Header image by Pave Korneychik under Creative Commons 3.0.
Somewhere in the winter, I remember dreaming of a world much closer to ones seen in stories. The country actively ruled by a monarchy not from the real world, the buildings much grander and just this time, my lineage much more varied. The house me and my family lived in had at least four floors, perhaps five – I hadn’t been past the third floor nor had any other members of my family as far as I knew; that was where my great-grandfather lived. He wasn’t trapped or kept up there. But I simply wasn’t allowed up there. I did, however, have suspicions that some of the others had been summoned up there once or twice in their lives, for important matters, I’d think. I could only imagine what that could be. I was already imagining anyway.
My great-grandfather had recently died (he was long since gone in real life when I was alive). My family had received a letter from the queen of our country instructing us to go to the fourth floor of our house and retrieve a key; this key would open a door containing what my great-grandfather would pass down to us in the event of his death. I ascended the stairs along with my sister and my mother; the wooden stairs from the second floor to the third and beyond were old and creaky, their paint flaking. It felt like they would snap under our feet any second. This area of the house used to be green a long time ago. I looked up to see that it was. Vines were growing all over the place, all along the walls on the landing and through the stairs to the fourth floor. To my right, the door to the room containing the key. Behind me, the stairs going down. To my left, the corridor and the stairs to the fourth floor. The sunlight only came from beyond the stairs, only going one way. The rest of the corridor remained in darkness, as did its rooms. I was afraid to go any further (although I knew his room was somewhere here). I’d known this house was old. But never like this.
I opened the door to the room with the key. It was barely a room; it was really just somewhere to store things. Even with sunlight opposite, the room was completely dark…I could only see faint outlines of the room. With those faint outlines I fumbled about, trying to find the key. I was unable to find it, so I had to get another member of my family to find it (they found it). We briefly returned to the ground floor to have lunch.
My memory becomes somewhat hazy when I try to remember what happened in the end. We returned to the third floor. There was a door on the left side of the corridor. This entire floor felt like it was going to fall apart. I’m sure it was at least a century old and had remained just as it was through those years. I remember we found a tattered piece of paper with something written on it. I’d figured my great-grandfather had connections to the royal family by now. I remember this letter revealed the nature of this connection. He had a lot of responsibility; he passed this down to us. Our lives would never be the same. We’d remain in danger for as long as this responsibility remained. I remember discussing this responsibility…too much is missing from my memory here. That’s the furthest I can remember it.