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A printed page bearing the title "Last Will and Testament" | Source: Shutterstock
A printed page bearing the title "Last Will and Testament" | Source: Shutterstock

Grandfather Leaves Only a Location in His Will, Gathers All His Heirs There — Only One Will Get the Inheritance

Byron Loker
Jul 10, 2024
11:15 A.M.

When my siblings and I arrived at our late grandfather's cabin, we thought we were competing for his fortune. Little did we know, Grandpa Brooks had one last trick up his sleeve that would test our bonds in ways we never imagined.

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The old cabin creaked and groaned as Michael, Olivia, and Emily stepped inside. The musty air hit them like a wave, stirring up memories of childhood summers spent at Glass Lake.

"Well, this is charming," Michael said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He ran a finger along a dusty shelf and grimaced. "Gramps really let the place go."

A trio stands expectantly inside an old cabin in the woods | Source: Midjourney

A trio stands expectantly inside an old cabin in the woods | Source: Midjourney

Olivia rolled her eyes. "It's been empty for years, Michael. What did you expect?"

Emily, the youngest, moved to open a window. "Come on, guys. Let's not start bickering already. We're here for Grandpa A.E., remember?"

The siblings exchanged glances. They'd barely spoken in years, and now here they were, thrust together by their grandfather's will.

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"Right," Michael said, straightening his tie. "Let's get this over with. Where's the lawyer?"

A man turns to a woman beside him, in conversation | Source: Midjourney

A man turns to a woman beside him, in conversation | Source: Midjourney

As if on cue, a knock at the door announced the arrival of Mr. Whitmore, A.E. Brooks' long-time attorney. The balding man entered, briefcase in hand, looking as out of place in the rustic cabin as the siblings felt.

"Good afternoon," Whitmore said, his voice crisp and professional. "Shall we begin?"

The siblings gathered around the old oak table as Whitmore opened his briefcase. He pulled out a thick envelope, sealed with wax bearing A.E.'s initials.

A group gathers around a table, with a man holding a sealed envelope | Source: Midjourney

A group gathers around a table, with a man holding a sealed envelope | Source: Midjourney

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"Your grandfather was... an eccentric man," Whitmore began, breaking the seal. "His will reflects that."

Michael leaned forward, impatient. "Just tell us what it says, Whitmore. Some of us have businesses to run."

Olivia shot him a withering look. "Some of us have the decency to respect our grandfather's last wishes."

"Please," Emily interjected, "can we just listen?"

A woman seated at a table, listening with intent | Source: Midjourney

A woman seated at a table, listening with intent | Source: Midjourney

Whitmore cleared his throat and began to read. "To my dear grandchildren, I leave you a challenge. The entirety of my estate will go to the sibling who can remain in this cabin for three days without using a phone. No calls, no texts, no internet. Just you, the cabin, and each other."

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A heavy silence fell over the room. Michael was the first to break it, letting out a sharp laugh. "You've got to be kidding me."

"I assure you, Michael, this is no joke," Whitmore said, his expression grave.

A bald man seated at a table makes a point in discussion | Source: Midjourney

A bald man seated at a table makes a point in discussion | Source: Midjourney

Olivia's brow furrowed. "But that's ridiculous. What about emergencies?"

"There's a landline for emergencies only," Whitmore explained. "Using it disqualifies you from the challenge."

Emily looked between her siblings. "Maybe... maybe this could be good for us? When was the last time we spent more than an hour together?"

Michael scoffed. "Em, don't be naive. This is about money, not family bonding."

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"Speak for yourself," Olivia snapped. "Some of us actually miss having a family."

A "round-table" conversation continues inside a cabin in the woods | Source: Midjourney

A "round-table" conversation continues inside a cabin in the woods | Source: Midjourney

The tension in the room was palpable. Whitmore, sensing the storm brewing, quickly gathered his things. "I'll return in three days. Good luck to you all."

As the door closed behind Whitmore, the siblings were left staring at each other, the weight of their grandfather's challenge hanging over them.

"So," Emily said, forcing a smile, "who wants to play Monopoly?"

