Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2098005-Jessica-Bealss-Inheritance
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2098005
Clarence Beals dies, while inspecting a real estate purchase from a Mr. Gomez Addams.
"Jessica, an official letter just came for you from a local law firm. What does it say?"

"I don't know yet? It's still sealed."

"Well, open it. You know how inquisitive I am?"

"Hold on Aunt Margaret, let me read it first."

"Can't you read any faster? Didn't that finishing school teach you how to read quickly?"

"I can read just fine Auntie."


"It seems Uncle Clarence has passed, and he left me a haunted house."

"Where did he pass to? Is he on vacation?"

"I doubt it. Though I'm quite sure it is extremely hot, wherever he is."

"What do you mean he left you a haunted house? Why would he do that? Are you sure that's what it says? Do you need to borrow my glasses?

"It says, he wanted me to marry someone named Pugsley Addams. He is the son of the previous owner. The Addams family moved back to Transylvania, leaving Pugsley behind to find a wife. Their daughter Wednesday Friday Addams, eloped with their Cousin Itt. It says, the house is located at 21 Chester Place, in the prestigious West Adams District of Los Angeles."

"Now why would he insist you marry this Pugsley character? You are not a pauper. You are a well bred lady of good English stock, in good financial standings."

"I guess, a trip to the lawyer is inevitable."

"Excuse me, I'm Jessica Beals, and this is my aunt, Margaret Beals. I've received a letter from a Mr. Holmes.

"Ah yes, right this way please."

"Harold, Mr. Holmes is expecting these ladies."

"Thank you Gladys, please tell Mr. Holmes the ladies have arrived."

"Right away Sir."

"Please have a seat ladies, Mr. Holmes will be here shortly. My name is Harold Higgins I own this law firm."

"I assume that Mr. Holmes is one of your associates?"

"Heavens no! He is an old friend recently arrived from London."

"Mr. Higgins, what could Mr. Holmes possibly want with me?"

"Let's leave that up to him, shall we?"

"Ah! Here he is now ladies. May I introduce you to my good friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes Jr."

"How do you do Miss Beals, Mrs. Beals. Sorry to be meeting under these circumstances."

"Exactly what are the circumstances, Mr. Holmes?"

"Did I not explain myself in the letter, Miss Beals?"

"It was a very vague letter."

"I told you Sherlock, to let my secretary compose the correspondence."

"Who exactly are you Mr. Holmes, and what is this about me getting married to a Mr. Pugsley Addams?"

"I am an investigator, Miss Beals. I am here because of your uncle's mysterious death."

"Mysterious? Go on Mr. Holmes, explain yourself."

"Two weeks ago your uncle's body was discovered by two young scaly-wags. They called themselves, Hanky and Panky. Not their real names I'm sure. They admitted to breaking into the house, looking for a place to host a scary Halloween Party for some of their friends. It seems, the house is supposedly haunted, and they thought it would be perfect. Instead, they were the ones frightened.

"How do we know that these hooligans didn't murder my Uncle Clarence?"

"If they had, they would not have called the police."

"Might I ask how he died?"

"By the expression on his face, the police surmised he was frightened to death, but I don't think so."

"What does this have to do with me getting married.? And why are you investigating his demise, this is a long way from London?"

"I was here in the colonies visiting with my good friend Harold, when your uncle came in to draw up the deed with its stipulations. Before any monies crossed hands, he wanted to be sure you had a place of your own and a proper husband."

"That's absurd! Why must I have a husband? I am financially secure in my own right. Why should I marry, and possibly have to turn my money over to some fortune hunter? If and when I marry, it will be to someone I love. What was Uncle Clarence thinking? Oh! I forgot, he didn't think, he would always just leap without thought of a safety net. Now, here I am, on a precipice, ready to fall of a cliff, because he thought I needed a husband. I will not do it!"

"Mr. Holmes, my brother-in-law Clarence, was always a schemer. What could he possibly have been thinking, leaving Jessica a haunted house? It couldn't be very valuable, no one in their right mind would buy it. Then again, no one in the family ever believed Clarence was right in the head. He was a little off, if you know what I mean?"

"Sorry to disagree Mrs. Beals, but the house is very valuable. The house was built in 1888, and as of this date in 1980, it is valued at over $250.000 dollars."

"But it's haunted!"

"Only the Addams family knows for sure. They certainly are an odd group."

"I guess we shall visit the mansion. Mr. Holmes, do you have a key?"

"I do, and it will be my privilege to escort you."

"You are right Mr. Holmes, it is a beautiful place, although the grounds are extremely overgrown. I doubt Uncle Clarence had enough money to purchase this house. Is there a mortgage?"

"No, your uncle owned it outright. He paid exactly ten thousand dollars, and your pledge to marry Pugsley Addams."

"You must be joking!"

"The deed has already been filed, in your name. Shall we go inside ladies?"

"My goodness! Jessica, this place is huge."

"Will Mr. Addams be coming Back for the furnishings, they are quite ghastly."

"No, the house must stay intact. Mr. Gomez Addams insisted his family home not be changed in any way. The antiques are quite valuable. There is also a dungeon, complete with a bed of nails, Iron Maiden and a torture rack."

