A New Inheritance

Authors: Foster-Dallion4ever

Hosted by VendrediAntiques.com


1: The Kids

James flicked his earring absentmindedly, waiting for his dad to stop fidgeting. Micki set her hand on Ryan's arm, "Ryan, just relax. It's okay."

Ryan took a deep breath, and looked at James. He was in his second year of college, and going through what Ryan had at that point in his life, thinking of dropping out, trying to find his place in the world. He wore his black hair in short spikes, black jeans, heavy-metal band t-shirts, and a leather jacket. But Ryan knew his son - he was a good kid.

Ryan's gaze shifted to his daughter, Rain. She had her mother's red hair, worn in two short pig-tails, her latest anime styling. Today she wore a plaid skirt with a white button-up blouse, and always carried the latest fashion accessories from France. She was in her first year of college, although she was three years younger than her brother - he had taken two years between high school and college to try to start a band.

This evening, after dinner, Micki, Ryan, and Jack had kept the kids at the dining table for dessert, but it was obvious to both kids that something was up.

Finally, after Ryan had cut and served the blueberry pie Micki had made, and everyone at the table had topped up their coffee, Jack spoke up, "It's time you two kids found out how I met your parents."

After all the explaining was done, and the pie eaten, Rain was the first one to talk, "So...is that why you were always out collecting?"

Micki nodded, "Mostly. We wanted to get all those items back into the vault."

James sipped his coffee, "So...why are you telling us now?"

Ryan patted his shoulder, "Because your mother and I are starting to think about retiring. We're getting older, and we're tired of working all the time."

Micki smiled, "We thought that, maybe, you two could think about minding the store, and keeping an eye on the vault."

Jack grinned, "I'll be staying here, still, but, like the last couple of years, I plan to do a lot of traveling and picking."

James looked at his sister, then down at the table, "College and I don't get along so well. I can mind the shop alone until Rain graduates."

Rain shook her head, "Not so fast. I live here, why can't I help when I'm not in class."

James cocked his head to the side, "Sure, sounds good. I just wouldn't want you to get distracted from your studies."

"I won't," she said assuredly.

Ryan smiled. The two kids always got along well, even if they did bicker a bit.


When Ryan had gotten word that Micki was missing, he came home from his trip to Atlanta right away. But he had nothing to do with her return - she'd come through the painting, and safely back into their lives.

But she'd come back pregnant. When she found out two months later, she was shocked, and told Jack and Ryan about having had an affair with Donatien de Sade, the Marquis. She considered giving up the child for adoption, but in the end decided to keep it.

When she gave birth to a tiny little boy, she was finally at peace with her decision to keep the child. She named him James, after his "Uncle" Jack. Jack was a great help, having had a son, but Ryan was surprisingly good with little James.

Ryan was up with him when he cried at night, walking him around the shop. He loved carrying him around, and could always make James laugh. James learned to talk, called Ryan "Unca Ryan". But by the time James was almost 2, Micki and Ryan had become a couple, and Micki taught James to call Ryan "Daddy".

When James was 2 years and 6 months old, Micki Foster became Micki Dallion in a beautiful wedding ceremony in which Jack walked the bride down the aisle. And when James was 3 years and 6 months old, he became an older brother to Rain, who Micki named for her father.

2: Minding the Store

James put his feet up by the register, sketch-pad in his lap. He loved sitting here, where he could see the foot-traffic on the street, and the sky above the city.

It had been a month since he and Rain had their first tour of the vault, and their parents had left for a vacation, their first in James' memory, last Thursday evening. Jack had gone to visit an old friend with Rashid, and Rain was due home in about an hour. He had the place to himself, and it was pretty cool.

He had been spending a lot of time drawing pictures of the items he had seen in the vault, imagining how they had worked, how his parents had risked their lives to recover them. It was really cool to think of.

He sketched the sky, watching the clouds rolling in, and before he knew it, his sister was home, coming up the steps from the garage. He looked up, flashing her a quick smile, "How was class?"

"It sucked! This girl in class, I swear she copies everything I do!"

"You're just too fashionable not to copy. Take it as a compliment."

"Ugh! You sound just like Dad!"

