The Return Of The Prodigal Son (The Chadwick Saga - Part 1)

Submitted into Contest #64 in response to: Set your story in a Gothic manor house.... view prompt

60 comments

Drama Suspense

Sarah ran from room to room, frantically, searching for her child, with tears streaming down her face. Her long auburn hair, soaking wet, hung loose about her shoulders. Her pale skin glistening in the candlelight she was holding. Her long blue satin dress dripping with water, clung to her slender form. The sound of her son crying had woken her up in the middle of the night. When she went to check on him, she found, to her horror, an empty crib.


The storm was still raging outside. The rain coming down in torrents. The wind howling like an invisible monster with the occasional clap of thunder, which illuminated the hallway as she ran searching for Jamie, whose cries were echoing through the hallway. “Where are you my darling? Where has he taken you?” She called out in anguish. “What have you done to my boy you monster, answer me!” She screamed into the darkness. 


A few years ago.........


Thomas Chadwick was the master of Chadwick Manor, which stood on a hill overlooking the sea on one side and a landscape on the other, stretching for miles. The manor, Thomas's pride and joy, was built by his grandfather when his business flourished years ago.


Thomas Chadwick had made Frank, his youngest son, sole heir to the Chadwick fortune, which did not sit well with his oldest son Marcus. It was a bitter pill to swallow. He never forgave his father for what he called the “ultimate betrayal.” He had sworn to exact revenge on both of them, seething with anger, his emerald green eyes glowing in the candle lights burning in the study.


Marcus Chadwick was a force to be reckoned with, unlike his younger brother he was sly and ruthless. A master manipulator. Everyone in the town feared him. He had no empathy, no respect for anyone. Marcus was six years older than Frank. They were opposites, both in character and in appearance. His oldest son was the spitting image of himself, tall and ruggedly handsome, well built, with ebony hair and the same green eyes, while Frank resembled his mother, with sandy blonde hair and light blue eyes, equally handsome, with a good physique.


Thomas gazed at the portrait of his late wife who had died giving birth to his youngest son, and said, “Oh! Martha where did I go wrong with Marcus? I gave them everything they asked for, loved them both equally. Yet Marcus has always resented me, resented his brother, for the life of me, I don't know why!” he continued still looking at his wife's portrait, “I had no other choice, I had to chose Frank over him, for the sake of the family, for the sake of the business. Tell me I did the right thing, please tell me” he said, as he cried out in anguish.


Neither Thomas nor Frank ever heard from Marcus again, he disappeared into the night without so much as a whisper, until one day he suddenly reappeared at the doorstep on the day of Frank's wedding to Sarah Williamson, whom he had been engaged to, for several months. He claimed to have had a change of heart and begged them to forgive him and let him back into the fold. 


His father however, was skeptical, he didn't quite believe that his oldest son had changed. But he decided to give Marcus a chance at the behest of Frank and Sarah, his soon to be daughter-in-law. He was not about to deny her anything, beautiful Sarah, he loved her like a daughter, so he finally agreed to forgive Marcus and welcome him back into the family.


Several months later........


Sarah had given birth to their first baby, a boy. They named him Jamison Arthur Chadwick. Jamison after Thomas’s father and Arthur after her father, who had died two year ago due to a long illness, she never knew her mother who had abandoned both her and her father when she was a baby. 

As she gazed into the tiny face of her new born son, her mind drifted to the past. She did not come from wealthy and accomplished stock like the Chadwicks. Her father had been Thomas's legal advisor before he fell ill and had to go into an early retirement. He had been poor and had come up in life the hard way, her mother Alice, she learned had been a school teacher at the local school before she ran away with a traveling salesman, leaving her husband to take care of the baby all by himself. 


She went to the same local school, as the Chadwick boys. She did not associate with them in the beginning as she was somewhat intimidated by them, especially Marcus, there was something so dangerous, almost diabolical about his demeanour toward others, which was frightening. As for Frank, he was the quiet type, kind, considerate and friendly. They became friends gradually, which annoyed Marcus terribly.  


These were the same qualities that attracted her to him years later as an adult, as well as his handsome good looks and great physique. She had been a little nervous at first when Frank started to pay attention to her romantically. She was a teacher by then just like her mother had been, year's ago, teaching at the same school. The Chadwicks were one of the prominent and wealthy families in town. Almost all of the wealthy and not so wealthy young ladies were after them or at least after their money. But Frank chose her.


              ....................


