I was challenged to write a story about these three objects.
This is the product of that challenge, about an hours worth of distracted work, and a tired mind.
Part 1- Discovery
It all started when Ian was 16.
Being sweaty, under-confident and subject to a nervous disposition had never helped him at school. It made him average to be so vulnerable, so teenage. Hormones had coursed through his lanky frame, leaving him susceptible to obsession, romanticism, and an acute awareness of how others judged him. Perhaps, if he had found his calling in something more straight forward or testosterone charged, everything would have been different. Gaming. Sport. Even art.
But instead, it was the supernatural.
In the void that filled the place of a social life, he read books and surfed Wikipedia pages, learning about the unknown. The idea of gods and monsters enthralled him. Fairly early on he decided to try out some basic rituals himself, and was too often disappointed when they heeded no results. But then he began to find scents of older things, things that worked. Dark things. As his hacking skills were honed, he began to find physical traces of items that rang true in their possibilities.
At this point, his family were beginning to worry. He seldom left his room, and it was becoming visible in his pale pallor. So, at this point, his family decided to step in.
Part 2 - Influences
His brother was sent on the case of why he was becoming such a hermit. After some heavy persuasion, eventually, he was brought out of the house. The destination: a pub somewhere. His brother engaged in guy-talk the whole way there, and Ian's mind just itched to be back at home, researching the plans of where something called the "Necronomicon" was found. An old copy. Held by some old freak, local enough...
He was snapped out of it due to the fact that they were close approaching a group of boys. Older kids, his brothers friends. The shrinking paranoia that sometimes crept up his back in college came back now, being surrounded by people he didn't know. The smell of smoke, Lynx and alcohol drifted from them. His Brother didn't help, being gently eased away into the conversation around him, batting back and forth in jokes, leaving Ian out of it completely. All he could do was smile awkwardly, and follow them into the murky air of the pub.
Inside the pub, the defining factors of his discovery were the presence of two factors:
a) A group of peers, pressuring him
b) A pretty girl
His Brother's friends weren't the cleanest lot, and for that reason they both owned drugs and attracted girls. After the pub, they'd swiftly moved on to a club, picking up a group of females on the way. With the rest doing it, and it offered to him, and the units of alcohol catching up with him and softening his will, he gave in. He snorted speed with the rest of them, and somehow, he felt part of the gang for once. She even winked at him.
Ironic, seeing as he was just about to render himself as freakish as was possible.
Part 3 - Applications
The light drizzle dampened his hoodie slightly. His nose stung from the drugs. His heart felt a bit like it was vibrating rather than beating. But now, on this cobbled street under the streetlamps, he had to concentrate, just like he'd practiced.
He heard it, a lot sooner than he would have expected. The old man was proud of it, and seemed to muse it often due to his tone. It snapped in Ian's mind and suddenly the whole device made sense.
This seems like a good time to backtrack.
Part 2.5 - Puzzles
In that blurry, fake-velvet, beer-stench club, he'd heard it first.
Voices. Not just the reverberations of his beating heart, but voices.
The essence of the pretty girl. A collection of thoughts, images, some he could actually hear but some less tangible. The boy next to him was shocked but impressed that he'd taken speed with them. The boy behind him seemed to be checking out his arse.
Ian just suddenly knew. He wasn't sure how he knew. But he did.
His vision too was heightened, but the sensory overload made him want to pass out. As he had lurched forward, the girl had gone to catch him. He could feel her concern like it was his own. After that, he'd bolted, jabbering something, according to later accounts.
Lying on the curb outside his house, rain filtering down on him, he listened to his mother's thoughts. And slowly, over the course of the night, her mind, and his neighbour's mind, had grown quieter. And then, once again, he was left with his own thoughts.
It was some final proof that it was all true. The research, the supernatural. There were some things that couldn't just be explained by alcohol and drugs.
And that was only drunk, my god! He had to try it sober. He could research the mechanism that that old man used to case and protect his copy of the necronomicon. He could have it for himself. The problem until now had not been finding a key, but finding the method.
He would infiltrate the old man's mind, and steal his thoughts. Then, he'd steal his book.
Part 4 - Butterflies
It had been nothing short of genius, really, the old man's method. It was a shame for him Ian could now become psychic.
After he'd found out the key, he'd taken precautions. Timetabling when the old man was in, and when he was out. Getting two things: speed, and a giant butterfly.
Breaking in was a doddle.
Two, three, four. Down to the basement.
The walls were lined with shelves, and books. It was old down here, like a dungeon. But there was the room that he needed, just across from the stairs. It was slitted like the door of a jail cell.
Inside, through the slot, he could see the device. A box, with a tiny keyhole. Miniscule, barely visible. The door itself was not a door, but reinforced. Thick. There was no way to get in, only out. A wire ran from the box, clear, that held the book. The wire ran to the door. It would surely open it were the box opened.
But how does one open a tiny keyhole from three feet away from a door that you can't get into?
Ian still didn't know who had led him here. The guy on the forum who gave it away had been anonymous, some magic afficionado leaking information that he'd sniffed out somehow. But he'd never come this far...
Ian crouched on the floor, and carefully, ever so carefully opened the box. The butterfly, a magnificent Emperor, perched on his hand. He freed it into the slot on the door.
He watched through that very slit as the butterfly flounced, and then was attracted by the scent of the box. Closer it flew, circling, then it landed on the keyhole on the box.
Ian almost laughed to himself, reminiscing the old man's thoughts. A literal butterfly effect.
It extended it's tongue into the keyhole to taste the syrup planted there.
And then, there was a click, and a whoosh, and the door was open.
Part 5 - Beginnings
His heart raced only from excursion as he launched himself down the street, book under his jacket. It was finally his, finally. He hadn't hidden his tracks, but this wasn't a police matter.
It was a matter of magic.
In reality, it all started when Ian was 17.
The real story began after he stole the Necronomicon.