Necessary Things

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story about what is important and unimportant in a person's life. About something or other choice.

Early in the morning, on the twelfth of June, baron William Reygate opened his eyes and immediately squint - a bright sunbeam come through a small gap between the tight curtains.

A new day at the Virginia Water estate in Surrey county was dawning.

With a familiar motion Reygate pulled his pajamas off, went to the window, revealed the curtains and opened the sash. The freshness of the air, oreganum's smell rushed into still sleepy room. The bell rang and the butler entered.

‘Good morning, sir.’

‘Here's what James, bring me coffee and all the mail that I have. I am awaiting a parliamentary letter from Lord Stokes. And take it all out on the terrace. Time to wake up!’

‘One minute, Your Excellency.’

The butler went out and after one minute the tray was brought with the papers.

‘Sir, I wanted to add that yesterday, towards evening, some messenger came and left for you this letter with the words “Only to Baron Reygate. Strictly personally. And since you returned rather late yesterday, I decided not to bother you.’

‘You're most kind, James. Put it here too. You are free for now.’

Having settled comfortably at the table, Reygate slowly leaned back in his chair, sipped a little refreshing drink from a cup and closed his eyes. There are many thoughts, new and not very, went very close to him, but, however, he continued listen to the singing of the morning birds. Sometimes ducks quacked from Virginia Water lake. All this tuned in to a peaceful way and gave strength for the future.

Reygate, when finishing his coffee and stretching his whole body, quickly jumped up and ran to the water. Dropping off all his clothes, or rather one his bathrobe, he jumped from the footbridge into the morning icy water and swam away from the shore with snorting loudly. Having swam plenty, baron, after standing a little under the rays of the already significantly warming sun, returned to the terrace.

A couple of lying envelopes were uninteresting. Familiar stamps, addresses. But here's a little letter with a red mark "Nec'ry Thgs" Reygate was interested. Opening it, he took out one small sheet. The following was written on it in with beautiful handwriting:

“Sir William Reygate! For your honourable attention is offered this notice that starting right from this day all your property, that which will not be used as intended for one day and that which is unnecessary to you, will disappear from your life in the future and will be given to the hands of those who really needs it. And today the first such thing will be that huge dusty antique chandelier that hangs in your fireplace hall. Remember that your persistence will only speed up the process! Further, if necessary, we will personally notify you in the future..."

Baron did not read next. “What the hell!” - he thought - “Who could have thought of writing such? Maybe Lord Watson? But no, bloody thing! He is only expert to smoke with his pipe. Maybe it could be Nina's jokes?"

Lady Nina Reygate had been married to baron Reygate for nearly forty-five years. And, no matter what happened between the spouses during this time, but it never left beyond the family room. And now, she's not around, she went to Africa about a month ago ...

The bell rang again.

‘Hey, James. Come on, tell me what the messenger looked like when he brought this letter.’

And baron waved a red envelope in front of the butler's face.

‘My Lord, if I remember correctly…he looked really usually, about thirty years old, with a black hat like yours. Yes...he was on a horse. Oh, what a thoroughbred stallion!’

‘And what, nothing else?’

‘No, sir, that's it. He just gave me letter directly into hands from the horse and rode away.’

Reygate winced to the side and rubbed both eyes.

‘Well....so, listen now then this is what. Gather your entire team. Everyone, all of them. It is necessary today for half a day quickly and carefully ... Do you hear?! Go over quickly and carefully around the estate and its neighborhood to make a full list of the property. Note everything from nails in the stables to ducks in the lake. Every pole and bush. Do you understand me?

‘Yes, sir, I understand. We need to make a complete inventory. But may I ask, sir, what is the reason for this? We're recently did this with Lady Reygate all over house.

‘Yes, we did, James. But, do it again, it doesn't hurt to be more closely. Just one more thing, remember well a very important circumstance - every thing that you or your assistants that write down to the list must be used as intended, right there. That is, if you see a hammer - knock with it, if you notice a cup - drink it, a book - read a little sitting on a chair, if you see a lake - so, dive and swim. Can I count on you, James? Your family has been loyal to this home for almost seven centuries.’

