The Journal of Alexandra Claire Edric
Date: 17 August, 2012
Place: British Museum, Asia Department Administrative Control
Purpose: Personal Documentation
There’s been an odd sort of air to this place lately. I mean, first off there’s, like, a billion interns here. What are they all so busy doing? It’s not like they have MY job or anything. They’re probably answering every possible email Director Carney gets, because it’s not like I have the time to and he doesn’t care enough to read them anyway…
But it’s not just the weird number of interns here. It’s Director Carney. Something’s been up with him since that big-ass tablet showed up almost a month ago. I went down to have a look, see if there’s anything really wrong with it, but it’s just a giant rock. Ok, a rock that looks like an 8-pointed star. That’s somehow connected to Asia, making it our problem. And covered with an indecipherable language that’s never been seen before. AND in impossibly good condition (seriously, the thing looks like it was carved yesterday!), despite being found in a temple that’s older than the beginning of Buddhism itself! (Ok, that might be a slight hyperbole, but still! The place was almost too ancient to be real!)
It’s been a gradual shift…the week after we got it, he got all slow and contemplative. Literally nothing could anger him, and he seemed to dislike reacting and just wanted everyone to get along. Then the next week, he’s back to his normal level moods, but would have these huge mood swings and go on nearly destructive rampages before settling down two minutes later. Ridiculous.
This past week he’s been doing this slow-burn thing, like he’s angry all the time but is doing the best he can to keep the fires low and not raze this whole place to the ground with everyone locked inside. He just seems…annoyed with everything around him.
I checked these traits out on the Internet and he’s, like, cycling through the different old-timey personalities really quickly. First he was Melancholic, then Choleric, and it looks like this week is going to be Sanguine. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle a whiny Phlegmatic Adrian, though. Maybe I should just forge his signature again, only this time on a promotion recommendation for me. At least then, I could go somewhere a little less unpredictable…
I’ll bet today’s little episode of huffiness is because he’s trying to find a place for that thing in the Buddhist temple exhibit. Maybe I’ll head down there later, see if there’s something I can do to fix the problem. Heaven knows, I do it all anyway.
I just think it’s funny that thing showed up where it did. I mean, I’m no expert, but even though it’s a new/super old/fake language scrawled all over that rock, it doesn’t look like any Asian language I’ve ever seen. If anything, it almost looks like something one of those native South American tribes would make. The Aztecs, or something like them. One thing’s for sure, there’s no way it belongs in the Department of Asia.
The pictures in some of the corners freak me out, too. Each one represents an astrological element, that’s true, but there’s something…off. The Fire one has the sun burning up everything on the planet’s surface, the Water one looks like an ocean full of drowned things…I don’t like it. Makes me feel like I’m getting sneak peeks into how the world’s gonna end, or something...
Alex paused in her writing for a moment. She liked to take these opportunities to just write what she thought about things in the manner they ran through her head, capturing the emotion of the moment there on a crisp white page. Her brother Dean always called it weird, but Dean was the “doer” of the family, while she tended to consider herself the “thinker”.
Alex shook her short strawberry-blonde hair out of her face and looked at one of the pictures on her desk. There, in a plain white metal frame (Dean had thought it looked “trendy and modern”), stood a photograph of her and her brother on vacation in Monaco last summer. It was almost impossible to tell they were siblings, or even twins at that. Where she was slight, made of sharp joints and limbs that were just a little too long, Dean was sturdy, muscular, and tall. She liked the picture because it showed that despite all their outward differences, they were still family and each other’s best friend. Also, because it looked hilarious when the 6’5” brunette Dean with his golden eyes stood next to her tiny 5’4” blue-eyed gingerness.
They did have identical smiles, though, which their mother always said came from their father. Alex didn’t like to think about him because they’d never met. Her mother had never been forthcoming with the details of their parentage, and Dean was too busy with his activities to give the matter a real moment’s thought. Alex, however, had spent many a long session at her computer, pretending to write a story or paper or something of that ilk while really searching every database she could find for some trace of him. After 4 years of searching, she still had nothing to show for it. Thinking about her unknown father just reminded her that she still had no idea who she might be, made her feel like she might not really be human at all. An unsettling thought, that one…
Unsettling, and completely unfounded. Alex shook the thought off like a daydream and turned back to her computer. There wasn’t much more to say on the subject, really, but writing it all down like that made her think. Maybe there was something about that tablet that required another look.
She quickly glanced around the ex-theater where 15 heads were bent over something. It wasn’t uncommon for her to walk away from her desk for extended periods. It seemed the entire museum knew that the only reason the department ran as smoothly as it did was because of her efforts.
Alex glanced over her right shoulder at the mountain of papers in her inbox. Mostly memos, she knew, usually with information that didn’t affect their department. Most of her day was spent reading memos that went straight to the shredder. That settles it.
Alex grabbed her cell phone and purse and emerged from behind the fortress that was her desk. She looked at the girl nearest her, a tiny mousy thing with round glasses called Gayle, told her to man the phones, and walked out. Time to go get that second look.