He laughed, "Well, I suppose there are worse things. Hey, you wanna have a pizza for dinner tonight? I'll buy!"

"What's the occasion?"

"Sandra called, said that one of my paintings sold."

Sandra was the owner of a nearby boutique who had seen one of James' paintings in the shop, and offered to sell them in her store.

Rain's eyes lit, "Hey, that's great! Sure, then, I'd love a pizza. Which painting was it?"

"That one I did of the landscape, with the setting sun, and all the colors are weird and wrong."

Rain smiled, "Hey, I liked it. And more importantly, someone else liked it enough to buy it. What kind of pizza are we having?"

"Pepperoni and black olives?"

"Sounds good. Hey, if you're good down here, I'm gonna go shower. The chair in class was all sticky."

James laughed, "Sure, no sweat. Hey, though, could you order the pizza for me on the way to the shower?"

"You bet."

3: Sound in the Night

"Did we make any sales today?" Rain asked, biting into her pizza.

"A couple. One of those lamps that's been taking up space by the front door sold."

"Nice. So...how do Mom and Dad do it? Isn't it boring sitting there with nothing to do all day?"

"It's not nothing, you just gotta do something other than, you know, sitting around waiting for customers. I finished 4 sketches today, and swept up."

"Just like Dad," Rain said, teasing her brother.

"So how was class?"

"Boring. I hate math. But the ecology class was great again today. We learned about global weather systems."

"Cool."

----------

James slept in the alcove, Rain slept in her mother's old room. The loud booming sound from the basement woke them both.

Rain came racing out into the kitchen, dressed in a pair of plaid boxers and a night-shirt with a Care-Bear on it, "James, did you hear that?"

"Of course I heard that...it could have woke the dead."

Rain frowned, "I don't know if I'd say that. What...what do we do?"

James threw back the sheets, and placed his feet in the slippers he left on the floor by his bed, "We go check it out." He stretched his shoulders, and stood. At 6 feet and 2 inches, he stood almost a foot taller than his sister. The two made their way cautiously down the stairs to the main level.

The two kids had grown up here, and they knew the shop inside and out - where to hide, how the aisles were laid out, and where the creaking floorboards were. They got to the basement quietly, and at the foot of the stairs, James leaned down and rummaged through the pile of scrap wood from the latest shop-repair project. He straightened, and Rain saw that he held a 4-foot length of 2x4.

James led the way as the two moved cautiously toward the vault, where they were sure the sound had come from. The doors to the vault were undisturbed, but neither sibling felt that this meant anything. Sharing a glance with his sister, James reached forward and turned the brick, waiting with bated breath as the doors slowly opened.

4: The Vault

Rain stifled a shriek as she saw a man walking towards them, and stepped back, behind her brother. James fought the urge to recoil, and stood his ground as the man walked closer, "Hello, James. Hello, Rain. Don't you want to meet your Uncle Lewis?"

James gave him a look, "How'd you get in there? I thought evil couldn't cross the threshold."

"It can't. But I'm not evil anymore..."

Rain watched Lewis from behind her brother, "Not possible."

"Oh, but it is. The fires of Hell have cleansed my soul, and now I have one chance to set things right before I go to Heaven."

James scowled, "Not possible."

"Oh, but it is..." Lewis spoke, and turned his head, looking over the shelves. They two watched him suspiciously as he turned, going back towards the stairs down into the lower vault.

"Stop!" James yelled, afraid of what the mostly-corporeal form of their great-uncle might do out of their sight. And without thinking, he ran forward into the vault, Rain on his heels.

As soon as they entered, the heavy doors slammed shut behind them, locking them in the darkness. James reached instinctively for his sister's hand, to keep her near him. He leaned down to whisper in her ear, "I think we're fucked."

"I think you're right," she answered. She withdrew her hand from his, placing her hand on his arm, "I also think we should see where that weird glow is coming from."

As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see what she was talking about - the vault was faintly lit with a glow from the lower level, where Lewis had gone. Rain urged him forward, and together, they made their way to the narrow stairs.

The dim orange glow was definitely coming from down there, and James leaned down to whisper with his sister, "What do we do?"

