Dust speckles glittered in the light falling graciously through the windows. There were probably millions, no- more- of them dancing in the limited space between the window’s head and the sill that decided how much dust to let in. If the angle was even slightly inward, so many of them would be averted from dancing in Marcus’s office. Do dust speckles have a purpose other than dancing in light?
Marcus’s voice brought me out of my strange, silent reverie. I half-heartedly shifted my gaze back to my boss.
He began, “A young boy like you should not be wasting time writing eulogies. When you first came to my office two years ago, inquiring about work opportunities, there was not much to offer other than writing people’s last mentions, and some copy-editing on the side. However, recently, a new project has come to attention which I want Aniko and you to work on.”
There was a knock at the door. I reflexively glanced around to see Lanvin enter through the door. His eyes widened when he saw Aniko and myself in the room as well.
“Monsieur Marcus, can I get you anything?” Lanvin kept his gaze strictly on Marcus. Suddenly, I was reminded of the exchange between Aniko and myself regarding Lanvin earlier. I turned back to look at Aniko who was struggling to maintain a serious expression on her face. I prevented myself from narrowing my eyes at her.
“Yes,” Marcus pointed at the cups on the coffee table separating us. “Clear these, and get me some paprika tea. Would you two like anything?” Aniko and I shook our heads in unison.
Lanvin moved forward to clear the table. He seemed nervous. He set his tray on the table to pick up the cups. I half-moved forward to help when Marcus briskly waved me aside.
“He can do that himself, Robin. Let us continue,”
I nodded. I felt guilty, still. Here was a child clearing up tables and getting tea, and as I sat being asked what I would like to eat or drink, like a king. It was an uncomfortable state to be in.
Lanvin gathered the tray, and left the room.
“Gratia is a very old town. Some families claim to go back centuries. The Cotidiana also goes back to a very long time,” He boasted. “The fortunate thing for us writers is that our history has been, let me say, usually, adequately been recorded and preserved. This project is simple but will require time and attention to detail at the same time.
To spark the interest of our residents in the history of their town, we will publish “Today, in the year”- he paused, in a pointed manner- “newspaper articles. Our writers, that is the two of you, will also contribute to an excerpt giving insight on what the article, or history of the town talks about. Make it easy to understand and simple.
Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Aniko and myself nodded, once again in unison. “You want us to research on old newspaper articles,” I said.
“Yes, but that is not all. In this undertaking, you will come across many interesting findings related to the town as well as the world. To compliment your study and increase your dearth of knowledge and understanding of art, culture, history, and even semiotics(?), I have installed a manner in which you will work. Every week, I will assign you something to study, and present your findings to me later on. These will compliment your work with the newspaper articles.
If you do decide to undertake this project, be forewarned that it is a lot of work as it will require a lot of reading, and very likely criticism of what you find as well.”
I didn’t need to deliberate. I knew this was what I had been waiting for since a very long time. I was going to undertake this project. The best part was, it could help me figure out the origins of the book, as well.
I thought of the book lying upstairs at my desk, hidden among a dearth of papers. The fact that I was unwilling to confront what I had just found- a book with possible supernatural components (Or was it some new age trick of a prankster?) that had blown out all logic out of the window, suddenly spoke volumes to me about myself. If only you can get your cowardliness out of the way, my subconsciousness said, exasperatedly.
Marcus was looking at me, waiting for an answer.
I nodded. “When do we start?”