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BOOK OF SECRETS


Matthew Hank was no ordinary man. He knew almost everything worth knowing, it was said, but had a terrible stutter. So he almost always never spoke. Whenever he tried to speak people laughed him off. No one paid any attention to his words. Today, though, everyone in Windsor knew better. If he said the sun was black, everyone would believe him. And they have every reason to; as you will soon know. Windsor was a simple fishing village wedged between the sea and the big city of Bentley. There, everyone knew everyone else and life was a simple routine. Every morning people put out to sea and at dusk they would gathered at the local pub, drinking and chattering far into the night. Old Hank neither visited the sea nor the pub. He was the village librarian, so he went to library each day and stayed at home each night.

Hank's promotion from a stammering clown to a respected sage began shortly after he decided to communicate solely by writing. He would write little notes and post at strategic places. Everyone read these notes but no one paid any attention to them. One December, he noticed the early signs of hurricane and after careful observations, posted notes warning people not to put out to sea. They did; and the result? A disaster better left in the past. Another time he noticed that the sea was rising rapidly. Again he posted notes advising that a dyke be built around the sea shore. Again no one paid any attention. Well, one night the sea followed them into their rooms and refused to go back. Their entire food crops and farm animals were destroyed. Now wasn't that a hard way to learn a lesson? But they sure did learn never to ignore Hank again. As time passed they discovered how learned he was. It was said that he knew everything, even people's secret thoughts, but would never reveal any until absolutely necessary. They also believed he had found an ancient book of secrets in the library. The book, they claimed, enabled him to foresee any disaster days ahead. Therefore, everyone paid close attention to Hank in the hope of sharing his secrets.

This new attention was more of a curse, as Hank would soon discover. He took a bus one fateful day for some little business in Bentley. As the bus was a few hundred metres out, he realised that something vital was left at home. Promptly, he gave the driver a note asking to be let out. Old Hank hurried back to his house, took the forgotten item and was rushing to catch another bus but stopped short in surprise; all his fellow passengers in that bus he left, including the driver, were coming into village on foot! He fearfully asked why and someone replied: 'We had to abandon the bus because only premonition of disaster would make you leave the bus that sudden.' Shocked, Hank led them back to the bus and the journey was completed without incident. A few weeks later he was down with fever and, for once, decided not to open the library. Everyone took note that the library did not open as usual. When by noon it was clear that Hank was still indoors, everyone returned home and waited fearfully for the impending disaster. Fortunately, Old Hank recovered sufficiently to take a walk outdoors. He noticed that the village was unusually quiet. Every shop was closed, heck, even the pub! Something must be terribly wrong, he thought. He waited out and after nothing stirred in over an hour, he was forced to knock on a door. When let in he asked what was wrong. The house owner replied: 'You did not open the library so we suspected disaster was at hand and so returned indoors.'

Old Hank walked home in a daze of confusion. How could this be? Am I not a man like everyone else? He asked himself as he lay awake that night trying find a way out his present predicament.


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  1. Date: 12/4/2016 5:04:00 PM
    I love it!