Cool white light from a cold overcast sky cut a bright path through the dark library. Julian Turleau stood in the window staring out to the sea. Beyond the thundering surf, angry storm clouds threatened. The wordsmith’s thoughts wandered over the slate grey horizon, across the vast Atlantic. With his mind’s eye he spied a similarly imaginative soul gazing upon his own stormy shore. Did he ponder the wonders beneath the waves? Or perhaps he saw Julian with his own inner sight.
A sharp knock at the door dissipated Julian’s daydream. From across the dark, wooden expanse of the library entered Charles. The diminutive sinewy manservant shuffled silently. An envelope held tightly in his white gloved hand piqued Julian’s curiosity. Quickly closing the gap, Julian’s footfalls echoed sharply. Eager to see what secrets lay within, he shredded through the envelope.
November 13, 1878
Dear Mr. Turleau,
We are deeply saddened at the loss our mutual friend, Dr. Christopher Martin. At your request, we have examined the notes written by the good doctor on the day of his death.
Julian paused. His lifelong friend’s tragic passing under such horrific circumstances scarred him. The injuries incurred that fateful day paled in comparison. Writing became impossible. Sound sleep eluded him as nightmares invaded his slumber. Julian clung to the hope of some worthy purpose emerging, some bright light arriving as a result of recent disastrous events. Wiping a tear from his tired eyes, Julian read further.
I must caution you this is most likely a hoax. The translated text is as follows,
“I am Osashar. I speak to you from Heru-deshret. I am happy to hear your voice. I hope to speak again with you soon.”
Osashar is an obscure ancient mythological character. Heru-deshret refers to a mythological land. My colleagues and I agree that in the context written it may refer to the planet Mars. As incredible as this sounds…
Stunned, Julian’s fingers let the letter slip. Drifting to the floor, it settled atop the tattered remnant of the envelope.
Charles’ dutifully concerned words whispered across the space between them. “Sir, are you alright?”
Silently, Julian glided over to his desk. He poured another cup of coffee. Outside, the sun smiled through. Fair winds caressed calming seas. The butler beckoned once more.
“Is something wrong, sir?”
A grin grew from within the wordsmith’s silvery beard. “No Charles.”
Abruptly, Julian spun toward the door. Marching out, he paused to peek back at Charles from the threshold. A long lost twinkle returned to his eyes. Julian blustered with cheerful urgency. “Pack a picnic basket for me Charles. I’ll be down at the laboratory. You’d better bring dinner as well. I have much work to do.”