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Becca tapped her fingers on her leg. It was a nervous habit she had picked up from her mother. The air in the room was silent and heavy as she reread the words on the page. In order to inherit the house and all it’s belongings, she must reside for no less than 1 month.

She remembered the house from her childhood, damp and dusty. It was old and sat on the end of a long dirt drive in a sort of lonely oasis. But she also remembered it to be in decent condition and quite large, with tall ceilings that made a small child seem somewhat majestic as they crossed the threshold. She thought she could sell the house and come into a substantial amount of money.

“Is it still the same as it used to be?” she asked, thinking of the china cabinet and crystal chandeliers. She couldn’t help but see dollar signs run through her mind.

The attorney nodded. The large display of books behind him made him appear small even though the room itself was closet sized and had the opposite effect. A small office was something Becca was not used to in the world of attorneys. “I believe so.” His voice was soft and calm as he contemplated her question. “I visited her several times a year and once a week recently, up until her death. She didn’t change a thing that whole time I spent with her.”

“I’ll do it,” she blurted out impulsively. The thought excited her and she could think of no other thing than digging herself out of debt.

“Great,” the attorney, with his big round glasses, peered from behind his desk as he shuffled the papers around and placed them in front of her one by one. “I’ll just need you to sign here, and here.” He pointed to each page and although she knew she should read a contract before signing, it was pounded into her brain since birth, she didn’t even skim a word of it.

Her mind swirled with memories of Aunt Jo as she watched Mr. Honeyweather gather up and organize all of the papers. She remembered dancing with Aunt Jo in the middle of the giant entryway as she entered to stay the weekend. They would spin in circles and sing silly songs about the upcoming events, we are gonna make the bestest cookies with the mostest frosting and the messiest sprinkles, in whatever tune, or not-tune, that they serenaded out of their mouths. Aunt Jo’s skirt would spin in larger and larger circles. The chandelier sparkled from the light entering in the wide open door and the floor to ceiling windows that surrounded it in a rainbow of colors. It all made her feel like a princess with her own castle.

“This is everything you need to know,” the attorney spoke, pulling her from her thoughts. He pulled a case from under his desk and sat it on top. He pushed it over towards her. It was wooden, rounded on top, with a leather handle. She turned it around in her hands to look it over. It was surprisingly light. There were red and purple flowers that were somewhat bright in some areas, mostly under the handle, but the color was faded on one side, as if it spent plenty of time in the sun. The lines that were interwoven throughout pulled themselves into a map upon closer inspection. Was that Salem and a map of a cemetery?, she wondered and even tried to see it in different lights as she twisted and turned it.

She didn’t know how much time had passed as she inspected her newly acquired object, but when she came to the realization that she was still sitting in Mr. Honeyweather’s office, she stood to say goodbye, only to find he had already left.


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