The small room hadn’t been open in a number of years and now the air appeared brown, chocked with dust. The small boy drew his fingers in the dust on the table top of an old desk as he wandered around his grandfather’s study. The house now belonged to his uncle, his grandfather’s oldest, as tradition. No one’s gone in here since Grandfather had gotten sick- and there was no need to. The study was perched precariously atop the house, a wooden tower that had been built just for this purpose.
Grandfather had died. They don’t know why he had died, he just did. They buried him in the family plot two miles south. The tombstone was plain. Gapetto Giovanni 1769-1832.
The boy, Julien, his name was, leafed through the notebooks on the table. Julien hadn’t known his grandfather very well; he was in Italy a lot-tracing back the family lines back to the renaissance period. Boring stuff.
But, the one thing Julien had enjoyed was these notebooks that Grandfather had brought back. He drew in some of them, creating contraptions that no one would ever build, or sometimes he wrote poetry in them. There were full leather bound notebooks filled with math equations, scrawled anywhere and everywhere between the pages, so it was impossible to match the math to the contraption.
Footsteps, traipsing up the stairs. The door squeaks open, and Julien dives behind a wayward bookcase, set three feet from the wall. An island in the middle of the room… classic Grandfather. Stepping into the room is Julien’s cousin, Nicolina. “Julien?” she calls, her feet leaving footprints in the dust, “Julien? Where are you? Mami says she wants to eat, the lasagna’s ready.”
Julien straightened up, “Hey, Nina. Just checking out Grandfather’s study.”
Nicolina was the same age as Julien- fourteen- and went by the nickname Nina, because Nicolina was hard to pronounce and hard to remember. Nina was usually dressed in overalls like one of the guys, but today she was dressed in black for Grandfather’s funeral. According to Julien’s best friend, she was pretty, with her slightly wavy brown hair and big eyes.
Nina crossed the room and picked up a red, leather bound book off the desk next to Julien. She sighed, “A bible. Remember, Julien, Papa was always reading the bible.” Grandfather’s rosary beads slipped out from the pocket he has specially glued to his bible and fell to the ground.
“I’ll get them,” Julien said, ducking down to scoop them up. It was said that these rosary beads were special, made in a factory during the French revolution. But, the beads had landed on something. A paper. Grabbing that as well, Julien stood up. Laying the beads down, he examined the paper more closely.
Block letters in Italian were surrounding a picture of a crazy flying contraption. “Just another one of Grandfather’s drawings,” Julien said, setting down the paper next to the bible. He grabbed the rosary beads, though, Mami might want them. Grandfather did love them.
Nina gasped just as Julien had made it to the door, about to walk down the spiral stairs to spaghetti. “What?” He asked, turning.
“This paper. It isn’t Grandfathers.” She said, shakily.
“What? Of course it is, Nina. C’mon, let’s go. I’m hungry.”
“No. It wasn’t him. See the signature in the corner? It says Leonardo DaVinchi! Grandfather owned a DaVinci drawing!”
Julien grabbed the paper from her shaking fingers. The drawing was for some sort of flying machine, and the paper was covered in Italian and mathematics. Then, Nina gasped and fell over. She fell onto the rough canvas covering a device, sliding it off the machine.
“Nina, Nina!” Julien shouted as he tried to wake his cousin. Her eyes opened right as Julien breathed an Italian curse word. She sat up, clearly rattled a bit. But she was not what Julien was looking at. He was transfixed at staring at the machine that Nina had fallen on.
“Look, Nina,” Julien said, astounded.
The machine was of some sort of flying machine.
It matched the one in the paper. Gapetto Giovanni had owned a DaVinci.