Partisano Sciciliano pt.4

1968 December 13th
Carpathian Mountains, Romania - Ukraine Border
(Present day Moldova Kremlin ruins)

Anxiety filled the hollow cold air of the halls and rooms.
The limited stay in the Kremlin cultivated a tension between the royal family and the paired men working for the partisan party. Few relations had been established between the two parties. The Duke’s brother, Michael, had brokered insight into the family’s physical conditions. Something young Ashley could find usefulness in. Exchanging escort around the estate for limited access to the royal library, Ashley and his Slavic companion reluctantly cooperated in handing over their weapons and qualms with their living arrangement.

The family library was teeming extensive history. Observational journals, religious study books, with some documents dating back to the Byzantine era. However ample the library was, there were portions that had gone missing. Texts and journals denoted crucial auxiliary items that could not be properly located within the library despite the shuffling and sorting.

After many considerable days of fruitless scouring of the shelves in frustration the Sicilian man rest himself on one of the many lacquered wooden chairs that occupied the library.

“Many of our historical documents have been lost either due to the move from Wallachia, burned the fascists, or lost in time.” expounded Michael earlier in the week.

He had searched these shelves for days.
Sizable reference material missing that even mentioned the family’s origin in Wallachia were entirely missing. The documents connecting family were present, but the lack of substantial items that denoted the location was the entire predicament.
Perhaps his partner was correct? Maybe the family were in fact gypsies? The majority of articles indicated the contrary and it was driving him into a maddening frustration. Clasping his palms together in imitation of prayer Ashley observed the shelves lining the elegant wall in distress.

Each paired white pine shelf stood against the wall, adorned with a gold hemmed thin red tapestry on each row’s end facing the inner portion of the room. Balanced by a thicker inner 6th row, the 11 rows stood well portioned, the ambiance of archives almost resembled hearty red velvet cake.

“Id only eat half,” joked Ashley as he brought a hand down with a chopping motion in line his eyes in aim, “though i haven’t accomplished anything yet today.”

The 6th row shelves caught his attention.
Just what about the 6th row was attractive?
Perhaps the work was finished by a different craftsman? It was a thicker paired shelf after all.

Be it a newfound curiosity or out of boredom, the young man struggled to force his weight on half of the lightly loaded shelves that were butted together. The hefty shelves were hard to compare to the neighboring one as closer inspection contradicted the aforementioned thought. Bemused he turned his posture to veer the shelf back.

However, shifting the shelves the had produced an alarming discovery.
A painted door girded horizontally with untreated boards revealed itself. The alabaster blended into in the facet of the wall, perfectly matching the colour shade of the library. The shelves had intentionally been hiding a passage from the library.

What was behind the door?
Perhaps the door, boarded unlike others within the confines of the estate, was keeping a closed area in safety?
Perhaps the door contained more of the library, an indexing station that had archive logs?
What ever laid behind the door, why was it hidden in the recessed wall?
Why was it hidden?

What was behind the door?
It was barely morning and Michael wouldn’t be back till it was time for tea. Surely if the room was sealed of due to collapse he could just put everything back. Laying grip to the exposed raw wood, Ashley began to pry the boards apart by hand. Pulling a small portion down with his weight, the meager opening now dimly revealed an antechamber. Peering into the shallow interior with minor hesitation, Ashley withdrew his cobbled together butane lighter with a freehand as he parted the boards for his entry.

The now dimly lit antechamber, illuminated by the dull flickers from the lighter, housed a crudely fashioned shelf and a study situated on the opposite side. The shelf crafted from gnarled branches lashed together with strips of leather, the study crafted in similar crude fashion.
Peering from side to side of the antechamber and the furniture within, Ashley could notice an gleaming reflection across from himself.

“Another door?” uttered the man.

Another door barred his passage, this one of iron. Ushering the lighter closer to the door to locate a handle he noticed a peculiar symbol wreathed on the door. Entirely foreign, the symbol was set of interlocked chevrons encircled with a runic lettered border. A hexagram, the bizarre misrepresentation of a Star of David.

What was behind the door?
Peering the room from side to side, the very same symbol on the door caught Ashley’s attention as it appeared on books not only on the shelf, but one with a candle firmly planted within its bare pages on the study as well.

Lighting the candle, the uneasiness within himself grew as Ashley scanned the pages wicked with paraffin. More runes akin to those on the door and the book covers etched across the pages. The most the young man could detect from leafing the pages was that it was diary of some sort.

What was behind the door?
Overwhelmed, Ashley’s limbs made a steady advance towards the iron wrought door. He begged himself to stop, but the creeping question plagued his mind. Hands trembling as they loosely grasped the book with candle lit. He felt as if he lost control.

What was behind the door?
Ashley lifted the firm latch, and the weight of the door’s knowledge grew increasingly monumental as he bore more force against it.

The ferrous slab boomed against the final destination its hinges had alotted, resonating a waves of despair within Ashley. Thrusting the candle it into the darkness.

He found it, that which what was behind the door. Something he could never turn back from.

Something he should not have seen.

Flooded with raw emotion, every detail he tried to make logic of felt like grasping at straws. A wrenching ache tore at his heart as he looked upon the discovery with dread.

Creak…

As quickly as weight was pressed upon the boards at the entrance, the ache in young Ashley’s heart turned to horror as a familiar voice resonated a hollow cold chill in the dank stale air of the antechamber.

"It seems your curiosity attained the better of you doctor. How unfortunate… we were hoping this would end much differently."

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