a moment and looked at her again.

“Jen, I might be your lawyer, but I’m also your friend. This is gonna piss a lot of people off, you know,” he said sternly.

“Good, they can be inconvenienced for once,” she grumbled.

Morris chuckled. “Ah, Jen. You never change. Lunch on Tuesday, right?”

Jen forced a smile. “Of course.”

Morris nodded to her before collecting his things and heading out. Jenny sighed and glanced at the clock. Three o’clock now. Even with traffic, it should only take him thirty minutes to reach the firm. She’d wait an hour, just to be extra safe.

That was typical Jenny, always playing it safe. Always had to play it safe. No, she didn’t have to really. It was just easier if she did. She always could have told him “no.” She could have left and lived whatever life she wanted to, but she had no guarantee that life would work out. Would she achieve everything she dreamed of, or would she end up overdosing in a filthy motel room like her mother?

Jenny resented her mother for leaving when she was young, but she understood her better now that she was older. The pressure, the expectations, the constant state of perfection she had to force herself to be every second of every day. No wonder she left. Her mom’s life didn’t end well, but at least she had a life. Even if it was just for a short time.

But Jenny? After her mom left, her father became even more obsessed about controlling her. It was like he feared if he took his eyes off her for one second, then she’d disappear too. Then what would he say to his investors?

A runaway, junkie wife is something he could explain away. He always said she refused to seek help for her addiction or her mental issues. People sympathized with that. But a runaway daughter? Who else could people blame but the parents? And two women running away from him? That would be a pattern. A flaw with him. He’d never live down such a scandal.

Humans are irrational, humans are messy, humans are hard to control. So he made Jenny into a puppet instead. Moved her mouth and had his words come out in her voice. Her actions always followed the strings he pulled. She went to the college he chose, worked at his company, did his bidding. Everything he wanted, but never what she did.

Jenny caught a glimpse of herself in the window. The wrinkles just starting to deepen in her face, the grey streaking her hair. She wasn’t bad looking. She was sure she would have made a lovely wife to somebody if she’d had the chance. Hell, maybe she’d look better because she wouldn’t have all the stress. But it was too late for that now.

Finding a husband? No, no, she was far too busy to waste time dating. That’s what her father always said. Having kids? They’re nothing but a distraction, she’d never get anything done. That’s what her father always said. So, he pulled the string to make her nod along, and she never had the chance to get those things she once dreamed of having. She was too busy living his dream.

What did he want? An obedient robot to run his company when he finally died. Immortality is the dream of every tyrant, and he was no exception. However, he understood that was not a realistic dream, so he settled for the next best thing. Jenny was groomed, Jenny was broken, Jenny was built into his perfect little successor. The puppet that would echo his words even from beyond the grave. To have his legacy live forever. That was his dream.

And she was going to crush it. She was almost giddy just thinking of it. His will left her everything. He put absolute faith in the idea that he had trained her well enough to obey. Even after he was gone. Her will would prove him dead wrong. 

His precious company? She’d made a deal privately with his competitor to sell it off. His competitor was a good man, honest, the complete opposite of her father. He would honor their agreement. She gave him a very nice discount and full rights to all current patents and property in exchange for the promise that all their current employees would remain in their positions.

With exception to her father’s cabinet of puppets, of course. They wouldn’t last long with an honest man in control, and the money? Every penny she had was going straight to charity. They would get nothing from her. She could see them now, his loyal dogs, barking and spinning in circles over what she’d done. They’d try to retract the agreement. Perhaps they’d try to say she was insane, just like her mother. 

Jenny had already planned for that though. That’s why everything was put into writing in her will. A legal, uncontestable document, witnessed and officiated by a well-respected barrister. One of the few people she knew outside of her father’s control. Morris would make sure her wishes were honored. She had to believe he would.

Her phone pinged with a new message. It was Morris. 

Hey Jen, just wanted to let you know I wrapped things up at the firm. I hope to hell you know what you’re doing because there’s no going back now. See you on Tuesday!

Her heart hurt a little at the last sentence. She wouldn’t be there Tuesday. She wouldn’t even be around in an hour. She hoped he wouldn't be too hurt when he found out.

Jenny went to her desk. Her father’s desk. In the bottom-right drawer, tucked behind some old bonds, was his lockbox. His trusty revolver still untouched inside of it. He always said a man needed to be ready for anything that might happen. She didn’t think he had planned on this though.

She took the gun out and loaded it. She looked one more time around the room. His office, in his house, constantly invaded by his puppets. She wasn’t going to be one of them anymore. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. 

“Mama, I hope you’re up there,” she whispered. “I’d really like to see you again.”

She put the barrel to her temple and pulled the trigger. She was finally free.

September 04, 2020 09:42

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1 comment

Steve Alink
06:13 Sep 29, 2020

Thank you for this story. There's one sentence that I really like 'Immortality is the dream of every tyrant'. Great writing as it makes you think: is this true? You have done a good job using nicknames causing me to believe the barrister and Jenny are really friends. It has some area's that I think should be looked at when this grows into a larger story: If the tyrant wants to be immortal after his death, how come his daughter shouldn't get children? That would save his name in the far future as well. Next to that if he handles her as a pup...


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