Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Miskin Legacy - Generation Two, Part Three: Monty Makes a Deal

All was well in the Miskin household. Montague was a rising star in the comedy world. Myron had similarly risen through the ranks, and was now a laboratory leader. Mordecai had started school, and Rebekah was expecting her second child. Serenity reigned, and everyone was happy.

One morning, as Rebekah washed the breakfast plates and Mordecai scurried off to the school bus, Myron sat reading in the living room - but he felt... strange. He seemed short of breath, and a lot more tired than he usually was at that time of day. Perhaps he was falling ill?

Montague, snug in his study and working on his comedy routine, was suddenly disturbed by a loud thud - followed by a blood-chilling scream.


The comedian leaped to his feet, rushed out... and saw Rebekah, trembling, as she stood over the body of Myron, who had collapsed onto the carpet.

"Dad... oh, God... please... no..."

Now, Montague didn't know it, but his eccentric insanity granted him a special gift. The veil between life and death was thinner to him than it was to "normal" people. Thus, when the Grim Reaper arrived to claim Myron's soul, Montague was able to see the terrifying spectre before him. Desperately, he fell to his knees.

"Please, sir..." he begged, "don't take my father away from me."

"And why should I spare him, mortal?" came the cold reply.

"My wife is expecting a baby," Montague told him. "For weeks now, he's been longing to meet his new grandchild. If you take him now, he never will. It won't be long now. Please... just give him a little more time. I beg you."

The Reaper pondered for a moment.

"Are you willing to pay the price for this?"

"What must I pay?"

"Your first son, Mordecai..."

"My God, you wouldn't - "

"No, mortal. This is the price. The years will see him grow into an unconventional outsider. He shall shy away from the usual professions, and spend his days in silly dreams. You think you are strange? Oh, mortal... just wait until you see what your heir will become!"

Montague hesitated.

"I have just one question, sir."

"And what is that?"

"If I accept this deal... Mordecai... will he be happy? With the life he will lead?"

Eerie silence followed.

"Answer me!" Montague screamed in anguish.

The Reaper chuckled.

"That is a question only time can answer."

Montague looked towards his father. Drawing a deep breath, he turned back to the Reaper... and nodded.

"I accept," he said solemnly.

The Reaper slowly outstretched his hand. In a glow of ethereal light, Myron rose up, opened his eyes, and breathed one more.


As Rebekah stood there, open-mouthed in shock, Montague rushed up to his father, embracing him tightly.


"I thought I'd lost you," he whispered.

"Well," Myron replied, "looks like there's life in the old dog yet!"

Their tender moment was broken by a groan from Rebekah. Montague, still shaken from his encounter with the Reaper, turned to her hastily.

"What's wrong?"

Rebekah looked at him: half-grinning, half-grimacing.

"The baby's coming."

As night fell, Myron stood over the cradle of his new grandson, Matthias - cooing and waving at him with loving pride. Montague watched from a distance... knowing he could never tell his father what he had done to allow this moment to happen.


Following his "funny turn", as he called it, Myron swore to devote his remaining days to his family. He retired from his job, and spent as much time as he could with both Matthias and Mordecai.

As the older Miskin child and his grandfather began to bond, both remained blissfully unaware of how Montague had sold the future of one to give a future to the other. For now, they didn't have a care in the world.

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Miskin Legacy - Generation Two, Part Two: The Granddaddy of Them All

At his dinner date with Rebekah, Montague was determined to impress. He donned his best suit - in his signature colour, of course - and spent days preparing jokes and witticisms to spice up the conversation. 

Ever since his youth, Montague had never really felt able to relate to those around him... especially girls. He was always too strange - too eccentric. But Rebekah was different somehow. Her smile could light up a room, and her warm demeanour had sparked a fire in Monty's heart.

As they sat together in a five-star bistro, Monty's nerves got the better of him. He stuttered, stammered and muddled up punchlines. Utterly convinced he'd blown it, he made a hasty apology and rose from the table... only to be stopped by Rebekah gently taking hold of his hand.

And time only made their bond stronger.


In the months that followed, Myron became a grandfather for the first time, as Juliet gave birth to a beautiful daughter - Isabella. Like her mother before her, the years would see her grow into a refined young lady... another rose in the Miskin family garden.

Isabella's birth brought Myron back out of his relapse into gloominess. He spoiled his new granddaughter shamelessly, and visited her as often as he could. On one occasion, Montague and Rebekah joined him - giving the two adult siblings a chance to catch up and to talk about old and new times.

