Brownstone- Part Four

Melissa walked up to the three story brick building from the bank address given to her. It didn’t look like a bank. She pressed the buzzer.

A stern voice came over the p.a. “Do you have an appointment?”

Melissa was caught off guard. She stuttered, “I wasn’t aware I needed one.”

Silence greeted her for 30-seconds. Then the voice boomed, “Well? Who is it?”

“Melissa…Melissa Whitney. My cousin left…”

The speaker cut her off. “No accounts here with that name. Who sent you?”

Flustered, Melissa responded, “As I was about to say, my cousin Jane Millside left me directions to come here.”

Again silence. Melissa looked about anxiously, wondering if she was even in the right place.

“Okay. Come in,” the voice announced as the door buzzed and released. “Someone will be right with you.”

The voice seemed to soften as it trailed off.

Melissa stepped into the building onto a polished marble floor. As she looked around the foyer, she noted touches of ebony and gold inlay fashioned in the art deco style. She remembered how her cousin seemed to love that era, although it was decades before her time.

A stocky woman dressed in slacks and a loose fitting top hobbled toward Melissa. Her face, initially grimaced, turned to a smile upon seeing Melissa.

“Hi, Melissa. Nice to finally meet you. I’m Kathy, I knew your aunt,” Kathy almost oozed as she spoke.

“Nice to meet you,” Melissa shook her hand. “Jane was my cousin technically.”

Kathy just smiled back. “Okay, well, let me show you the way.”

Kathy led Melissa up a flight of red velvet covered stairs. On the landing sat two opposing desk of cherry wood. Beyond the desks were three vault doors.

Melissa thought to herself, what an odd place for a bank.

Kathy sat down at one desk and punched a few keys. “Come here Melissa. This is your console. I will be on the other machine.”

After Kathy stood up, Melissa took a seat and looked over the screen. A camera was pointed at her face ready to take a a photo, and the picture showed up looking back at her. She moved a lock of hair that hung across her forehead.

Kathy’s voice rang out, “Smile!”

Melissa pasted a smile on and the camera snapped. Then the screen turned black for a moment then displayed details about Jane’s accounts with the bank.

Melissa read over them, puzzled. “What is this list?”

Kathy sighed, “Oh dear, she didn’t get to tell you. Well, I guess I will have to show you.” Kathy abruptly stood up, almost toppling her chair over. She straightened her blouse, then waved to the third vault. “No time like the present!”

Kathy placed her hand on what looked to be a tablet, then had Melissa do the same. “There, I have transferred Jane’s accounts to you. You may enter when you are ready. Just spin the handle on the gear.”

Melissa felt like she was about to open the door to a prize on some tv game show as she cranked the gear. The thought What’s behind door number three? played in her mind. Finally the lock clicked loose and the door started to open. She hesitantly walked inside.

“You have the key, dear?” Kathy questioned from outside the vault.

Melissa shook her head then looked around the room to various lock boxes of differing sizes. She pulled the key up and realized there was a small inscription on it with the number 410.

The key seemed to guide her to a medium sized lockbox in the far corner of the room. She walked over and gently guided the key into the lock. The door opened and revealed another box inside.

“Go ahead, you can take it out and bring it from the vault,” Kathy beckoned.

The box was heavier than its size would predict. Melissa lugged the small box out and made her way to the desk.

As she stepped out, Kathy pushed the vault door closed and it made an echoing thud. “Don’t worry dear. We’ll put it back when you are done. I am going to give you some time to go through the contents. If you need me, just ring that little bell on the corner of the desk. I will be just downstairs.”

With that, Kathy left the second floor landing and Melissa was left alone to discover what Jane had left for her now.

4 thoughts on “Brownstone- Part Four

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