Frank stood at the entrance to the nursery looking at his beautiful wife, who was totally unaware that he was standing there watching her nursing their baby. He considered himself to be the luckiest man, to have been able to win her heart before anyone else.


She was the most beautiful girl in town, tall and slender, pale skin with long auburn hair and brown eyes. She was different from the rest, kind and thoughtful unlike some of the rich uppity girls his brother opted to waste his time with. Sure, he told himself, there were plenty of other girls who came after him but he only had eyes for Sarah, who in turn was sought after by other eligible young men in town. But he was the one who swept her off her feet in the end. 


Frank had grown up happy and content in the life that his father had provided for him and his brother. He admired, respected and loved his father very much. After his mother’s death he had been both a father and a mother to the two of them. He was away most of the time on business, but whenever he was with them he had given them his undivided attention.


His was brought back from his reverie by the clearing of a throat, he saw his wife standing near the baby's basinet, looking at him with a playful yet accusatory look in her eyes with her hands clasped behind her back in a typical school teacher fashion as if she was disciplining one of her students.


“What are you doing hovering around in the hallway Mr. Chadwick?" She asked playfully. He walked in to the nursery with his eyes downcast, embarrassed that his beloved wife had caught him spying on her. “Oh, I was busy gazing at my beautiful wife who I believe, was equally busy day dreaming” he replied with a smile. “Tell me my darling, is it me that you were day dreaming about?” he asked. Sarah gave him a teasing look as she walked past him, as she reached the doorway she turned back and replied, “Of course not, I was day dreaming about this handsome sailor I met last week, while on a walk in the park with Gertrude!” She bolted down the hallway with trails of laughter as her husband chased after her.


             .....................


Marcus stood at the terrace shuddering with disgust at the thought of his brother being married to that no good school teacher. What did she bring into the family? Nothing, except give birth to a creature who howled all day and night. Frank could have done better, he could have married into a wealthy family like theirs, instead he chose her, that gold digger! Not only did she mange to ensnare his gullible little brother, she had his father wrapped around her little finger too, “The miserable little wench!” He muttered under his breath.


He expected nothing less from her, considering the kind of woman her mother was, running off with a man while being married to another. He knew her kind so well. He had been with a few like her, himself. Slithering her way into his little brother's life like a snake. It wasn't a complete shock to him, when he read the announcement of their engagement in the papers.


            .......................


Their wealth came from whiskey and tobacco. His grandfather had started the business and his father had developed it into a thriving enterprise, which fell on Thomas's shoulders upon his passing. He was busy travelling, so involved in the business that he did not get married until he was well into his mid thirties. He had been courting Martha for nearly two years, until she lost her patience and threatened to end the relationship. 


Thomas chuckled to himself remembering the look on her beautiful face, the woman was feisty and relentless, which is why he fell in love with her in the first place. Martha came from a wealthy family, which satisfied his father very much. She was accomplished, well mannered and kind hearted, which were some of the traits his younger son inherited from her. In some way, Sarah reminded him of his late wife. His daughter-in-law had that same feisty spirit, which is why he came to love her.


His thoughts drifted to his new born grandson as he stood at the edge of the cliff looking out into the ocean. The Chadwick line was secure, with him at the helm, and Frank waiting in the wings. He had total confidence that Frank will show Jamie how the business is run once he comes of age, which gave him a sense of relief as he continued to gaze at the sun, setting in the horizon.


October 16, 2020 19:05

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60 comments

Melissa Hassan
19:10 Oct 16, 2020

This was a pre-written story by me. It consists of 3 parts which is over 6000 words long. Unfortunately I am only able to submit the 1st part. Hope you enjoy reading it. Hopefully I will get a chance to submit part 2 and 3 in the future. Let me know what you think.😊

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Autumn Williams
18:40 Oct 24, 2020

This was amazing. All of the detail you put into this story, I could picture the characters and the manor so clearly in my head. I hope you get another promt that will allow you to submit the rest of the story. I think you should've won, but that's not how this works, lol. I'm learning a lot by reading your stories, so I just wanted to say thank you, and really, this is wonderful.

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Melissa Hassan
18:55 Oct 24, 2020

Thank you so much Autumn for your comments. Wow! I had no idea that my story would get such good reactions. I am over the moon...lol😊

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Autumn Williams
20:40 Oct 26, 2020

That's awesome! You should be very proud! You're doing such good work, you deserve all of the recognition you can get! So happy you're happy 😃

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Roger Meachem
19:38 Oct 18, 2020

Hello Mellisa, you've quite an imagination - so no problems in creating the story. There are a few things that gave me pause as I read through the first time. On the second reading, there was nothing that seemed insurmountable - but I'll sketch out what might trip some readers here and there. Thomas has two sons, Frank and Marcus and it's Marcus you are describing when you write: 'Marcus Chadwick was a force to be reckoned with, unlike his younger brother he was sly and ruthless, a master manipulator, everyone in the town feared him, his o...

