The road grew narrower and narrower as Robert Hutchinson walked past the old and abandoned well, in the south of Veragon. Nothing much of life quite crossed his eyes in his long journey from the bus halt to his destination, The Whistler’s Den. Being a ghost hunter, this experience was nothing new to him, and the spooky name didn’t frighten him much. He knew the story- you travel a long way from the inhabited place to land up somewhere ghastly, you prepare for the encounter with the ghost or spirit (if any), and then the next thing you will find yourself doing is just waiting at the transport place to catch the return vehicle, with a heart full of grief, and a mind full of disgust. Well, out of the twenty expeditions he has carried till today, both accompanied and alone, all of them ended up fruitless. But Robert didn’t want to stop trying. He often said to his friends-
“Well, if I don’t get to see ghosts, I still get to see many things that you people miss out, because of your sheer ignorance and some weird fear of what you haven’t yet seen.”
His friends couldn’t argue much with him over this topic, because, being a well read man, he often referred to such points, theories, evidences and stories that the others were dumbfounded. So it usually ended soon, with Robert triumphant.
This expedition was quite amazing in the way it came up to him. His father Robin Hutchinson was a businessman dealing in antique objects which he bought and sold at his shop at San Florino. Robert, as a child, was very much fascinated by his father’s interesting business, and often visited the store helping his father to carry on the dealings in the shop.
On one such day, Robert was going through some small iron chests kept in the store room of the shop, which were soon to be sold away as scrap, since they failed to attract buyers over a number of years. Robert’s curious mind prompted opening up every chest in the hope of finding something, he called “lovely as well as interesting”.
In total, he found 17 chests, not very big in sizes, but varying widely in their age in history, as the carvings on them suggested. Unfortunately, to his sorrow, most of them failed to contain anything as interesting as they looked. A few had the treasures of cockroaches; one had an old half eaten cigar; another one- a scroll which was nothing but the agreement of sale of a horse carriage. But what struck him in the end was a peculiar looking iron box. It was rather designed in a typically Italian or Doric style, and had an inscription on it.
Have You Found The Key?
The inscription quite amused him, since there didn’t seem to be any keyhole. He searched thoroughly the other boxes to find any key or something like that. On failing in his search, he ran up to his father who was busy at the counters and asked-
“Father, have you found any key or anything like that among those old chests?”
Mr. Robin had quite a sharp memory. He quickly answered-
“Not recently. But yes, I had found one when in 1957, I was…”
Understanding his father was going to travel back in time, Robert just said a hasty “Ok” and ran back to the store room. He again examined the inscription carefully. Suddenly that scroll of agreement came to his thought. He reopened it, and this time found a mysterious sentence in it-
Letters bear the answer.
This was quite weird as he was not sure whether it had to do anything with the chest. But Robert thought of giving it a try. He took that chest and brought it near the table lamp and started to observe each letter very carefully. At one point of time he got so annoyed at his failure to figure the mystery that he started to try to pull out each letter, but he failed. Then he started pushing each letter inside. This time it worked. The letter d of Found got pressed inside and then making a cranky noise sprang outside. There was the keyhole and it was the key, the letter d. The round of the letter was passed into the keyhole, turned, and clak!, the chest was unlocked.
Robert felt elated at his this success, but he was quite conscious enough not to run out and break the news to the whole world. He suppressed his excitement and opened the chest. There was a folded piece of paper, very old, and a piece of ivory nail, fit into the socket of bronze or copper disc. He carefully opened the paper. It was hardly legible as the old age of the paper had vanished a lot of the ink, leaving very faint trails. He held the paper over the lamp and then found it readable. The paper bore this paragraph-
When the old age shall brown this page and time shall kill the efforts of the undone, the Whistler shall call the dead from their den, and they shallh inhabit this earth.