‘Certainly yes, sir. Without any doubts. By evening I will report to you on the work done.’

‘And that's what, James. Do you not remember what date Lady Reygate has to go back from Africa of hers? And what do you think she is doing there?’

‘She will be at day after tomorrow, sir. I don't know for sure, but it's a humanitarian mission, sir. Help children in need, some water questions about... like that.’

‘What? Help for children, you say? In Africa? Well, anyway, James, see you in the evening. You can go.’

 

William Reygate has become peaky. Some strange premonition took possession of him. Something to count, to go anywhere, to do something... But his estate was really huge.

“Well”, - saying that to himself for half an hour later, baron pulled on his slippers, returned to house, dressed, had breakfast with still warm oatmeal put by prudently James, sat down at the table ... and suddenly realized that same huge chandelier which was hanging on the ceiling in this hall for many, many generations of Reygates ... it is not there. No. Like if someone had taken it off. Just disappeared.

There were no words. The baron continued to sit motionless in surprise. ?lock’s tinkling lead him back to senses.

“Where to go, where to start?” - it was nine in the morning and Reygate decided not to waste a minute ...

***

By seven o'clock in the evening, everything seemed to be over. Every corner is ransacked. Reygate touched on everything. Lit candlesticks, read books, took a bath, lay down on all the beds and sofas.

Settle down by the fireplace and sipping a century-old aging wine, he was already calmly waiting for James.

And, at long last, he appeared with a thick pile of paper sheets.

‘Well, Mr. Exchequer, did you audit everything?’

‘Yes, sir, got around everywhere, nothing is missed.’

‘I hope, hope, James. It's clear. I think we'll see what you counted there tomorrow. So, you can go.’

‘Thank you, sir. May I inquire about your evening meal?’

‘No, you can go, I'm going to starve today. No appetite.’

‘Well, good night, sir.’

‘And you too, James.’

For a long time Reygate was tossing and turning in his bed, with not knowing whether read calmly before bed and fall asleep after, or get up and check again if he had missed any of the items.

And, in the end, exhausted by thoughts, he fell asleep.

***

The next morning was not long in coming. Reygate got up later this time and, approaching the window, heard a drizzle rain. That's right, it was dripping like as if something was sneaking up to the house. Something not very good. And anxiety seized baron. Trying to hide his fear, Reygate take bell in hand.

‘Yes, sir?’

‘Hello James. And what, how are things in the house? Looking forward to an excellent breakfast.’

‘He’s ready, sir, and awaits you in the fireplace hall.’

‘And nothing more?’

Seeing the unsure movements of butler, which are not inherent in him, Reygate increased his suspicions.

‘But...how can I tell you, sir…during the preparation of breakfast it turned out that almost no crockery left.’

‘Whaaat? How can this be? Where did you sent it?’

‘Excuse me, sir, but I only say what I saw with my own eyes.’

‘Well, did the porridge remain? Or maybe we can do without it?’

‘No, sir, it's alright with it.’

‘Hell knows what. Okay, I'll go eat.’

After breakfast, Reygate went to the library. At the end of large hall was stand baron's favorite table and behind it in a special niche had been a safe. A crazy thought struck Reygate. He didn't open it yesterday! Either he forgot in a hurry ... but he seemed to go through everything and looked everywhere.

A key flashed in his hands, the safe door opened and a near chair took on the whole weight of the dumbfounded man. The safe was empty. Absolutely. Not a single promissory note, check or deed of gift. Empty! Barely restraining himself from a fit of rage, Reygate closed the safe and began to think about what to do next.

‘James!’ - finding some semblance of calmness baron called the butler. ‘Is there any news from Lady Reygate?’

‘Yes, sir, in the morning the news came that milady will be tomorrow.’