She looked down the stairs, and took a deep breath, "I think we have no choice. We have to check it out. Besides, we're locked in here anyway."

He nodded, and led the way down the stairs. They were unprepared for the scene before them - bookcases were knocked over, and all the objects that had been stacked in them were scattered across the floor. The source of the sound that had woken the siblings was also the apparent cause of the mess - a large hole had appeared in the middle of the floor, and chunks of cement were scattered among the antiques.

Rain spoke softly, "Didn't Mum say that there was a spot in the floor that used to go directly to Hell, before it was cemented over?"

James nodded, "At least we know how Lewis got in here."

5: Terror

Rain crept forward to peer down into the hole, and took a step back, "There's no bottom, not that I can see."

James shook his head, "Where did Lewis go?"

"I don't know, but I think he tricked us in here."

"Why? What's he doing while we're stuck in here?"

Rain looked around, "You don't have a lighter, do you?"

He shook his head, "No, I don't have a lighter. How many times do I have to tell you, I don't smoke - it was just a rumour in school."

"I was just hoping you'd have something a little more useful than that stick of wood."

James was thoughtful, "No, but...Dad said they always leave matches by the vault doors. Let's see if we can find them." As the two turned away, they heard a sound from behind them, and turned to look back.

Lewis stood in front of the dark hole in the cement, his arms outstretched, "Come with me, my children...I will show you things you've never dreamed possible."

"We don't need anything you can offer us," Rain said firmly.

"Sure you do. You need my protection." Lewis stepped aside, and the two siblings watched in horror as a strange, deformed creature climbed from the hole in the floor, and charged at them.

Lewis held up his hand restrainingly, and the thing stopped in its tracks, "So, which of you will be willing to help me get what I want?"


6: Deals

James reached instinctively for his sister's hand, "Neither of us will deal with the devil, and neither of us will deal with you."

"Speak for yourself, young man. What about you, child?" Lewis said to Rain.

She hesitated, her eyes darting around the room. She slipped her hand from her brother's, and started walking around, watching the floor, unconcerned with the visitors. She walked over cement debris, broken bookcase boards, and antiques alike, her rubber-soled slippers protecting her feet. "What is it that you would offer me in return?"

"That's my girl. What is it that you want?"

She stepped over a support bracket from one of the bookcases, and leaned down to pick up a curtain rod, "All these items are really cursed?"

Lewis smiled proudly, "Some of these items are my best work. It's such a shame to see them locked up down here. Help me share them with the world, child."

Rain stepped over more debris, not looking up, "And that made you rich? What else was included in the deal?"

"Immortality, child. What else could you want, besides riches and immortality."

Rain leaned down, using the curtain rod to balance herself, and picked up a large, heavy, round mirror, "And this? What did this do?"

"I don't remember that one - it wasn't a remarkable curse. Come, come, child, tell me what it is that you want in return for your help."

Rain walked back over, passing her brother, to stand before Lewis, still carrying her two finds, "My name is Rain, Great-Uncle Lewis. I am named for my father. And like my father, like my mother, like my brother, I want no deal with the devil or with you."

The demon lurched forward as soon as she finished her sentence, and she hefted the mirror in her hands, using it to block the creature's attack. James was beside her, holding the mirror, "Get back!"

"Upstairs, and bring the mirror!" she exclaimed, still holding onto the curtain rod.

She was right behind him as he took a number of quick steps back toward the stairs, and he had to stop to block the demon's claws as they came flying at him.

Rain raced up the stairs, and James was able to follow. Getting the mirror through was tough, and he had a moment of panic when the mirror wouldn't fit through the opening, and he had to turn it on a diagonal to bring it up.

"Lay the mirror across the hole," she exclaimed.

James did, and she wedged the curtain rod across the back of it, sticking one end down into the lower vault, and pulled down, forcing the other end into a crack in the wall, so the mirror was held firmly in place. James grinned, "Very clever."

She flashed him a quick smile, "They're cursed, they won't break. But the cement probably will. There are no spells between the upper and lower vault."

James took a deep breath, "We've gotta get outta here. Let's work on that door."

7: Trapped

Rain lit a lantern that hung on a nail, and held it up, looking at the vault doors, "James?"

"Yes?"

