The old house began to slowly chill as the slightest hints of the frigid air outside began to press its way through the vintage windowsills. A lone figure sat in the shadows of the office off the main corridor, the smallest hint of dull orange light casting its shadow against the far wall while softly illuminating the worn books that had not been moved from their resting place in over a century.
Picking up the half-filled brandy sniffer, the names began to replay through his mind and flowed silently off his tongue. Franklin Winchester. Jackson Winchester. To hear the names would have been shock enough, to see them in print, in a fiction book no less, had shaken his core. Fiction. It wasn’t fiction but utterly and completely real.
The book lay quietly opened in front of him. He enjoyed fiction, it was how he escaped and had it not been for pieces of stories that he knew to be true, had known for years, had lived on, he probably would have enjoyed the book in its entirety. But the lives, the stories, were too real to be coincidence.
How could anyone possibly have known? All he’d ever heard about Jackson Winchester was that he had traveled west and never returned. An empty mausoleum had been set up for him, at his mother’s insistence, in the family graveyard as a remembrance that he had existed. No one ever knew what had become of him and it was this fact, the inability to prove that there were any other heirs to the Winchester fortune that had made him the last known living Winchester. This very fact would soon set him up to be the wealthiest man on the eastern seaboard.
But now something began to nag at his spirit. What if there was another? What if there was one who could challenge his birthright? He picked up the book and slowly turned it over. Here is where he would find the answers he needed. He lightly tapped his right index finger on the author’s picture.