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|The Affinity (standard:adventure, 2715 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Sep 29 2008||Views/Reads: 2002/1113||Story 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, Molly. 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 grandchildren. 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. Click here to read the rest of this story (223 more lines)
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