"How are we going to get out of here? Lewis tricked us into coming in here - the doors won't just open. He wouldn't have been so short-sighted."

"No, but he didn't think that we'd be able to escape making a deal, or being shredded by that demon. We're a step ahead already. Speaking of which, it's too quiet down there."

"I agree," Rain answered, inspecting the crack between the doors. "Maybe there's something cursed we can use to pry these things open with - that would be strong enough."

James started to wander around, looking over the things on the shelves, "I don't know, Rain. I think our problems are centered down there, with Lewis, more than up here, trying to get out."

"They can't get out from down there."

"Jack didn't think anything could get through that patch on the floor, either. Why don't we sit and think for a minute - what does he want?"

"He wants to corrupt us. Failing that, he'll try to kill us. Like he did with Mum and Dad."

"But there's more to it than that," James said suspiciously. "He's always wanted something - usually to find a body to take over, a way to live again."

"That's right," Lewis' voice said. He appeared by the vault door, and Rain stepped back, away from him. He laughed, a creepy sound, "You two are more difficult to sway than I would have expected. But your insight isn't that surprising. If you let me out of this crypt, this prison, I will find a body, and live again, to right the wrongs I've caused in this world."

"No," James said, walking forward to stand by his sister's side. "We know better."

"You know better, child of the past? You don't even know who your father is."

James' eyes narrowed, "I know who my father is. Ryan's the man who raised me as his own, and taught me everything I know. What else matters?"

"Sometimes you inherit things from your parents. Isn't that right, Rain?"

Rain frowned, "What..."

"Your psychic powers, of course, child of the present."

"Which we both inherited from Mum. Don't try to make us jealous of one another, Great-Uncle Lewis. It won't work."

"But yours are so much more powerful..."

"Enough!" James stepped forward, glaring at Lewis, "What are you trying to do here, that you feel it necessary to torment us?"

"I want you to join my cause."

"Never!" Rain exclaimed.

Lewis pointed at her, and James stepped in front of his sister, "Don't..."

Lewis laughed, and James' body lurched forward as a surge of energy coursed through him. As it stopped, he dropped to the floor, his legs unable to support his weight. Lewis continued laughing, "It's you I want, Rain. He's disposable. Join me."

8: Never

Rain knelt beside her brother, "James?"

He grasped her arm, his strong hands digging into her muscles, "Don't let him sway you - I'm fine."

She stood, looking at Lewis, "What is it you want from me?"

Lewis smiled, "Give me life, and I will let you both live."

Rain looked down at her brother, who was still doubled over in pain, "How?"

"I need something Jack keeps close to him - a medallion he has locked in his footlocker."

Rain shook her head without even realizing it - she'd been taught since she was able to crawl not to mess with Uncle Jack's things. Then she glanced down at her brother, "Okay. What's it look like?"

"Small - I think he keeps it on a leather cord."

Rain nodded, "I'll get it for you."

"Will you? No tricks, now. I still have your brother."

Rain nodded, "Okay. Let me out."

Lewis stepped aside, and gestured eloquently as the doors opened, "Please, my lady."

Rain gave him a dirty look, "I'm only doing this for James."

She walked out calmly, and made her way to Jack's footlocker. It didn't take long to find the medallion, a beat-up looking coin on a leather cord. She took a deep breath, and thought of her parents, and her brother.

9: For You

"Here it is..."

Lewis held out his hand, "Let me have it."

"First, we deal. I want my brother to be safe..."

"He will be. What else do you want?"

"Power."

"I'll teach you anything you want to know."

Rain smiled wickedly, "Then this is yours..." she walked past, kneeling by her brother, "Come on, James..."

He looked up at her, "Rain, don't..."

"I have to. Now get up..."

James used her hand pull himself to his feet. Rain held onto his arm, and held out the medallion, "Take it, then."

She held it up high, and dropped it into his hand. As soon as she let go, she lunged forward, to the doors, dragging James behind her. The had just gotten through when the heavy doors slammed shut, and James heard Lewis howl, "You bitch!"

He smiled slightly, "What did you do?"

