There, on the next page, is what looks like the answer I sought when I was told by the elders that the Crow declared I would spend today going through a bunch of old stuff in secret room entered through a basement. The page reads:
Fairest Greetings from the past.
You are reading this because you have been selected to make preparations for our return. The crystal can only activate if at least one of us intends to reside near this location. Perhaps you question the reason behind leaving this answer at the back of the room. It is simple, really. You began today believing that this answer was the destination. The sooner you arrived at the destination, the sooner the journey would end. Had you read this note upon entering this room, your curiosity might not have served the intended purpose. I needed you to want to know more. This note is not your destination. This is your invitation to begin the real journey, as others have before you.
While in service to us, you will uncover unexpected truths. Consider all that you have already seen in this room today. No one is better equipped to reveal the past then those who lived it. We do not return only to reminisce though. Where we appear, notable change happens. You are about to live through a new chapter of history worth recording.
That will be your primary job. As you will soon see, others have filled rooms like this one with true accounts of our roles in events. Leaders decide what their subjects will learn, so we prefer to keep our own records. Almost every leader who was not one of us has been unaware of our existence. They do not know that we are the puppet masters pulling the strings, deciding the outcome. What right do we have to interfere? Age.
We were here before man. We will be here after man. The whole of human existence has been shorter to us than the lifespan of a Mayfly is to you. Like insects, certain leaders of civilizations have acted as if unaware of the greater scheme. There was a time when the people begged us to step in. The requests for our help may have stopped, but our role remains. We will do what we must, as we always have. In exchange for recording this, you will be guaranteed safety and life.
Every era throughout history, someone selected, as you have been, suggests that the weapons now are too powerful to make such a promise. So I will say it again- we were here before humans, we will be here after them. Your first assignment is recorded elsewhere in this room. It is in a vessel you could not have opened before you opened this one. That is the only direction I can offer.
Regards, Thanks, and Best Wishes from 1776
I guess I'm not done searching through jars.
A list of seven of something- brought to you on Sunday. What can you add?
This list is brought to you by J Lenni Dorner, J's assistant, J's friends Seth and Jessica, and J's brother. Surf back next week when we'll show how we'd make it mythbusting issue.
A small clay jar with a broken lid catches my attention. This is the first sign of damage that I've discovered in this room. I carefully open it and peer inside. There are two pieces of paper, rolled up together and tied with a red satin bow. I carefully untie and unroll. The old paper is fragile, cracking in my hands. Most of the ink has worn away from the first page. All that remains on this sheet are four stanzas, a quatrain:
They came the same as every other
They lived, they grew, they bred
But Death would trade them to another
Which is why their legend spread
I flip to the next page. I think this is what I was sent down here to find...
The large stone mostly depicts people. I'm not sure that I understand the meaning of what is drawn though. There's a person on a large, mostly dark, round ball that reminds me of the moon. There's a flaming circle, which I guess could be the sun or an asteroid. Someone is drawn inside of it, which is very confusing. It appears to have lightning coming from it, which connects to the fire drawn where one of the feminine shaped figures stands. It looks like a male figure beside her is attacking the lightning with a stick. Very odd. One figure appears to be drowning. I believe another figure is being swept away by a tornado. There's a turtle and tree, which reminds me of the Lenni-Lenape origins story. A masculine and feminine shape stand beside them, both towering over the tree. Maybe the artist didn't have a grasp of proportions?
I observe the large stone wall for a while longer. The paint colors are amazing, given what was available during the draw-on-walls period. I suppose it could be from another era. Anyone could still draw on a rock, right? Then again, everything else that I've discovered in this room has been old. It seems like a great deal of trouble to fake all of this.
As my eyesight adjusts better, I notice two more figures. There's a very dull bluish white figure in the middle. Both arms are raised, unlike the other figures. The first "wave" ever recorded? Also unlike the others, that figure isn't drawn in a masculine or feminine way. No bulging arms, no distinctive hips, nothing dangling between the legs or protruding from the chest. Interesting. The other figure is almost impossible to see. It's in the dark spot. Masculine looking, his head is tilted toward his arm, which is bent inward.
What does this all mean? And how did it get here? Which came first, the painting or the room? If no one has been down here in at least a hundred years, what could have been able to haul this? And how would it fit down the spiral stairs? Was a cave dweller trapped down here long ago? Did that person make it out alive? I haven't found any bones... yet.
The jars in the back of the room are nearly as tall as I am. It takes a great deal more effort to open them, since I can't quite reach the top. With a bit of tilting and balancing, I finally manage. The contents are long cylinders made of heavy leather. I open one up. It smells old; the way that the renaissance oil paintings in museums smell. The browned paper has beautiful sketches, but I'm not sure what is illustrated.
I crack open another case. There's a rolled up painting in this one. The people portrayed are breathtaking. Each face feels impossible to look away from, even for a moment. The features- those eyes, those cheeks, those lips! I have seen such lips only once before...
