“Al! Oh Al, you’re finally here!”
Alexandra McCarthy looked up and saw her beloved cousin Iris McCarthy holding on to the ends of her dress and sprinting down the steps that led up to the ancestral McCarthy mansion. Though Iris was already well into her twenties and one of the youngest professors at a newly established university in India, in the eyes of Alexandra, she will always be her darling little cousin.
“Hello Iris,” Alexandra said cheerfully as she gave her cousin a big hug. “It’s good to finally see you again. It’s been far too long since we last met!” Iris kissed her cousin on the cheek then proceeded to take one of her bags. They then continued to climb up the dreadfully long flight of stairs leading to the old family home.
“Well, we would meet up more often if you weren’t always away on business trips!”
Alexandra chuckled. “Yes, I am quite sorry about being away so much. But, houses don’t just design themselves!” After graduating from university, Alexandra had decided not to join the family business, choosing instead to pursue a career as an architect. She loved her job because of how many places she got to visit and all the amazing houses she got a chance to take part in designing.
“Yes, yes Al, always going on about those buildings of yours,” Iris said while rolling her eyes. “Though I’m not thrilled about the circumstances that brought us together, I am indeed very happy to see you again.”
“Poor uncle Edward, I sure will miss him.”
A week ago, patriarch of the McCarthy family, Edward McCarthy, passed. Alexandra and Jacqueline , who both could not attend the funeral in time because they lived so far away from the rest of the family, had been informed by letters to gather at the McCarthy ancestral home on Sycamore Island with the rest of the family to attend the reading of Edward’s will.
“I don’t understand, why does the will have to be read here on this desolate island in the middle of nowhere?” exclaimed Iris. “Sycamore Island is so difficult to get to. The usual boatman for Sycamore Island went on holiday so it took me ages to find a boat captain who was willing to ferry me out here.”
“Apparently all previous heads of the McCarthy house have had their wills read here. Sorry my dear, but we have to follow the traditions and wisdom of our ancestors.”
Iris stopped on the steps, set down the bag she was holding and tried to catch her breath.
“What kind of wisdom postulates that it is a good idea to build a house on the top of a hill, right at the edge of a cliff? It is such a tiring climb up!”
Alexandra stopped as well and nodded in agreement. It is a rather stupid idea to build a house on the most inaccessible part of a most inaccessible island.
“Come on now, we’re almost there.”
With a sigh, Iris picked up the bag on the floor and started climbing up those hateful steps again.
“Are the rest here yet?” Alexandra inquired.
“Well I haven’t personally met any of them yet as I’ve only arrived slightly before you. But, Mother tells me that all but one have arrived.”
Iris turned her head to face Alexandra and scowled.