"I gave him Uncle Jack's St. Michael medal," she whispered, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, but whatever he did hurts like hell..." the doors to the vault few open with a bang, and hurricane-strength winds blew forth, buffeting the siblings. James moved to shield his smaller sister, and they made their way to the stairs.

She helped him up the stairs, and he was grateful for the help, his legs weak. The upstairs of the shop was just as wind-whipped as the downstairs, and Rain hesitated before pulling the switch that opened the bookcase to their parents room, where they would be more sheltered, and could plan.

Once the bookcase had shut, the wind was only a mild nuisance, sweeping in from the fireplace. James sat in one of the chairs by the fireplace, and rubbed his hands down his legs, "For a dead guy, he sure can cause a lot of pain."

Rain sat in the other chair, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

She shook her head, "What do we do?"

"Can we wait it out? He can't get out of the vault, neither can that...thing."

"I'm worried about what he might be doing down there."

"I know. It's not like there's nothing down there he can choose to use..." James rubbed his knees, "What can we do?"

Rain sighed, "I wish I knew. But we have to do something."

10: Accepting Evil

"Lewis!"

Rain stalked down into the basement, as best she could against the winds, hanging onto the stair rail as she did. "Lewis!" she shouted again, standing just outside the Vault doors.

Lewis appeared before her, just inside the Vault doors, "What is it, Child?"

"What the hell did you do to my brother?!"

A fleeting look of surprise chased across his face, followed by triumph, "What's wrong with your brother?" he asked mockingly.

She scowled at him, "He collapsed! What did you do?!"

Lewis grinned, "Well, now, that's a good question. Why don't you bring him down to me, and I might be able to help him."

She shook her head, "I can't...he's too heavy."

"If you take me to him, I can help him."

Rain seemed to hesitate, "I can't...I don't know what you'll do."

"Of course you do. You'll give me what I want, and then I'll help you help your brother."

Rain hesitated, and stepped forward, "Okay. What do I do?"

"Give me your hand, Rain. Together, we'll make everything right."

Rain hesitated, walked forward until she was standing directly in front of Lewis, and held out her hand, "Okay."

11: The Final Touch

Lewis reached out and took Rain's hand. Within seconds he regretted it.

Lewis let out a howling scream as he looked down at his smoldering hand. It was then that he noticed Rain's tiny hand, wet with what he guessed to be Holy water.

"You bitch," he growled in a low tone, his voice contorted by the excruciating pain. She snatched back her hand and took a step back, running into the vault.

Lewis chased after her, "You cannot escape from me, you little bitch! Your mother and father have cursed you both by raising you in this store...you'll never escape me!" he bellowed.

Rain's feet pounded down the stairs, Lewis close behind. He was surprisingly quick for an old, and more importantly, dead man.

By the time they got to the bottom floor, Rain was panting. Lewis stepped down off of the last stair and grinned, "Trapped, my dear?"

Rain was glaring, "Not quite."

She looked behind him and nodded imperceptibly at James who had crept into the vault while the two stood talking.

By the time Lewis turned on his heel to survey the scene, James was chanting something under his breath, and splashed a vial of liquid onto his uncle. Lewis let out another pained howl, trying to brush the smoldering liquid off of him.

Rain grinned, and also began chanting the words that they had come across, written lightly in the front cover of their mother's Bible. Something that had been written there by Jack, in case protection was ever needed.

Now, for the two siblings, it was needed more than ever.

Rain then reached into her pocket and took the other discovery that had been stashed away in their mother's bedside table.

A trinket. A bauble that they had seen many times before, but it had not been until now that they understood the significance of the shimmering crystal that hung from it's silver chain.

Rain took another step forward, her chanting voice now louder, almost frenzied, "Crystallum malefactor intrare! Enter the stone, evil one!"

Lewis let out another cry as they chanted these final words over and over again, getting closer to him with each sentence.

The wind was whipping around their hair, and their voices, as loud as they were, were barely audible over the howling of the gusts.

Every once in a while they would hear a crashing of a vase or similar breakable upstairs, and they knew that this bizarre weather was shaking their entire home.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Lewis began to disintegrate, sucked in and vaporized into the stone that was still in Rain's shaking hand. The howling screams had finally stopped, and the two terrified siblings stood alone in the darkness of the basement.

