Every atom in my body is numb.
I read the letter once more, struggling to focus on what I’m actually reading.
“Towns?“, Elle’s worried voice cuts into the loud sound of my pulse in my ears. “You alright?”
I let the letter drift down to the counter and look at the following page, gulping loudly.
Elle grabs the letter from the counter and a gasp comes from her side of the kitchen island as I begin to read more:
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF
Robert Cash Wolfe
I, Robert Wolfe, resident in the city of Spillwater, county of Cumberland, State of Washington, being of sound mind, not acting under duress or undue influence and fully understanding the nature and extent of all my property and of this disposition thereof, do hereby make, publish, and declare this document to be my Last Will and Testament, and revoke any and all wills and codicils heretofore by me.
I read part one of the will, and see that all expenses and debts owed by Robert Wolfe have been taken care of by his Personal Representative, who he has named in his will as Benjamin Blackwell in part two.
I completely stop breathing when my eyes read my name in part three:
III. DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY
I devise and bequeath my property both real and personal and wherever situated as follows:
Miss. Townsend Marie Walker, currently of 12 Bonita Drive Santa Monica California, as my niece whose last four digits of their social security number are xxx-xx-9901 with the following property:
3 Wolf Lane, Spillwater WA 98331
The Will is signed by Robert Wolfe and there are two other signatures underneath the Witness lines.
Walter D. Faulkner.
William W. Skarsgard.
My cheeks tingle and I know my blood pressure has risen.
“I’m callin’ Momma”, Elle says, while she grips the letter in her hands and quickly places her phone between her shoulder and ear.
My hands are now trembling. How was this even possible? I’m a niece? I was I a niece? I had an uncle? My mind questioning everything. Robert Wolfe died in June, which was two months ago. How am I just now being notified?
“Momma,” I hear Elle, but it sounds like she’s a million miles away.
I was utterly in shock. This Will had all my information, my address, my name, my social. How did it take 2 months to get to me?
“....Townsend?“, Elle’s hand flags in my field of vision, and my eyes snap up to look at her. “Momma wants to talk to you.”
“I’m kinda busy right now, Elle”, shaking my head, annoyed instantly with her and gaze back down to the legal document in my hands.
I reread it again, making sure I wasn’t misunderstanding it.
This had to be a mistake. I had a closed adoption for Christ’s sake.
“She’s just staring at some paperwork like she’s a deer in headlights”, Elle tells Momma, and I hear the quick and loud chatter of my mother on the other end of the phone line.
I drop the documents on the counter and snatch my cell from my bag, which still rests on the kitchen island from the night before, and then snatch the letter from Elle’s hands as she’s reading it aloud to our mother. I walk through the kitchen and out the back door to my back-covered porch.
The dry heat fills my lungs as I take a deep long breath, closing my eyes, trying to allow for the outdoor air to calm my nerves.
This had to be a mistake. My birth parents wanted a closed adoption. No contact. No information. Nothing but my date of birth would be given to my adoptive parents.
My eyes fling open.
A flood of thoughts bombard my brain and I suddenly feel my knees quiver.
If I was being contacted as the last of kin to my uncle, then that means my mother or father wasn’t alive.
“Fuck,” I whimper and clamber back to the patio furniture then collapse down. I was completely confused about everything at the moment, but I knew the only reason I was being contacted was that I was the only one left.
After a few moments, I gather my bearings and then type the phone number on the letter for Blackwell and Mason then press the call button.
My mouth is incredibly dry and my body is anxious as I listen to the phone ring once and then a woman answers. “Law office of Blackwell and Mason. Helen speaking. How may I help you?“, I try to speak but nothing comes out so I clear my throat.
“Um, yes. I’d like to speak with Benjamin Blackwell please?”
“Mr. Blackwell is with a client at the moment. May I take a message?” The woman named Helen has a scratchy voice that sounds as if she smoked cigarettes as a teenager.
“Please”, I wait a moment so she can grab a pen or something. My head falls back against the couch and I stare up at the outdoor ceiling fan above me.
“Of course, name please?”
“This is Townsend Walker. I just received a-“, I begin to say.
“Miss Walker?” Helen’s startled voice cuts me off.
“Miss. Walker, it seems Mr. Blackwell’s client just left, let me transfer you over to him.“, she says so fast that before I could thank her, I’m put on hold. And before the lousy hold music starts, a deep gruff voice answers the phone.