My hands shake. Breath catches in my throat. I force my gaze to the corners. There's nothing in any of them. I glance down to the other open case, the one with the sketches. A marking is in the corner of one of them.
I'm holding a da Vinci. Are my hands clean? When was the last time I washed them? I'm not smudging it, am I? I'm holding a da Vinci...with my bare hands! Why didn't I bring gloves? I should have gloves. I shouldn't be touching this at all, with or without gloves! Who would leave original da Vinci works laying around in a case in a jar where anyone could touch it!? Oh, right, secret room, magic crystal, not really easy access. I'm still holding a da Vinci!
With the greatest of care, I ease the precious works back into the cases and slowly (so slowly that the snails of the world would mock my pace), I gently ease them back into the jar. Why wasn't there a warning label? "Warning- priceless works of art- do not touch." Did the elders know that these were down here? If they did, why didn't they tell me to bring gloves? Why haven't they given these originals to a museum? Shouldn't the contents of that jar be shared with the world?
I need to sit down. My hands will never be the same. They just touched the work of a master. I wonder if he ever looked at his own hands that way. If he ever knew that, one day, his work would matter so much to the world. Does any artist, with paints, words, or sound, ever know what they're offering when they're first creating?
The stone wall behind the large jars seems like a decent place to rest against. At least this isn't a priceless work of art! I roll my head back, get comfortable, and take a few deep breaths. I have to admit, seeing that painting is a far better memory than playing Frisbee in the park. I'm glad I came down here.
Relaxed at last, I look around the room. It feels like I'm seeing with different eyes. To bad I don't have the eyes of the people that were in that painting. Magnificent. I stretch my neck, and see something on the wall from the edge of my peripheral vision.
Standing up, I realize that I was wrong. The stone wall behind me, the one I've been leaning against, is a priceless work of art.
GUEST BLOG POST
This special additional O blog post for the
2014 A to Z challenge is brought to you by
J's lovely assistant, Jamie. A recent trip to this
magnificent greenhouse in
yielded some beautiful photos worth sharing.
We hope that you enjoy them.
Plants growing in volcanic ash.
An orange that's Grapefruits
not yet orange. grown in PA.
It's a bird, it's a plane...it's mother nature playing games!
Easter decorations came to the tropical idea room.
Twisted vines molded into a giraffe.
Some plants can make a person feel small...
The fern is considerably larger than the photographer!
Remember to always take time to stop and smell the flowers.
Check out this cool book and contest:
Efimios is an ancient Greek and an unsung hero of Athens. He has saved the city countless times by undertaking time-travelling missions as instructed by Goddess Athena herself. Now an elderly man, he sends his son Phevos and his adopted daughter Daphne on a time-travelling quest to modern-day Athens. Mysterious as always, he only advises his children to look out for the signs without offering any explanations. Mystified, yet eager to obey their father’s will, Phevos and Daphne settle down in this new world, having been offered assistance by two orphaned siblings: Ksenia and Manos. New friendships and romantic love change their lives while their father’s covert purpose is gradually revealed. As the youngsters continue to unravel the secrets of their family past, inevitably they get caught up in the ongoing conflict between two Gods, one of which becomes their protector and the other, their worst nemesis. Who will prevail when the rival Gods meet again and will the mortal bystanders survive to tell the tale?
First, there was this tremendous roar.
Everything around them shook with force and then, a blinding light surrounded them as they were taken through a cyclone of ear-piercing sounds. Phevos held the hand of his sister Daphne inside the forceful vortex of Time.
Neither of them knew where they were headed as they swirled frightened beyond description, their bodies surrendered to the powerful whirlwind. Their eyes were tightly shut to the blinding flashes of light and a sound that resembled a sweeping tornado tortured their ears. In the twenty years of his life, Phevos could never have imagined the intensity of the experience.
Although still captured in this unprecedented storm of light and sound, he managed to recall random pieces from his father’s stories. Efimios, his father and teacher, had described to him hundreds of times his experience of the Passage through Time but Phevos never expected there would come a day that he would experience it himself and at that, in such a different way.
Suddenly, he realized in panic that his sister’s hand had slipped away from his. He started calling out her name but through the roar he couldn’t even hear himself speak.
All at once, there was darkness and a soothing silence and next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground.
A strong buzz still sounded in his ears. It took a few moments to fade as he opened his eyes and tried to gather his wits. His body felt numb at first but he managed to sit up somehow and look around him. The ground felt wet under him and the air smelt of grass.
The moon shone high above on a starry sky with a velvet light that was ample, allowing him to inspect his surroundings quite easily. He was in an orchard.
There were trees, plants and bushes all around him.
Panicking, he realized that he was alone.
Connect With The Author
FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/Necklaceathena
FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni
Google + : https://plus.google.com/+EffrosyniMoschoudi
I open what feels like the hundredth jar. It's empty. I shake it a few times, but nothing comes out. I move it closer to the nearest fire to peer inside. Nothing. There are some wavy lines painted on the jar.