"What in God's name is an Iron Maiden?"

"It is a torture device dating back to the Middle Ages."

"If I don't live in the house, do I still have to get married? Can't I give it back?"

"If you leave the house unoccupied, there is a developer waiting to tear it down. The city wants to build a school here. It is the last house left to be demolished in the area. Since you now own the house, young Mr. Addams cannot live here without being married to you."

"See Jessica, you have a way out of this mess."

"Before I make any decisions, I would like to meet this Pugsley Addams. I really like the house, and might just keep it. It is a beautiful place, and would be sinful to demolish it."

"Mr. Holmes, Is that a noose hanging from the ceiling?"

"It certainly looks like it."

"I wonder what it is there for? Mr Holmes, will you kindly see if you can take it down?"

""I'll just give it a little tug...

"What in God's name was that ghastly noise?"

"It sounded like a gong."

"You rang?"

"Oh my Heavens! You gave me a fright."

"Hello ladies, I'm Pugsley Addams and this is Lurch, the butler. He comes with the house. I would have introduced myself sooner, but I wanted you to get a feel of the place, without any influence from me."

"Excuse me Mr. Addams, do you have a name other than Pugsley? It is a very odd name and I was wondering if there is another name you go by?"

"No Mrs. Beals. When I was a baby my parents thought I looked like a Pug dog. The name just stuck. My parents have a very...interesting sense of humor."

"I see. Jessica are you ready to leave yet?"

"No Aunt Margaret. I think I would like to get to know Mr. Addams better."

"May I show you around?"

"Yes of course, I would like that. This is a very beautiful house. In need of some sprucing up, but in very good condition."

"I'm so glad that you like it."

"Is there anything about the house of any great significance that I should know about before I make my decision?"

"It is definitely not haunted."

"You're sure?"


"That's too bad."

"My parents are old school. My father Gomez, is a collector of antiques, and weaponry from the Middle Ages. He made his fortune during the stock market crash in 1939. He also buys and sells real estate, companies, and loves to squander his money. My mother Morticia, plays the Shamisen, and has a pet man-eating plant named Cleopatra."

"A man-eating plant? She took it with her, I hope?"

"Sadly, no. She didn't think it would travel well."

"You are not quite what I expected Mr Addams, I find you quite charming and very distinguished looking, except for your stripped shirt. What is there about you, that I need to know ,for me to agree to this marriage?"

"May I call you Jessica?"

"Yes, of course."

"Thank you. You may call me Pugsley, or Pug if you prefer. I would like you to know that it wasn't my idea for this marriage. My father insists that I marry someone of good lineage. He doesn't care about your financial status, and neither do I. He does however, want a grandson to carry on the family name."

"Didn't your sister just marry your cousin Itt?"

"Yes, but he is my mother's cousin, and not an Addams."

"You still haven't explained why you agreed to this marriage?"

"Your Uncle Clarence once showed me a picture of his niece. He said she was sixteen. I gazed at that photo a long time. I thought if you were anything like the girl in the photo, I could very well be a happy man.

"Your family seems a little strange. Should I be concerned about your proclivities?"

"I can assure you that I am, and have always been, the most normal of the lot."

"Does anyone else live here?"

"Just Lurch, and Thing T Thing."

"Thing, you say? Who is Thing?"

"Thing is more like...a helping hand."

"What does Thing do, exactly?"

"A little bit of everything. Thing however, cannot lift heavy objects."

"Is Thing very old?"

"I don't know? Probably."

"Thing is very shy around strangers. He will probably pop out of his box once he feels more comfortable around you."

"Box? What do you mean box?"

"I will explain about Thing in more detail, later."

"What can you tell me about Lurch? He doesn't seem very friendly. He is quite, intimidating."

"Lurch is very loyal to the family, and very rarely speaks."

"Could he have frightened my uncle to death?"

"Possibly, but your uncle knew about Lurch and Thing."

"Mr. Holmes is an investigator from London, maybe he can help us find out what happened to Uncle Clarence?"

"Mr. Holmes, what have you found out?"

"It seems the developer, a Mr. Gringe, stood to lose a great deal of money if he couldn't acquire this property. He hired some thugs to murder your uncle. It was supposed to look like he was scared to death. In truth, he was given an overdose of digitalis (a powerful heart stimulant). The developer wasn't aware that your uncle put the house in your name. He figured, with your uncle dead, the house would again be on the market, and he could then acquire it and make a killing. Mr. Flemming, the coroner, discovered the drug in your uncles blood. He questioned why it was there, because there was nothing wrong with your uncles heart. For a man of his age he was in very good physical condition."

"What of the two thugs and Mr. Gringe?"

"They have all been incarcerated."

"Thank you Mr. Holmes."

"What decision have you made in regards to young Mister Addams?"

"I've grown very fond of him these last few weeks. We will be married on October 31st of next year. I will get to meet his strange family then. I hope they like me.?"

"I'm positive they will. Congratulations Jessica. Am I invited?"

"Most definitely Mr. Holmes, I will need all the support I can get."

"Please. Call me Sherlock."

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