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Fiction Holiday Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of substance abuse.

The lawyer plopped a folder onto the desk labeled “Moira MacTavish” onto the desk. Moira’s lawyer had made a promise and agreed not to take any peeks at the contents of the folder until she had passed on, which she had done so three days ago.

“Your late mother has asked that I be referred to as just, Lawyer,” stated the Lawyer.

“That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest,” replied Katherine. “My mother always was a bit of an eccentric.” Katherine was Moira’s only daughter and the middle child of her siblings. Though, due to being the only girl, she was able to escape much of the neglect that seems to be typical of middle children.

“Quite true. Your mother made it perfectly clear that I wasn’t to look inside this folder until she had passed and her family had gathered in this office. Her office, rather.”  Looking around the room, it mostly seemed like an ordinary office or study, albeit a bit extravagant. Two large bookshelves containing a couple hundred volumes, many of which had likely never been read, stood behind a very large mahogany desk where Katherine and the Lawyer sat opposite one another. The rest of the room was lightly decorated with matching furniture covered in plants and art pieces. The Eastern side of the office featured huge floor to ceiling windows with a one foot sill that one of Moira’s cats had claimed as his seat for the announcement. The Western side of the office featured a gigantic portrait of Moira wearing a Valkyrie helmet and little else riding a tiger and pointing a sword to the heavens.

“Once the others arrive, we can get started.” As if these words were a summoning spell, the front door creaked open and several sets of footsteps could be heard clomping upon the hardwood floors of the main lobby. Neither Katherine nor the Lawyer moved as the invite instructions had been clear to meet in Moira’s office and everyone invited was well aware of where to find it. 

“Afternoon,” Michael said, leading the way into the room through the open door, his wife and daughter a pace behind him.

“Michael, it’s good to see you.” Katherine stood up and hugged her brother. She looked over his shoulder and caught eyes with Michael’s wife. “Jenny, nice to see you as well.”

“Jennifer. And you too.” Jennifer had said few words but her eyes spoke volumes. “Laura say hello to your Aunt Kat.” The little girl looked up at Katherine and hid behind her mother’s legs. Katherine wasn’t entirely convinced that Jennifer hadn’t taught her to do so.

“Been here long?” Michael said, dragging two chairs closer to the desk. 

“Not too long. We can get started as soon as Phillip arrives.” Kat scooched her chair to the right to make room for the others.

“Pip? What’s the point? Mom never liked him anyway, let’s just get on with this.” Michael could almost feel the heat from Katherine’s glaring eyes burning a hole through his temple. He didn’t look her way and pretended to fidget with his chair placement instead.

“Please don’t start, this isn’t the place for that. Besides, it’s in the directions that all three of us need to be present in order to begin. Isn’t that correct, Lawyer?”

“Those are your mother’s wishes, yes.” said the Lawyer.

“Did you just call him Lawyer? Bit rude, no?” Jennifer piped up with a snarky tone.

“That is what Moira has instructed me to be referred to by. Simply, Lawyer.” The Lawyer spoke up before Katherine could hurl daggers at her brother’s wife.

Jennifer stared at him for a moment, perplexed. “Your mother, Michael, I swear.”

“Yes I know, even after she’s gone, nothing surprises me anymore. Can we please get started at least. Pip’s always late, we’ll be here forever if we have to wait for him. Who’s to say that he’ll even show up?”

Once again, there was magic in their words, as not a moment after Michael had finished talking they could hear the sound of a motorcycle pulling up to the house.

Phillip walked into the room carrying his helmet under one arm and running his hand through his hair.

“Uncle Phil!” Laura yelled running over to him. Laura loved Phillip, much to Michael and Jennifer’s fear and Katherine’s jealousy. Though they didn’t agree on many things, but the three of them could most certainly agree that it would be in the child’s best interest if Phillip would get back on his motorcycle and drive it straight into the ocean.

“Little Laura,” Phillip picked her up and gave her a hug, looking at everyone over her shoulder. “So, how much did I get?”

“Really Pip?” Michael looked at him with disdain.

“What? Isn’t that why we’re all here? Don’t try to make me look like the bad guy, you’re all here for the same reason as me.” Pip let Laura down and she ran over to her mom. “To get paid, right?” His siblings just shook their heads and turned away.

“Well, Lawyer, we’re all here now, can we get started?” Michael asked impatiently.

“Did you just call him ‘Lawyer’ Mike? Jeez, and you guys call me disrespectful.” Pip chuckled as he pulled an ottoman over and sat behind everyone else.

“That’s what Mom wanted us to call him.” 

“That’s the most ‘Mom’ thing ever. Okay Lawyer, go ahead.