I move on to the next jar. There are wavy lines on this one as well. I open it and feel a tiny cool breeze for a moment. There's nothing inside. It's the same with the jar behind it, and the next three behind that one. I exam these again. Why would anyone store nothing? It doesn't make sense. Are the clay vessels themselves the prize? They are very plain and ordinary, especially compared to some of the others in this room.
What else could the nothing be? Is there something to this? Orson Scott Card said that everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any. Are these jars filled with ideas? Are empty jars meant to force me to think?
Who would store a jar of nothing?
"A vampire and a slayer walk into a bar... Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but for Veronica and Mackenzie, it's the beginning of the rest of their lives... "
The world has seen its fair share of evil, but Veronica Chase had no idea such monsters truly existed. Werewolves, poltergeists, witches... even vampires. Ignorance was bliss. But her reality was crushed on that horrid day her family was taken away from her. Now, Veronica has devoted her entire life to hunting those very creatures, searching for the werewolf pack that murdered her parents in hopes of finding her abducted sister. Nothing will get in her way of settling the score for the hand she was unjustly dealt. That is until her newest assignment brings her to her knees.
After one hundred and eight years on earth, Mackenzie Jones thought he had seen it all. With the exception of daylight of course, but that's what comes with the territory being a vampire and all. Perpetually damned to live his life as a bartender in the shadows of the night, nothing has sparked his interest lately. Just once he wished something exciting would happen in his mundane life. Little did he know, his wish was about to come true. Walking through the door to his bar, and into his heart, Mackenzie allows love to take the wheel for the first time. There's just one slight problem. She's there to kill him.
The delectable scent of meat searing on the grill hit his senses as he made his way into the kitchen. Daniela was making his favorite meal; filet mignon. Mackenzie hadn’t realized how long he’d gone without food until now; his stomach growled in response to the sizzling steak, ready to eat it raw if he had to. Daniela turned off the blender and poured the concoction into some glasses.
“I thought this might cheer you up,” Daniela said, handing a glass to Mackenzie. “Drink up!” Her attention went back to the blender as she sang, “You put the lime in the coconut, and drink them both up.”
Daniela had a way of making all the troubles in the world just disappear, even if it was as simple as making his favorite meal or whipping up a tasty drink. Mackenzie sat at the head of the table and gulped down the contents in his cup. But for some reason, it didn’t work this time. He was still as depressed as he was before. Maybe even more so.
Smacking the glass down on the table a little harder than he intended, the crystal chimed delicately in response. One drop of blood from the Type O cocktail escaped the lip of the glass and started to slowly slide its way down to the base. Mackenzie stared at the liquid ruby and couldn’t help but image it being the warm blood of a lover, descending down her neck after a fresh bite. His fangs released in response. How he longed to hold a woman with soft, beautiful skin in his arms. Maybe Daniela was right, maybe he did need a companion. Instead, the opaque crystal goblet sat lifelessly in his palm. He picked up the glass and slowly licked the droplet in one upward flick of the tongue. The action, as harmless as it was, opened a flood gate of instincts Mackenzie had to try to repress; he had to push back into the coffin where he stashed them years ago.
“You okay?” Daniela asked, sitting down next to him. “You look a little pale, like you’re going to be sick.”
“Of course I’m pale. I’m a vampire.” Mackenzie smiled, showing off his protracted fangs. Daniela chuckled in response and went back to finishing the meal.
Lucky for him, she bought his lame excuse when in actuality he was scared. Scared that his vampire nature would spring to life and drown him in blood lust for all the years he suppressed the urge. He barely knew what it was like to be a vampire, but his instincts were rushing back to him. Now, after visualizing that tantalizing temptation, he had to try not to be one again.
Shit, Mackenzie thought.
LOVELY BOOK SWAG
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTQ1NWM3Zjk2MGMzZTg0ZThhYTIzYWJlNDcwMWUxOjM4/
Bebe Knight is the author of the paranormal romance series, The Eternal Flame Books. She lives in Upstate NY with her husband and son. Writing has always been a part of her life whether it be books, plays, or handwritten letters to friends and family. It's a dream come true for her to be able to share her stories with others.
BUY LINK: http://amzn.com/B00HQNKNNS
I need to know more. I grab the next jar. Shells fall out.
They are nice shells. Wait, I've seen these before! This is wampum. I open
another jar and find gold bullion coins. Behind that one is a jar filled with
notes from banks that can be exchanged for gold. Is that what money was like
years ago? These appear to be really old. A smaller jar is filled with coins,
which I'm pretty sure are from
Loosening the lid to the next jar, I find Andrew Jackson's
face staring at me. These aren't twenty-dollar bills though. These claim to be
worth a thousand, and are issued by the Confederate States of
Othomanvs - I wonder what that means? It's on a bunch of the
coins which fill a very large jar.
I'm surrounded by jars full of money. If I don't find a way to open the doors, all of this will be worthless to me. The value of money is totally dependent on there being a society willing to exchange goods and services for it. Trapped in here alone, none of this wealth is of any use to me. Is this a lesson about greed?