The Last Will and Testament of Patrick Malone

Patrick Malone died a week ago. He was a wealthy man with three grown children. He had been a politician in his younger days. But as he grew older, he began to become senile. He consulted his lawyer and drew up a will, which he hid somewhere on his property. The will left everything to the one who found his will.

The day of the funeral arrived. The church was full of everyone who had known him from preschool to the nurses and doctors who had treated him. His wife had passed on several years before. His youngest child and only daughter, Abigail Una Malone, sat away from everyone else with her arms clasped around her shaking body. Her eyes were red and swollen and her face was pale and drawn. Her older brothers, Basil and Otto, sat together solemnly, seemingly untouched by grief. Abigail hated them for their lack of mourning.

* * *
That night, at midnight or so, Basil Malone dreamed of his father.

Patrick Malone was tap dancing wildly. His thin white hair in disarray and his cobalt eyes looking fierce and unforgiving.

“Father?” Basil whispered.

Patrick Malone only answered with the poem he had been saying over and over as he danced.

“My will! My will!
You must find my will!
Or live in eternal torment
Forever, forever!
My will! My will!
You must find my will!
Or you will die this day!”

“Father, what are you talking about?” Basil cried out. He drew himself up to his towering height of six feet and three inches. “Father, I demand that you explain yourself and stop dancing. It’s bad for your health.”

“I’m dead, my boy,” Patrick Malone said, as though it were a song he was singing. “Dead, dead, dead! And you will die if you don’t find my will!”

And then Patrick Malone was gone.

* * *
Basil Malone awoke and looked around his spacious room. No one was there. He yawned and rubbed his eyes. The clock read two in the morning. Basil fell back and went back to sleep and dreamed of his father and the poem again.

Five hours later, Basil sat at his breakfast table. A maid poured his coffee and set down a plate of eggs, toast, and ham. Then his butler handed him the newspaper.

Later that morning, Basil drove off to his father’s estate with the poem ringing in his head.

His father had hid his will. Basil wanted to know who had inherited everything and was determined to search his father’s estate.

Yet by nightfall, though he and his hired crew had turned the estate upside down, the will was nowhere to be seen.

Basil flopped down onto a chaise lounge on the terrace and his best friend dropped down next to him.

“Now what?” his friend asked.

“We look again tomorrow.”

“What about what your father said?”

Basil looked at him. “My father was senile when he died. He can’t curse me in my sleep. That’s crazy. Now go home and I’ll see you tomorrow. I’m not going to die,” he said firmly.

* * *
But that night, around one-thirty in the morning, exactly twenty-four hours after Patrick Malone had first “visited” his son, Basil awoke in a fit. He shook violently and his maid and butler hurried into the room. She called for an ambulance while he tried to hold down his master and keep him breathing. When the ambulance arrived, it was too late. Basil Malone was dead.

* * *
At two that morning, Otto Malone dreamed of his father.

Patrick Malone was tap dancing wildly. His thin white hair in disarray and his cobalt eyes looked fierce and unforgiving.

“Father?” Otto whispered in confusion.

Patrick Malone only answered with the poem he had been saying over and over as he danced.

“My will! My will!
You must find my will!
Or live in eternal torment
Forever, forever!
My will! My will!
You must find my will!
Or you will die this day!”

“Father, what on earth are you talking about?” Otto asked in puzzlement. He drew himself up to his full height of five feet and eleven inches. “Father, I demand that you explain yourself and stop dancing. It’s bad for your health.”

“I’m dead, my boy,” Patrick Malone said, as though it were a song he was singing. “Dead, dead, dead! And you will die if you don’t find my will!”

And then Patrick Malone was gone.

* * *
Later that morning, Otto Malone arrived at his father’s estate with a group twice as large as Basil’s, determined to find the will and inherit everything. However, the will was not to be found that day.

That evening, Otto Malone drove home, wondering where his father had hidden the will, and never saw the sharp curve and ravine, for he had missed the turn for the street he lived on. Otto Malone died instantly, exactly twenty-four hours after Patrick Malone told him his poem.

* * *
That same night, in the early hours of dawn, Abigail Una Malone sat in the middle of her bed with her knees drawn up to her chest, shaking and crying. Her father and brothers were gone and she was all alone. Her roommate was out of town with her family and would be gone for the next two weeks, returning after New Year’s Eve.

Abigail, her father’s joy, reached for the empty tissue box. When she realized she had used all the tissues, she grabbed at her faded yellow sheets. She had never been money-hungry like her brothers, but rather more like her mother, a woman who cared deeply for the less fortunate.

Then her father’s spirit came to her and gently rested a hand on his daughter’s shoulder.

“Abby, dear,” he said gently.

She looked up into her father’s smiling face.

“Daddy?” she whispered.

“Yes, Abby. I’m sorry for the painful time you’ve had. Listen to me, Abby Una, Basil and Otto were never meant to inherit my estate and everything I once owned. They were always meant for you, sweetheart. I had to get rid of your brothers. Otherwise they would tear you apart and take everything that’s rightfully yours. Your mother and I decided long ago everything would go to you.”

“But I don’t want it, Daddy,” Abigail said between hiccups. “I only want you and Mom back.”

“It can’t be done, Abby,” Patrick said with a sigh. “Abby, our wills are in the old desk you love so much. That’s right, my dear. I hid them in your room, in the secret drawer your mother and I used to send you special letters and treats. Your brothers would never find it. Everything is yours, Abby. Bye, sweetheart. I’ll say hello to your mother for you.”

And with that, Patrick’s spirit left Abigail’s room.

She quickly dressed and headed for her father’s estate. She went into her room and straight to the oak desk her father had once owned. She quickly opened the secret drawer and drew out two envelopes. Her mother’s will was on top and her father’s was below. They left everything to her, including smaller homes she had never heard of.

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