CHAPTER 1-The Journal
Maya stared down at the old journal on top of the bench. She let herself melt in the excitement that was wiring her body like she had been plugged to the electricity mains. This was going to be a long stay in the biblichor smelling archive room.
After four months of anxiously waiting, she could finally celebrate. The odds of getting it had been slim. What were the chances that after eight hundred years a journal still existed?
For several seconds, she ran her gloved hands across the hardcover of the ancient journal studying its intricate floral pattern. She wondered how the cover was still intact after so many years.
She gave in to the urge to flip through several pages and study the textura quadrata writing. This was it. This was the same handwriting that was in the letters. The historian delighted on the fact that she had no trouble reading the old English language, easy-peasy.
Her brown eyes escaped the journal and met Professor MacKane's gaze. The sixty-year-old Professor's mouth was curved into a smile. He wore youthful confidence in his prideful look. "In all my thirty years of teaching, I've never had a student like you Miss Davis. Your passion and dedication move me," said the Professor.
Maya was supposed to feel like she had won a lottery for this compliment but instead, a wave of sadness hit her. She only wanted to hear those words coming out of one person's mouth, her adoptive father.
"I trust that the journal will be safe with my favorite student." The Professor's voice drew her mind back before it could wonder further. She had an exciting thing going on, she wasn't going to let sad memories ruin it. "It is a rare piece, take care of it. The Los Angeles Museum won't like it if they lost one of its antiques."
"I promise to take care of it Professor," she said firmly. "Thank you for getting it for me." As Maya watched the Professor turn to walk to his office a few meters away, the tingly feeling came back.
"Make sure it doesn't leave this place." Professor MacKane called out before closing the door behind him.
Technically, the journal was her family's property, it belonged to her great-great grandaunt from the 13th century. The letters she had found hidden in the secret wall compartment in the attic are what led her to pursue the journal hunt.
Maya had been in the attic working on the extra credit project the professor had given her. Her father had never accepted her Historian career choice and doing her assignments in the attic prevented an unnecessary fight with him.
One letter, in particular, caught the historian's attention. Its content had taken her aback. She had gone through it several times but was unable to comprehend or process its content. The historian had opted to record the message in her note pad because if these findings were to be the next big thing, then she had to have everything in a modern language for others to easily understand.
My dear sister, it has been a long time since I've written to you. My travels in Scotland are getting more exciting. I wish you were here with me but that would mean failing papa and mama as I did. I wish I wasn't a free spirit and that I was more like you; I wouldn't be a disappointment then.
I didn't write to revisit old wounds or tell you details of my trip, I want to give you good news, I'm in love. You might find it hard to believe with the high standards I have set for my future husband but he is everything I've ever wanted.
This would be difficult to comprehend but Wally is from another world that is not ours called planet Oragon. He came through something he calls a portal.
I found him one night wondering near the inn when I went to watch the stars. At forma, I was afraid and was about to flee but he was so disoriented, just like a daft person. I couldn't just abandon him. I threw away all my senses and the fear that my action is highly frowned upon and invited him to my inn chambers. The innkeeper was long gone and the other tenants were asleep, I was his only hope.
It's two moons now since I met him and he is everything I ever dreamt of. The best thing about all this is that he loves me too. I can't tell you all the details but I'm writing everything down in my book as I promised and you will get to read it.
He hasn't found a way back home but when he does I will go away with him. I promise to bring him home before we go away. I hope mama and papa will be happy for me.
Maya had thought at first like the Professor had insisted too, that Aunt Cecilia was using metaphors. People in the early centuries used coded messages a lot in case they didn't want a third party to comprehend the actual message in the letters. This actually made sense since the letters between the two were kept a secret; they never wanted their parents to find out about them being in touch.
But the urge to know more overwhelmed her, history and new discoveries fascinated her. She searched everywhere in the house tirelessly for the journal but hadn't found it. Her grandma had once told her that over the years, after a series of renovations, the family heirlooms had been given away. Thus, she had asked the Professor to use his connection to find it for her.
Maya repositioned herself on the chair to begin her reading. She knew better not to get her hopes up. There could really be nothing in there, why hadn't anyone made the discovery yet?
Much scientific research had been done over the years none of which mentioned Oragon. Earth is the only planet that supports life. But astronomers were always discovering new things in space every time. Her father and brother could attest to that, they worked for the Global Astronomy Association. This could be one of them.
Maya gripped the journal tighter as her eyes flared with newfound determination, If I'm able to find proof then things between Dad and I might change for the better.
Her mind transformed into the 13th century. Images of palaces' steadfast walls built for defense in an age defined by greed, power, nobility, and loyalty and armies dressed in armors of chainmail bloodstained from their killing.
The first part of the journal contained details of Aunt Cecilia's trip. She had shortly visited Spain and England before settling in the Scottish highlands among the Armstrong clan. This was the time the clan had ended their enmity with the Montgomery and the two clans combined were the most powerful in Scotland, with the most powerful armies, more than that of King Alexander II. Were Montgomery and Armstrong to Ally, they would overtake Scotland but God forbid.
After hours of reading, she reached the part she had longed for, June 1211 when Aunt Cecilia met the mystery man. How they met was exactly as described in her letter to Whitney except with more details.
The historian subvocalized the text fluently in her mind like she was from the renaissance period as she began scribbling her research entries.
What he says, I fail to imagine such possibilities. He says he comes from another world that is not our earth. This is totally different from what our tutors taught us, but anyway, new things are being discovered every day. Lady Kena, the innkeeper, thinks Wally is touched or maybe he is daft but his eyes are so honest. I can see the truth in them when he tells me about his home...
I am worried for his sanity. He keeps on waking in the middle of the night screaming. I do not understand what he sees in his dreams but I think he suffers inside. I have to call a healer. I will go insane if I don't find out if he is unwell...
The healer said he is well and that he isn't daft or touched. I fail to find an explanation of what ails him. Maybe he misses his home as he says. I miss home too but mama and papa won't welcome me back with open arms...
A ping from her phone's dinner reminder is what pulled her out of the 13th century. Time had flown so fast, it was already seven. Her father had called for the dinner because he wanted to have a conversation with the family. Knowing him, she was pretty sure she was the only one who didn't know what the dinner was about.
The urge to continue overwhelmed her but she knew better than to get on her father's wrong side.
She sighed and reluctantly shut the journal and notepad. She removed the pair of white cotton curator's gloves then pushed herself from the chair. "The Professor will forgive me," she said before throwing the books in her backpack.
She walked out while not taking her eyes off the Professor's door lest he walked out and catch her in the act.