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Grandpa Jay's Basement; Chapter 1
I have a lot of childhood memories from my Grandpa Jay’s house. My parents traveled a lot when I was young, before my brother was born. They’d leave me with my Grandpa Jay and my Grandma Annelise. Sadly, Grandma Annelise died when I was only seven. Grandpa Jay moved into a rickety old house in the country after Grandma died. My grandpa had a very odd nature. He had a lot of collections, like rusty pennies and envelope stamps from the ’70s, but he also had this aura. He was always calm and made people see situations in a different light.
My aunt Sara and uncle Robert are a prime example. One Christmas, Grandpa suggested that Sara get a life insurance policy on Robert. Sara was very against it during the first day of their stay. The day they were leaving, Sara agreed. Two months after they got the insurance, uncle Robert died in a car accident on the way to work. The insurance gave Sara the money they needed.
We’d get random calls from Grandpa for several months. He’d call to tell my parents to take my brother to the doctor, and then they found a tumor in his stomach. There were no symptoms but it could’ve been deadly had he gone on (don’t worry, his surgery went fine and he’s now a healthy seventeen-year-old. This all happened when he was twelve). The other day he called and told me not to go to work. On the news, I saw a 20 car pile up on the freeway. Grandpa always knew when to call.
We were all very upset when my grandpa died. It happened right after his 85th birthday. I’d always been close with my grandpa, but he never told me that I’d been given his house and all of the things inside it in his will. I didn’t know about it until about three months later, after his funeral when lawyers came to my apartment during dinnertime to discuss his will.
I met with more lawyers, finally chose one, and we drove over to Grandpa Jay’s house. We checked the mailbox for any letter that Grandpa Jay found as the lawyer suggested. There was an envelope with no address. The only thing on it was my name, dead center, in Grandpa’s familiar handwriting.
If you’re receiving this letter then I must’ve died. I knew how and when it happened. I was ready and had accepted death, I promise. I’m in a better place, happy, healthy, and living freely. One day you’ll understand that I was never free.
I dedicated my entire life making sure that my family members and friends lived as long as possible. I was always able to let you know when bad things were coming your way, and soon you’ll understand how. I’ve given you all of the clues and footsteps, and if you abandon all my life’s work, it’s your own choice.
Upstairs in my room, there is a key inside my blue suit which is hanging in the back of my closet. The key opens a box kept in the smallest cabinet in the kitchen. Inside the box is the key to the basement. You’ve never seen our basement, and there’s a reason for that. There are some very important things in that basement that you don’t know about. Once you get in there, I hope you understand.
The things in the basement have trapped me. I was no longer able to live my life as a normal human being because of it. I’d let this die with me, but it’s too important. Once you understand, find someone trustworthy who can help you. Someone else will keep you from spending your whole life in fear of glass like I did. Don’t be like me. I was a slave to these. I couldn’t work. I became obsessed. My wife made the income while I wasted away, watching them. I hated the idea of death.
I can’t tell you what they mean in this letter in case it ends up in the wrong hands. It’s all on you now. Make sure nobody else knows.
I love you, Aurelia,
I told the Lawyer I could take it from here. I lied and said that the letter explained everything, and so the lawyer left. I watched his car turn the corner and then ran upstairs to Jay’s room. I opened his large closet and found a blue suit. I checked all the pockets. In the front right pocket was an intricately detailed silver key. It was very small, and only the length of my pinkie finger.
I went downstairs to the kitchen. The smallest cabinet was under the oven. I’d never seen that cabinet used all these years, and this was probably why. Inside was a small box, just as the letter had specified. I unlocked the little box. The key inside this box was a very fragile wood. I took care of the key as I went to the basement door. I’d never been through this door. I nearly broke the key unlocking the door.
The lights were turned off, so I couldn’t see anything. I felt my way down the stairs to the light switch. The light lit up the room, and my stomach did a flip. There was row after row of hourglasses, each labeled with a person’s name.