Curiosity is a funny thing, but an infectious thing was well. Watching my father left his study in the afternoon to go to work, my interest grew as he locked the door. Of course, he didn’t see me through the keyhole I was peeping through. Once his footsteps had faded in the distance, I left my room and into the stunning old hall.
The walls were lined with bookshelves, installed by father. The reason he did the work was because his wide collection of books were often heavy tomes which would bend or break other shelves if they didn’t have the right support. However, some books contained some interesting things.
One book in particular, which I had plucked off the shelf one evening not too long ago, contained a key to my father’s study. I don’t know what drew me to the book, it seemed as boring as any other. However, curiosity could strike at anytime, even special times such as that.
With this hiding place in mind, I walked down the hall, hearing my father close the car door as I went. I soon reached the book I was looking for when the engine revved and was my father left the property, I was walking back to his study with a key in-hand. It was the chance I had been waiting for to finally see what was so special about the study.
I would like to take a moment and tell you my father is a wonderful mind, kind and wise at the worst of times. You can imagine what he was like in the best of moods. However, there was something behind all this beautiful personality that never really sat right with me. A feeling that was reinforced one day when I was a lot younger, when my father gave me strict instructions to stay out of his study.
Doing as he asked was easy, everyone in the family was quite happy to do as he requests, especially if he was being firm. However, me investigating what was behind that door wasn’t about being polite. As I stated earlier, it was about curiosity.
The lock clicked and I turned the door handle. At first, everything I noticed straight away I knew about from looking into my father’s study whenever he opened the door. However, this time I could see a wall covered in paintings, another bookcase which glass panes protecting the books within.
Everything about the surroundings of the room seemed normal enough, so the next thing that caught my attention was his desk. It was a dark oak, his favourite choice wood for furniture. He told me there was a special character to the make of furniture and dark oak had great character. That being said, what caught my attention about the desk was not the wood, but the carvings.
The desk was carved beautifully from a single piece of wood and more than that, the intricate engravings along it told a story. I’m not much of a scholar, at least not yet, but the desk hummed with culture. I could tell they were Chinese, but the dynasty, that I wasn’t sure of.
Sitting cross-legged, I took out my phone and began taking pictures of the desk. I knew I didn’t have much time before my father came back, but I certainly had enough time to gather all the information I could need. After logging the full length of the desk and engravings, I approached the papers that were on the desk.
Leather-bound journals with his hand-writing, that was nothing unusual. He loved these things, collected them, filled them with notes and drawings, only to store it somewhere obscure in the house or spill tea over them. Beneath this journal was a large piece of paper littered with symbols.
The good news was I knew these symbols. I had been researching them, going through some of my dad’s old books. However, his translations were flawed back then, it seemed he was getting the hang of it now. Still, not enough time to read them all, I took my phone in hand and began collecting more pictures.
I was about to leave, but then I noticed something on the wood of the desk. Shifting the pages only slightly I found a symbol engraved in the top corner of the desk. It was small, almost unnoticeable, but I immediately recognised it as the symbol my dad drew at the end of each journal.
I heard a menacing click and my head looked up to see my dad standing at the entrance of the study with a gun raised. Realising it was me, he quickly pocketed the gun as I stumbled, raising my hands, but lowering them again just to catch myself.
“Dad!” I exclaimed. “I’m sorry, I just...oh…”
My father rolled his eyes and held up his hands to tell me to calm down.
“Shush, child, it’s alright,” my father murmured. “I’m actually surprised it took you this long to get in my study.”
I began to gather myself and with my father’s help, I was back on my feet. Despite his calm words, his eyes were painted with fading fear, sweat running down the side of his temple.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing you need to worry about,” he replied innocently. “For a moment I thought someone broke in, is all. You’re very lucky I have trigger discipline.”
I stared at my father, seeing him so out of character, but still have the same dry sense of humour.
“Now tell me, did you find anything interesting?” he asked, glancing down at my phone. “What did you take pictures of?”
My father was behaving a lot better than I thought he would and I quickly calmed down.
“The engravings, which dynasty are they from?” I asked.
He smiled a simple smile and rearranged papers on his desk.
“Well, that even I am not sure of, but I can tell you it is a lot older than Ming,” he replied. “In fact, I believe this order is still going today.”
“Ah, well, you will learn that when you finish the third journal you pinched from the basement.”
My father laughed as my eyes grew wider.
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