The siblings all sat facing forward looking attentively at the Lawyer and the folder he had before him.

“Right. Thank you all for being here today. Your mother, Moira, left me explicit instructions not to open this folder until after her passing and when all of you were in attendance, so I also do not know the contents. Please forgive me for saying anything offensive or out of pocket as I will be reading your Mother’s words and as I’m sure you are all aware, Moira lived without a filter.” Everyone in the room gave their own brand of nodding agreement.

“Great, then allow me to begin.”

Lawyer opened the folder and removed the document inside. He stood the pages up in front of him and began reading.

“The last will and testament of Moira MacTavish.” Lawyer cleared his throat and continued.

“No doubt you are all here today sitting in my home, frothing at the mouth, waiting to hear what your dear old mother has left you to squabble over. Well the answer is nothing. I’ve left nothing for you greedy little parasites.” Lawyer stopped for a moment and looked up to see everyone in the room, except for Laura, positively gob smacked. He looked back down at the pages and continued.

“That’s right, you’ve heard me correctly. You’re all ungrateful, always were, and I have nothing to give you. None of you ever listened to your dear old mother in life and so you are going to sit and listen to me now. I spent my best years raising you little good for nothings and for what? So you could all abandon me in my darkest days only to turn up now to loot my corpse. After your father died, I only saw each of you during birthdays and holidays, and even during those times I could tell none of you wanted to be there.”

“Yeah, okay, I’ve had enough of this,” Michael interrupted, “come on girls, we’re leaving.”

“But I haven’t quite finished yet,” protested the Lawyer.

“No but I have. I’m done listening to this nonsense. Let’s go sweetie.” Michael picked up Laura and followed Jennifer out the door. “Don’t bother filling me in on what I’ve missed later. I’ve gotten the gist of it.” And with that, they walked out the front door and the rest of the attendees could hear the car starting and driving off.

“Very well, shall I continue?” the Lawyer asked the remaining two siblings.

“I suppose so,” said Katherine.

“I’m actually kind of enjoying this,” said Pip.

“Alright. Ahem.” the Lawyer continued with Moira’s words.

“Even now, from beyond the grave, I can hear your poison words saying things like ‘mom is crazy’, ‘mom is eccentric’, ‘mom has lost her marbles’. Well you would be crazy too if you had to deal with ungrateful little brats like you all your life. None of you even know what I’ve been up to the last 6 months, do you? After the doctor told me I had only that long to live, I decided to drop everything and travel the world. For 6 months I ate and drank and slept with everyone I could get my hands on.”

“Yeah okay that’s enough.” Pip stood up and grabbed his motorcycle helmet. “I don’t think I need to hear any more about Mom’s liaisons.” Katherine and Lawyer watched as he walked out of the office and back into the hallway. The front door opened and shut and they heard his motorcycle start up and take off down the driveway.

“Shall I press on then?” Lawyer looked at Katherine who was rubbing her eyebrows with her thumb and forefinger.

“Why not?” she said with a sigh.

Lawyer continued.

“I started in the Caribbean and spent a few weeks laying around topless on hot, sandy beaches. You wouldn’t believe the attention an old gal like myself was getting. From there I flew to Europe and tried a bunch of party drugs that I can’t seem to remember the names of, but they made dancing a lot easier with my old joints. I went to a live soccer game and partied with hooligans. I traveled to The Seychelles and hung out with big turtles. Or tortoises. Oh for heaven’s sake it doesn’t matter. I went to so many places that I lost count and I had the greatest time not thinking about any of you. I was finally free to just be myself and not have to worry about my damn needy kids.”

“I can’t,” Katherine began to tear up, “I can’t listen to any more of this. I’m sorry, I have to go.”

“Are you sure? I’m almost finished here.” Lawyer protested.

“I’m sure, thank you Lawyer.” And with that, Katherine stood up and walked out of the office and out the front door.

Not having any personal stake in the matter, and born of pure, morbid curiosity, Lawyer read on from Moira’s will.

“That is how I felt, until I got home you see. This is my last week on this earth and I can’t go peacefully thinking about my children, as ungrateful as you all are, going without. All I ever wanted was to be a good mom to you, but none of you ever listened to me. I just wanted to be heard. Even now I’m sure at least one of you has stopped listening to an old woman’s ramblings. And so I’ve decided to leave the remainder of my estate, which is considerable, to be divided equally among  whomever is still in attendance at this time. Oh Lawyer, that includes you. A gift for having to put up with these brats.”

April 19, 2022 21:10

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1 comment

Gillian Kingsley
04:19 Apr 29, 2022

A good story about a disconnected family with a great twist at the end, well done!


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