A Baneful Bequest, Part 1 of 6

in fiction •  2 years ago 


Orion Spendlove took a deep breath and shoved open the door to his grandfather's home. The alarm pad next to the front door beeped at him, and he fumbled through his notebook to find the deactivation code. The beeping was quite insistent by the time he convinced the device to shut up.

With the front door closed, the house was dead silent. Orion spent the next twenty minutes wandering through the neat home, trying to dredge up any memories at all of being there. He knew he had been, when he was little, because he recognized the living room.

The only picture he had of himself with his father had been taken there. Right there, on the leather couch. It looked exactly the same; even the furniture looked unworn, as if he'd stepped back in time fifteen years.

"Home, sweet home?" he asked the air. "Should I move in? It's not like I need to stay in school anymore." He'd inherited a not-so-small fortune from his grandfather. Even after taxes, he would never need to work a day in his life.

Oddly, he'd found that becoming rich almost overnight had sapped his drive. His plans, the things he'd been working for, were suddenly meaningless. What was the point of spending years in school to get a job he didn't need? Surely he could find something better to do with his time. He'd change his major, at least, if he decided to continue his education.

Orion soon found himself in his grandfather's office. He was a little surprised to see an elaborate computer setup, with four monitors on arms mounted to the wall behind the heavy wood table that served as a desk. It was powered down, of course. The opposite wall held huge chalkboards, of the type used in university lecture halls. They were blank, and not just erased, but recently washed clean.

One of the side walls caught his attention as he turned to leave. It was mostly bookshelves, but a glass-faced cabinet was tucked in the corner, and he could see a couple rifles. Orion had always loved guns---machines of all kinds, really---and couldn't resist taking a look.

"Whoa," he said, when he opened the door. The cabinet held more than the pair of hunting rifles he'd expected. The rifles were there---ornate European double rifles---but there was also a sheathed basket-hilted sword and belt, several engraved semiautomatic pistols, and what he thought was a 20 gauge Howdah.

But what really caught his eye was the Thompson submachine gun. It was out of place in the collection, well-worn as it was, and rather than sitting in a neat slot in the cabinet like the rest of the weapons, it was just crammed in the corner.

Orion gripped the weapon to pull it free and yelped at the cold shock that ran through his hand and arm. He stepped back in surprise, but found he couldn't release the Thompson. His hand had gone rigid, locked around the foregrip, the tips of his fingers glued to the frigid barrel.

"Gah! What the hell---" he exclaimed, but another voice cut him off. It boomed cheerfully through the office, seemingly from all sides at once.

"Well it's about damn time! I thought I'd rust away to nothing before you turned up."

Thanks for reading. Part 2 will be up tomorrow evening.

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