Upon returning home, Montague headed to his room, with Rebekah following. She noticed that Montague seemed somehow distant... as if his body was here, but his mind had wandered somewhere else. Now, Monty was prone to lapses into his imagination, but this time, his facial expression suggested it was something more troubling... more serious.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Rebekah asked timidly.

"Hmm?" Monty mumbled, before snapping out of it and looking up. "Oh, sorry, my love... I was just... contemplating something."


 "Well... seeing Juliet and Isabella today... it just got me thinking. Dad loves being a grandfather, and, as much as it pains me to think about it, he might not be here for much longer. After Uncle Mostyn passed, he put so much work into getting out there and making a name for himself. All I've ever wanted is to make him proud and see him happy... and I know the thing that will make him happiest of all is to see me settled down with a family."

"You have me," Rebekah replied. "Isn't that enough? For now, at least?"

"Of course it is..." Montague told her... before dropping down onto one knee. 

"But I'm ready to take a step forward," he added.

Tears sprang to Rebekah's eyes.

"Marry me?" Montague asked, nervously.

"Yes!" Rebekah answered. "Oh, Monty, of course I will!"


Although he would never tell him so, it was a huge relief to Myron to see Montague happily married. Past events had given him serious cause for concern about whether his son could survive on his own - such as the time he'd tried to make a birthday cake and set the kitchen on fire. Luckily, Myron had come home from work in time to deal with the aftermath.


However, Rebekah was, by all accounts, a charming girl with a good head on her shoulders. She was bound to keep Monty under control.

On her wedding day, Rebekah was given a beautiful gift from Lady Amelia - an elegant jewel-trimmed dress and pendant that had belonged to one of the Miskin ancestors. As well as symbolising her new social position, the gesture represented her welcome into the Miskin clan.

Rebekah made sure to introduce herself to all of her new in-laws: paying extra special respects to her husband's father. She also laid her wedding bouquet on Katrina's grave in a touching gesture that pleased Myron and Montague very much.

Then, a couple of years later, as Montague's comedy career finally began to take off... Myron became a grandfather once again.

The world welcomed Mordecai Miskin - a bouncing baby boy, and the next heir to the family legacy.

His father utterly cherished him...

... but had to compete with the little lad's grandpa for hug and cuddle time!

His former raven hair now the colour of ash, Myron knew that the years had passed him by... but they had gone joyously, in the blink of an eye. Losing his brother, and later his darling Katrina, had, of course, been hard... but it gave him great comfort to see both of his children grown up, healthy, happy, and with little darlings of their own.

When the time came for him to rejoin his lost love ones, he'd rest happy in the knowledge that his living loved ones were safe.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

The Miskin Legacy - Generation Two, Part One: Wake Up Call

Another morning in the Miskin household.

Following a less-than-favourable comedy gig, Montague had come home in the early hours of the morning, put his nightwear on, and attempted to read a novel before passing out onto the pillow. Upon peeking into his bedroom to check on him, Myron saw his son sprawled out on the bed and snoring his head off - his reading glasses skewered on his face.

Chuckling quietly, Myron closed the door and headed to work.

Some time later, a repeated knocking sound stirred Monty out of his slumber. Dazed and exhausted, he barely managed to lift himself out of the pillow.

"Dad!" he called out. "I'm trying to sleep!"

More knocking.

"Can't you get the spare key from Aunt Amelia?"

The sound grew louder and more frequent.

"All right, all right - I'm coming!"

Monty staggered out of bed, slipped his feet into bunny slippers and lurched towards the front door, pulling it open with dramatic flair.

"God, I work all night, and you.... oh... excuse me, I - I do beg your pardon..."

It wasn't his father at the door, but a young woman - an old acquaintance of his.

"Hey - I know you!" he cried. "It's Rebekah, right? Rebekah Berman? We were in school together!"

Monty's unexpected guest looked at him quizically for a few moments, and then smiled.

"Montague Miskin! I remember you! You put food colouring in the goldfish tank and mooned  at the teacher's lounge window. We always called you Mad Monty!"

She giggled at the memory. Montague joined her, but his laughter was more forced.

"I'm sorry to have disturbed you," she continued, "I'm collecting unwanted goods for a charity white elephant sale. By chance, could you offer me anything?"

"I'm sure there's one or two things hanging about somewhere," Monty said. "Come on in - I'll make some coffee."

