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7 Padlocks: A Story of self-discovery in the 19th Century

The writing process of my second book started as a personal game. I challenged myself to put out short pieces of content each Monday, on LinkedIn social media platform. In the 7th week, however, I realized that the game has already turned into a whole new book. So I decided to go for it. A few days later, the manuscript was complete.

“7 Padlocks” is planned to be released by the end of 2019. Although the content is all there, technical details are to be taken care of.

Until publishing day comes, I invite you to read the first chapter in full. I will keep the initial structure, so that you learn more about the process of putting this book together. 🙂

(View Romanian version of Chapter 1 here)

Chapter 1

⚜️ Drama Queen ⚜️


1. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she was lost. Her eyes were looking outside of the window, while her thoughts were freely wandering up into the skies and beyond. 

If someone would have seen her from afar, they would say she was the calmest woman on earth. Yet, if a dive into her brain occured, the toughest of storms would have be unleashed. 

As the sun set, after long hours of gazing at the moving clouds, so did her sight. She turned her sad eyes to the floor. But when she did, she froze! Everything going on in her mind took a different turn, on an exponentially scaled dimension. She was petrified! She couldn’t believe her eyes at witnessing what was happening within the walls of her crystal-clear home. That was one of the most unacceptable things to notice ! In her home! 

Delusion was shortly replaced by that disgrace accompanied by fear. She couldn’t decide which of the two was greater. For a moment, she couldn’t move a muscle and she just watched it moving around, so grotesquely close to her foot. 

As she was gathering her strength to make a move, the thing  voiced:

2. “You’re looking at me as if I were the most terrible enemy you’ll ever meet. But let me tell you that I am just that less dangerous thought you recently had.”

Her disgrace and frighten suddenly changed into curiosity, although she considered herself a lunatic:

“How would you know?” she barely spoke. 

But then she immediately said to herself: 

“My goodness, I must be losing my mind, as I’m hearing voices and I’m talking to… yuck! A spider!”

But then the little crawling thing replied:

“I might be black and sort of undesirable to your sight, but trust me that I’m the most inoffensive one. You should rather be afraid of the 5000-feet tall dinosaurs that are still trapped within your mind. I managed to escape and took this ugly shape for you to get a sense of the danger in your brain. But the army of stompers that still inhabit that territory is way more terrifying than the way I look or compared to what I could ever do. If they could escape into this world, you would lock yourself into a dungeon to make sure you’re safe. The gate would be bind in by seven padlocks and seven latches and all the windows would have black curtains. You would be surrounded by empty, cold cement with no hope.”

“You’re giving me goosebumps, little guy” she said. 

3. “Why would you escape and run telling me all these ?” she added. 

“Because you need to figure out a way of dissolving that army. Otherwise you are forever lost. You will spend the rest of your days looking out on that window and you will diminish all your chances to ever touch your dreams.”

“Listen, you… spider! The story you’re telling me now only reinforces my belief in me losing my mind!” the woman replied. 

“Fine! Then don’t you listen!” said the spider, rolling its eyes. “Go hunting for those dinosaurs and let me know once you’re back! To your disgrace, I will still be here tomorrow morning. And the day after tomorrow. And every day, until you find a way to get out of your own mind or clean up of all those titanic threats. But be aware that the more you delay, the more they multiply! The more you lose faith, the stronger they get! So you’d better hurry!”

“OK, assuming that you’re speaking the truth, do you have any tips for me?” said the woman, in a mocking voice and complete disbelief.

“If I gave you a tip for defeating those monsters, where would your work begin? I’m here to make you aware, not to help you” said the spider, crawling away… 

4. The woman was intrigued. Of course she knew what was going on in her own mind! But who was that spider, anyway? And why did it have to come up like that? 

If there was something she needed, that was help. And that thing denied to offer it? What kind of creature was that? 

Her mocking voice and disbelief were just a façade. She did believe the little crawling creature’s story. Because it was all true. Everything she has been hiding from was spoken by that little fellow. 

She was hurt inside. And she needed all the support one could get. But how? And when? And… Where to get it from? 