‘Fine, James. Well, today as always, in the usual way. I don't think that need you before lunch.’

‘May I go, sir?’

‘Yes. How is your family?’

‘Very well, sir. Nothing special.’

‘Well, glad to hear it.’

Left alone, Reygate decided to wait until tomorrow for his spouse. Her advice was always precise and so helpful!

***

And tomorrow came on its own as usual - from time. Having completed all the obligatory procedures in the morning, Reygate settled down in his favorite terrace and began waited for the familiar noise of the carriage with Lady Reygate.

‘My dear!’ - less than two hours later, the baron heard a joyful for his heart call. ‘William! What have you done with our favorite chestnut horses? Today we were carried by other, completely different, some unfamiliar horses...’

A few hours later, the spouses sat together at home and have Earl Grey tea. Reygate told all about the letter and the disappearances. Later, in addition, it turned out that apart the stable, Virginia Water lake had disappeared somewhere. Forgetting about the contents of the letter, Reygate did not think about it, and no one else during the day too. The half-frightened James told it to spouses in a whisper.

It was scary to look at William Reygate. He looked like a beast trapped in a hopeless trap.

Lady Reygate was much more self-possessed.

‘Nina, what should we do? What to do?’ - baron asked with fear.

‘Don’t know, dear, but have you seen that horseman with a hat again?’

‘No, if only!..’

‘Well, what can I say…perhaps it's all for a reason.’

‘For a reason?? No!!! I went to count my property again! Are you with me?’

‘I'm tired of the road ... William, maybe it doesn’t need to?’

‘Doesn't need to?! But who needs to?! That's it, I'm leaving - two hours is enough for me to go around the house. Hey, James!!’

***

On the next day, a lot was disappeared. Everything in Reygate's head was confused. He didn't understand. Expensive jewelry! - he definitely put them on himself, gave them to his spouse to wear - why did they disappear?

Family paintings - they were re-hang them yesterday with James together from place to place!! What happened??

Totally confused and tired, William Reygate, stretching out on the fireplace hall's floor in the evening, turned his look on upward and shouted: ‘Take it all!! I don't need anything!! And leave me alone!!’

Lady Reygate and James carried the owner of the house to bed with a towel soaked in cold water on his head and gave him sleeping pills.

Nina Reygate, being a sensible woman, did not panic, unlike her husband, although she herself was quite frightened by the state of affairs.

‘Sleep, my dear...’ in a whisper, stroking the baron, woman hoped and believed in the best. ‘Tomorrow everything will be completely different. Don’t be afraid of anything!’

***

In the morning, the spouses woke up in their bed right in the meadow of their estate, which was beside him. Birds sang all around, an old stream gurgled and smelled of herbs. Only the familiar walls were not nearby, there was not Home.

Dumbfounded, Reygate could no longer scream or cry. He just was moaning softly.

Lady Reygate said in a calm voice:

‘You know, William, I seem to understand that the more we cling to all this, the faster it disappears. Whether you like it or not, it is.’

‘Okay’ Reygate said in a low voice. ‘I don't care anymore, this happens against our desire, our will. I only have the will to live after this.’

‘You're right, William. We should accept it and think about how we lived before and that this letter came to us for a reason.’

The couple hugged and fell asleep this way...

 

Waking up first, William Reygate found himself back in his house, his spouse was lying near, and a strange man in black was standing by the bed.

‘William Reygate! Where is the letter with the red seal "Nec'ry Thgs" that your butler gave you? Give it here back. I think that you won't need it anymore.’

With these words, the stranger left.

Reygate's gaze fell on the bell on the bedside table.

Lightly touching his wife, the baron quietly asked ‘Nina, what have you got there in Africa? Some kind of mission?’


Submitted: April 13, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Alexander Melnicov. All rights reserved.

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Serge Wlodarski

Interesting concept. In today's materialistic America there are many people who would benefit from this letter.

Thu, April 15th, 2021 8:19pm

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