“Maurice get up to the attic its, such a mess up there, and you promised to tidy it in the holidays” shouted Mary from the bottom of the stairs,
“Ok Mum, I’ll do it sometime in the future!” replied Maurice sarcastically from deep within his room.
“I’ll do it mum,” I replied from the kitchen, “I’ve always wondered what hidden treasures where kept up their.”
“That’s very kind of you mind the steps on your way up and be careful not to bang your head,”
I had always wanted to go up into the attic ever since I was younger and imagined that there where all kinds of evil monsters lurking in the dark shaded corners with their fowl breath and unbearable odours. Now I wanted more than ever to go and investigated what lingered like a damp cloth in the shady, cold dark corners of the roof top. I approached the ladder that had been placed there earlier by my mother. I lifted my foot on to the first rung; there was a loud creak from above. I retreated immediately. I stood frozen to the spot waiting for another creak to come from above, but to my relieve none came. I decided that if I was ever going to see the treasures of the attic I would have to stand the odd eerie sound form the old floorboards above. I pulled my self together and told my self that I could keep one thing that I found in the loft this morning. This gave me enough incentive to conqueror my fear and climb the creaking ladder into the darkness of the attic above.
When I reached the top of the ladder I fumbled for the light switch and suddenly the darkness was pooled in light. I stood there blinded for a moment while my eyes adjusted to the new brightness of the once pitch black eerie space, now there was nothing eerie about the once dark corners were monsters had their lair, slowly the cloud of dust started to clear and I was able to see what lay within. There were several large boxes layered with dust. I went over extremely eager to get started and excited as to what I might find. I lifted the lid of the first box I came to. As I opened it a thick layer of dust flew up into my eyes. I had to look away. I couldn’t wait for the dust to settle so I could see the wonderful treasures of my family. At last the dust settled and I was able to see what was in the box.
To my amazement it was full of bubble wrap I wondered why a box in the attic would be full of bubble wrap. I suddenly realised that something most be wrapped in it and slowly and carefully started unwrapping the first ball of bubble wrap. It took a while as I was trying to be so careful and I kept bursting the bubbles and that made me jump as it reverberated around the room. At last I came to the end of the bubble wrap ball and inside it was an ornate highly decorative china vase. The design depicted gold dragons breathing fire. The whole design was most definitely Chinese. There were also Chinese symbols painted in gold around the rim. I as always wanted to know what it meant I knew that no-one in my family could speak Chinese so it was a bit pointless to ask.
I also wanted to see what other exciting antiques I could find. I sat on the floor staring at the most amazing hand painted vase that I had ever seen. I sat there for a moment imagining thousands of Chinese women sitting in a vast hall. All with their individual brushes and palates of paint each painting their own individual vase, bowl or cup. I wrapped the vase up again, exactly how I found it, now wanting to find even more exciting things hurried over to open the next parcel.
I went through the remainder of that box and found similar Chinese objects, with the same ornate hand painted dragon design all over them. I moved over to the next box, but then I saw it. A musty, dirty, antique looking object in a crack in a rotten floorboard. I reached down to pick it up. As I brought it nearer to my face I saw it was some kind of ring and it had jewels etched into it I couldn’t make out what type of jewels they were as it was so dirty. I climbed down the creaky ladder so I could get into some more natural light. I still couldn’t make out what colour they were. So I took them to Mary to have a look at. She couldn’t make out the jewels either so suggested that I took it to our local town to get it looked at and advised on how to clean it by an expert.
Later that day I caught a bus in to Alresford (our local town) and soon sat opposite an old wrinkled man named Eric who was crouching over my ring. The man in the jewellery shop sat down at his desk with his magnifying glass and started looking around the ring for any type of marks. He asked politely if he could clean it so he could see the ring in its true glory and not make any mistakes. I agreed and he went off into his workshop to clean it. When he returned it looked like a totally different ring the jewels were sparkling and the metal was gleaming. The man looked just as thrilled as he announced that the stones were in fact rubies and the metal was in fact gold. I stared at it for a moment longer to take in what the man had just told me. I was amazed that my family could have such a beautiful ring in their house and not even know. He also muttered that he had seen it before but did not enquire as to how I had come about it so I left.
I rushed home to reveal the secrets of the ring to Mary she had gone out so I settled down in her seat in front of the fire. The fire was roaring and it warmed my bones effectively and soon I was asleep. I fell in to a happy dream thinking about who could have worn my ring before I found it and how it came to be in the attic at all.
