trees. Low hanging branches tore the skin on his cheeks. He reached a small man-made clearing and stopped to catch his breath. Everything was silent. Too silent, he thought. He was walking instead of running now, and he made his way up a hill. A white barn was at the top. Noise came from behind him and he ran again, right to the barn. There was something familiar and safe about this place. He knew where the hide-a-key was, and his hands moved frantically through wet, rotten leaves. The cold metal just graced his numb fingers when—
“Anora!” Luke tapped me on the shoulder. I startled awake. I felt a little disoriented. I turned around.
“What?” He looked at the front of the room, indicating that I should follow his gaze. I did, and was surprised to see a professionally dressed man standing next to Mrs. Heverly. I didn’t know what this meant, or what to do.
“Go. He said he needs to talk to you,” Luke whispered.
“Oh, ok.” I was really confused now. I stood up and started to walk to the front.
“Please, bring your books,” the man said. A knot started to form in my stomach. This could not be good. He was only a few inches taller than me, had washed out, short brown hair and was thin. He was wearing an expensive brown suit. I followed him down the hall, up a flight of stairs, down another hall and into an empty conference room. Two brief cases sat on the table. “Please sit.” I put my books down and perched on the edge of the chair. I was full-on nervous now. The man sat down across from me. He looked nervous too. “My name is James Pearson, please call me James. I was your Great Aunt Estelle’s lawyer.”
Hmm, I didn’t know Aunt Estelle had a lawyer, what did she even need one for? Wait, was ?
“I am very sorry to have to be the one to inform you that your Aunt has passed.”
“Oh.” Wow. She was old, and I knew it would happen sooner or later. I just thought it would be later. “Should I get my brother? I mean, she was his great aunt too.”
“No, this doesn’t concern him.” He opened one of the brief cases and shuffled through it. Ok, I was confused. Why did I get pulled out of class and not Harry? And why would someone come all the way from Indiana just to tell me my great aunt died? We weren’t close, and this just seemed odd. Of course I felt sad she was dead, but in all honesty, I barely knew her so her passing didn’t affect me much. I felt guilty for that. James pushed a stack of papers in front of me. I reached out to pull it closer and he snatched his hand away as if he was afraid I might accidentally touch him. He laughed a nervous laugh, the kind you let out when you want to cover up the fact that you are nervous.
“I bet you’re just like your Aunt,” he said curiously.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Ah, right. Of course.” He cleared his throat and went back into lawyer mode. “Estelle left everything she had to you.” He paused and looked at me. I thought he expected me to say something.
“Everything?” What could Aunt Estelle have that would be so valuable that she needed a lawyer to personally tell me? James looked at the papers in front of me then into my eyes. I got the hint and looked down and started to read. “Holy…” I couldn’t finish my sentence.
“She wanted to make this as simple as possible. This is a basic list. I have the formal documents here as well.”
Crazy Aunt Estelle had a house, seventy-five acres, a very large jewelry collection and an even larger bank account. My mind couldn’t form a coherent thought. I was bewitched by all the zeros that made up the ridiculous sum of money I had just inherited. This definitely made up for all the years of pointless presents. “How?” I looked up at James. “How did she have all this?”
James shifted nervously. “Your, aunt was, ah, very, wise in her investments.” His eyes pleaded for no further questions. “As you can see, there is enough money for you, your