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Melissa Hassan
20:28 Oct 18, 2020

Thank you Roger, for your feedback. I will do the necessary changes. As for your wondering why Sarah persuaded Thomas to take Marcus back was becuase, Marcus is playing the part of the 'Prodigal Son' but in this story he's not sincere unlike the son in the Biblical story. Thomas is kind of suspicious but is kind of willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as Marcus has his brother and sister-in-law convinced. Hope this is clear. Hopefully you will get to read the second and third parts, however interesting or dull it may be. Fingers cros...

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Spencer Steeves
18:14 Oct 24, 2020

Those who have commented before me have already pointed out any issues that I might have, so I will just say, brilliant idea! I was first wondering where the completion of the tale was, but then I realized it is part 1. I am intrigued to find out what is going to happen next. Reading this sort of work shows me just how hard I'm going to have to work if I want to catch up to the level of the writers on this site.

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Autumn Williams
18:36 Oct 24, 2020

You took the words right out of my mouth. Melissa is an amazing writer.

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Melissa Hassan
18:59 Oct 24, 2020

Thank you, once again, Autumn.😊

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Autumn Williams
20:41 Oct 26, 2020

You're very welcome 💜

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Melissa Hassan
18:58 Oct 24, 2020

Thank you Spencer for your comments. It really means a lot.😊

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Spencer Steeves
19:16 Oct 24, 2020

Of course! I would appreciate it if you would check out my stories(if you aren't too busy) and leave some feedback, so I can learn and improve.

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Melissa Hassan
19:40 Oct 24, 2020

Will do, as and when I have time, as I am in the process of writing another story. I will read your stories. Count on it.😊

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02:00 Oct 19, 2020

Hi Melissa :-) I've just discovered your stories, and (being a fan of good historical fiction) this was an interesting read! I think Andrew Krey mentioned some long sentences, and they can be shortened to create a good ebb and flow. Andrew made some good suggestions, and I would reiterate those. I would also say that a semi-colon helps to create a sentence with a balanced feel; I probably over-use them myself! I look forward to the next instalment!

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Melissa Hassan
02:04 Oct 19, 2020

Hi, Mary-Claire, and thank you for your comments. I am glad you found the story interesting.😊

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Andrew Krey
00:43 Oct 18, 2020

Hi Mellisa, I liked your story, and look forward to the next installment (fingers crossed the prompts are kind). As the comp is still live, I've included some suggestions for the text below: You have a tendency to write long sentences - some of these can have a comma replaced with a fullstop, then continued as a new sentence. "searching for Jamie who's cries were" - should be whose "She called out in anguish. “what have you done to my boy you monster!, answer me!” She screamed into the darkness." - what should be capitalised, and ...

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Melissa Hassan
02:09 Oct 18, 2020

Hi Andrew, I am glad you liked reading my story or at least the first part. Thank you so much for the feedback and pointing out all the areas where I have made mistakes. I am really bad at editing my own writing. Often I spot mistakes later on, even after the competition had ended. So, thank you so much for this. I really appreciate it.😊

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Andrew Krey
02:16 Oct 18, 2020

You're welcome, I'm glad I could help. I'm exactly the same with my own stories; I even read the story out loud and still miss things, it makes such a big difference to have some else read it to spot these little mistakes. Good luck with your entry :)

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Melissa Hassan
05:57 Oct 18, 2020

Thank you. Good luck to you too.🙂

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Chris Culpepper
22:36 Feb 19, 2021

I'm late to the game, Melissa, I loved this 1st part and will definitely be reading parts 2 & 3! Please follow me back. I would appreciate your feedback

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Chris Culpepper
22:33 Feb 19, 2021

I'm late to the game, Melissa, but love this first part and will definitely be reading parts 2 & 3! Please follow me back, I would appreciate your feedback

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Melissa Hassan
17:25 Feb 20, 2021

Thank you Chris! Will definitely check your stories out. 😊

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Grace Larson
00:23 Nov 19, 2020

I just found this story (like three weeks after the contest ended) but I'm so glad I got to read it anyway! Amazing story -very powerfully drawn characters and dynamic plot. Definitely going to go read the next two parts now:)

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Melissa Hassan
02:17 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you, for your comments, Grace. I am glad you enjoyed reading it. Do let me know what you think of parts 2 and 3.😊

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Grace Larson
02:35 Nov 19, 2020

Haha just read them:) And I thought they were totally epic!! Loved the dramatic conclusion! And the whole idea of prolonging a story, especially a suspenseful one like this one, worked really nicely. I know you posted at the end of the third one that you weren't quite sure if it fitted the prompt. I didn't exactly see a connection between your story and the prompt but it was a really good story anyway so I don't think that really matters:) Can't wait to see what you will write next!