I dreamt that I was outside a Georgian House that I recognised as a cleaner newer version of our own house. A middle aged pretty young women came over to me and asked,
“Are you coming to the ball tomorrow, Mary” I was confused she new my name but yet I had never met her in my life and new nothing of her. I struggled to find a way of answering her question; I rested upon telling the truth,
“I’m sorry but which ball is this? I haven’t heard about it,”
“My dear girl it’s the Gelovani ball, its set to be the biggest and most spectacular ball of the year, you really should come it will be absolutely marvellous,”
“Just doesn’t it sound amazing, I wish I could go, but I have no means of getting their my Mother is away and took the horses and carriage with her,”
“I can pick you up on the way through I am sure your mother wouldn’t object to something as innocent as a girl going to the best ball in the district, what do you say” I agreed to meet her at 7 by the iron gates at the bottom of my drive. I was so excited that I ran all the way up our long winding drive through our spectacular garden ready to pick an out fit for me to wear to this evening’s event.
I picked one of my mothers’ old dresses it was made of silk and was beautifully hand stitched with silver thread, I had also found a pearl necklace and hair clips to at least attempt to make myself look remotely more acceptable. The time came for me to walk (carefully and much slower than I expected) to go down to the gate. The lady who I had arranged to meet at the gate (whom I had later found that her name was Elizabeth) was not their when I got their and stood their impatiently gradually growing more and more excited by the second.
Then I suddenly heard what seemed like a thousand horses galloping towards me. I couldn’t make out where the sound was coming from so stood there waiting for a light from a carriage or something to light the upcoming noise. I waited anxiously at the side of the road and then a massive carriage came bombing around the corner dragged by 4 mighty jet black horses. The carriage screeched to a stop a few feet in front of me and as it did so a mass of brown mud flew up to me. I stepped back in disgust my dress now had mud splashes all the way up it. It was ruined.
Elizabeth got out of the carriage and muttered her apologises she rushed me into her carriage and ordered her driver to rush us back to her house where she would lend me one of her dresses. I was over come with her kindness and annoyance of getting my most amazing and beautiful dress totally ruined. The dress she found for me to wear was elaborately decorated in bright coloured threads and looked absolutely phenomenal when I put it on, the colours were just gorgeous. I thanked Elizabeth greatly for her kindness and we hurried off to the ball.
We arrived in good time having only missed the first dance. I was introduced to several important gentleman and their mistresses and soon found my self dancing with people I had never even met. I marvelled at the amazing dresses of the mistresses and the well presented gentleman in their suits. I met several young men who wanted to dance with me and I very much obliged. I danced for much of the evening and only stopped when my partner Eric, a boy of about the same age as my self twisted his ankle and had to retire to a seat. We talked for much of the rest of the evening as I felt ashamed to leave him on his own unable to move to interact with other guests. I learnt that he had recently got a job in town at the jewellery shop.
I woke up suddenly but there was nobody in the room. I caught site of a picture in Mary’s living room and went over to it I recognised the man at once it was Eric and Mary herself sitting happily together on a beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. I soon fell asleep again. This time I dreamt that I was standing at the same iron gates at the bottom of our drive they were however now starting to show their age a little and the paint was chipped. I stood their in a purple dress, a carriage drew up. It was Elizabeth.
“Hello Mary, I haven’t seen you in a while. I heard you got together with that boy at the ball I took you too. Eric, was that his name?”
“Yes, Miss. What ever you may think though I did not get together with him in the way you mean, we are and have always been very good friends for a while now and we have just got engaged.”
“OH, I am very pleased for you, I also hear you are pregnant with your second, do I hear correctly again?”
“Yes you do, and as I have met you again on this chance occasion I would like to invite you to our wedding, as if you had not taken me to the ball I would never have met Eric and thus not now be engaged.”
“I am very sorry but I will not see you marry this boy, it is a disgrace for you to be pregnant before your married. What is the world coming to these days?” Elizabeth drove off in a ferocious anger and I remained on the steps ashamed and distraught by what Elizabeth had just said to me.
I ran up the drive back to the house, Eric was sitting in his usual armchair by the flickering fire. I ran into his arms and told him what Elizabeth had just told me and asked him what we should do as we have disgraced our family names. We deliberated over this question for what seemed like hours and then all of a sudden our bags where packed and we were in a carriage on the way to London.
The next thing I dreamt was that I was standing in an old church with a priest getting married. There was no-one else in the church it was a quiet eerie moment that I would remember for the rest of my life. Eric gave me a beautiful ring it was gold with rubies etched into it with an inscription saying “Eternal Love”. I new from that moment that that ring would stay in the family for an eternity.
I woke up to a key turning in the lock, it was Mary. I quickly and excitedly showed her the ring and told her of my dream.
