*Short story originally written for The Iron Writer Challenge.*
It was already close to midnight when I pulled up to the storage facility. Less than twenty four hours ago I had found out that my beloved Aunt Eloise had died and named me responsible for her estate. I had always loved Eloise. Even after her mind started to go, I enjoyed listening to her crazy, imaginative stories.
I walked into the building and approached a security guard seated behind a front desk.
“Good evening ma’am. Do you have some identification?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah, I have an ID,” I began ruffling through my handbag, “but I don’t think I’m on your list or whatever. My aunt just died and I’m in charge of her estate.”
The guard looked at me flatly, still holding his hand out.
“What is your aunt’s name?” he asked after I had given him the ID.
“Eloise Hannigan. She left the key with the lawyers, I have it right here…” The guard looked at his computer, back at me and then back at the ID.
“Ok Miss Hannigan, I’ll buzz you though.”
Well at least I wouldn’t have to worry about robberies, I thought as I opened the thick metal door and started down the corridor in search of unit 143.
I inserted the key into the old lock and lifted the rickety garage style door. I’m not sure what I expected to find but what I saw was somewhat surprising. Instead of the typical unorganized clutter you might expect to find from a ninety-five year old woman, it was set up like a tiny living room; a loveseat, a coffee table and an end table with a lamp all positioned on one wall and a neat row of boxes along the other wall. Placed on the coffee table was a shoe box with an envelope leaning against it.
I dusted off the old loveseat and sat on the edge before gently opening the lid of the shoebox. I began taking out the contents, admiring them one by one. It was an odd assortment – an autographed program from an old World Series dated 1939; a gold medal from the 1936 Olympics in Bavaria; a picture of Aunt Eloise with a beautiful brunet, ‘Sonia Henie – 1940’ scribbled on the back; a little red book with Chinese lettering wrapped in plastic with MAO printed on it; a stapler, which with a button on the bottom that when pressed sprung a knife out the front.
“What on Earth?” I said out loud and moved on to the letter.
“My sweet niece Alley,
Inside these boxes you will find many stories. But of all my adventures and all my memories, this box holds my very favorite. I am entrusting it all to you, so that you may write my story and carry on my legacy. ”
Who was this woman? What had she seen and never spoke about? Or tried to tell me but I had brushed it off as an old senile woman with an imagination.
I took a look around the storage unit and realized, I had several boxes to help me find out.