Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.
This is the daily prompt for today. So thought I would give it a try. See if you can guess what the book is! I’ll give the answer later ………..
I’m going to take that first sentence of my favorite book and use it to start a short story. Hope you enjoy and please take a guess at the book!
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. It was freezing cold, sleet coming out of the leaden gray skies. As I looked out the window I saw nothing but isolation, skeleton trees swaying in the wind that accompanied the sleet. No, no walk today.
I turned away from the window and walked over to the fireplace. Stretching my hands toward the warmth, I smiled at Sam, my dog, laying on the rug, four short legs straight up in the air. He was sound asleep. I stood in front of the fireplace and wondered how I was going to spend the day.
I thought of the clutter up in the attic. Maybe today would be a good day to sort through some of it out. The house was old, very old. There were boxes in the attic from my Grandparents’ time. Maybe some even older than that. It would be interesting to go through them and see what my relatives left. The house has been in the family for over 100 years, I’m sure there would be something of interest up there.
I walked upstairs and looked at the ceiling of the hallway. I remembered the last time I was up in the attic. When I first moved into the house two years ago. I remember that I had pulled the chain that had hung down from the entrance to the attic and it had broken. The chain itself had to have been almost as old as the house. It wasn’t surprising that it finally broke. I had to find something with a hook to grab the fold up stairs so that I could pull them down. I managed to make one myself from an old mop handle, duct tape and a wire hanger.
The hook was sitting in a corner of the hallway. I grabbed it and pulled the old wood stairs down. Sam must have missed me, there he was wide awake and wagging his tail so I would take him with. Walking up those narrow steep steps with a small black and white dog under one arm was tricky, but I made it. I sat Sam down on the wood floor of the dusty attic and reached to pull the cord to the bare light bulb in front of me. It was dark up there, even though it was mid-day outside.
I inherited the house and five acres surrounding it two years ago. My grandmother left it to me. Which I thought was strange because I didn’t know my grandmother very well. She was my mother’s mother. They didn’t get along and so my grandmother wasn’t a force in my life. My mother died when I was in college, but I knew I had cousins. Male cousins, I found out later that this house was only inherited by the FEMALE descendents. Which I was the only one. Strange that, but that’s how it was set up.
I only met my grandmother a couple of times. She was of course at my mother’s funeral. I had no father to speak of. He was never in my life. My mother brought me up on her own. She was strict, but I always knew it was because she loved me and I was the only thing she cared about. I never dated much, too busy with school and my mother. I was 28 now. Still single, working at a career that I loved. Writing books. Fiction. Novels of strong women, who found love in strange places from strange occurrences.
Not that I ever thought it would happen to me. It only happened to my book characters. I wasn’t lonely. I had Sam, friends, and my books. I was happy. I made a decent living writing, not only from my books, but from other writing jobs. I could work from my home office. The perfect job.
I stood there with my hands on my hips and looked at all the many boxes and bags piled up. The attic was huge. Two small dusty windows let in very little light. One on each side of the attic. I heard Sam snuffling around behind some boxes. He thought himself a blood hound of some sort. Yeah, dream on Sam. I just hope he didn’t get himself buried in all this stuff. I spotted another light bulb about mid-way down the room, walked over and pulled the dirty string. Light sprang to life.
I glanced around some more and thought I saw a dim sparkle in a corner. In the deepest part of the attic. I hesitated for a second, wondering if my eyes were deceiving me. Nope, there it was again! I walked over to the dim corner, with Sam close behind me. I heard him give a small whine. I glanced down and he was looking in the corner with his ears and tail down, acting like he does when something scares him. That made me stop for a second. I squinted my eyes and looked in the corner again. I hope it wasn’t a rat or something. Not that I really thought it was, but the house was old. Rats don’t sparkle……not any I’ve ever seen anyway.
I slowly walked forward again. Sam close to my heels. I didn’t see anything move. But the sparkle became more pronounced. Ah, a box. With what looked like jewels covering it! Those couldn’t be real jewels?! Nah, I doubt it. I looked around for something to dust the box off with. Saw an old towel or piece of sheet, grabbed it, shook it out and made Sam sneeze. I wiped down the box and picked it up.
It was heavy. Wasn’t really big. More like a small chest now that I got a good look at it. It perked my curiosity. I walked across the floor and stopped at the small window. I still had that piece of cloth and rubbed at the window to try and shed more light on what I carried. I held it against my chest and tried to open it. Wouldn’t budge. Humph.
Suddenly I heard my phone ringing. Didn’t bring my cell phone with me to the attic. I was expecting a phone call from my editor, so I better try to answer it. I turned off the lights and with Sam under one arm and that jeweled box under the other I carefully and slowly made my way down those stairs. I put Sam down and the box next to him. Folded the stairs to the attic back up to the ceiling and ran to my bedroom to answer the phone that was still ringing.
Of course as soon as I got to it, it stopped ringing. I looked at the number and sure enough it was my editor. I listened to her message and decided to call her back when I got downstairs. Sam had stayed next to the box, almost like he was protecting it. Silly dog. I picked the box up again, man, it was heavy! Mostly from the jewels on the outside of it I figured. My thought was I might as well be comfortable while I figure out a way to open the damn thing.
Trudged downstairs with it and put it on my coffee table. Sat on the couch and stared at it. I tried to open it again, but nope, nothing. Frowning, I moved it around and looked from all angles. Didn’t see why it wouldn’t open. It had no lock on it. Looked like the top should just open up. The box itself was black leather. Old, really old. The jewels were dusty and dirty, but they still managed to glimmer. Now my curiosity was overwhelming. I was determined to get it open!
While I tried to figure a way to open it, short of taking an ax to it, I might as well clean it up. I got a towel from the kitchen and wet it down with hot water. Went back to the living room and started working on cleaning the jewels. If I didn’t know better I would swear those jewels were real! I clean the top ones and sat back and just admired them. Beautiful! Red, yellow, blue, and what looked like diamonds glittered in the firelight. I tried the top again, and couldn’t believe it when it lifted right off! Easy peasy! Huh, maybe because I cleaned it?
I gently set aside the top and looked inside. Whatever was in there was covered by a thick red velvet cloth. I lifted it with two fingers. Never know what is under it! I set that aside. Looked again and saw a beautiful jar! It was china and had a pattern of a dragon on it. It was breathtaking! I noticed the jar had a lid. I slowly lifted the jar out of the box and set it on the table. I have never seen a more beautiful piece of work in my life. The dragon that was painted on the side looked like it could come alive at any second.
My hand reached for the lid to take it off. Then I hesitated. I don’t know why, but I felt like if I took the lid off that jar, my life would never be the same. Crazy right? I mean things like that only happen in stories, in books. In fiction. Yet, my hand stopped moving forward. I glanced over at Sam, he was watching my every move. He looked tense. I felt tense. Then my hand slowly moved forward again. Almost like I couldn’t help myself. It was as if my hand moved of its own will. I was just a spectator.
My fingertips felt the cool smoothness of the lid. My eyes played tricks on me, because I could have swore the dragon on the jar moved. Like it was urging me on. I grasped the small knob of the lid and tugged gently. It wouldn’t open. The dragon moved again. Closer to the top. I watched as my fingers held the lid firmer and gave it another yank. I heard a slight pop, then a wheeze of air. As I lifted the lid purple smoke rose out of the jar in a slow, undulating wisp. It grew taller and thicker. Till it reached the ceiling.
Sam crawled into my lap as I sat mesmerized. What did I do?!