A man and two women at a table, looking contemplative | Source: Midjourney

A man and two women at a table, looking contemplative | Source: Midjourney

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***

The first night in the cabin was a study in awkward silences and forced small talk. Michael paced the living room, checking his watch every few minutes. Olivia had her nose buried in an old science journal she'd found on a bookshelf. Emily, ever the peacemaker, tried to spark conversation.

"Remember when we used to catch fireflies out by the lake?" she asked, her voice tinged with nostalgia.

Michael grunted. "That was a long time ago, Em."

A man standing in the corner of a cabin | Source: Midjourney

A man standing in the corner of a cabin | Source: Midjourney

Olivia looked up from her journal. "Twenty-three years, to be exact. The summer before Dad died."

The room fell silent again, the mention of their father hanging in the air like a dark cloud.

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Emily's voice was small when she spoke again. "I miss him."

Michael's pacing stopped. For a moment, his hard expression softened. "We all do, Em."

Olivia set down her journal. "Do we? You left pretty quickly after the funeral, Michael. And I... well, I guess I wasn't much better."

A woman sitting with a book on her lap | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting with a book on her lap | Source: Midjourney

The accusation in her voice was clear. Michael's jaw tightened. "Someone had to step up and provide for this family. I did what I had to do."

"And what about what we needed?" Emily asked, tears welling in her eyes. "We needed our big brother, not a check in the mail every month."

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Michael opened his mouth to retort, but the look on Emily's face stopped him. For the first time in years, he saw the pain he'd left behind.

***

The second day dawned gloomy and overcast, mirroring the mood inside the cabin. Emily busied herself in the kitchen, the smell of coffee and pancakes filling the air.

A cabin beside a lake, bathed in early morning light | Source: Midjourney

A cabin beside a lake, bathed in early morning light | Source: Midjourney

"Breakfast's ready," she called out.

Michael emerged from his room, dark circles under his eyes. "Any chance there's a mimosa to go with those pancakes?"

Olivia snorted. "It's 8 a.m., Michael."

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"It's 5 o'clock somewhere," he muttered, pouring himself a cup of coffee.

As they ate in silence, Emily's gaze fell on a small stack of old photographs on a shelf. "Hey, look at this," she said, reaching for them.

A woman reaches for old photographs on a shelf | Source: Midjourney

A woman reaches for old photographs on a shelf | Source: Midjourney

She spread them out on the table, and suddenly they were transported back in time. Photos of their childhood summers at the lake filled the images.

"Wow, look how young we were!" Olivia said, a rare smile crossing her face.

Michael leaned in, pointing at a photo. "Remember this? When Dad taught us how to fish?"

Emily nodded, her voice thick with emotion. "He was so patient, even when I kept tangling the line."

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The mood shifted as they flipped through the pages, memories flooding back. They laughed at old haircuts and cringed at fashion choices. For a moment, it felt like old times.

A trio of siblings happily reminiscing in a cabin beside a lake | Source: Midjourney

A trio of siblings happily reminiscing in a cabin beside a lake | Source: Midjourney

Emily picked up a group family photo, taken just weeks before their father's accident. The laughter died away.

"Everything changed after that," Olivia said quietly.

Michael nodded, his expression grim. "I had to grow up fast. Someone had to take care of things."

"We all did," Emily said. "But we didn't have to grow apart."

The accusation hung in the air, heavy and unspoken. Outside, thunder rumbled in the distance.

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A thunderstorm approaching a lake-side cabin | Source: Midjourney

A thunderstorm approaching a lake-side cabin | Source: Midjourney

As the day wore on, the storm outside intensified, mirroring the growing tension inside the cabin. Rain lashed against the windows as Michael and Olivia's argument reached a fever pitch.

"You abandoned us!" Olivia shouted, her usually calm demeanor cracking. "You ran off to build your precious career while we were left to pick up the pieces!"

Michael's face was red with anger. "I was providing for this family! Someone had to make sure we didn't end up on the street!"

"We needed our brother, not a bank account!" Olivia fired back.

