This week’s Trifecta challenge is to use the the word Grasp, defined as “to lay hold of with the mind : comprehend” in a piece of writing of between 33 and 330 words.
Mr Ramsbottom sat down behind his partners desk with arthritic care. He had been Thomas Whyte’s friend and solicitor for fifty years or more. His rheumy eyes surveyed the mourners. Maddie, who dotted on her grandfather, even giving up her job to look after him, sat on her own. She looked cold and dishevelled in her threadbare, woollen coat. Her fingers red and chapped from the cleaning jobs she’d taken on to make ends meet since losing her grandpa. In contrast, her cousins, so untouched by their grandfather’s death they hadn’t even bothered to come to the funeral, looked almost regal in their Bond Street perfection. It was Thomas’s greatest regret that he hadn’t seen his younger children since the divorce.
“If I might have your attention…” Mr Ramsbottom began. They turned to him expectantly. “As you know I was Thomas’s friend and solicitor, yet despite my advice and his assurances that he would get around to it, Thomas died intestate.” He paused and straightened the papers in front of him again. It is true, the law is an ass, he thought.
“In such cases the law states that any estate goes to the nearest, living blood relatives.” He paused again, gauging reactions, unable to look Maddie in the eye. “I’m sorry to say that probate investigations have brought to light the fact that George Whyte, Thomas’s eldest son, was not the biological father of Madeline Mary Whyte.”
“Wha…” gulped Maddie clutching at her throat, unable to grasp the significance of what had been said.
“It seems that Mary, Madeline’s mother, was married when she met George and her husband was Madeline’s father. As George did not adopt Madeline and she is not a blood relative, despite his stated wishes to the contrary she is not an heir and therefore not entitled a share of the estate.”
All their eyes swivelled towards poor Maddie. Wheezing heavily, her head throbbing, Madeline tried to stand. No longer able to breath she sank to the floor.