A Prompt Response for Flasher Friday
This is my response to a prompt from Our Write Side to their Friday Flasher prompt. A short story in no more than 500 Words using four elements.
- Place: beneath the streets
- Character: a home builder
Object: two new light bulbs
by John Yeo
The family was gathered at a well-respected firm of solicitors to hear the reading of Grandfather’s last will and testament. Ruth, his daughter and her husband Wilfred, together with his two sons, Martin with his wife Maureen, and Malcolm, a confirmed bachelor. Seated around a highly polished old oak table in a wood-panelled room, with shelves full of law books, the atmosphere was tense.
Mr. Perkins, the family solicitor cleared his throat, before proceeding.
“This is the last will and testament of Mr. Horace Jones, Bricklayer, and Homebuilder.”
Everyone present leaned forward in their chairs expectantly.
“I have nothing much in cash to leave except a challenge. I have mortgaged all my properties and turned my cash and collateral into an investment, that is located beneath the streets of the town of Middleburgh. I have deposited in our family tomb in the Catacombs, a secure casket containing the Jewel in my Crown, and I would like all present to get there if you are brave enough. The winner takes the prize.”
There were gasps of surprise all around the table, even Mr. Perkins raised an eyebrow at this surprise. Ruth fainted, and her husband Wilfred shocked, said, “We are both sufferers of Claustrophobia, the old rascal knew that I don’t think he has left anything at all!”
“You’re absolutely right!” Interjected Martin, “This is a Wild Goose chase the old felon was a gambler and probably broke, he is having us on from beyond the grave.”
Malcolm then spoke up, “Can we challenge this will? I will try to get there. I think this is total nonsense!”
Mr. Perkins then said, “Yes, of course, the will can be challenged but what are you actually challenging? An alleged fortune, and who do you challenge?”
It was Martin’s wife Maureen who came up with the idea of everyone going to the Jones family tomb together. “We will all be present at the opening of the box that way! We can take care of everything for the claustrophobic family members when we get there.”
“Good idea,” said Malcolm.
“Yes! We will come along as far as we can,” said Ruth’s husband, Wilfred.
A week later found the party wending their way through the old catacombs to the tomb. Cobwebs were hanging everywhere, A strange tense mood had gripped everyone as Ruth and Wilfred had quickly given up. Their Claustrophobia mingled with Arachnophobia had made it impossible for them to continue.
A figure loomed up in the semi-darkness as an old man with a pronounced stoop stepped forward out of the gloom. “It’s OK!” he said grinning, “I’m the caretaker here, I have just fitted two new light bulbs along the corridor. We had a visitor last night, who broke into one of the tombs, we can’t figure out why.”
There was a shocked silence. The answer became obvious when they reached the ransacked Jones family tomb.
A year later Malcolm was happily retired in the Bahamas.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
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