A young woman reacts angrily towards a man beside her | Source: Midjourney

A young woman reacts angrily towards a man beside her | Source: Midjourney

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"Liv, I..." Michael started, but a loud crack of thunder interrupted him.

Suddenly, the lights flickered and went out, plunging the cabin into darkness.

"Great," Olivia muttered. "Just great."

As Michael fumbled for flashlights, Emily's voice came weak and shaky from the darkness. "Guys? I don't feel so good."

The beam of Michael's flashlight illuminated Emily's pale, sweating face. She swayed on her feet, then collapsed.

"Emily!" Olivia cried, rushing to her side.

Michael knelt beside them, feeling Emily's forehead. "She's burning up. This isn't good."

Olivia looked up at him, panic in her eyes. "We need to call for help."

A panicking woman looks up at a man | Source: Midjourney

A panicking woman looks up at a man | Source: Midjourney

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Michael hesitated, glancing at his phone on the table. "If we do that, we lose the inheritance."

"Are you serious right now?" Olivia snapped. "This is Emily we're talking about!"

The conflict played out on Michael's face for a split second before he grabbed his phone. "To hell with the money. I'm calling 911."

As Michael spoke urgently into the phone, Olivia cradled Emily's head in her lap. "Hang in there, Em. Help's coming."

The storm raged on, delaying the paramedics. Emily's condition worsened by the minute.

A sick-looking woman lies on a sofa, while a storm rages outside | Source: Midjourney

A sick-looking woman lies on a sofa, while a storm rages outside | Source: Midjourney

"Where are they?" Michael paced, phone in hand. "It's been over an hour!"

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Olivia, still holding Emily, looked up at him. "The storm must be making the roads impassable. They said they're doing their best."

Emily stirred, her eyes fluttering open. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I ruined everything."

"Shh, don't talk like that," Olivia soothed. "You haven't ruined anything."

Michael knelt beside them, taking Emily's hand. "Liv's right. The money doesn't matter. You're what's important."

Tears slid down Emily's cheeks. "I just wanted us to be a family again."

A pensive-looking young woman inside a wooden cabin | Source: Midjourney

A pensive-looking young woman inside a wooden cabin | Source: Midjourney

The words hit Michael and Olivia like a physical blow. They looked at each other, years of resentment and misunderstanding melting away in the face of their sister's pain.

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"We are a family," Michael said firmly. "And we're going to get through this together."

Just then, the sound of sirens cut through the storm.

***

Hours later, in the sterile quiet of the hospital waiting room, Michael and Olivia sat side by side, exhausted and worried.

A man and woman waiting in a hospital ward | Source: Midjourney

A man and woman waiting in a hospital ward | Source: Midjourney

"She's going to be okay," Olivia said, more to reassure herself than anything.

Michael nodded, running a hand through his disheveled hair. "She has to be."

The sound of footsteps made them look up. To their surprise, it was Mr. Whitmore, looking as pristine as ever despite the late hour.

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"Mr. Whitmore?" Michael stood. "What are you doing here?"

The lawyer held up an envelope. "I have one final message from your grandfather."

Olivia frowned. "Now? Our sister is in the hospital and you want to talk about the will?"

A man bearing a sealed envelope in a hospital room | Source: Midjourney

A man bearing a sealed envelope in a hospital room | Source: Midjourney

Whitmore's expression softened. "Trust me, you'll want to hear this."

With shaking hands, Michael took the envelope and opened it.

He began to read aloud: "My dear grandchildren, if you're reading this, then you've already passed the real test. The challenge was never about staying without phones. It was about coming together as a family in a time of need. You see, family is more important than any fortune I could leave you. The inheritance will be shared equally among you, as it always should have been. My real gift to you is this chance to heal, to remember what it means to be there for each other. I love you all. Your grandfather, A.E."

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A man reads a letter with a smile on his face | Source: Midjourney

A man reads a letter with a smile on his face | Source: Midjourney

What would you have done? If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you about a family that gathers for dinner at their grandmother's, only to face shocking inheritance revelations.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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