writing

Brownstone – Part 1

“Here’s the keys..” the lawyer handed her a macrame beaded keychain in red and white. The beads were faded and scratched. “You know how to find it?”

Her hand trembled from shock, but she knew the way. “Wait, so how did this come to me?”

“You are the only living heir.”

Confusion filled her face. “That’s not possible. I have siblings.”

“It’s isn’t blood heir, dear.”

She hated when she was patronized. Her mouth pursed.

“No, it isn’t a family-based heir. It’s what Jane wanted,” his voice trailed off as he picked up the folder from his desk.

“Just take the keys and go. We’re done here.” With his final words he waved her out of his office.


Melissa sat behind the wheel of her Mustang II jalopy. The car creaked as she put it in gear and made her way to the address. She knew the home well; but she didn’t understand why a distant cousin would leave the three story plus basement brownstone to her.

She parked on the urban street just outside. The tree lined street was crowded with walkers and life. Being blocks away from Wrigley Field meant it would always be crowded. She lucked out with the spot.

The aging car door groaned as she opened then closed it. If she slammed it too hard, the rust holding it together could shatter. Now she owned a home worth over a half of a million bucks. She clenched her hand around the keys as she ascended the stairs.

The brownstone was kept immaculately outside. A small welcome mat greeted her at the front door.

She fished out the security code to be ready to disarm the alarm, then unlocked the door. The door handle stuck a bit, so she pulled the door to her, heard the latch release, then finished turning the knob. The door opened into the foyer.

Hardwood floors lined the entry. Boxes littered the home with the last of Jane’s belongings. Melissa walked through the sitting room, then into the kitchen and the back bedroom and bath. The first floor had more square footage than her current apartment.

The next two floors were set up with various sitting and bedrooms. The house was large enough for a family of five or six.

“What am I to do with this?” She proclaimed to the empty halls. She stepped into the last bedroom on the top floor. The bed remained in the room, fully made. On the mantle sat a single envelope with her name scrawled in shaky writing.

She unsealed the envelope and read the letter inside:

Dear Melissa,

I know you are questioning why you, why this home. There are many treasures to unlock in life. This is just one of them.

I hope this sets you well on your path.

Love,

Cousin Jane

Enclosed with the letter was a business card to a local bank and another key. Another mystery for Melissa to pursue.

Melissa looked at her watch, but there was not enough time to get to that tonight. She picked up her phone and ordered delivery for dinner, then stripped the bed to launder the sheets down in the basement. Hopefully no more surprises awaited her for the rest of the night.


5 thoughts on “Brownstone – Part 1

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