“I am ashamed to tell you that yes the dream you had was true this ring was given to me from my late husband on our wedding day, he has long since passed away. Eric went missing when we were on holiday in the Mediterranean and was never found. I am so glad that you found the ring it reminds me of such good times. I did not recognise it earlier it was so dirty and I am getting old and my eye sight is deteriorating fast. I am for ever in your debt, I have no doubt that if Maurice had found it in the attic he would have discarded it with out a thought and it would be lost for all eternity. Did you see the inscription? Did you take it too the jewellery shop in the end?” blurted Mary excitedly,
“Yes, I did take it too the shop he said that it was in perfect condition.” I replied not wanting to say my last bit of news,
“Is that all he said he must be going blind as well if he couldn’t see that inscription”
“The only other think that he said was……” I paused unsure whether I should say any thing, but could see by Mary’s facial expression that she new I had more to tell, “He said that he had seen it before and that he recognised it.” I blurted out quickly hoping that Mary would discard it as an old man going mad.
“Oh I wonder how he recognised it, its so old there cant be very, many around, If I got married when I was 21 and am now 88 it must be about 61 years old,” muttered Mary quietly to her self. I jumped up suddenly realising how stupid I had been. I grabbed my coat and dragged Mary out of the door and ran quickly onto the roadside just in time to flag down the bus that was heading for Alresford. Mary hobbled along to the bus and soon we were slowly on the move again. The bus was cramped but I didn’t care I was going to sort this mystery out once and for all.
We arrived in town shortly and we soon found our self sitting in front of the old man in the jewellery shop again. I showed the ring to the man again as I did earlier and pointed to a thin etched inscription “Eternal Love” he gasped as he read the inscription. He stood up in shock and asked where I had got it from. I explained that it was Mary’s. He didn’t understand. I took it into my own hands to explain.
“You both recognise this ring, Mary because you where given it on your wedding day and you, if I am not mistaken, Eric, gave this to your wife on your wedding day. You both thought the other was dead, but now you are reunited together once more. Please tell me if I a wrong but you are in fact married.”
“This cant be true my Eric is dead and you have no proof that we have ever met before. How do we no you are correct?”
“I agree you have no proof to say that we have ever met before,”
“I have an idea to proof this to you as well. Eric do you have a piece of paper and two pens that we could use for this?”
“Yes I will be with you in a minute.” He got up and went into the back room and returned a moment later with two pens and paper.
“Now each of you write on the paper in front of you how you met your wife or husband, and what caused you to talk or a reason for why you couldn’t continue with what you were doing?”
“This is preposterous” said Eric but continued to write nether the less.
“What do you want me to do with it now that I have finished?” asked Mary annoyed and irritated.
“Hold onto it for a moment while Eric finishes his and then I’ll explain.” Mary watched Eric finish writing and then both pairs of eyes laid on me.
“Please now place your paper in the middle of the table for the other to read.” I said worried that I would be totally wrong and intimidated by them for wasting their time.
“This cant be right you met your ‘Mary’ at the same time as I met my ‘Eric’. This is absurd.” Said Mary confused.
“No this is not absurd I met Mary when I twisted my ankle at the Gelovani ball, we sat down and talked for the rest of the evening. She was wearing an ornately decorated dress with bright coloured threads all over it in luscious patterns. How can too sets of people that were wearing the same clothes at the same place do the same things at the same time with out noticing each other. It’s just impossible. You must be my beloved Mary and I your Eric.” Eric said this and then began to cry.
“OH, my Good Gracious, you must be my ERIC who I have been mourning for years and now you stand here in front of me as real as ever.” replied Mary. They embraced and turned to talk to me.
“I am sorry that I had to bring this information to your knowledge but after my dream I had this afternoon I could not stop thinking about it. I was desperate, I didn’t know how you were going to take the news I had just dropped on you, I’m so sorry” I spluttered, crying,
“Don’t worry Mary, If this is indeed my husband then I too have news for you, that is that Eric is your Granddad, I am not angry at you for following your instinct as that is what you have always done, but I am angry that you didn’t talk to me about it first,”
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t think you would believe me if I didn’t have proof, getting you both here together was the only way of getting that proof.”
“Don’t worry about it I am very grateful for you to finding my Eric for me I have always missed him and now I have another chance to be with him, as I have never stopped loving him. I am sure that your mother would be pleased to meat her father for the first time as well. She has often asked about him but I have never brought my self to tell her the truth about his mysterious disappearance. We will all be forever in your debt.”
“There is one thing I’m never going to do again and that’s go into that attic again as I don’t no what other mysteries I will solve unexpectedly and they might not turn out to be as nice as this one.”