Those were questions she has been asking herself for a while now. If only someone would come to rescue her… She couldn’t do it alone! 

But there was this thing about her. She has built that mask of steel over time. People were not listening! And she lost her faith in humanity. Therefore she became this – victim of her own mind. A person who didn’t want to get out of bed and look for the beauty of life any longer. She was doomed to live in sorrow for the rest of her days. 

Unless she chose otherwise… 

5. But this thing with humans… Was it really necessary? 

“Why do we need to interact with others?” she asked herself. “Why is it that we can’t solve everything alone? Why on earth do we need to reach out to others for help?” 

Then, leaving her head down again, she took a dive into introspection, for the first time in a while. That creature really got her thinking:

“If only there was a way to fight those dragons by myself! I so much wish I was the most powerful woman in the world! I wonder if there is any way I could take charge of my own mind and life… I’ve had enough with other people’s opinions! But what about mine? Do I matter? Should I even bother?” 

With a loud sigh, she crashed on her pillow again, while her eyes got up to the window sight and remained stuck to the sky. 

6. Although her mind was wandering and getting bombarded with all sorts of thoughts, at some point she fell asleep, for long hours. That sleep was extremely beneficial to her, as she has spent a significant amount of energy on everything that happened. Only that frighten of the spider reduced her energy level to 50%.

In her sleep, she had a vivid dream. 


It was as if she was confidently walking on thin, cracking ice. Out of the blue, she was attacked by dragons of different shapes, colors and dimensions. She found herself in the situation where she had to decide what would have been worst: being devoured by those dragons or losing herself in the ice beneath her feet.  

But something else was strange in that dream – it was summer all around her. How could the ice resist?

The sun reigning in the sky couldn’t save her. She went cold all over and fell down to her knees. She wanted to scream, but her vocal chords were dead. 

Her heart was shaking so hard that she could have provoked an earthquake. All she could do in that moment was to lay her head down, put her hands together and take a deep breath. 

Acceptance happened… 

7. She was in that point of her life where she didn’t just lose her faith in humanity, but also in whatever higher power was out there, governing this life. 

But, for some reason, once she brought her hands together, a thought came thundering to her mind:

“Lord… Universe… or whatever force is out there… I need guidance. Seriously! I know I disregarded you in the past… Oh, for my entire life, I guess. But I need strength. I need to become this someone else. I need a helping hand out here. You can’t let me die!”

And she closed her eyes. Acceptance was an option, so she embraced it. Nonetheless, she was too young for all this drama. She had her whole life in front of her and she realized that she needed to push that focus-switch button. Yet she was drained… 

Eventually, she crashed on the thin, cracking ice. She fell in the world of unconsciousness. Not even the hope of getting some surreal help managed to tie her to her senses. 

1. Her body gave up the battle for a moment. 


As this episode happened in her dream, it shook all her conscious beliefs. She woke up scared, in the middle of the night, seeing nothing but darkness around her. The curtains of her room have been tailored to keep every bit of light away. Wasn’t she lucky that she didn’t have the energy to pull them properly over the windows? 

When she acknowledged this thought, she then saw a ray of moonlight sneaking into her room, through the curtains’ crack. 

“Yes, this is my focus-switch button!” she silently voiced, as if someone else was sleeping besides her. “That moonlight ray is my savior. Yes! Oh, Almighty, I now believe you are out there. Thank you for this terrible dream. Seems like I needed it.”

She then remembered the spider. And all that story about the terrible dragons in her mind. And every single word that little disgusting crawling thing told her. God, it was right! It was unable to help her. 

2. No-one was. Only she could change all this. Just like the moonlight ray shifted her thinking. That tiny ray of light, that might have seemed insignificant to others, was of utmost importance to her. 

Although it was 2 am, she threw aside her covers, got up, pulled on her slippers and went to the kitchen. Her stomach was growling, as she has been too busy with her pity party to remember she needed food. 

The vivid images in her dream followed her around while she was preparing something to eat. She didn’t pay too much attention to what she was taking out of the fridge and to the act of eating itself. Her mind was now like that crazy little hamster running on an enchanted wheel. 

