Heartsgrove forest part 5, English

Shrugging, I looked around the room I was now standing in. It was obviously grandma’s attic, but it looked like nobody had been up here for years and years. Dust covered all of the floor, and cobwebs clung to the old couch standing by the wall. All across the sides of the room, old things were crammed in along the walls. A bust of some old general or something right next to the couch… a few rolled-up carpets, a model ship that didn’t have any sails but instead was full of spiderwebs. A spider scurried over the side of the ship and dissapeared into the storagespace in the hull. Maybe he didn’t like the sunlight. Over by the far side of the wall, someone had hung some bedlinen over a beam in the ceiling, almost making it into a mix between a tent and a miniature chapel. Underneath it stood a big old-fashioned steamtrunk. To the right of that, the same someone had pinned lots of drawings and sketches of what seemed to be animals that walked on their hind legs, and people fighting with swords and things like that.

A few of the drawings looked happy, but a few of them gave me an eerie feeling of dread. After looking over the drawings my eyes went back to the steamtrunk. It was placed there with such reverence, I almost felt like I was tresspassing into a strangers bedroom or something. The trunk had a big padlock on it, but it was hanging off it obviously unlocked. After hesitating a few seconds I walked over and removed the padlock; it was rusty and old, dust covering parts of it completely. The trunks hinges were also rusty but the lid opened without a sound. Sitting on my knees in front of the old steamtrunk, I felt like someone was observing me from the dark corners… Looking over my shoulders trying to see if someone was in here with me, but all I could see was dust floating in the air through the shaft of sunlight coming from outside. The feeling of being watched lingered even as I turned back to the now open trunk, where an old folded sweater was the only thing standing between me and the discovery. I don’t know why I felt like this old dusty trunk would contain something even remotely interesting, but from the moment I saw it I knew it held something that would make my life different, and as more time passed that feeling grew stronger and stronger. Little did I know HOW different things would be. The sweater looked like it had been knitted by someone who really loved what they were doing, but at the same time it looked old. It was worn down in many places, but was still servicable. I wonder how long it had been there? Five years? Ten? Longer? Was it my fathers, or my fathers father? Maybe it was even older than that… could it belong to someone in my family that had lived and died so long ago that I didn’t even know their name? As I unfolded it I could tell that it was a pretty small size.. almost my size. Makes sense… the rest of the attic looked like it had been under the creative influence of someone of my age or even younger.

Putting the sweater aside, I started looking through the rest of the contents. And old, worn backpack made from leather contained a box of matches and a pen-knife and a few other things that might come in handy for someone out hiking; at least that solved my problem with finding the hatch in the darkness. In the bag was also a journal, bound in dark skin… almost like a diary of sorts. The cover was scratched and stained with dark blotches that almost looked like… blood? What on earth was this? Opening it carefully so that I didn’t tear the pages, I started reading. “Property of Thomas Hart”…this was dad’s things?! Flipping through the pages, reading bits and pieces of it soon made it clear that it wasn’t a journal or a diary, but rather.. some sort of odd fairytale with my dad as the main hero. It felt strange reading it, my dad had always been a very buttoned-up kind of guy and kind of disdainful of fiction and fantasy; I don’t know how many times he put me down or yelled at me for my daydreaming… next time he does it, I’d show him! Here and there in the journal there was also sketches of what I now assumed to be my father, fully equipped with the red sweater and the backpack, weilding a home-made wooden sword. Setting aside the journal, I took a look in the trunk again. At the bottom was a big package wrapped in a piece of clothand lifting it up I could feel the weight of the bundle; unwrapping it I found the same sword depicted in the journal. It was made from polished mahogany and there was curly patterns carved into the blade. The hilt was wrapped in leather strips, and for a toy sword it looked very well-crafted; almost like a artisans exhibition piece. It was beautiful, way too fancy for a childs toy. Wrapping the sword up in the sweater, I stuffed it into the bag together with the drawings from the wall; if I was going to have it out with dad, I might as well have plenty of ammunition. Lighting the candle with a matchstick from the bag, I reached to pull the hatch in the ceiling shut, still a bit confused about the sunlight outside. Could I have lost track of time that badly? Strapping the bag to my back I got down on my knees and entered the crawlspace again, holding up the candle in front of me to light the way. Making my way back was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and even before I was back to where the doorway in was, I could see a black cast-iron ring handle  on it. How could I have missed that earlier, even in my panic? Grabbing the ring with one hand, I opened the small hatch and crawled through. But.. somethign was wrong. Sunlight… in my room too? And… grass on the floor? What the hell…? Even before I had time to stand, I heard a click behind me. The hatch had swung shut again but instead of a wall with worn and faded wallpaper I found a huge oak tree and while I was looking at it, I could see the edges of the doorway dissapear. Had I gone crazy? Was I dreaming? Pinching my arm hard to see if I would wake up only made me yelp a bit. So there I stood; in front of an old oak tree in the middle of a forest that shouldn’t exist, words echoing in my head: “Where the hell am I?”


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