Location: Texas, USA
Date: August, 2034
Prompt #48: Inheritance
“Oh great. Just great,” my mom said, shaking her head and looking hopelessly at the computer. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“And you tried it with a capital T?” I asked, knowing she probably did, but I didn’t know what else to suggest.
“We only get two more tries and then it locks us out.” She sighed.
“What about the seed words?”
“They didn’t -- hold on, let me call them.” She went to call the attorney.
My mom’s uncle didn’t leave the seed words when he listed the information regarding her inheritance. He only wrote down the password; the wrong password. He was a distant relative, but didn’t have children, so he left her his Ethereum and a house. Ethereum took off in the late twenties and had risen to an all-time high of $160,000 in 2033. Now, it was down a little at $140,000.
We both stood there, in silence, shocked and trying to think of ideas on what to do next. We’d just made the six hour trip out to the farm and unloaded all of our groceries. We were tired and couldn’t think straight.
“Let’s give it a little bit of time and sleep on it, I’m gonna go lay down for a little bit. Why don’t you take your brother to see the pigs,” she said in a flat tone, more of a command than a question.
“I’m not feeding them until I know I’m getting an allowance,” I said, in a crude tone.
“I know, Liam,” she said, irritated, “You’ll still get your allowance from me. We’ll figure this out later. I said to just go see them.”
An allowance was part of our deal. I agreed to take care of the pigs on the farm, while moving far away and starting a new school without any complaining. In return, I start receiving an allowance. All the other fourth graders had MetaMusk wallets. It used to be called MetaMask in the twenties, but then Elon Musk bought the company and changed the name. I was always behind. I wasn’t going to start a new school as that kid again. My wallet was downloaded on my phone and this password dilemma was putting a damper on my plans.
We walked down the gravel driveway toward the back of the property, near the woods. Before the woods, there was a fence and a small barn. The fence only blocked off the front of the property, but was open to the forest out back. A light was on in the tiny feed room. Through the window I saw a man scooping grain out of a large bin. He saw us, and walked out to greet us.
“Oh, hi, you must be Jack’s nephews,” he said to my brother and I.
“Hi, yea, he was my mom’s uncle,” I said. My brother, Noah, just stared at him.
“I’m sorry about your loss. I’m Tom, I live right over there.” He pointed to the house next door that you could kind of see through the trees on the side of the house. “I’ve been, uh, taking care of the pigs since your uncle passed…” he trailed off while looking down, then changed the subject. “You want to see the pigs?”
“Sure. My mom put me in charge of feeding them,” I said.
“Oh good,” he said, “‘cause I’m not sure he’s big enough to be around these pigs.” He pointed toward Noah, who was only five. I was confused by what he meant, but went along without saying anything.
We walked through the feed room, then out another door into an open sheltered area. Tom shut the gate into the area, then began dishing out a little bit of grain into the metal buckets that hung on the perimeter of the area; six on each side.
“Always make sure to shut that gate before coming in here.” He pointed toward the gate he had just shut. It lead out into the open area before the forest. “You never want to be in a cornered area with these pigs. Honestly, most people don’t want to be around them at all. They’re a little more… feisty than your domestic pig.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, they’re a cross-breed. They’re feral. Not really the type that’s meant to be kept as a pet. But, your uncle started feeding them to stop them from getting into his stuff. It seemed to work, a little, so he kept doing it. But then I think, in a way, he became attached to the little buggers.” He gestured toward the forest. “They roam free out back, but Jack had the fence set up so they wouldn’t come toward the house.”
“Yea, he wanted my mom to make sure someone looked after them when he gave us the house,” I said.
We went back out through the feed room and stood to watch the forest while Tom let out a loud whistle. A head peeped out from behind the bushes, and another creature came trotting toward the barn. Suddenly, a few more followed. They weren’t the pigs I was expecting. They looked more like muscular boars with their tusks cut off. I stood there, disappointed, without saying anything. Eventually a few more followed the herd over to the feeding area. They haphazardly went for the grain in the metal buckets that were hanging on the walls; some fighting with each other.
“They’ll eat practically anything,” said Tom. “But we just feed ‘em this grain that’s in the bin there.” He pointed toward the feed room. I nodded, while staring ahead at the tameless creatures; some with their heads in the buckets and others chewing loudly with grain dribbling out of their mouths.
A couple weeks later, school had started, and I returned home from a rough day. Things were tense at home because of the disappointing inheritance and adjusting to a new routine. At school, things weren’t much better. That morning, I’d hurriedly showered and gotten ready for school, but didn’t have time to feed the pigs. My mom caught me trying to leave before feeding the pigs, and made me quickly feed them. In a hurry, I tripped and got mud on my pants. As that was happening, I saw the bus pass. I had to chase it to the next stop. I was teased for wearing dirty clothes to school, so I came home in a sour mood.
I went to feed the pigs, but hadn't closed the gate to the feeding area. I hadn’t dished up the grain yet. I sat on a piece of wood that jutted out of the barn. I sat there thinking about my day, and brooding over all the changes happening in my life. While I zoned out, a pig trotted into the feeding area. It started aggressively sniffing me and forcefully punching it’s snout into my legs. I stood still, so that I wouldn’t scare it. Then, it started to back away, while still facing me. It was about to charge. I was luckily near the fence, and dashed over to climb it. I stood on the fence rail, trembling, and watched the pig give up and walk away.
This incident must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. As I stood in the feeding area, my fear was replaced with anger. I decided to take my fury out on the nearest object: one of the stainless steel buckets that hung on the wall. I kicked it so hard that the metal handle slid off it’s hook and the bucket flew off, landing on the ground.
After I cried from the frustration, I felt relieved and decided it was time to feed the pigs. I went to pick up the bucket I had kicked. I noticed a word engraved into the bottom of the bucket. At first glance, it kind of just looked like a brand name of the manufacturer. I dusted off some of the dirt, and saw that it was just a word. It said awake in a plain font. “That’s random,” I thought.
As I went to distribute the grain into the buckets, I was subconsciously counting as I did it. “Ten… Eleven… Twelve.” I suddenly became cognizant of the number twelve. I looked at the seeds in the grain, and it suddenly dawned on me. I crouched below each bucket lifting it up, trying not to spill the grain. Each bucket had a different random word engraved into the bottom: goose. violin. advance. twill. leprechaun. phone. mammoth. apple. electric. perfume. bowl. awake. My uncle Jack made a smart maneuver. He stored his seed words the old-fashioned way, and he stored them in a place where no one wanted to go.