Grandfather’s study was unlike any place Jared had ever been.
Paper and book stacks stood as towers, looming over him. Upon every shelf and every tabletop the engraved likenesses of gods from every land peered into his heart, and often when grandfather was out Jared would take the statues from off their random perches and with them he would play, becoming godly, just like them.
There were a lot of trinkets, a lot of writing materials, many maps and globes (asserting grandfather’s penchant for the worldly), a lot of whatsits and whatnots and a couple who-the-heck-knowses; also, those crystals, that hung from strings dangling from forth the ceiling as spectacles of wonder, pendants of mystery. Grandfather had a lot of stuff, and Jared was entranced by all of it. But, there was one specific object, one specific trunk (to be exact) that Jared felt hypnotically drawn. He did not know what it was that drew him to this chest (though, the fact that grandfather said he was forbidden to look in it might’ve had something to do with it), but inside, Jared knew magic was.
How to get to this magic, though, proved difficult. Jared knew he must get the key. However, his grandfather kept the key on him at all times. But, Jared had devised a plan. It was a good plan, he was sure. You see, when grandfather went down for his afternoon nap in his favorite chair, Jared would sneak in, and snatch the key! He had been practicing, and grandfather would never know. This was because Jared had found an old key in the basement, that looked enough like the desired key, and he would swap them. It all seemed quite clever. He felt confident that it would work. And, that very afternoon, it did.
Into the study, clutching the key, Jared hurried. Clamoring over the piles of antiques, Jared stumbled, and to the chest—the great object of his desire—he knelt.
This was it. The moment. The moment of magic that he had dreamed of.
He slipped the key into the lock, and unexpectantly, making him jump slight, a mechanism inside the lock took hold, and without the aid of Jared the device slowly, clicking and whirring, turned the key, taking on a life of its own. Jared held his breath, his eyes wide, his heart racing eagerly, both in fear of getting caught and in the overwhelming excitement of it all. Tiny gears were turning, little cogs tinkled, switches flipped. Rooted, the young boy gazed in awe. The key, so suddenly and quick, sucked into the lock, disappearing entirely. Jared sat, stunned, confused at what had happened. Did something go wrong? Or, perhaps, gone right? He scooted to the trunk, and tried to open it, but no good. Frustrated, he put more effort into it, and soon enough was pulling and heaving with all his might. Becoming so preoccupied with the still-locked chest, he didn’t hear the door of the study steadily creep open, and he did not sense or realize his grandfather’s footsteps in the room.
“It was a pretty good attempt, boy.” Jared heard his grandfather say from behind him, and thunking his knee against the trunk in surprise and spinning round Jared saw his grandfather standing over him. The fake key—no, the real key!— in his hand, smiling mysteriously. But how!
“But how!” Jared cried in shock and admiration. His grandfather, chuckled.
“Never try to outfox a magician, boy.” the old man said, “Unless, of course, you’ve already done it.”