“Benjamin Blackwell speaking.”
“Uhh, yes, Mr. Blackwell. My name is Townsend Walker. I just received your...package.”
“I’m so glad you called Miss Walker-”
“Townsend”, I correct him quickly.
“Yes...of course, ma’am.“, he responds and then silence. I lick my dry lips and double-check I didn’t accidentally hang up on him but see the call is still live.
“Um, I’m a little...confused. As I’m sure you’re aware my adoption was closed.”
“Yes ma’am. And my apologies for the time discrepancy. I mailed out the documents as soon as I was legally able to get the authority to overturn your closed adoption status.”
“Oh.“, I’m unable to say anything else.
“And my condolences to you for the loss of your uncle. He was a good man.” Agitation burns in my chest suddenly. But, I gulp it down.
Grinding my teeth together I mutter, “Thank you.” Because what else am I supposed to say? Shouldn’t I be giving my condolences to him instead?
“I know it’s asking a lot of you ma’am, but I just came across another document of your uncle’s yesterday. Would you be willing to come to Spillwater?”
Of course, I was going. It didn’t matter if there was more for me or not. This town was the home to my birth family. Hell, I might have even been born there myself.
“Yes, umm, I know you said in your letter you were friends with Robert...but, how did he...die?“, I ask.
“Oh yes, I’m sorry. You must have a million questions, I’m sure. Your uncle passed away after a quick battle with brain cancer.”
“Oh.“, I nod while looking out to the busy expanse in front of me. “Has there already been a funeral?”
“No, Cash didn’t want a funeral. He was buried in the Wolfe Family plot.” I look at the afternoon traffic, on interstate five, off in the distance that has already begun. “I’m assuming...my birth parents...they are also dead?”
“Oh,” Benjamin’s somber tone seeps deep into my ear, “yes ma’am James and Rebecca passed away twenty-two years ago.”
An imaginary freight train rams straight into my stomach. I feel my body want to fold forward but I take a full labored breath to remain calm.
Not only did Benjamin give me the first bit of information about my birth parents, but he confirmed my suspicions about their death.
“Twenty-two years ago?” I repeat. I’m twenty-two.
I sit there, gazing again at the clear blue sky, and bite my lower lip. “Um, thank you for...everything. I’m just a little overwhelmed at the moment.”
“Yes, of course, ma’am. Take your time.”
I stand from the couch and step one foot in front of the other until I find myself at the back door and step inside, “I’ll pack my things today. I’ll head for Spillwater tomorrow”.
“Oh good. Will you want a car to pick you up at the airport in Seattle?”
“No. I’m going to drive. I need time to process all of this”
And with that, I disconnect the call. Stepping inside, Ell is perched on the barstool and looking at my laptop, which she must’ve pulled from my shoulder bag, still on the phone jabbering with our mother.
“Oh she’s back inside,” Elle tells Momma and then spins the computer around to face me. “Look at this property, Townsend.“, she shows me.
I’m still trying to catch my breath when I almost stumble over to the island where she’s sitting and look at my computer screen. “It’s huge!” I exclaim.
I’m looking at a run-down huge house, with white brick covered in ivy. It’s two stories with red-framed large Italian windows. On either side of the main house are twin curved extensions with chimneys jutting out of the top. Overgrowth of trees and bushes takes over the landscape in the photograph. “You could sell this for a pretty penny, even if it looks like a dump.” I hear Momma agree with Elle on the phone line.
Right, fucking morons.
My family can be very, very vapid sometimes.
“Elle,” I look away from the mansion on the computer screen to my sister who is listening to something Momma has to say. “I’m going to Washington, can you watch my house while I’m away?”
Elle’s already large eyes widen even more. “Momma, I have to go. She’s fixin’ on going to bum-fuck, Washington.” Elle disconnects quickly and looks at me like I’ve literally kicked a puppy across the room.
“Please?” I add.
“Towns. Are you sure? I mean, just sell the damn house you don’t need-”
I hold up my hand to shut her up, “I’m going. And I would appreciate it if you could keep an eye on my house here.”
Elle purses her lips together and then nods once, “Sure, Sugar. Let’s get you packed.”
What do we think of this information?
Of her adoptive family?
She arrives in Spillwater next chapter (queue Twilight soundtrack) but sorry- to vampires or werewolves here! However, I cant say the same for monsters!