14 Years Ago...
"Hey mom, can I go look?" A young boy who couldn't have been more than six years old asked this to his mother.
The mom looked at her son who tugged at her shirt. Normally she would tell her kid to stop being rude and let adults finish their conversation, but no young kid wants to listen to a boring conversation between their mother and grandfather.
"Oh go and let the child have a bit of fun. Kids their age can't stand being still this long, you sure didn't." Mentioned the mom's father and the kid's grandfather.
"Oh fine, but don't break anything, O-K?" The mother relented and gave her son permission to go play.
"Yea, thanks!" And so the kid dashed off to one of the corners of the household.
"Hey, don't run in your grandfather's house!" Yelled the mom.
The grandfather simply laughed and brushed it off. "Don't worry, kids need to be energetic."
"That's the problem. He's a bit too energetic. Oh, he said something funny the other day."
"Hm?" Curious the grandfather grunted in acknowledgement.
"He said he wanted to get a mansion one day and have a few maids and butlers. I asked him where he would get the money for such a lavish life and he mentioned something about winning the lottery or robbing a bank."
As if acquiring an interested thought, the grandfather raised an eyebrow. "That'll take some work."
"Tell me about it..."
In the other side of the grandfather's house, the young child was already playing with fragile heirlooms. One of the heirlooms was a figurine of a wolf; it was currently engaged in a ferocious battle against a similar figurine in the guise of a hawk.
Eventually the champion was the wolf and he proceeded to higher ground to fight deadlier foes, otherwise known as the attic. The child, whenever he went to his grandfather's house, always went to the attic if he could. There were many interesting things to look at and play with in the attic. The child didn't know what his grandfather did for a living, but it apparently allowed him to collect various artifacts and relics like an antique dealer.
Plus when he did go into the attic, he was able to meet his friend who was only able to play with him in that area. The boy stood in front of an odd mirror that would seem out of place in the normal suburban home. He reached out to the mirror and pulled out the hand of his friend.
"Hey, what should we play today?" The kid enthusiastically asked his friend.
This friend was a girl with strange animal ears and tail, but the boy didn't question or care, in fact, he thought it was pretty cool. He especially liked that her animal ears and tail resembled a bird of prey and a wolf. Because of that, he made his favorite animals an eagle and wolf respectively.
The girl was fairly quiet compared to him, but she always played with him no matter what, as if she was compelled to do so. "I will play whatever you wish." It seemed the girl tried to sound mature and formal, but her voice was still fairly high.
"Okay then, how about chess! I learned to play from gramps, he even told me about a super secret legal move!" The young boy pulled out an antique chess set with a board and pieces made of ancient oak. The pieces were individually and intricately designed and the board was still giving off a polished sheen.
The boy and girl arranged the pieces on the board. "You want to be black or white?" The boy asked. "I can be whichever color you want."
"I can be either." The girl replied somewhat idly.
The boy frowned. "Hey, come on, you gotta have some opinion of what you wanna be. Well, I'll be white then." The boy and girl sat on opposite sides of the chess set in the attic and began playing. "Go forward my knight!" Whenever he played chess, which wasn't often, the boy always had a habit of randomly choosing one of his knights to move forward first, then his pawns. "No going easy on me!"
"Yes..." The girl nodded and her tail twitched upright as she decided on her first move. She moved the pawn linear to the knight forward one square.
Turn after turn passed until strategies, elaborate even for these two young children, came into play. It wouldn't be far off to say that both of these kids had capabilities to become professional chess players, but neither had that sort of desire. In fact, what both of these children wanted correlated in some strange way...
The boy talked with the girl about many things, though she rarely spoke back. He told her about his weird dream to own a mansion and have numerous servants to be with him. He told her about how much he loved eagles and wolves. He told the girl how pretty she looked with an old silken headband they had found in the attic, to which the girl blushed and kept it in her hair for the duration of the visit.
"Taking my bishop, are you? Counter!" The boy just had the first of his bishops taken by the girl's pawn.
