But it would be dark inside, he thought.
There were a few candles somewhere in the cave, perhaps in the kitchen – he remembered how his mother used the lighter to light them up. Fortunately, the light-lever always worked and he never had to use them, so they must still be there.
He found the candles in one of the drawers near the sink. He took one, lighted it, and carried it back into the bedroom. Then he pulled out the brass key that he wore around his neck, and pushed it in the keyhole of the door that had tormented him for the last seven years.
He tried to turn the key in the lock, but it refused to budge. He tried again, clockwise and counter-clockwise both, but it nothing happened.
His heart sank. Perhaps it was the wrong key, but he couldn’t give up without trying, could he? The need to look at what lay behind the door gained strength from his inability to open the door.
He placed the candle on the desk to free his other hand.
He tried again, but failed. Either the key didn’t belong to this lock, or it didn’t open the lock the regular way.
Not the regular way?
His parents never did anything the regular way. Perhaps there was another way. The boy was uneducated but smart. He checked the space around the lock. Sure enough, this wasn’t a regular lock. There were twelve tiny holes around the keyhole.
He had an idea.
He ran back into the kitchen and brought back a small screwdriver. He inserted the screwdriver into one of the holes. It touched something, perhaps a disk that got pushed back by a few millimeters. He held the screwdriver in position, tried turning the key again. The key didn’t demand any effort from him this time, and he heard the lock open with a soft click.
He smiled to laud his own victory.
He pushed the door open. It was a heavy door made of metal. It opened into total darkness. The boy had no idea how deep this room, or recess, or whatever it was, was.
He was glad that he had thought of the candle. He picked it up and entered.
His heart beat faster as he looked around. The room was about thirty feet deep, and there were things that he had never seen before. Wooden shelves lined with books cast scary looking shadows on the walls, a huge table that was almost treble the size of the kitchen table stood in the middle, overflowing with books, parchment, lamps, and other objects that he could barely recognize.
Gingerly he walked around the table and reached his father’s chair. He placed the candle down upon the surface of the table. Oddly enough, there was no dust on the surface.
Then he lowered himself into his father’s seat.
Open in front of him was a handwritten, leather-bound notebook. He looked at it mesmerized. He couldn’t read, but he knew that it belonged to his father, and that made him feel sad and happy at the same time. He reached out and touched the pages of the notebook. Then he whispered one of the few words that he knew.
“Papa,” he said, his throat parched and his eyes stinging.
He sat there for a long time, turning the pages of the notebook, looking at the drawings and the writing of his father. He wished he knew how to read and write. Faint images of his mother teaching him how to write faded in and out of his mind.
He pulled himself away from the notebook, leaving it where it was. Then he got up and walked around the table, trying to peer through the glass-doors of the cabinets. He wished there was light in there.
Perhaps there was, perhaps there was a lever somewhere. The way there was a lever outside for lighting up rest of the cave.
He came back to the table, picked up the candle, and starting checking the walls.
There it was, right next to one of the cabinets. It was smaller than the one outside. He pushed it down, and the place flooded with light.
He stayed in the room for a long time. He looked at the objects – glass containers, metal-strips, an extendible metal tube with glass at one end; he looked at the books and diaries, most leather-bound, some monogramed with an eagle.
He didn’t realize how long he had been there until he heard a rumbling sound. It took him a moment to recognize it as the sound that he stomach made when he was hungry.
There won’t be fish for dinner, but he could find something else – perhaps collect some berries or find some fallen fruits.
He knew that he wouldn’t sleep that night. His fear of the unknown room had disappeared completely. Now he didn’t want to leave it. With a heavy heart, he switched the light off and left the room.
——— ¤¤¤ ———
The nameless boy had no idea that his destiny was about to change, and that he was also going to get a name…very soon.