After rooting out a few tidbits for the sale, Montague served himself and Rebekah a cappuccino and sat beside her at the kitchen table.

"So... "Mad Monty", huh?" he chuckled. "It's a good fit, I guess. I was always a bit on the crazy side."

"Well... some people like crazy," Rebekah replied... blushing slightly. 

A nervous pause hung in the air for some moments.

"Besides," Rebekah added, breaking the tension, "you might have been mischievous, but you were one of the smartest kids in school."

"Ah, well, I've my sister Juliet to thank for that," Monty told her. "She was my study coach growing up. I might be smart, but she's a real genius."

"Yes, I remember her. She was Head Girl. How is she these days?"

"Very well, thanks. Married now, and a kid on the way, too."

The pair chatted like this for an hour or so.. but it felt like a matter of moments to Montague. In his schooldays, he'd never really gotten to know Rebekah, but it turned out that she was a very good companion. Tolerant of his quirks, appreciative of his jokes, and - he had to admit - quite the beauty.

The cosy atmosphere was suddenly shattered when Rebekah looked at the clock. Alarmed, he left to his feet, seizing Montague's donations.

"Oh, goodness! Look at the time! I need to get going."

As she rushed towards the door, Monty followed her.

"It was nice seeing you, Monty."

"Rebekah, wait -"

"Thanks for the donations and the coffee!"

"Wait! Please!"

It was now or never. Rushing forward, Montague gently took hold of Rebekah's hands. Stunned, she stopped, and looked at him. 


"I... I'd really like to see you again," Montague told her. "Maybe... over dinner sometime?"

Monty swore his heart jumped into his mouth right as he said the words - terrified of how his old schoolfriend would react. Imagine his relief, then, when Rebekah smiled gently at him, and nodded.

As she left, waving gently, Montague closed the door behind her, and punched the air.

When Myron returned home after his shift at the lab, he grew concerned when he noticed his only son had slid down the living room wall to the floor, and was laughing like a hyena on nitrous oxide. 

"He's either totally mad, or in love," Myron thought to himself, heading to his bedroom. "Or indeed... both."

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Miskin Legacy - Generation One, Part Seven: Flying the Nest

Once his daughter's education was complete, Myron approached his sister-in-law, Lady Amelia, to discuss the possibility of hosting a ball at Miskin Manor. Since the law dictated that Montague would inherit whatever he left as his financial legacy, Myron was keen for Juliet to move in higher circles and meet people that could help give her the best possible future. 

True, Juliet was a very clever young woman and would easily thrive by herself. She wasn't work-shy, either: she had taken up a part-time job as a barista in her last few months of study.

Montague, likewise, had found weekend work as a gardener's assistant. Whilst he was grateful for the experience and pay, he felt the uniform left something to be desired.

Still, as gifted as Juliet was, Myron knew it was always good to have a safety net. 

Lady Amelia, who had always reveled in playing matchmaker, took up the challenge with gusto. 

And thus, shortly after her graduation, Juliet - the guest of honour at her aunt's incredible banquet - was introduced to some of the brightest stars in the social galaxy. The majority of them bored her, or else, were hardly her type... but then, as the night was drawing to a close, she made the acquaintance of a young businessman, Jonathan Diego Stanton.

The son of a marketing mogul, William, and his Spanish opera singer bride, Carmen, Jonathan Diego - or J.D. for short - was fascinated by Juliet's knowledge of the sciences, and enthralled by her quick wit. Juliet, who appreciated those who admired her for reasons beyond her looks, was equally impressed with his work ethic and his own great sense of humour. 

Right from the beginning, it was love.

The match was made. A few months later, they were wed.

Sadly, Katrina never got to see her youngest daughter wearing white. Merely a few weeks before the blessed day, her time finally ran out, and she passed over into Paradise.

Myron was heartbroken.

Whilst shouldering his own grief, Montague did all that he could to care for his father. As Myron took time off work to recuperate, Montague - upon his twenty-first birthday, his great leap into adulthood - decided to put his various eccentricities to good use, and earned an income by pursuing a career in comedy.

To say Montague was a perfectionist would be an understatement. After gigs in the local nightclubs, he would stay up until the early hours of the morning writing and rehearsing his material. To improve his bookability even further, he took violin lessons in the little spare time he had, so he could play his audience songs between routines.

Myron eventually felt well enough to return to work, but Montague knew, deep down, that part of him was lost forever. He would never be the same. 

The Miskin Legacy had become too heavy a burden for his father to bear.

Now, the responsibility was his.