Right now the girl had an impenetrable line of defense with her units, though she suffered some losses in setting it up, she now believed she would win no matter what. The cornerstone of her defense was her queen. If she lost her queen, it was unlikely she could win at this point. It was now a war of attrition for her.
And her predictions were right. There appeared a chance to take the boy's king. She moved in her queen and said, "Check."
However drastic the situation was, the boy showed no hint of anxiety, only the thrill of challenge. He moved his second rook to a position near the queen, but safe from harm before relinquishing his turn over to the girl.
One more turn later, and the girl saw what was happening, a trap. Her queen had been trapped. In order to retreat, she needed to take one of the boy's pawns, but if she did that, the rook would take the queen out. If the queen moved diagonally, the rook or the boy's knight would take it out. If the queen moved forward even one space, the boy's king would take out the queen. In terms of strategy, the girl had just lost.
"See what I did? That's gramps super secret move he calls the 'Mayan Sacrifice!' I'm supposed to bait one of your important pieces with my king and block off its retreat with my other pieces. I'm so gonna win now!" Boasted the young boy with both his fists on his hips.
The girl revealed a rare smile and said, "Not yet..." And so the battle raged on.
In the end, the girl did end up losing, but she didn't care one bit. All she felt was happiness. Whenever she was with the boy who called her a friend, she felt happiness. When she was not with the boy, she felt longing.
But like every time he visited, he must eventually leave.
"Hey, what's your name?"
"Everyone has a name, mine is Dean! What's yours?"
The girl was confused, there was such a concept of names? "I don't have such a thing."
Now it was the boy's turn to be confused. "Everybody has a name, you don't? Oh well, I'll give you one then. Let's see, you're really pretty, so a pretty sounding name will fit you... I thought this name was pretty from a movie I watched, so how about Marian?"
"...Marian?" The girl's eyes changed from black to beige.
Suddenly the boy heard his mother calling for him, it was time to leave.
Apologetic, the boy smiled wryly and said, "I'm sorry, I've got to go. I promise to see you again as soon as possible!" The boy rushed downstairs to join his mother, failing to notice the girl's reluctance to see him go.
Unable to do anything or leave, the girl went back into her abode, the mirror, and waited until the next time she was able to meet the boy. And that would not happen for fourteen years.
A dream about my past, though it seems a bit warped from what I remember. Eh, I'm already forgetting what was in it.
I always said when I was young this to my parents, "I'm gonna win the lottery and buy a mansion and hire maids and butlers!" I'm sure there was a little bit more to the sentence and it wasn't with grammar or spelling that immaculate since I was like six years old, but that's what I remember.
Of course childhood dreams can't always come true and I didn't expect them to while I was in middle and high school. Hell, since when was life ever that rosy? It would be more likely to get a fantastic inheritance from a dead grandfather who gained considerable wealth thanks to coal mining in the 1800s.
Well, let's be honest, nobody would expect that to happen. And yet this is how a disproportionate childhood dream came true for me and how it was and wasn't an amazing thing.
"Dean, your grandfather is dead..." I was holding the phone to hear a solemn voice ring through the receiver. It wasn't a cellphone, but the public landline, not that it made any difference in the sadness of my mother's voice.
I generally never cry, but even I felt tears well up from the corners of my eyes. See, out of all of my grandparents, with his wife dead, Grandpa Buck was without a doubt my favorite grandparent; coincidentally he was on my mother's side. While he wasn't incredibly rich, he lived a healthy retirement with plenty of money to spare on whatever projects interested him which involved like home repair. He always doted on me like most grandparents and let my run around his large house which had all sorts of interesting objects. I loved to play with the antique figures, which I frequently broke. I hid inside a large urn he owned for a game of hide and seek with my cousins and won. I loved to peruse the strange objects that looked like they would be in a Victorian mansion in his attic, especially this one mirror which I struck many a pose in front of.
After a couple seconds of imagining my grandfather's hearty face, I nodded to the wall in front of me and said, "I understand, are you alright?" Obviously with my mother's father dead, she should be feeling quite pained.
