He dug through the dusty remnants of his wife’s attic. He tried to subdue his cough. Clouds of dust and mold filled his nostrils.
He heaved a box to the side. It crashed to the ground, breaking the padlock. Rusted jewelry sprawled out, rusted with green he-didn’t-want-to-know-what.
Dear God, how many relics did this woman have?
He didn’t even want to be with her. The old crone had probably only married him for looks. But she never shut up about the treasure. The secret treasure in her attic.
He tossed a stack of boxes aside without looking to see its contents. She wouldn’t have packed something like a treasure in a cardboard box. He laughed to himself at her gullibility. “Old hag don’t suspect a thing,” he muttered.
He tossed aside another tower of boxes to find a ratty, ivory chest behind it.
It her treasure. It had to be. He fell to his knees and fumbled with the lock.
Then someone laughed.
The crone nudged her way into the attic, flashlight in hand. “Looking for my treasure, are you?” Cracked lips produced a smoker’s accent. “All the others did, too.”
“My husbands, dearie? You don’t think a woman as old as old as I am hasn’t been married before, do you? Where do you thank the treasure came from?”
“They left you their fortunes?” His heart was a sledgehammer against his chest.
“In a manner of speaking.. Is this any way to spend your wedding night?”
“I—I—” All his questions fell silent on his tongue.
“Go ahead,” the crone cooed. She slid a leathery hand along his neck. Her whisper was like cobwebs tickling his ear. “Do it.”
Slick fingers fiddled with the rusty latch. He fumbled twice before he managed to undo the latch.
He could’ve sworn his heart had stopped beating. He felt a ringing in his ears. Words caught in his throat.
“The husbands always want my treasure,” the old crone said, “And I give it to them. Forever.”
What was that in her hand? Why, it almost looked like a knife…