Chapter 0: I Smell Dead Guy or This Old House
Part 2: The Office That Time Forgot
The office was pitch black. If there had been any windows, they had long been covered over or bricked up. Once I found the light switch, the light sounded like it was going to explode. Is a light bulb supposed to sizzle and crack? The bulb looked handmade, slightly malformed. Was Vernon a glass blower?
I maneuvered through stacks of books and precariously made towers of papers. The whole room looked like a series of interrupted Jenga games. One wrong move and it would all come crashing down. Vernon had a lot of interests, all seemingly scientific. There were books on physics, chemistry, biology, botany, astrophysics, alchemy, the paranormal; I even saw what appeared to be the edge of a periodic table tacked to the wall. Beneath it was the frame of what was once a window.
Finally, I located the desk. I moved a pile from the chair and sat there for a while. I was completely out of my element. The wooden desk chair squeaked as I leaned back. Looking up at the ceiling, which was covered in... were those star charts? I started thinking about where a man might keep his journal.
Was Vernon left or right handed?
Did he even write at his desk?
Another look around the room convinced me he practically lived in this room. There were dirty dishes hidden under yellowed papers and file folders, food that was probably close to sentience clung stubbornly to those papers. Books were sitting open all over the place. It's like the man never stopped working.
I thought about it another moment, then my hand reached out, almost on instinct, towards the many cubby holes built into the desk and the wall. Moving a few items from the cubby hole nearest my hand, I reached in and pulled out a mid-sized, leather bound notebook bulging ot the point of exploding, held together with a thick, black band.
This thing had seen some use.
I'll admit, I was a little scared to open it. It looked like it the diary of a madman, and who knows, maybe it was. A guy like Great-Uncle Vernon, all alone in this big house, working night and day... he might have been just a little batty.
Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me. I carefully untied the black band that held the overstuffed journal together and started flipping through it. Here it was, Vernon's private thoughts. His secret projects revealed. The absolute truth to how mad he may or may not be.
Most people would probably start reading at the beginning, but something tells me the early days of a journal are rather dull. You probably start out all, "Hello world," and "this is how I intend to use this book," blah, blah, blah... dull as dishwater. The meat's in the middle, so let's start there.
The first thing to catch my eye is a photograph. The man, I would assume, is Vernon, probably around 25. He looks similar to my Grandpa when he was in his twenties. Definitely looks like he could be Granddad's brother. What was really interesting though, was what he was standing in front of. There, as big as a house, was what looked like a rocket... or possibly a submarine. Wait, no... no propellers. That's definitely a rocket. But, if Vernon was around 25 in this photo, and he was born in 1904... this photo was taken in 1929. Great-Uncle Vernon was building rockets in the 1920s?
This can't be real. Who was trying to launch themselves into space back then? Hell, we'd only been flying airplanes for about ten years. We were decades away from making it to space. Weren't we?
Maybe the journal had some answers.
I turned the page and started reading with May 24, 1929.
Thus ends Muse 0. Continued tomorrow (and I mean it this time) with Muse 1.
William the Bloody Back On Schedule Redd