On the top floor of a brooding Gothic castle
nestled upon a hill overlooking a small town
as it has for over a century
young Jacob played with his toys
when his grandfather walked in
carrying in his hands a wooden crate.
“As I do not have time to waste
I must go over this rather quickly;
much too quickly for the occasion, I’m afraid.”
The stern and direct manner of the man surprised Jacob
as he was so accustomed to Grandfather
being nothing but jovial and gentle.
“I have something of paramount significance to show you, Jacob.”
His grandfather walked to the middle of the room.
“Come now, allow me to set it upon the floor
for you to witness its purpose.”
From the crate the old man careful removed
a black cabinet that looked much like a
tall jewelry box containing both
drawers and cupboards in which one would
ordinarily store keepsakes.
It was tall, wooden and painted black with
shiny gold knobs. It looked very old and
its gothic contours and dressing reminded Jacob
of the castle itself.
As if reading Jacob’s mind his grandfather said,
“This cabinet was built when this castle was
nothing but foundation and
the bond between them is immeasurable.
Don’t let its looks fool you,
this is a very powerful object
and it has but one sole purpose:
to open secret doors here within this castle,
doors that cannot be seen and have been rarely used
Allow me to demonstrate.”
Jacob counted ten drawers total – five on each side.
His grandfather paused thoughtfully hand on chin
before he leaned down and pulled open one of them.
They both paused and listened.
The old man shrugged.
“Must so far away that we could not sense it.” He said.
Jacob started to question whether this was a joke or
that perhaps Grandfather was suffering from dementia
which would explain his odd behavior and the sudden
appearance of the strange cabinet when
Grandfather tried another drawer
and that’s when Jacob unmistakably heard it
-a deep rumbling far off
something heavy deliberately moving.
It sounded and felt like part of the castle itself
was shifting and it was the first time Jacob had
heard anything like it
though he had lived in the castle his entire life.
Grandfather noted his awe and was quick to confirm that,
“Each drawer of this cabinet opens a place
within this castle that can only be opened by it alone.
There is a sequence however
otherwise you may open a place within these walls
that cannot be accessed until you open
another leading to it.”
With that Grandfather pulled upon another drawer
and Jacob could hear a wall moving very close to the room,
perhaps even on the other side of it.
Upon closing the drawer the wall could be heard
returning to its original position.
“Use it sparingly and with thought
as within these secret places lie
both great beauty and great terror
as old as the castle itself and
this cabinet has not been handled
since the end of the second world war.
Never let it out of your sight.”
Jacob’s grandfather sighed and took his glasses off to wipe the lens
with a small satin handkerchief
upon which his initials were engraved.
“Now listen to me, Jacob
because this is very important.
Your mother and father
have all the trappings of high society
to distract them from such things
but in you I see imagination, curiosity
determination and a strong sense of right and wrong
and so this cabinet I bequeath to you.
It is in your care now and yours alone
but be warned that there are those that
do not want this cabinet used at all
and also those that want what the a cabinet could open
more than anything in the world.”
Jacob’s grandfather stood up and leaned over to
pick up the now empty wooden crate leaving the
cabinet on the floor.
“You must be extremely weary of such people especially
because at first you won’t know who they are for they have
most likely already embedded themselves into your life
for that sole purpose
and they will always be watching.
I am sorry to pass this burden onto you
but frankly there is no one else
and it must be passed.”
The old man crossed the room and stopped with his hand
on the handle of the door.
“Oh, and Jacob
there are other cabinets
held secreted within these walls…
It is vital that you find them
before somebody else does.”