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The Affinity (standard:adventure, 2715 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Sep 29 2008Views/Reads: 2225/1277Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
There was something about the old man's voice; it was as though I knew it. I was trying to remember. But everything was still black. I had no sense of self. I was surely dead...

The Affinity 

©2008 Ian Hobson 

Beyond the edge of our universe is a world similar to our own.  A world
where the gods play games with the lives of mortals, just as once they 
played with our lives and, from time to time, still do. 

1  - The Secret 

I always knew my grandfather had a secret, but while he was alive I
never knew what it was. 

I also knew about the sword; I saw it once, when I was just a boy.  It
lay on the desk in my grandfather's study.  He hadn't heard me enter, 
and he was leaning forward with his palms on his huge desk, his arms 
spread wide, looking down at the sword as though it was a great mystery 
to him; as though he had never seen it before and had just found it 
lying there.  But then he looked up and saw me and hurried me out of 
the room.  He was angry, very angry, and he made me promise never to 
enter a room without knocking again. 

It was over twenty years later that I sat behind his desk, again
smelling that same odd mixture of old books, furniture polish and pipe 
tobacco.  He had died at the age of ninety-one, having outlived his 
son, my father, by three years.  I'd had no idea that there was a will, 
and that I alone was to inherit his ramshackled old house and its 
contents, or that there would be conditions attached: I had to live in 
the house for a minimum of five years or it would be sold, and the 
proceeds go to charity.  There was a little money as well, about twenty 
thousand pounds; half of which went to my younger sister, Edwina, the 
rest shared between myself, my mother and my Grandfather's housekeeper, 

I had a young family then - my wife, Jennifer, and our daughter, Helen -
and we moved into the house almost immediately, after selling or 
dumping most of my grandfather's furniture.  Though I left his study 
just as it was.  As a retreat from working on the restoration of the 
house, I had begun to spend time in there, reading some of the many 
books my grandfather had collected.  They were a really eclectic mix; 
Charles Darwin, Agatha Christie, Leo Tolstoy, JRR Tolkien, James A 
Michener, Harold Robbins and many more.  I remembered well the first of 
the Tolkien books, The Hobbit, as my grandfather had read it to me.  
Though at the time I had not realised that it was a first edition, or 
that it had been signed by Tolkien himself and inscribed: To my young 
friend, David, with thanks.  It was inside the cover of this book that 
I found the letter. 

Dear Michael, 

By now the house will by yours and you will have begun to route through
my things, and you have, of course, found this letter.  Do you remember 
the first time you came into my study and saw the sword? You probably 
do.  But you will not remember the second time you saw it because you 
were sleepwalking that time.  Sleepwalking is something of a family 
trait.  Even your father, Gerald, suffered from that affliction in his 
younger years.  I think I told you the story of the time he climbed the 
apple tree in the garden in the middle of the night.  It was lucky I 
was there to catch him when he fell, or I might never have had 

But getting back to the point of this letter.  I found you sleepwalking
one night in that second summer that you came to stay, and I tested you 
with the sword, just as I had tested Gerald.  He showed no affinity for 
it, unlike you.  You gave me quite a fright: you held the sword like a 
warrior and kissed its blade, and then you were thrown halfway across 
the room and knocked unconscious.  I should not have taken the risk, 
you were too young. 

So how old are you now?  If I guess correctly the age at which I will
die, then you are 29 years old.  More than ready.  You will see that my 
desk, your desk now, has a very wide central drawer.  Pull the drawer 
right out and you will find a second drawer.  You will know what to do. 
The way will be hard, but it is your destiny. 

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