When she was forty, she flew up North to help her father move out of her childhood home and into a smaller condominium. Now that he was by himself, he didn’t need the space, and besides, he wanted to start wintering in Florida. Moving out allowed him a lot of freedom, but she was still sad to see the old place go.
They filled hundreds of boxes. Donated some things, threw some away; put some in storage, moved some to the new condo.
The day of her flight back, her father first drove to the old, empty house. “I’ll be right back,” he said. “You wait here.” She got out and leaned against the car, and her father walked in through the front door. She had walked with him through the house the day prior and seen that it was empty; she assumed that he just wanted to walk through one last time and revisit old memories.
After a few minutes, her father came back and handed her a horrible thing. It was about the size of a camping backpack, rising to a triangular point at the top; it was covered in what appeared to be a thin, short-haired, light-brown animal pelt, unmarred and unstitched, with no apparent pockets, zippers, clasps, or buttons. Some mysterious structure inside maintained a more-or-less rectangular shape, appearing hollow at the pointed top, and heavy and dense at the bottom. As she handled it, it seemed that it was filled with a thick, viscous substance, like honey, or molasses, or very fine sand; its center of gravity shifted as she moved it. It weighed about forty pounds.
“This is for you, daughter,” the man said. “It is very important to me that you have this.”
“What is it?”
“Your inheritance. Take it.”
“Dad, I don’t have room for this thing. I don’t know what it is. It’s hideous.”
“That’s fine. Just take it home with you. Make some room, put it away somewhere. The attic, the basement.”
She lived in a condo that had neither of those things, but she didn’t correct him.
“When you need it,” he said, “you’ll be glad you have it.”
She paid the extra forty dollars to check it with her other bag, and watched the woman at the counter turn it around in confusion before finally slapping a sticker on the side of it and throwing it onto the conveyor. She got on the plane, slightly worried about what would happen when they X-rayed it, or if the TSA decided they needed to open it and inspect the contents.
When she landed, she sat in the baggage claim for two hours, just watching the strange furry bony thing go around and around on the luggage return. Finally, she hauled it onto her cart, and then loaded it into her trunk, where it sat for two weeks. Eventually, she hauled it into her home and shoved it into a storage closet.
That’s where it sat. Periodically, she would remember it. When she did, the thought of it was always accompanied by the hope that she would never find out what it was, and that she would never need to.