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Awakenings Chapter 1: Dreams, Page 12

Simone sipped her wine. “No. It doesn’t look like Greek.  I think I recognize it, but I cannot quite place it.  Whoever wrote this did have exceptionally crisp writing.” She turned back to the photograph of the volume titles.  “I recognize a few of these.  I think that these are treatises on Alchemy.  This is what you might find in an Alchemists library.  Johann Agricola wrote in the 16th or 17th century.  Thomas Aquinas is pretty well known, but not as an alchemist.”

Joe looked at Simone with a puzzled expression. “How would a humanities person know about chemistry? ”

“Alchemy was as much about philosophy as anything else.  Many of the great philosophers were also alchemists.  If these are original manuscripts, they are extremely valuable.  Your cousins are sitting on a gold mine.”

Simone suddenly opened hers eyes wide. “I know!” she grabbed one of the photos of Carlo’s notes and stood facing the mirror behind the bar.  “Leonardo DaVinci practiced reverse writing.  Although he had bad handwriting, he also wrote so that it looked like his writing was in a mirror.  This is Latin!  See, here is the name Henri d'Atremont.  He was another great 17th century alchemist.  Here is the word mutatus, which means altered.  Here is Labrusca, which is a word for a grape vine.” And Simone went on and on.

Gradually as Simone picked out individual words, and began to remember some of her Latin, it was becoming clear that this was an alchemical recipe that involved wine.  Joe began to get nervous that his thin lie about Elise’s cousins would not hold up.  He looked at his watch and then looked at Simone. “I have to get going.  Thank you for your help.”

Simone was clearly excited and did not want to stop. “This is really cool!  This could be a huge historical discovery.  I would be more than happy to help Elise’s cousins.  Could they send some more photos?  I have a friend down at the University that would be able to do a thorough translation. ”

Joe pondered this for a moment and then looked at Simone with a sheepish grin. “Elise does not know that I brought these here for you to translate.  Please keep this very confidential for right now.  I will let you know if I get any more.  Thank you for the glass of wine and all of your help.”

As Joe walked out the door, the hanging crystal pendants all turned and directed beams of late afternoon sunlight on Joe.  Simone was now beginning to think that this was all rather surreal, which was not really unusual for her overall world view.  She took another long sip of wine.

It all came together for Joe as he was driving home.  His great grandfather was an alchemist who made wine.  He now remembered that detail of the old stories of Carlo.  He had found, not only a stash of Carlo’s special wines, but the recipes and maybe some of the ingredients that he used.  He suddenly remembered the violet crystals that had coated the first glass he had poured of the wine bottle that he had opened from the secret chamber.  Could the wine be causing his dreams?  Looking in his rear view mirror, he thought he caught a glimpse of a black sedan with tinted windows.

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