General Fiction posted September 23, 2016


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Dad's final words.

For The Love Of Charlie

by Maria Jose Garcia


'How's the old man?' Sarah asked her brother.

'The same as when you left. He's not long for this world.'

'I'll make some tea and take it up to him. I'll make some for myself too, I'm exhausted.'

'Good. I'll be back in a couple of days.'

Sarah looked at Richard's retreating back. Her brother had put on a lot of weight and his back had become hunched. He looked quite old these days. The worry wasn't doing them any favours. Their father was dying and there was nothing they could do to help him.

When the tea was ready, Sarah put it on a tray and took it upstairs. Pushing the door open with her back, she walked into her father's room.

On the four-poster bed, there was a skeletal man. His eyes were closed and his breathing laboured. The skin on his face was almost translucent and his nose looked like an eagle's beak.

Sarah put the tray on his night table and sat next to him.

'Dad? Are you awake?'

The man nodded, without opening his eyes.

'I brought you some tea.'

'I'm not thirsty,' he whispered. His voice sounded raspy and tired.

Sarah leant backwards, the night was going to be long. She wished she could be at home, asleep in her own bed.

'Where's Charlie? I want to see Charlie,' her father said.

'Charlie is asleep now,' Sarah said evasively.

'You know I'm leaving everything to him. He's the only one who was always by my side. The one who looked after me when I was lonely. Richard and you just turned up when you started smelling death... and money.'

'I know, Dad. I know.'

Tired by the long diatribe, the old man fell asleep.

In the silent room, Sarah thought about the future. What if her Dad really meant it? What if he left all his money to Charlie?

She remembered the day he had left home forever when she was still a little girl.

'Why is Daddy leaving?' she had asked her mum.

'He doesn't love us anymore,' her mother said. Suffocated by her own grief, she hadn't cared how much she hurt her daughter.

The truth was Sarah's mum was a cold, bitter woman and her dad had fallen in love with his secretary. Unfortunately, it hadn't worked out between them. Three months later, he had tried to return, but his wife had sent him packing.

'Go to hell, Richard! You had your chance and you blew it.'

So Richard Senior had left a second time. For a while, his life had been a mess. He missed his children desperately and his job was a nightmare.

But then he got lucky. He decided to start his own business and became incredibly successful. He sold multi-coloured lead holders and that apparently simple idea earned him millions of dollars.

However, time passed and his children became more and more distant. Their mother had poisoned them, and they didn't want to see him. They only met once or twice a year, at Christmas and in the summer.

Things changed, however, when they became adults. They suddenly realized it was important to be on good terms with their father if they wanted to inherit something. Besides, they realized he was the better parent by far.

When the old man turned eighty, Richard Junior started to become desperate. He had always been the least sensitive sibling.

'It's about time the old man kicked the bucket,' he said.

'Don't speak like that,' Sarah said. 'He's our father.'

Sometime in the middle of her reverie, Sarah fell asleep. A sun ray dancing on her lap woke her up at around five. She stretched and looked at her Dad. He stirred and opened his eyes.

'Can you please bring Charlie today?'

'I'll try, Dad.'

'Please, I beg you. I just want to say goodbye.'

'You're not going anywhere, Dad.'

'Cut the crap, Sarah! We both know I'm dying.'

The fury of his tone shut Sarah up. As a little girl, she'd always been afraid of her father's temper.

'Do you want some breakfast?'

'Just some milk.'

'I'll go and get it.'

'And remember I need to see Charlie.'

The next day was Friday. Richard Junior came to spend the weekend with his father.

'Anything new?'

'No. He keeps on wanting to see Charlie. He says he'll leave all his money to him. Maybe we should...'

'Don't worry. I'll try to think of something.'

Richard Senior held on to his life for two more months. Sarah was with him when he passed away. With the little strength he had left, he grabbed her arm and whispered just one word, 'Charlie...' Sarah had to admit she was jealous. It was true she needed the money, but her dad's love would have been welcome too.

Two days after Richard's death, his children met his lawyer in their father's study. He sat behind his client's desk, wearing a suit that was two sizes too small and looking bored.

'Let's read the will and get this over with, shall we?'

The document was long and Sarah didn't pay much attention till she finally heard the sentence she had been waiting for.

'And I leave the bulk of my fortune to Charlie...'

'This is unbelievable! I thought he wasn't serious! Is there nothing we can do?'

In a nearby stable, meanwhile, Charlie munched on some first-class straw, ignorant of his newly-acquired wealth.

 


Final Words writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Your character is going to die within moments. What are the final words? Describe the circumstances of the pending death, to whom you charcacter is speaking, who the character is, etc. are all optional.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by CammyCards at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2017. Maria Jose Garcia All rights reserved.
Maria Jose Garcia has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.