An Unexpected Legacy

September 30, 2023 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , , with 0 and 0
Home > Columns > Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic > An Unexpected Legacy

The hall closet was the final frontier for Asher. For three days he’d been chipping away at the house: the trash bin on the porch was overflowing, the growing pile of items marked for donation threatened to topple, and Asher’s patience was worn to a nub. Neither of his siblings could be persuaded to help him with this overwhelming task—despite both of them sharing the same now-deceased father as he.

“Dad’s place is filled with junk,” Asher’s sister told him, after pleading her excuse of a busy schedule. “Just get rid of it all.”

It’s my vacation time, too, he wanted to point out. But Leigh thought her time more valuable because she was the CPA and a mother of two to his no-kid, single-man, dev-ops job.

With a sigh, he pulled down a cardboard box from the top shelf of the closet. He’d lost count of the number of boxes his father had packed into the nooks and crannies of the suburban rancher. Caution was printed in marker across the lid: Do not open. Asher shook the box, but heard no rattle or clunk. A forgotten Christmas present his father had squirreled away? He eased off the lid. Inside, a weighted bundle covered in blue silk filled most of the interior. Unwrapping it, Asher held a goblet that once must have been shiny gold. The cup was etched with faux lettering—It reminded him of a party store prop. Part of a Halloween costume? He tried to picture his father dressed in a Medieval tunic and Arthurian crown, sipping rum and Coke from the cup at a late October party. Nah, not Cooper Plack, whose imagination was limited to whether he could cheat on his annual tax return.

Asher ticked off what he’d found so far that might be worth something—something that would help pay off his father’s debts. It was a short list: a four-year-old Ford sedan parked in the driveway; a pair of diamond studs he’d found in a jewelry box (his late mother’s?) in the master bedroom; a vintage roll-top desk (once Asher cleared out the notebooks, catalogs, and random slips of paper stuffed into it), and now this—a goblet of questionable provenance. 

Eager for a break, Asher carried the goblet into the kitchen and washed it, hoping a little soap and water would bring out the luster it may have once had. He whistled as he scrubbed the fancy cup with a dishcloth. The end of his house-emptying ordeal was in sight.

A sudden pop and flash surprised Asher enough that he almost dropped the goblet. 

Why are we summoned?

The words that Asher heard seemed to float in the kitchen—or were they inside his head?

“Who’s . . . there?” He said this aloud, cautiously.

The only sound he heard back was the faint ticking of the clock on the wall above the microwave. Then . . .

We are the Calet of the Chalice. You know the Decree. State your purpose.

Asher still held the goblet, but it no longer looked tawdry. Instead, it gleamed from within. Clever party gag, he decided, and turned the goblet over to feel for the on/off switch. His fingers found only the smoothness of the goblet’s stem and base; no button, no toggle.

Oh, well. He would play along until the unit’s timer reset. “Ah, a Chalice, is it? Well, then, if it’s magic, I get three wishes, right?”

We will grant one wish.

“Only one?” Just like one of his father’s tchotchkes to act parsimonious. 

Please note that after your wish, the Decree requires we receive something in kind.

Asher laughed. “Dad, where did you find this cheap-ass toy?” He set the goblet back in the sink and dried off his hands with a dish towel. Time to get back to his task.

Cooper Plack found us while dumpster diving along Walnut Avenue.

Frowning, Asher felt a twinge of unease. “Wait. That wasn’t a wish directed at you. It wasn’t even a wish.”

It counts. You should have read the Decree.

“There wasn’t any paperwork in the box,” Asher protested. He felt silly arguing with the toy. Even a toy that somehow knew how it came into his possession. His father a dumpster diver?

You have your wish. Our turn now.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said with a smirk, wishing that he’d never opened the box, never removed the blue silk. “But I’m a nobody. Just a software tech guy.”

Done. We accept that trade.

With another pop and flash, Asher vanished. 

*

His sister, finally worried that she couldn’t reach him, stopped by their father’s house to investigate. 

“Asher,” she called from the open front door. The word was swallowed by the silent rooms. He’d made more progress with the de-cluttering project than she expected. But where was he?

In the kitchen, she surveyed an open cardboard box, a yard of blue silk, and in the sink, a shiny goblet. But still no Asher.

She picked up the ornate cup and rotated it to study the antique lettering around its middle. Was this for real? She rubbed at a smudge near the rim.

Pop.

Stumbling back from the sink, Leigh dropped the goblet on the table as though it were scalding. 

Why are we summoned? 

A haughty voice filled her head, but underlying it she could make out an urgent murmur of others, and one in particular caught her ear.

“Asher?” she said. “Where are you?”

Run, Leigh, run.

And she did. Out the door, slamming it behind her.

Author Bio
Author Bio
Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.
  • First Step
    The hall closet was the final frontier for Asher. For three days he’d been chipping away at the house: the trash bin on the porch was overflowing, the growing pile of items marked for donation threatened to topple, and Asher’s patience was worn to a nub. Neither of his siblings could be persuaded to help […]
  • An Uneasy Out

    The plane sat on the Philadelphia tarmac, waiting in line to take off. Steph blinked at the sunlight illuminating her face in the window seat; clear and sunny: a good omen for her trip to San Diego, to her former roommate’s wedding. Except, the journey was for the marital knot she’d hoped wouldn’t happen.

  • Dianna Sinovic, Featured Author

    Dianna writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.

  • Drenched

    A day of never-ending rain. Pounding on the roof, dripping off overflowing eaves, collecting in pools and puddles on the lawn. Hour after hour, by the quarter- and the half-inch, the water climbing the sides of the rain gauge in the small yard until it reached a full three inches.

  • Dianna Sinovic, Featured Author

    Dianna writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.

×
Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.
Latest Posts

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

>