Bella was ecstatic. She found it at the exact spot where the magic book said it would be. The object of her interest was an old wooden door at the farthest end of her magnificent lush, green garden. Strangely, an ornate key was inserted in its heart-shaped lock. Who put it up here? She knew each nook of her sprawling, centuries-old ancestral property like the palm of her hand. She was sure she had never seen this door before. It seems as if it established itself on her property right now – maybe, just after her rendezvous with a wee bit of magic!!!
Bella, short for Isabelle, comes from an affluent family that had never seen any decline in their riches or generosity. The wars that the generations saw or the famine may have weakened them a bit, but her family always came up stronger than before. If the folklores were to be believed, there was magic in this family.
She had learnt of this secret door in a book from her great granddad’s library. Now, the tale of her great granddad was a mystery- he had vanished one fine morning. A wise man, generous and respected, his disappearance had caused a huge stir then. As per stories which she had been hearing all her twelve years, he just rushed to his garden one fine morning and was never heard of thereafter.
The sole child of her loving parents, Bella often found herself in the company of books and gardens. She couldn’t recall when she came across this particular ornate book. It was there, by her pillow, one morning when she woke up. She thought of asking her parents or the help about it but it slipped her mind. Surprisingly, it was not a storybook. The book contained the history of her family through the ages, some strange, some cruel, some funny, some kind and most magical. The book held magic spells which were written in some strange language. She had never seen this language before, it looked like some jumbled characters on paper. She, however, surprised herself when she realised she could understand what was written. In disbelief, she started reading it aloud. “Oh! My God!!…. I can read this”. Her emotions were somewhere between apprehension and joy.
The moment she finished reading aloud, things started becoming quaint and spooky. A portal seemed to open in front of her and it showed this very door with its lovely lock. Bella stood with awe-filled eyes transfixed on the image in front of her. The location was familiar. That’s how she ran towards her garden this morning. And lo! there stands the secret door. But what should she do now? Should she call her parents, her tutor, the maid atleast.? Fear was slowly creeping in but, drawing up all her courage, which she never knew she had, she did what all kids do to a locked door with the key dangling on it. She slowly turned the key with a fear mixed with excitement awaiting whatever or whoever was behind the door. Magic was involved, so she expected a fairy or a Mad Hatter or even an ogre. But, when the door opened, a sudden pallor spread across her face as she stared wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the person in front of her.
If the paintings that decorated the walls of her huge library were to be relied upon, she knew this smiling face, wise and kind- her missing great grandfather!!!