"Yes, I'm at least consoled by the fact that he died peacefully. He was taking a short nap at one of his projects and apparently died there." Though she said she was fine, it was fairly obvious my mom had recently cried her heart out, which I had no plans on teasing her like when she cried over random things before.
"It's probably a bit crude to ask, but when is the wake and funeral? Finals are coming up soon and I need to know if I have time." Damn, if I have to attend either of those before my finals my grades would dip. I really want to grieve for him, but hopefully it would be best if either occasion happened after my finals.
"Huh? Oh, don't worry, about that. His funeral is the Wednesday after finals week and the wake the day before. Just try and study the best you can. Dad wouldn't like it if you failed on his account."
"Alright, I'll definitely set some time aside for those days."
A few seconds of silence passed and mom abruptly said, "One more thing, your grandfather had told me to tell you what he planned to leave you in his will ahead of time."
"Ah, that's strange, well, what is it?" Curious as to what my Grandpa Buck left me.
"He planned to leave you the mansion he was working on while he died. He also left you whatever was inside. He apparently remembered what you said when you were a kid about wanting a mansion. Unfortunately he was unable to finish it in time. Lastly, he was going to leave a portion of his fortune to each member of his immediate family with the majority of it going towards the taxes involved with the mansion, though not all of it. He didn't want you to be lazy about work."
"Hahaha! That's pretty cool of him. I really wish I could thank him for his generosity involved." I honestly said what was on my mind. I was definitely not going be one of those relatives who badgered their elders about when they were going to die and where the will was. I genuinely cared about my grandfather, though I saw no need to wallow in sorrow.
"I'll stop by the mansion he was working at today to see what it's like. Do know where he left the keys and security stuff for the place?"
"Stop by my home and I'll hand them to you. I collected them when I saw his body at the hospital."
"Right thanks, oh and mom?"
"I love you and feel better, okay?" Playing the part of a good son was always a must, especially at a time like this.
"I will, thanks."
My mother ended the call with calm words and I was satisfied.
A few hours passed since this morning and I found myself in front of the regal mansion my grandfather was working on. I acquired the keys for the front door, or what would be called the front door from my mom after eating lunch at her place.
"Yea, that's some front door. Real fancy and... Not normal." I said out loud to the air in an exasperated tone.
The front door to the mansion was the first thing I allowed my eyes to rest upon. I couldn't really see the actual building itself thanks to a thick surrounding forest with a similar array to an orchard. Heck, there were probably a few apple trees in there anyway.
The door resembled something you would see at Dracula's "humble" abode. While not oversized, they were definitely not small. They had thick stained windows with a simple floral picture with an eagle door knocker close to the middle. The handles resembled oaken tree branches coming off of their trunk.
I gulped and scratched my head as I considered what interesting things I may find inside the partially restored mansion my grandfather had worked on for me. Depending on how far he got, I may have to finish the job myself or hire a contractor, not that I was bad in home restoration mind you. Apparently Grandpa Buck had hired several Hispanic workers to assist him. Whether they were illegal or not, none of our family cared, my grandpa even paid them a healthy wage.
Opening the doors, I took a deep breath and stepped inside. "Oh boy..." I was thoroughly amazed.
You know that moment when you never expect a childhood dream to come true in your adult life, yet by random chance it does? Of course not, that only happens in fiction, yet right now it happened to me.
Unfinished my ass, there was not a single hint of tear from construction or scaffolding. Sure it was fairly empty and there was a healthy layer of dust in most places, but that did nothing to damper my enthusiasm. What furniture there were was covered by white sheets. The walls were covered by different types of wallpaper that went together despite the small contrasting details. The ceiling had wood planks with a diamond shape where there was a silver chandelier handing from the ceiling.
And this was only the entryway.
