“Brian, I’ll be late tonight. Take this money for your lunch and dinner.”
That was Mum. She was always busy with her job. What kind of job? I never knew. Fortunately Dad was different. He cared about us, me and Johnny, my younger brother. He was such a lovely man. Unluckily, fate was not by my side as Dad died of lung cancer three years ago and the loss really hit me awfully. Luckily, we had Grandpa. Grandpa was the only man that we could depend on. Pity us! Once again, we lost somebody we loved. Grandpa left us because of heart attack and Mum had become the famous heiress of Grandpa’s wealth. I guessed God had planned everything so well as Mum tied the knot with Edward, a not-so-popular actor 3 months after Grandpa’s death. My buddies would think I was lucky because I got everything from Mum but that was meaningless as I was actually craving for love. Love of a mother.
That midnight, the bright flashes of lightning lit up the dark sky and this was immediately followed by deafening blasts of thunder. As usual, Johnny and I stayed up late to watch a new released movie that we had been waiting for, The Avengers. Mum was upstairs resting and Edward was nowhere to be seen. Out of the blue, while I was glancing at the window wondering about my future, I noticed a shadow when the lightning flashed outside. I was stunned for a while and I hugged my strawberry-like pillow tightly. I did not tell Johnny about it. Perhaps, it was just my illusion. I continued watching the movie and I stuffed a lot of popcorn in my mouth to calm down my nervousness.
“Prang.” I was shaken by the sound from the kitchen. Johnny looked at me and I just shrugged my shoulders. Johnny held my right hand firmly and urged me to go to the kitchen. I got up dragging my feet to the kitchen carefully. Johnny was right behind me following me closely. We hid behind the wall and observed the kitchen carefully. All I could see was just my lovely Vietnamese vase gifted by Dad broken into pieces. I continued studying the kitchen and I was relieved as no stranger was seen to be there. I entered the kitchen cautiously and slowly, I picked up the pieces of vase scattered on the floor. Johnny got a broom behind the kitchen door and swept the remaining bits of the vase.
After we had cleaned everything, we went out from the kitchen and headed to the living room to continue watching the movie. My focus was not to the movie. I was marvelling the strange thing happened in the kitchen. How could the vase fall on the floor? Was it the wind? It was ridiculous as the vase was quite heavy. Out of sudden, I could hear Mum’s voice shrieking in fear. Johnny and I dashed upstairs to the master bedroom. We turned the knob but to no avail as the burgundy teak door was locked from inside. We kicked and pushed the door with all our might but still the door did not move a bit.
“The spare key!” I sprinted to the store to get the key. When I returned to Mum’s room, Johnny was still trying hard to open the door. I placed the key inside the keyhole and voila! The door could be unlocked. I yelled for Mum but I could not see her in the room. I searched for her at every inch of the room and finally, I found her. I found her lifeless body next to the safety box. She was stabbed to death. I could not describe my feeling that time. Should I lament her death? Should I call the ambulance? I was in dilemma. Shockingly, the safety box’s door was wide open and it was totally empty. The documents, Mum’s jewellery and cash were nowhere to be seen.
“Brian!” Johnny’s scream made me turn to him out of sudden. He was standing at the balcony, stupefied. I approached him and I was extremely shocked when I saw Edward was lying motionlessly on the grass with blood splattered from his mouth. All I could see next to him were the documents, Mum’s jewellery and money. I did not know whether to cry or smile as Edward had received his punishment for stealing our property.
After the tragedy, Johnny and I were the richest brothers in Arizona as we inherited Mum’s wealth. Mum was safely cremated and I did not know what happened to Edward after the police brought him to the hospital. For us, every cloud has a silver lining.