Category: a mother’s secrets

(WP) A Mother’s Secrets

               To say
that Rhys’s mother was eccentric was a major understatement.

               She’d
never fit in, a newcomer to the small town she’d chosen, and the people never
let her forget it. But she’d been happy, at least as far as Rhys knew.

               He’d
flown back from college when she’d called him, saying that she’d been
hospitalized, and she didn’t know how much time she had left. The entire flight
home, he’d cried, terrified that he was going to lose the only parent he’d ever
had.

               He’d
had a month and a half left with her, and Rhys’s heart still ached. His mother’s
lawyer had called, saying that it was time to read the will. Now he stood in a
suit that was too tight on him, hands stuffed in his pockets, in a richly
furnished room that smelled of books, tobacco, and leather.

               The
lawyer, Trevor McCall, sat at the desk opposite, and his eyes were sharp. Rhys
had known Trevor from childhood; his salt and pepper hair and thick glasses
were a familiar comfort.

               “You
can sit, if you want to,” He offered.

               Reluctantly,
Rhys sat down, and the room blurred and bowed in front of him; when he touched
his face, his fingers came away wet.

               “Can we
just get this over with?” He asked finally, unable to stem the flow of his
tears.

               Trevor
nodded, looking down at a sheaf of papers that covered his desk.

               “The last
will and testament of Tessa Chambers reads as follows: I bequeath all of my
worldly possessions and all other assets to my only son, Rhys.” It was short,
simple, sweet, just like his mother.

               Trevor put
a small stack boxes in front of Rhys, one of which was wide open.

               On the
top of all of the stuff, something bright red and shaped like a rectangle
caught Rhys’s eye.

               “Oh,
your mother said something else as well: ‘I left Rhys a book, thick and red and
leather-bound. Under no circumstances should he open it.”

               Rhys
stared at Trevor, momentarily distracted from his grief by that strange
request.

               “I don’t
understand.” He said, and for his part, Trevor shrugged. “You and me both,
young man.”

               **

               Rhys
left Trevor’s office, loading the boxes into the backseat of his car, his mind
churning with questions.

               Why had
his mother left him that mysterious volume? What secrets did it hold?

               He
drove home and began the Herculean task of unpacking his mother’s belongings,
but try as he might, he could not get the book out of his mind.

               Sick
with dread and doubt, he sat down in an armchair with the book in hand, Trevor’s
warning still ringing in his ears.

               The book
was thick, and despite its age, the leather still felt smooth in his hands.

               Did he
dare try to uncover his mother’s secrets? She’d been his best friend, and he’d
been certain that he’d known everything about her.

               But
clearly, he’d been wrong.

               **