As I went from room to room, I noticed that each room was built similarly to one another with the only notable differences being the objects that lay inside. The kitchen had all sorts of modern appliances ranging from two refrigerators (one an exclusive freezer), roomy pantries, coffee maker, water boiler, sink, and etcetera and etcetera. The bathroom had the obvious devices, though I really loved the large shower and the numerous shower heads which could spray from each wall and the ceiling. There was even a bathtub built in to the side of the wall. A door inside the bathroom held a small sauna, though it seemed like one of the few areas that were unfinished. There was a library which held an interesting array of books, though it was partly empty so I could place my own books there. A parlor inside the library for quiet times with a Victorian era fireplace, there was even a gargoyle above, watching over those who relaxed. Several bedrooms, though the one I mainly looked at was the master bedroom. It had a grand canopy bed which was at least king sized, dressers, nightstand, several bronze candlesticks, and a chest made of thick yew wood.
The last area I looked in was the attic. Around the middle of the mansion was a rectangular stairwell which led to the second and third floors as well as the attic. As I stepped up ever so slightly, I could hear the creeks of the well made stairs which gave off an eerie feeling. The light fixtures for most of the house was done, unfortunately it did not seem like the fixtures for the upper area of the mansion was done, so I had to bring a lit candlestick upstairs.
The four candles in the candlestick thankfully shed enough light in order to illuminate several meters around me. "Holy hell, this is far too similar to a horror thriller." If only there was someone around to hear my voice and I'd be happy. "Hellooooo? Mister Ghost... Casper? Anybody up there?" I don't know if I was being frivolous for my own good or my entertainment.
Eventually, after much stress, I made it to the attic door. It was a simple door, something similar to what you would see at the entrance of a wine cellar or a lighthouse. "...Authentic work Gramps." All I could do was marvel at the good work grandpa and his assistants did.
I opened to door see several more steps until I finally reached the attic. Deciding to waste no more time, I climb the Everest that is my new mansion and made it to the attic. I looked around to see many familiar artifacts and relics from my grandpa's main home. In front of me was an empty liquor barrel with a white card tented on top with some writing.
I picked up the card and read what was on it. It was a letter from my late grandpa. I could hear his words in mind right now as I read the letter:
"Dear my grandson Dean.
If you're reading this now, it meant that I was unable to finish the mansion and was not able to present it to you personally. I wanted to spend my money before I died and decided this expensive project was a good option. With you being my only grandson, please do not mind being a little too affectionate. As you see in the attic, I had nearly all of the items from my home that you greatly enjoyed as a child here for you to do as you wish. Sell them if you want for a small fortune, they are worth that much, though I hope you decide to keep some of them, especially that mirror. I never found out its true origins, but this last April I managed to find out it came from around Eastern Europe. Either way, I apologize for not living long enough to finish this place and I truly hope you enjoy it as either a main residence or a vacation home.
-Your Grandfather, Buck."
I didn't notice, but there were a few tears streaming from my eyes which I subconsciously wiped away.
"Seriously, Gramps, giving me a god damn mansion is way too much of a going away present... God damn it, thank you so much for everything." The damn holding back my sadness and tears crumbled and I began to flow like a river in spring. I slumped next to the mirror I so greatly loved in my childhood, resting my head on the smooth glass as my tired feet and knees stretched out. Motionlessly, I sat there for a good few minutes as I let myself get through the emotional pain.
"Shhhh, it is alright, just relax and sleep..."
(Soothing...) I could hear a soft voice ushering me to a deep sleep. I was too intoxicated with the stupor of fatigue in order to care about the voice. It was just so pleasant to listen to. "Yaaawnnn, yea, tired."
"Sleep, I will take care of your needs, just sleep."
I looked up merely out of reflex and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She was reaching out to my chest and cheeks, caressing my skin with a gratifying hand massage. Every movement of her fingers seemed to coax me into a deeper sleep. Yea, maybe I should sleep...
"Waaah!" I woke up and looked around. I was sleeping inside that one master bedroom I saw from earlier on the third floor. I found myself resting in the large canopy bed with all of my clothes off save for my underclothes. I was resting under fresh sheets and a quilt with an interesting design of an ocean view. Wait, what the hell? "How in the heck did I get here? Wasn't I up in the attic?" As I posed these questions to myself, I came up with a rather silly notion. "Maybe there was sort of psychedelic effect when I go in the attic."