12: Back to Bed

They both breathed a sigh of relief, and Rain looked down at the mirror still wedged over the top of the stairs between the upper and lower vault - a terrible roaring sound was starting down there.

James took a step back, and Rain followed suit, but their worry was unfounded - the demon Lewis had summoned was returning to Hell.

Rain set the amulet necklace on one of the shelves in the vault, her hands still trembling with the effort of capturing the spirit of their grand-uncle.

The two slowly made their way up to the first level, and further upstairs to the top floor. James looked at the wind-blown kitchen, papers and magazines strewn about. He looked at Rain, and sighed, "What do you say we clean this up in the morning?"

Rain nodded, "Good idea. I can't remember ever being so tired."

James looked at his twin bed in the alcove longingly, "Good night, Rain."

She hesitated at the door of her room, "Could you tuck me in?"

He smiled, "Of course."


James fell into a restless sleep almost immediately, his dreams familiar. He was standing by a buffet table drinking a glass of wine, and eating bits of bread, cheese, and fruit.

People swirled passed him in powdered wigs, speaking in French of politics, fashion, and gossip. As he stood there, he saw her - his mother.

She was as beautiful as always, her slender figure fit into an 18th century French gown, her red hair coiffed fashionably. She was speaking intensely with a man who seemed somehow familiar, and as he watched, they drifted away from the rest of the party.

He tried to follow her, to listen to their conversation, but got caught up in the crowd. He woke with a start, staring at the ceiling above his bed. It was so familiar, so real, and the words Lewis had spoke echoed in his head, "Child of the past."

He sighed. He had meant it when he said that Ryan was his father. But curiosity did flirt with him, making him wonder who had been the man in his mother's life during that short period of time when he remembered "Uncle Ryan".

He fell asleep again, telling himself that if his mother wanted him to know, she would have told him. And this time, he slept dreamlessly.

13: Rude Awakening

Micki and Ryan gingerly pulled the newly acquired item from the trunk and walked slowly up to the front door of the shop, tired after the evening's events. The accursed thing had been harder to get back than they had anticipated.

Ryan clicked down on the door latch and practically bounced off of the door, and into Micki, when the door didn't budge.

"Locked?" Ryan said perplexed.

Micki looked at her watch, "It shouldn't be, it's nearly 11:15 in the morning. The place should have been open hours ago."

Ryan dug out his key and the two of them stopped in the doorway. Their jaws dropping in unison at the sight before them. The place was thrashed. Paper everywhere, trash, broken antiques...The place looked like a party had hit it hard.

The two of them exchanged irritated, parental glances before heading upstairs to confront the little culprits.

James was asleep, snoring softly, and when they peeked in on Rain, she was sleeping too. Ryan glanced at Micki, who nodded. Ryan smiled slightly, and spoke softly, "Rain? Rain, it's time to wake up."

Rain's eyes opened sleepily, and she focused on her parents. Suddenly her eyes opened wide, "You're home already!" she said as Micki and Ryan leaned in to give her a hug.

Micki nodded, "We are. And you two are going to be cleaning for a long time, from the looks of it."

Rain sat up, "You would not believe the night we had! What time is it, anyway?"

Ryan laughed, "I had nights like that back when I was in college, too. Up with you - you and your brother are on cleaning detail."

Rain stretched, "Is James up yet?"

"I am now," he answered from the doorway, his voice sleepy.

Ryan and Micki turned to look at him. He stepped back, "Woah! We fight off a demon and Uncle Lewis, and this is the thanks we get?" He stepped gingerly into the room, favoring his left leg, and gave quick hugs to both his parents, "So how was the trip? Did you have a good time?"

Micki and Ryan exchanged shocked glances, then looked back and forth between their kids. Both of them in disbelief over the talents that their son and daughter apparently had. Talents that would come in handy over the next several years - the ability to guard against, and fight, evil.

Small, relieved smiles crept slowly onto both of their faces as Micki and Ryan realized that the store would always be in good hands, safe from the darkness that lurked in the world.

The cleaning could wait - they wanted to hear all about what had happened the night before, and sat down with Rain and James for what would undoubtedly be a great tale.

The end.