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Drama Mystery Thriller

Dr. Arthur Ainsworth sat at his bedroom desk, pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and patted his brow. In front of him lay seven pieces of blank parchment.


Arthur cleared his throat and picked up his quill.


“To… Mrs. Remington,” he muttered as he scribbled on the first piece of parchment. “I thank you… for always seeing… the best in me.”


Arthur gripped the quill until his knuckles were white. He vividly remembered sobbing in her classroom after confusing a simple addition problem.


“You stupid boy,” snarled Mrs. Remington. “You will achieve nothing.”


Arthur glanced up at the wall, decorated with five framed diplomas. He leaned down to write again.


I leave you my most treasured possession.” Arthur dotted the period so ferociously that he broke through the parchment.


Arthur closed his eyes and pictured Mrs. Remington’s face as she read his will. He smiled and turned to the second piece of parchment.


“To William Randolph… I thank you… for always... having my back.”


William Randolph was Arthur’s very best childhood friend until the summer before they both turned sixteen, when William kissed Mary Winthrop underneath the willow tree behind the school. Arthur had hidden behind a bush, watching his best friend press his lips to the only girl Arthur was sure he had ever loved. She didn’t know, of course; but William knew. William knew.


“I leave you my most treasured possession.”


“The lying bastard,” spat Arthur. He had heard that William broke up with Mary only a few months after the affair.


“To Sarah Clayton… I thank you… for always lending… a listening ear,” he said, writing on the third piece of parchment.


Arthur gritted his teeth. Oh, Sarah Clayton. Cousin Sarah. How he remembered Sarah, and her wickedness.


“Please, Sarah, p-p-please! Don’t t-tell them, it w-w-w-was a m-mistake!”


“Artie broke the lamp in the family room. Artie ripped the curtain in the kitchen. Artie did it. Artie did it!” she screeched.


And because little miss Sarah Clayton was perfect, because she had honey hair and the bluest eyes and Artie was the strange boy with a stutter, they always listened to her.


“Artie,” scoffed Arthur. He hadn’t heard that name since Sarah followed some boy across the country. Idiot girl.


I leave my most treasured possession.”


Arthur sat back and stretched. It was exhausting work, but it had to be done. It was only a matter of days, now. Four pieces of parchment left.


“To… Father Michael… I thank you… for giving me the strength… to stand tall.”


When Artie couldn’t recite a passage correctly in his Bible study – and because of his stutter and nervousness, he never could – Father Michael would make Artie stand in between the front two pews. Artie would crane his neck to stare up at the man hanging on the cross and scream as Father Michael whipped a belt against the back of Arthur’s knees. A hit for each missed word. A hit for each scream.


They were long affairs.


It was then that Artie began to hate the man on the cross, and the man with the belt, and Cousin Sarah Clayton, who would wait until Arthur was done sobbing before flinging her golden hair behind her shoulder and reciting the verse perfectly with her perfect honey voice.


“I leave my most treasured possession.”


Ah, Father Michael. Arthur wondered if he still had the belt. Arthur certainly still had the scars. He pulled the fifth piece of parchment forward.


“To… Mr. Richard... I thank you… for lending… a helping hand.”


Mother hired Mr. Richard when Arthur was five, the age he could finally start to speak - or slur and mumble unintelligibly. Mr. Richard was the best speech therapist in the state.


“Slower. I said SLOWER!” yelled Mr. Richard, slamming his fist on the table. Arthur always jumped when Mr. Richard slammed his fist.


When Arthur couldn’t say a sentence without stuttering, Mr. Richard made Arthur write the sentence five times on paper. One time, when he was eight, Arthur wrote thirty-two pages of “I am a young man, not a squawking parrot.”


“I leave you my most treasured possession.”


To this day, Arthur's still couldn't straighten his fingers.


“To Hazel Stapleton… I thank you… for reminding me… to speak my mind.”


Arthur met Hazel when he was ten. She sat behind him in school. And when Mrs. Remington would call on Arthur, and he would stutter out something incoherent, she would learn forward, whisper, “Speak up,” and poke him very hard in the head


That’s how it started.


A year later, when Arthur’s stutter was worsening instead of getting better, he walked home with a particularly bloody nose. Worse than usual. When his mother questioned which boy at school had hurt him, he faltered. Which boy?


“W-W-William Randolph,” whispered Arthur. William was Arthur’s very best friend and therefore the only one who knew the special relationship Arthur shared with Hazel Stapleton.


“I leave you my most treasured possession.”


Arthur’s mother never liked William much after that, even when the bloody noses stopped - William had finally hit Hazel back.


Arthur blinked at William’s name on the second piece of parchment. There was a pang in his chest. He shook his head.


No. No time for that. Remember what he did, Arthur told himself. He kissed Mary.


Arthur grabbed the seventh piece of parchment so quickly that he cut himself. He sucked the blood from his finger.


“To Mother… I thank you… for telling me… to follow… my heart.”


Mother never hit Arthur. Mother never yelled at him. It should not have come as a great shock to Arthur when he discovered that Mother never lied to him, either.


“Sweetheart,” said Mother. “College would be a waste.”


“College is not a w-waste, Mother. It can help me people get a job-“


“Let me be clearer,” she said firmly. “It would be a waste for you.”


Arthur tilted his head curiously at her. “I don’t understand w-what you mean.”


“You are unintelligent, Arthur.” She shook her head sadly. “I’m telling you this to help you. You are unintelligent. We’ve tried to stamp out that stutter for years and look at you. You would fail, in college, as you always have.”


Those were the last words Mother said to him. Arthur packed a bag and ran away that night. He hadn’t seen her since.


Well, he did see her a few days ago. Arthur drove past the house and he saw her through a window. He had to make sure she was still there, of course. For sending the package.


“I leave you my most treasured possession.”


Arthur folded the pieces of parchment, sealed them in seven separate envelopes and addressed them to his lawyer, who would know what to do. There would be much more leftover to give out, of course. Arthur supposed it would all be discarded. What a pity; such a waste.


“It would be a waste for you.”


Arthur stood up, stretched and flung himself onto his bed. There was only one thing on his bedside table: a bottle of pills, which would soon be empty.


And in one month, Mrs. Remington would sit on her porch and open a small package, addressed to her from Dr. Arthur Ainsworth. Arthur Ainsworth. She'd heard that name before.


She would open the package, scream and fling it away from her. Her grandson would run out the door to his grandmother shrieking and pointing at the package. He would gingerly pick it up, look inside and find two bloody eyeballs staring back at him.


William Randolph received the back.


Sarah Clayton received the ears.


Father Michael received the legs.


Mr. Richard received the hands.


Hazel Stapleton received the tongue.


And Mother received the heart.

September 01, 2020 17:42

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2 comments

Lina Oz
04:47 Oct 23, 2020

I absolutely love this story; it's so creepy and terrifying. Have you ever seen Seven Pounds? This reminds me of that movie, but it's so much more terrifying and creepy, which I love. Awesome stuff.

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Lani Lane
14:04 Oct 25, 2020

This still is my favorite story of mine so I'm glad you liked it!! And it's kind of a horror take on Seven Pounds... I didn't realize that until after I wrote it haha!!

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