Anton jumped at the sound of the doorbell. The Seth Thomas clock above the fireplace read 11:57.

Only ax murderers ring doorbells at midnight.

If he ignored them, maybe they would go away. He reached for his wineglass and sipped. Eyes closed he savored the spicy vintage.


Anton set down his glass with a thump. Crimson liquid splashed over the rim. “Hold your horses.”


He stomped towards the front door. “I said, I’m coming already!”

How rude.

Anton drew the curtain back and tried to get a glimpse of the jerk who was interrupting a spectacular shiraz. Ice crystals painted the glass. Beautiful. And completely opaque. He sighed, flipped open the deadbolt, and cracked the door.

Icy fingers of wind crept in, sending a quiver up his spine. No one was on the porch. Anton slammed the door shut, grumbling.


Anton whipped around and flung the door open. He stuck his head out to look around. The motion sensor tripped and the porch light came on, blinding him. He shivered again. It had nothing to do with the arctic air.

He looked down. An antique steamer trunk perched on the edge of the steps.

What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks?

Everything was silent, the country lane deserted.

Curiosity killed the cat.

He grabbed the trunk and wrestled it inside.

Anton paced around the heavy wooden chest, debating whether he should open it. He stooped to take a closer to look at the intricate carvings. Men and women adorned the top, in compromising positions. He frowned. No. It was all men. The relief was detailed, the tiny men seemed to wriggle and writhe. His lips curled in distaste.


Anton grabbed his wine and drained the glass. He glared at the trunk.

Should I?

The chest called to him, begging him to open it. He reached for the wine bottle and poured out the dregs. He gulped it down.

You only live once.

With a jerk, he flipped open the lid. Anything to stop staring at those shocking engravings. Inside, he found the trunk filled with clothes. Atop the carefully folded fabrics, sat a creamy parchment envelope.

The paper was textured, thick almost like linen. Expensive. Anton pulled out a crisp, folded letter and read, wide-eyed.

Dear Anton,

If you are reading this, I am no longer of this world. I always admired what a proper gentleman you became. Despite your virtues, you never did have a sense of fashion. I  thought you’d enjoy sprucing up your repertoire.

Uncle Leonard

Anton grimaced. His mother’s brother had been sweet, but a bit of a dandy. Wealthy and eccentric. Shunned by the family for…lifestyle choices. Anton pawed through the clothes. Sequins and gold lamé.

Such a cliche.

He pulled out a cranberry satin vest and held it up to the light. The navy paisley was subtle, tasteful even. It would match his Armani suit.

This I can do. In homage. RIP Leo.

Anton tucked the vest under his arm and headed up to bed.


Anton slammed the front door.

What a bitch of a day.

He blushed. Internal monologue or not, there was no cause for foul language. It had been a nightmare of a day though. Richard in accounting had complimented Leo’s vest, and Anton had made the most inappropriate rejoinder. It was as if his tongue had a mind of its own.

He needed a drink.

Anton perused the liquor cabinet. His fingers trailed suggestively over the usual suspects. Cabernet. Merlot. Pinot Noir. He hovered over a bottle of Old Crow.

What’s that doing there?

He cracked open the bottle and took a deep draught. It burned going down. He coughed. The amber liquor tasted faintly of burnt toast.


A foreign thought superimposed itself.


Anton shook his head. He walked across the room, taking another pull.

“Fuck!” The curse echoed in the empty den. His toe throbbed where it caught against the corner of the trunk.

Nestled amongst the sweaters a hatbox caught his eye. Anton slipped off the lid and flipped the fedora onto his head with a flick of his wrist. He surveyed himself in the mirror.


Fly? What the…

Dual voices warred. Anton’s stomach flipped. His reflection grinned at him and winked.

Anton’s hands moved of their own volition, pulling out a lilac, pinstripe suit.

Yes. We’ll wear this tomorrow, when we ask Dick, in accounting, for drinks.

Leo smoothed the silky fabric and squashed Anton’s screams.

17 thoughts on “Inheritance

  1. Intriguing. I like the style of short monologue thoughts interluded throughout, but I didn’t quite understand why you chose third person voice when the narration is still focused on Anton until the very end. If there was a bit more allusion to the end throughout the narration, it might help add the suspense that the horror genre loves! Or switch to first person and focus in on Anton’s revelation and reaction at the end as he is “squashed”? Interesting word choice there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Imaginings, we needed a bit more build up, maybe it was the word count that limited you in building the suspense. Writing it in first person might have helped with the suspense as well, maybe Anton noticed something changing inside of him when he wore the vest that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. I can see where you were going that route when you used his change in language to illustrate that something was changing him. Overall, good story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really loved the insertion of Anton’s internal monologue. It gave us an insight into Anton’s frame of mind, his progressive quashing and succession by Leo, and his distress as what was happening began to dawn on him.

    The distinction between the third person POV in narration and Anton’s thoughts worked well to reinforce each other — the reader gets a good picture of what’s happening through the narration, and how Anton’s feeling, thinking, and coping through his thoughts. The third person narrator also allowed you to set up the introduction of the chest and give the reader backstory in an authentic way (through Uncle Leo’s letter).

    The short paragraphs were a good way to keep a breathy pace through the piece. I especially liked the change of Anton’s language that signalled what was happening (also I giggled at “h-e-double-hockey-sticks”!).

    My only critique is the typo you missed (“He cracked open the bottle and took a deep daught” — *draught).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the words you used! Very descriptive. I found it interesting that Anton was disgusted by the engravings on the chest and then while wearing Uncle Leo’s clothes, he is flirting with a co-worker. I would say Leo got the last laugh after being banned by the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I liked the third person with Anton’s thoughts interspersed. If I’m nitpicking, the line where he says “h-e-double-hockey-sticks” and his “bitch of a day” didn’t feel like a total fit with who I was imagining him to be. He seemed like sort of put-on proper, so I thought he’d either go with no curse words, or he’d use them all the time in his head since he censored himself in public. But, again, nitpicking. I thought the suspense built well, and there were enough hints sprinkled throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anton’s fussy character and ensuing transformation come across well (especially the H-E-double-hockey-sticks). Interesting concept, eternal life via bequeathed fashion!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A wardrobe with a possessed wardrobe 🙂 hah! This was my favorite: Anton drew the curtain back and tried to get a glimpse of the jerk who was interrupting a spectacular shiraz. I liked that Anton was such a stick-in-the mud and had to constantly remind himself to /be/ a stick in a mud, which I think made him particularly susceptible to a hostile takeover. I loved the “raven” like feel of a mysterious visitor and internal fights and speculations and rejections of the obvious. Also, never open a strange wardrobe after a weird bell ringing. Just no. The only thing that took some air out of the creep was the abrupt scene switch… The vest was a great seque but for me it was disconnected from the voice switch.

    Loved the questionable actions of the male carvings too 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I felt for Anton (until he mentioned “lifestyle choices.” Eye roll). No one gets between me and a spectacular Shiraz! I think there’s a chronology issue with “Ice crystals painted…” That’s referring to a window or a door, right? Not the wine glass? Move after mention of door maybe so the reader can visualize it. Typo: “he stooped to take to closer…”

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Lifestyle choices”

      Please note that the flawed opinions of the character do not reflect the views of the author. 😉

      Damn. Another typo. Blaming that on the Shiraz too. I don’t always write tipsy. *blush*


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