An entry in the 19th fortnightly challenge...
Soon it'll be your 20th birthday. Time is ticking... and you're spending it in the car going to check the new house you will be moving into with your family. Well, it's not literally new. It belonged to your family for generations and now you have the chance to move there, so your whole family is going to take a look to see its conditions.
As soon as you arrive you notice it's an large old villa, not bad considering how long it's been there. Upon entering you also realize it might need some air change. At this point, anybody else could be already bored wondering what to do, except that you know that this particular villa has a rather big attic. So you go check it out.
A lot of dusty stuff in there, no surprise so far, but then you notice a big old chest, you open it: tons of documents, papers, and you see it. An old notebook. It looks like a diary. On the cover it says "Emma". You have heard of this name before, she used to work in this house... a long time ago. You wonder why her diary is still in this house, but then you dismiss that thought, reading what the diary says is much more interesting!
After some reading, some entries in particular get your attention, it seems this villa could be hiding something interesting after all! So you read them more carefully...
Wow, a manuscript? An important letter? A long time has passed but they could still be in this villa. After all, your last name is Puzzle! It would be a great dishonor for your family to bear if you couldn't solve this mystery!
But you have some unanswered questions: Where is the manuscript and how can you get it? What about the letter? And what else could this mysterious place be hiding from you?
You don't waste any time and you transcribe the entries on some paper, you can't stay in the attic forever, after all.
24 May 1910
Today I started working as Mr. Puzzle's caretaker. His family has been nice to me, and I feel very welcome. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work in such a heartwarming place. Mr. Puzzle seems like a nice man too, he is always nice to everyone, but I think his granddaughter has a special place in his heart. I don't remember her name at the moment, S—something... They seem to have the same temperament, the same personality, and they always are on the same page. However her family doesn't live very close, so they come to visit only now and then. I think that is why they take advantage of the little time they can spend together.
This afternoon, for example, they were in his studio, and it seems she slightly damaged his wooden desk, the top desk drawer to be precise, where he keeps everything about his business (his personal stuff is in another drawer, he's very organised). I know Mr. Puzzle loves that desk very much, in fact I always see him writing letters there, and he especially doesn't want people making a mess of his desk drawers (not sure why yet), but I've been told to be very careful around it. Yet, he didn't scold the girl, just reminded her not to play near it, and I am sure he would have been very angry with anyone else. He really sees her in a very special way; he claims she reminds him of his mother.
26 August 1913
It's been roughly 3 years and 3 months since I've started working in this house. Mr. Puzzle is still doing well. He seems to love writing letters as always, although he never mentions to me who he is corresponding with. I do not seem to find any reasonable motive to hide such information. I wonder if he is having an affair, however he does not seem to be the type. I think he loves his wife very much. Not as much as painting, that seems to be his favourite hobby. He absolutely loves it but honestly he's also very good at it.
27 August 1913
Mr. Puzzle seems to have received a very important letter today, he woke up earlier than usual asking me if anything had arrived. I gave him the few letters that the mailman delivered, but I think he was rather interested in one in particular. I still remember it because it was a very odd letter, or rather, the address on it was very odd: it was unusually short, a really tiny address. That's the word I would use to describe it — yes — tiny. I've never seen such a short address in my life. I haven't seen that letter anymore either, however, he must have hidden it somewhere in his studio.
13 November 1919
Mr. Puzzle has been getting worse and worse. He keeps sitting near the window and stares outside. In all the 9 years I've been working for him, I've never seen him like this. Also, he keeps mumbling about a manuscript. I have tried asking him about it, maybe that would have helped to ease his pain, but he hardly notices my presence and keeps saying things like "In... manuscript... the... safe... Yes! It's safe!". I don't really understand what he means by that. I personally think it might have something to do with his condition, it keeps getting worse and he keeps forgetting things. I tried looking for the manuscript, even in his studio, but I tripped on his easel as soon as I got in and fell to the floor. That made me feel really nervous for some reason, so I gave up.
I remember the old days when he used to read books and he painted all the time, oh how he loved it! I wonder where that man has disappeared to. Even his granddaughter comes to visit less, she has other things on her mind now, even though I'm sure she still loves him very much. At least, he still has her painting hanging on the wall behind the desk. Some days he doesn't remember much, but there are moments when he's more lucid and he spends all the time talking about her. Today he said that from the day she was born, his life had never been the same. That is when everything changed for him.
This is the first (independent) part of a bigger puzzle. The second (and last) part will be coming ASAP.