I found myself a bit more inspired by our common writing challenge and felt I had to write another piece. Thus, the following…
– – – – – – – – – – – –
On the top of a hill lies a castle buried in history. Centuries old, it guards a secret still unknown to man; which is how it must stay. Deep within the deepest dungeons lies a casket locked closed by a golden crest with contents unknown to man. It was placed there several hundred years ago with very specific reasons for keeping it safe. In a time of war it was deemed necessary for secrecy of the casket and only a selected handful of people were trusted by the Queen to guard the casket and the importance it represented. As the war went on, these men became victims of the gunfire and the secret died with them. Only one man survived with the knowledge of the casket. He took it as his personal goal in life to guard the Queen’s casket and so, once a year he went back to check on the casket, with no one knowing about his doings. As age took a hold on him, he passed the task and the knowledge of the casket on to his son. He then passed it on to his son, who did the same and that is how the secret has been in the family.
And now I am passing it on to you. It is not entirely the same thing. I never got to pass the secret to your father before he left this world. Instead I am now forced to leave this important task to a young boy as age has grown weary with me. I trust you to uphold the family secret and guard the casket till you are forced to pass the knowledge on to your son or grandson like I’ve done.
Over by the mantelpiece you will find a small wooden box holding a rusted silver key. That is the key to the dungeon holding the casket. In the box you will also find a map guiding you to were the casket is hidden. It is nearing the time of year where I would go check on the casket, but this year and forth you must do it.
It is a job that requires stealth and trickery to get to the dungeon. Other people are going to the Castle nowadays too, and we must not be noticed. It is very important you remember this. Do not be noticed and do not open the casket.
My time in this world has nearly passed, and the job is now yours my grandson. Do it well and do it with pride.”
The old man closed his eyes to rest while the young boy went to get the wooden box of the mantelpiece.
Now, the majority of people know not to tell a young boy not to open something never meant to be opened because he will consequently want to open it even more.
As the young boy weighed the old map and key in his hands he contemplated how to get into the castle without being seen.
He went under the cover of night, pocketing a flashlight along with the map and key. Finding the entrance to the dungeons was easy, but navigating from there became harder. Eventually he came to a half in front of an old-fashioned padlock. Inserting the key he heard it click and he entered with the lit flashlight. Down some steps, hidden in the corner of the room he found the casket, just like his grandfather had told him. Kneeling down he touched the ancient casket and the temptation to open it only grew with each caress of the surface. The crest keeping it locked was solid gold and cold from the damp dungeon. The boy knelt down and took out the iron bar he had been hiding in his pocket.
With a deep and doubting breath he poised the iron bar and pushed. A crack echoed through the dungeon as he broke the crest and air sealed in for hundreds of years whizzed out the creaking gap in the casket.
Exchanging iron bar for flashlight, the boy steeled himself and then opened the casket all the way.
A loud gasp escaped his lips as the glare of the treasure gleamed up at him. Gold shimmers reflected everywhere in the dungeon, and the young boy was awestruck without knowing what to do next.
Meanwhile, another place in Edinburgh his grandfather left out a final sigh without ever getting to know the big secret his family had been guarding for all those years.