Death And The Arch Of Inheritance #writephoto #humour #shortfiction

This week’s #writephoto prompt is

Colonel Pilkington Pinke-Tassel (scion of the Andover Pinke-Tassels, Duke of Much Nobbing and heir to the Softbot Haemorrhoid cream empire) allowed himself a moment of considered reflection. Once he passed through the Arch of Inheritance he would be owner and Lord of the Manor of Tassel Hall, his ancestral home. It had been a long and, frankly, turgid battle to see off his older brother with his spurious, if legally solid claims to the Estate. Pilchard was a fool, throwing in his lot with those crazies, Druids and Charlatans and whatever else their sect called itself. Having him eviscerated, while essential had been expensive and meant Pilkington would probably have to sell some second rate tiara, or antique circumsizer.

He straightened his tie, pulled back his shoulders and began to move.

‘I wouldn’t, you know.’

Pilchard? It couldn’t be. Pilkington looked round, certain this was some sort of trick. Probably that damned brat of his, Prestatyn using his computer whizzbangery.

‘No, it’s me. Your brother. Your ex-brother.’

Pilkington had rubbed out all in his path, without being able to recover from set backs, including emotional ones. ‘You’re dead.’

‘Indeed, thanks to you or insufferable sibling, I am. And yet I’m here.’

‘Where?’ Pilkington knew he should have probably asked ‘how’ rather than ‘where’ but he had an almost overwhelming urge to see his deceased relative, just to be sure he was gone.

‘Through the Arch, where else? You need to look closely. It’s a bit windy.’

Why did wind matter?

‘We spirits lose a little form in a breeze. Something to do with molecules.’

‘You’re a spirit?’ Pilkington squinted through the Arch. There was a misty shape, off to the left.

‘For now, I’m a spiritus incorporealus. If all goes well at the hearing, I’ll be granted my ghost licence on… Thursday. They said they could squeeze me in on Thursday.’

‘Ghost licence?’ Pilkington didn’t try and hide the sneer in his voice. ‘You’re dead and you need a licence?’

‘Not everyone is suitable to remain. Hauntings are sparingly allowed. I’ve to persuade them I have just cause. There are also issues around the time period and…’

‘You’re telling me hauntings are time limited?’

‘Well, they used to be in perpetuity but that led to some crowding. Bit like your peerage. It used to be hereditary and pass, but now it’s for life. They’re very strict. Mind you, everyone says I’ve got a good case. Murder victims are given precedence and with luck it’ll be with benefits.’

Pilkington’s gaze was drawn to flickering cloud through the Arch. It definitely had his brother’s nose. He couldn’t help releasing a shudder.

His brother’s voice sounded seductive, drawing him in. ‘Don’t you want to know the benefits?k

Pilkington let go a sharp sarcastic laugh. ‘You get to choose who sees you, that sort of thing?’

‘Oh that’s a given. No, it’s whether they’ll allow an element of Poltergeisery. The ability to move items, cause pain.’


‘There’s little point being frivolous when you’re dead, is there? Yes, by Thursday I’ll know the extent of the horrors I can inflict on you.’

‘No, wait. That can’t be right. Your linked to where you died, aren’t you? You can’t follow me around.’

‘That’s true…. Normally. But exceptions can be made. Here’s the thing, little bro. You walk through the Arch of Inheritance and you will inherit… me. My ghost. It’ll stick to you like a septic scab and you’ll be the one doing the weeping.’

Pilkington’s mind whirled. ‘And if I don’t walk through the Arch?’

‘Well, yes that’s true. If you don’t walk through before sunset today, the inheritance is void, according to the terms of Great Great Grandfather Pimple’s Trust. Up to you really. Sort of stick or twist. Come on, Pillock, what’ll it be?’

Pilkington looked at the rather desolate scene beyond the scrappy masonry. He didn’t need all this hassle. He could stay in town. He’d probably have to borrow against his shares to pay off the hitman, but at least he’d not have to keep looking over his shoulder. Decision made, he spun on his heels and headed for his Jag.

On the other side of the Arch, Pilchard, Prestatyn and a skeletal figure in a black cloak carrying a scythe moved as one to peer through. Pilchard was the first to move, giving Prestatyn a hug. ‘Thanks. Neatly done.’

Prestatyn, a nervy teen with crepuscular acne and a distinct tilt eyed the man in the cloak. ‘Sick, man. Er, what about the dude?’

Pilchard looked at the dark sunken eyes and nodded. ‘Ten more years?’

The figure straightened up. ‘INDEED. AND I GET TO INHERIT THE HALL. AND THE KNICK-KNACKS. IS THERE REALLY A MECHANICAL CIRCUMSIZER?’ With a strange noise that might have been a chortle but was most likely a death rattle, the figure disappeared.

Prestatyn let out a breath. ‘That was Death, right?’

‘Yep. I got a deal. More time here, he uses the Hall after I’m gone and in the meantime he can terrorise my brother three evenings a week and alternate weekends.’

‘Why does he want to do that?’

‘I suppose everyone needs a hobby. Come on. I need to walk through the Arch, reclaim my inheritance and then dob in Pilkington. I think there are some crumpets in the pantry.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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33 Responses to Death And The Arch Of Inheritance #writephoto #humour #shortfiction

  1. L.K. Latham says:

    Good Saturday chuckle. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje says:

    Haha! Thanks for the smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great stuff as always Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  4. JT Twissel says:

    A mechanical circumsizer – oh my! That woke me up!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent. I expect there will be a film made of this. Looking forward to the Director’s cut!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. willowdot21 says:

    Utterly Ridiculously and delightfully written.💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the smile, Geoff! Enjoy your weekend! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  8. davidprosser says:

    Ah Geoff, something in that brain is irrevocably twisted, we readers are grateful for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Catxman says:

    The grand appearance of Death Himself is guaranteed to get a laugh or two from the demented crowd. That dose of fear, coupled with the true surprise of the event, mingles emotions from two different directions and makes levity impossible — unless you’re twisted.

    — Catxman

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You have certainly wrung the most from the prompt – chortle worthy

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is great, Geoff. Very amusing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: #Writephoto Round-Up – Arch – New2Writing

  13. Jemima Pett says:

    Ha-ha-haaa-ha-haaaaaa… etc.

    Thanks for that! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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