She lay there cold. Mute, pale and still. From a layman’s point of view, she had the perfect life. Jane – a beautiful girl and wise too. The daughter of a rich man. Then the wife of an even richer man. But now in the spring of 1920 she bid goodbye to this world to a place which always scared her. But which she had no choice, but to go. Bill, her husband was a unique man. There are numerous stories circulating about him and some of them have achieved cult status. No one knew of his origins. Not even Jane. They fell in love and married. What do they say about love. Its blind or something. But one thing they were all sure of. That he was incredibly rich. Some say he made a fortune as a bounty hunter during civil war. Some say he was with the Yankees. There have even been stories that he has been to el-Dora do- the city of gold. When someone remains oblivious, people’s imaginations run wild and all sorts of stories emerge. He was an extremely brave man with an eye for adventure. He was extremely proud too.
Now he didn’t mourn his wife Jane who left him with three boys- Jack, Tom and Chris. He was with her in her last moments. Alone. She was talking and crying. The last act her body will let her do. He stormed out of the room. After a moment he came back and asked ‘which one?’. But there was no reply. She had passed away or moved on.
“What? Are you sure?” Jack enquired in a tone that had a mixture of disbelief and surprise
“Yes. You can read it for yourself.”
Jack took the paper from the lawyer and read it. The brother’s looked at him in anticipation. Jack nodded.
Bill did not last long after Jane’s death. He died in his sleep two weeks after her death. He left this world not troubling anyone but not without a last piece of adventure. The man with a free spirit, who always loved adventure, who was never afraid to put his life on the line pulled out a last one. A bit weird one and that has left his sons dumbfound.
Bill has left his sons a will. The will had a strange clause. All his wealth, the countless amounts of cash, gold, horses, castles all will go to the last standing son. That is a person can claim his wealth after his two brothers are dead. So the will practically said kill your brothers to get your father’s money. And the weirdest thing was he has left them each with a Philadelphia derringer piston. The same pistol which Booths used to kill Lincoln some 55 years back.
The brothers sat there in disbelief. There is an air of discomfort hovering around them. All they said was goodnight and then parted.
Jack, Tom and Chris were always good together. They went with their father on their little adventures. There was nothing much common between the three except they all were good in spending their father’s money. Jack had ventured into the cotton business which was booming at that time. Everybody made good money but not Jack. Tom had a short temper. He was recuperating from a failed love affair with the aid of drinking. Chris was a calm and collected guy who liked travelling a lot. Their interests might seem different but they had one thing in common. All of them were in dire need of money.
That night they couldn’t sleep. They knew they loved each other. No one would even think of doing any harm to each other. But still they were unsure. Then there was nothing at stake. The times have changed now. You will be bewildered by the things man can do once the stakes are raised. After plague, the thing that’s killed more people was money. And that’s what is at stake here.
Days passed. Things started becoming normal and they carried on with their activities. Then suddenly one day it happened. Their farmhouse burned down. Tom and Chris were staying there that weekend. Jack rushed to the spot on hearing the news. It was a complete wreck. The smell of ash suffocated the air. Inside there were two bodies all burnt up. It was impossible to identify them. But Jack knew that it was his brothers. There was an unburnt bracelet of Tom and a chain of Chris. In the space of six months his entire family was gone.
Year 1922. some where in Mexico.
Jack sat drinking wine. The room was dim lit. There was a bag by his side. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. The door wasn’t shut. He saw two people entering. Their faces were not visible. They came near the table. In the dim light Jack saw their faces. It was Tom and Chris. Jack jumped off the chair suddenly and hugged them. There was shouting and hugging. Then they settled. Jack offered them wine which was already poured in two glasses. The glasses met and there was a loud cheer. Their plan had worked. Though they had to burn down their farmhouse with two dead bodies in it. It was a minor investment for what they will acquire later. Since Tom and Chris were dead for the world, Jack became the sole owner of all the wealth. It was their plan that Tom and Chris would lie low for two years. Meanwhile jack would sell all the properties and on this day, the second anniversary of their father’s death, they will split the cash between them. The plan worked clean as a whistle. Now the three brothers sat taking in the glory sipping wine.
Then suddenly Chris began to choke. The wine glass fell off his hands and he was on the ground struggling for air. Soon his struggle ended and there was no movement.
‘You bastard, you poisoned us?’ Tom was outraged
Before Jack could say anything Tom took out his gun, the same Philadelphia derringer that his father had left him and fired a shot. Jack too was quick to react and he fired in return. But both were hit and fell to the ground. Within moments they breathed their last. Thus lay the three brothers on the ground wet with wine and blood, both red.
Then suddenly Chris went up gasping.
“Whoa that went well. Sorry bros, the plan did go well, but only mine”. He said to himself with the grin of a victor. He was just faking. The wine wasn’t poisoned. He knew Tom being short tempered will fire at jack thinking he tried to kill them. In fact it was Chris who gave the gun to Tom when they were coming here. Tom had left the gun in his room.
Now he stood there, the sole owner of countless wealth. He took the bag and glared at his brothers for a moment. Then he left the dim lit room. He shut the door and the bag exploded in his hands.
In the spring of 1920 her condition worsened with every passing day. Bill spent all his time with her. When she felt her end was near she confessed to Bill.
“ Bill, only one of them is your son, I am sorry”
Bill was taken aback. He was angry and sad and bewildered. He didn’t know what all emotions went through him. He stormed out of the room. He came back moments later and asked
There was no reply
He felt cheated. He didn’t mourn his wife. He couldn’t stand the thought that of the three kids he loved, two of them are not his.
He made a will that night. If he is my son, if he has inherited my gutts, my courage and my spirit, he will inherit my wealth too.
That was a hasty decision. one which he took overpowered by the feeling that he was cheated. He thought if the brothers were going to kill each other, the one left will definitely be his son. He has regretted the decision during his last days. One night before going to sleep, he decided that he is going to change the will. He will love them all. But unfortunately he never woke from that sleep.