By Roger Noons
“I’ve obviously not made myself clear, Miss Dixon. I have come to advise you of your sister’s death and tell you the terms of your inheritance.”
“I don’t want anything.”
“It doesn’t work like that. You can do what you wish with the money and property, but first, you must accept it.”
Margaret shook her head. “Give it to someone else,” she shouted. “I don’t deserve it.”
The young solicitor was at a loss. Usually, such news would have had beneficiaries excited, impatient to learn the details. She was not to know, but her sister had left almost a million pounds, most of it in cash deposits.
“May I ask, Miss Dixon, do you have a particular solicitor who acts for you?”
Again she shook her head.
“Would you like to engage a lawyer, to represent you? I’m not at liberty to recommend, but there is a list in the telephone directory.”
“No … thank you.”
“Are you able to tell me why you feel this way?”
She ceased finger combing her hair and studied the bearded man. So rare these days, she thought, to see someone wearing a tie and three-piece suit. She took a deep breath.
“Phillipa was older than me, she married when she was 23. Her husband’s family were builders, reputable. Her wedding present from Alan was a German sports car. It was their intention to start a family right away and although they tried and spent a fortune on consultants, five years later they were left with no choice but adoption. Alan was unprepared to father another man’s son.”
“By that time, I was at university, spending more time enjoying myself than studying and I became pregnant. Being two hundred miles away I was able to keep it from the family and had an abortion. I had no intention of anyone finding out but the following Christmas, having drunk too much, I inadvertently let slip to Pip what happened. She went into a rage.”
“You could have had it and we would have adopted it … we would have paid all your fees, set you up … we would have given anything …”
All I could think to say was “Sorry.”
“Early January, as I was about to go back to college, she paid me a visit. She demanded to know the date when I had the termination and promised that each year on that date she would remind me of my sin. Ever since, she has physically punished me on an annual basis. I never had to go to hospital, but I have the scars of seventeen years of beatings. I have always borne it as it enabled me to show contrition.”
The man stared, unnerved by the tears that streamed down her face.
“Who will take her place,” Miss Dixon shrieked.
Roger Noons writes film scripts as well as short stories and poetry. His work has been published in numerous anthologies and in 2018, 75 of his 300 words or less flash fiction pieces were published under the title Slimline Tales.