But there was one very intense thought that would outshine all the others: her entire life has been like the dream she had – frightening. She ran away from responsibility, she ran away from herself and she ran away from asking for help. OK, humans were still on her blacklist, but she realized that she felt a deep calling for putting herself on the white list. 

3. While she was robotically opening her mouth to eat, something even more unexpected happened. It was the first time in her life when she was as if watching herself from the outside. She saw the change of looks in her big green eyes; she saw her radiant black hair falling on her shoulders and fully covering her straight back; she saw her beautiful hands, covered in creole shiny skin, holding the fork and gracefully taking it to her mouth. It was the first time in her life when she saw who she really was – a beautiful woman, who has been drowning in oceans of sorrow for too long. 

That moving picture of herself was the actual focus-switch button. Not the moonlight, not the shy ray entering her room. It was her. She was what she needed so badly for making a change. She was that someone who she needed to rely on. She was that worthy ally she could never see before. It was her who had everything at hand. 

When she came back to seeing everything through her physical eyes, it was as if she snapped out of the most incredible experience. She thought to herself:

“Oh, my goodness! What was that? Is it happening again? No, it can’t be!” 

4. To her surprise, as she got out of trance, she found herself flooded with energy. She could have danced, if she didn’t think she was making a fool of herself, at that early hour. She was willing to go out on the streets and shout her happiness to the moon and the stars. But again, she considered herself to be crazy. 

Yet all these feelings in her body were so intense! She had no idea where all this came from, but she was determined not to let it go. It felt too good to be lost! For the first time in ages (actually, for the first time ever), she felt invincible. She felt worthy of her own esteem. She felt as if she could climb the highest mountain and reach its peak. She even saw herself standing on that peak and looking back at the entire world below the horizon. 

“Girl, what happened to you?” she asked her own self, as if speaking to someone else. “How come you never saw all this before? And why now? This is insane! Are you fully losing your minds? What is all this energy flowing through your veins? And… Are you going to do anything about it?”

5. Just like her previous practice, she wanted to throw herself back on the chair. But she simply couldn’t! All this was like magic. 

“Yes, that must be it! There’s magic pumping in my heart!” she said loud and clear. “And this magic will help me get out of this. It’s this magic that will help me defeat those 5000-feet dragons in my mind. Oh, boy, that spider was right! It just had to show up to make me have that dream. And that dream had to happen so that I can see myself from the outside. And seeing myself from the outside is what made me realize my worth. Oh, my God, I simply can’t believe all this! I would have never thought that a frightening event would shift my mind so much!”

Despite all these positive thoughts, there was one that kept on kicking in, as if it was meant to throw shadow over all this joy: “But why now? Why not before?”

As she indulged herself to have that last thought, she jumped out of her skin. She heard an echoing voice coming from the hallway:

6. “My dear, there are things you should never inquire about. Hold that feeling tight in your heart. Allow it to guide your steps further on. Stop asking why! Get out of your own mind and just live! Start afresh and put all your trust into the unknown.”

And the voice faded, as the woman rushed onto the hallway. 

Our hero was terrified, once again. She didn’t know what to believe. Regardless, she did take to heart what she heard. The frighten she felt this time was somehow different, although the thought of really losing her mind tumbled down upon her brain once more.

But this time, she chose to act differently. She chose to gather up all the courage in her bones, despite the shaking heart within. So she found her strength to speak:

“Who are you? Where are you coming from? How do you know all this? Are you that spider again?” 

She lowered her sight, in search of that crawling friend, yet she didn’t see anything. She looked up to the ceiling, on the walls, in the distance of the hallway… Still nothing. But she was convinced it was it. Yet… where to find it?

7. “Please come out!” the woman said. “I really am sorry for my misbehaviour earlier on. I promise not to mock you again! And I promise not to be afraid of you anymore either. I will treat you well. I just want to thank you for showing up” she carried on, in a warm voice.

Since she was so anchored in her belief, she didn’t realize it wasn’t the spider. She kept on calling it. But it was already gone, since the moment the woman  woke up from her dream. Its mission was over, so he gave up the physical form and went back into her mind, as the less dangerous thought she has had before.

This time, it was someone else…

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