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Melissa Hassan
03:19 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you, Grace for your comments. I am really glad you enjoyed reading it and think that it's epic!😊

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Beautifully written, I loved the details!

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Melissa Hassan
02:14 Nov 19, 2020

Thank you, Varsha, for your comment.😊

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of course, do read my story and tell me what you think!

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Melissa Hassan
02:18 Nov 19, 2020

Will do.😊

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Melissa Hassan
02:23 Nov 19, 2020

No problem!😊

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Emmanuel Olaleye
12:29 Nov 09, 2020

A lovely read Melissa.

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Melissa Hassan
13:12 Nov 09, 2020

Thank you.😊

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Emmanuel Olaleye
21:38 Nov 09, 2020

My pleasure!

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Shae Greyfeather
12:55 Nov 05, 2020

Nice story by the way

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Melissa Hassan
14:14 Nov 05, 2020

Thank you, Iris!😊

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Shae Greyfeather
22:09 Nov 05, 2020

You're welcome!

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Shae Greyfeather
12:55 Nov 05, 2020

I feel trouble brewing in the Chadwick household. Very dark trouble.

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Melissa Hassan
14:13 Nov 05, 2020

Hahaha!😄

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Alina Manha
04:16 Oct 30, 2020

OMG! I totally loved the story. It is written very well. The flow of the story is pretty good. 😁Good job. 👍🏻

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Melissa Hassan
04:36 Oct 30, 2020

Thank you, Alina. I am glad you loved the story!😊

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Alina Manha
04:39 Oct 30, 2020

My pleasure!. ☺️

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Rene Lumnos
02:22 Oct 27, 2020

Great work. It's interesting to me that this is just 1/3 of the whole story. I just wrote my first story on Reedsy and found it hard to limit myself. I think it reads okay on its own, but I can also imagine using it as the first chapter of a much longer work.

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Melissa Hassan
02:29 Oct 27, 2020

Thank you, Rene. Would you mind hitting the like button?😊

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Kylie Rudolf
18:19 Oct 26, 2020

Wow, as the oldest sibling of four, the beginning is my worst fear, somebody kidnapping the one I love. Very well written!

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Melissa Hassan
18:50 Oct 26, 2020

Thank you, Kylie.😊

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Kelly O'leary
21:17 Oct 25, 2020

This is probably the best story I've ever read on reedsy. I do have a critique, though, the descriptions of the characters are very abrupt. I think it would be easier if you wrote it in a more pronounced, old style narrative tone. You also have nearly the same style in every sentence. (statement, "which"... description) There should also be a little more vocabulary variance and include more of the style of the time. “The miserable little wench!” This phrase was perfect and I'd like to see more like it. Besides that, excellent job! I really e...

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Melissa Hassan
01:46 Oct 26, 2020

Thank you Kelly for your comments. I am glad you enjoyed reading it.😊

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Amber Brownlee
19:28 Oct 25, 2020

Absolutely incredible, I would love to read the 6000 word story it definitely left me wanting more.

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Melissa Hassan
19:41 Oct 25, 2020

Thank you, Amber.😊

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Aman Fatima
06:55 Oct 25, 2020

the story is well written and is wonderful but I was a little confused when going though it the first time. even then the story is amazing. Keep writing

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Melissa Hassan
09:36 Oct 25, 2020

Thank you for your comments.😊

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Pen Holder
13:05 Oct 23, 2020

This story has great imagery and descriptions. It's really interesting how you portray each character. Marcus sounds like he´d been through a lot, and the relationship between Frank and Sarah is nice. Wonder what happened to the son though. :)

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Melissa Hassan
13:29 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you.😊

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14:08 Oct 22, 2020

The story is amazing, but there were too many changes in time for such a short piece. I found it confusing. Keep writing!

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Melissa Hassan
17:31 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you, Stephanie for your comments.😊

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20:43 Oct 22, 2020

You are so welcome!

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