The Inheritance


Will looked at the house through the window of his beat-up sedan, rain trailing along the glass. The house was large, and the windows glowed warmly. He opened the door and cinched his coat tighter around his waist as he hurried toward the house.

When he reached the brick porch his dark hair stuck to his head and water dribbled down his face. He rang the bell and he could hear the sound of it echoing inside. Over a minute later the door opened to reveal a tall man, younger than Will, and fairer. He had the same eyes though.

“Willy? Come in.”

“Hey Harv. Thanks.” Will stepped inside and peeled off the soaked coat, revealing baggy cargo pants and a hoodie underneath.

“I was just in my study having a drink. I have a fire going. Let’s head back.”

“Sure.” He’d never been to his cousin’s house before, and couldn’t help but marvel at the scope of the place. It looked like something from a TV show. The study was stereotypical. It was all wood paneling and deep brown leather, with hints of deep green dotting the space. Will’s eyes were drawn to the desk, and the humidor featured on its surface. It was made of thin rectangles of a variety of woods carefully fit and laminated together to create a unique look. It was his grandfather’s, then it uncle’s, now it was supposed to be his. Harv caught him staring.

“You’re not here about the humidor are you Willy? We’ve already talked about this. You don’t even smoke cigars.”

“Don’t call me Willy.” He couldn’t stop his hands from shaking.

“Sorry. Will.”

“You know that I talked to Uncle Tim about it and he promised it to me. It’s the only thing I wanted. I’m taking it tonight.” He put his hand into the pocket of his pants.

Harv sat down behind the desk and opened the lid of the box. He pulled out a thick cigar with an ornate orange and gold ring around it, clipped the tip with gold trimmers, and lit it with a sleek gold torch. Leaning back in his chair, he puffed and rotated the cigar, ensuring an even burn. “You’re not taking the box out of this house. It is mine and I enjoy it. It’s enough that Dad took you in after your father went to prison, you don’t get first pick of his things now that he’s dead.”

“Uncle Tim hated you,” Will seethed. “You’re so goddamned entitled! He wanted me to have that, and I’m going to take it.” He pulled his shaking hand out of his pocket to reveal an old revolver, the metal weathered and showing signs of rust. He raised it and looked down the barrel. “You can give it to me, or I’ll take it myself. Just give me the humidor, Harvey.”

Harv laughed. “What are you going to do, shoot me? With that? Gramps’s old service revolver? Good luck. It probably hasn’t been fired since the war.”

The shot rang out loudly in the small study, and a thin trail of smoke rose from the tip of the gun’s barrel. “After a good cleaning and some practice, it does the job,” Will said to himself as he lowered it. He walked the three steps to the desk and picked up the humidor.

Running his hands along the side, he found the spot that his uncle had showed him two years ago, and pressed. A single panel clicked and slid out enough for him to pull it out the rest of the way revealing a thin drawer. Inside sat a safe-deposit box key. Will took it, and dropped the humidor back onto the desk, cigars spilling over its surface.

“Keep your damn box, Harvey,” Will said as he turned to leave. “I don’t need it anymore.”

~ fin ~

Ben Nein was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada to two public school teachers. He found a love of stories early, and it was dutifully fostered. He works to create both very short and longer pieces that create vivid scenes with a balance of atmosphere and character, and where story takes centre stage. Ben is still living in Winnipeg, with his wife and two children, where he has become a teacher himself. You can also see Ben’s work at 101 Words, follow him on Twitter @neinwrites, or check his website at