James attends a reunion dinner with his cousins when his grandmother suddenly passed away at the table. All the cousins will be spending the night at the estate as per their usual tradition, and if they are still there in the morning, they will be entitled to a share of the grandmother’s will.
12 hours may not be a long time, but for a sick family each with their own agenda for attending the reunion dinner, it’s might as well be eternity.
James took his seat at the table for 10 in an open courtyard right by the pool. He hated the once a year gathering and if it were up to him, he would give it a miss totally. However his father made him swear that he will attend the reunion dinner until his grandmother is dead, or he is.
The once a year gathering with his cousins is a grand affair held at the estate of his grandmother. One of the few rare plots of freehold land located a stone throw away from embassies and botanic garden big enough to build a full size school on.
James checked his phone for notifications and saw that one of the girls he subscribes to on onlyfans has posted an update. He licked his lips as he looked at the beautiful girl gyrate her hips while topless in a public carpark.
Peter : Ahem…!
James put his phone away and looked up at the man judging him for his choice of entertainment.
No one has the right to judge anyone in his family. Everyone is sick, mentally unsound on a level that outsiders will not understand.
Peter : How are you James?
James : I’m fine..
He smiled at his cousins politely before giving his chopsticks a slight push to make sure they are aligned. To his left is cousin Brenda and her husband Peter, both of them are famous influencers in Singapore. They are busy taking pictures of the sprawling estate and the spread of food on the large table for their followers.
Peter : I have a problem with you James…
James : what is that problem?
Peter : You are not following me on social media. Why are you not following me? Is it very hard to press a follow? Is it that hard to give some virtual love and attention? Why? Why? Why?
James : Because I don’t want to…
The hostile reply earned James a stare that threatened to elevate the tension at the table. Thankfully Brenda came in to defuse the situation with snide remarks of her own.
Brenda : You still writing erotic stories James? Huh? Who the fuck writes stories for a living? Oh wait, you’re also doing construction, and delivering parcels, and sending food. Oh fuck you are doing so many things, no wonder you don’t have time to follow us on social media…hahah..
James smiled and sipped his tea while staring at Brenda and Peter. He gave them a stare that you would probably expect only from a mentally unsound patient on the run.
The chair on James’ right was dragged backwards loudly and a heavyset figure plonked himself down on the seat.
To his right sits the quietest cousin of the lot, Larry. He is a licensed electrician and owes his own electrical company. A company that hires only one, himself. His office cum vehicle is parked right up front of the porch, taking up the prime spot of the arrival foyer.
One may easily mistaken his vehicle is there because the property needed some work done. Larry’s arms are covered with tattoos while his face is filled with pimple scars. A legacy of him popping pus filled boils from his face everyday since he hit puberty.
Larry is still wearing his tool belt around his waist and he brought a bottle of alcohol. He poured the whisky into the tea cup and drank it together with the tea before burping loudly.
He did not say hi to James, Larry did not say hi to anyone because he did not give a fuck about anyone around that table.
On Larry’s right, is cousin Dylan and wife Cindy. Even before dinner begins, James observed the couple snitching things from the estate. Silver spoons, a porcelain cup, an USB charging cable and some post it notes by the study. Dylan and Cindy are cheapskates of the highest degree, even before dinner is served, they started packing up food as if they are leftovers.
Dylan : Can you refill the scallops!
Dylan snapped at the two helpers coming from the kitchen.
Dylan : Why are you so slow? Are you stealing the food for yourself? Huh? The food is for us you know..
He launched into a tirade at the helpers but was ignored. Being ignored did not stop him however, he continued swiping food from the table into plastic containers in front of everyone like they are invisible.
Cindy picked up a dish of vegetables and started sniffing it, then she went on to the plate of prawn rolls, sniffing it in the manner like a dog looking for drugs.
Cindy : This one smells fishy…
Dylan : Because it’s fish dumplings you dumb fuck…
Sitting across James are his twin cousins, Selene and Sophia. Youngest of the lot and fresh from university, the girls whispered amongst themselves.
James looked at the sexily dressed cousins in tight figure hugging cheongsum. He is already picturing them as characters in his erotic tales, mentally undressing them and making them bend to his will.
They may appear innocent on the surface but James knew they are anything but innocent.
Ann, the oldest cousin among them came out of the kitchen with his grandmother by her side. Not only is Ann a doctor, she is also the lawyer in charge of administering the family’s affairs. The matriarch of the family walked slowly while assisted both by Ann and the walking stick in her hand.
Everyone at the table stood up and waited for Vic to take a seat at the head of the table.
Vic cleared her throat in a crude matter before spitting onto the ground.
Vic : I’ll get straight to the point. Besides having the reunion dinner, I want to talk about my will…The doctor say this will probably be my last reunion dinner. The cancer has spread…half a year at the most…
Half the table tried to stifle their grins at the mere mention of the estate Vic will be leaving behind for their generation. When Vic’s husband passed on a decade ago, his estate was split among their children with nothing going to the 3rd generation.
James’ dad received a million in cash along with a small studio property in town. However, the other uncles received a lot more. On his deathbed, James’ father told him a secret. A secret that James suspect long ago.
Vic’s estate will be split among the 3rd gen of the Koh family. James, as a member of the family, will be getting a share…
Vic : Let’s eat first…Koooooorrrrr…Pui!
Another thick dollop of phlegm hit the ground before Vic picked up the intricate chopsticks adorned with gold dragons.
After the matriarch put the first piece of food into her mouth, the rest of the cousins tuck into dinner, dumping their choice of raw food into the simmering broth in the centre of the table while nipping at the cooked dishes.
No one is allowed to chat during dinner. Dinner time meant eating, and only eating.
10 minutes into the dinner, Vic suddenly gasped and clutch her throat. She stood up and swung her walking stick across the table in agony. Ann, a trained doctor immediately attended to her while the rest of the cousins stared on in shock.
Vic : arnghhhh..ernghhhhhhhhhhh! korrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Vic went into spasm and leaned heavily against Ann before her movements slowed gradually as Ann laid her onto the ground.
Ann lowered herself and checked Vic for a pulse before standing up. She looked at everyone around the table before announcing that the matriarch of the family is dead.
Larry dropped the chopsticks and tried to spit out whatever is in his mouth. Dylan and Cindy exclaimed loudly and started drinking copious amount of water.
Selene and Sophia broke into tears in shock while Peter and Brenda started taking photos and videos of their dead grandmother for their social media account.
Peter : OMG! #Deadgrandmother #reunionnomore
Brenda touched up her lip gloss before pointing the camera at herself. She started sobbing as she broadcast live to her followers that a tragedy has happened at her reunion dinner.
Brenda : sobz, my grandmother passed away so suddenly. Sobz, please like and follow if you would like to find out more. Sobz, so much for our reunion dinner. Sobz…
James chopsticks remained stuck in midair as he looked at his grandmother on the ground. He looked at every one of his cousin before he spat out the piece of vegetable in his mouth.
On the day his grandmother intends to disclose her will, she dies at the dining table over reunion dinner.
The cousins exchanged looks and while no one said the words out loud, it was obvious what everyone is thinking.
Someone killed Vic before she could reveal the will.
And chances are the killer is right there among their midst.