Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Lonely Book by Danica Rice


                It lay there, unmoving. Nobody ever picked it up. Not even housekeeping staff. They touched everything else, but not that book. Everyone who entered the immense library was struck by that particular book, but still, no one touched it.

                In the elegantly old fashioned clawfoot armchair across from the book, a man sat, sharp nosed, eyes just as sharp, spectacles perched upon his nose below bushy white eyebrows solidly furrowed in the moment.

                His diminishing senses would perk up every time a new person entered the room, looking through him, at the book, shuddering, and always shifting focus to other books upon the shelves.

                Why, why won’t anyone look at it? Look at it! Look at me! Solve my mystery!

                Striding in purposefully, the night clerk absentmindedly dusted each shelf, cresting each book… that was, except for the lonely volume watched over by the bespectacled man. Crossing the room, the clerk dusted the desk on which the book sat. For one miraculous moment, the young man’s eyes fell upon the book, but the fledgling curiosity that arose was just as quickly replaced by a stricken grimace. Before anything else could occur, the youngster hurried out the room, and the elder sighed in frustration.

                Days mirroring this one passed, then months and years. Until one day, that very same night clerk came in, not alone, but with a young woman he called Raedell, explaining the oft-told history of the library and eventually ducked out, leaving the woman alone. Or at least, she thought she was alone. Unlike so many of the others, she reveled in it, seeping in the peace and true aloneness that libraries and books provide. The ghost slowly turned from where he had been staring blankly out the window, sensing a change in the room.  Loneliness was no longer the predominant feeling, he felt. Watching the newest addition to the room, she radiated a sense of peace. 

                If ghosts had hearts, it would have caught in his throat because she was now staring at his book. And her expression hadn’t changed. Not able to control his powers, they pulled him closer to her as she picked it up, turning it over tenderly in her hands.  If he had the breath to hold, it would have been held for minutes now.  Her expression shifted. He started to turn away, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw that her expression was now but a smile.  Eagerly, his eyes, pale though they were, danced with their former life.

                Cautiously, she opened it. In her hand fell a rusted blade now dull with many years of dust seeping into its pages. Its leather grip caught her hand at the very moment she recognized the burnished tint was not only rust, but aged blood sheathing its edge. 

                Her fingers closed around the grip, and the old man knew, feeling a long-lost peace, his mystery would now be solved.

                Raedell stared at the knife even as she felt a powerful golden warmth sprinkling onto her, a whisper riding on the sun-speckled dust,

                Thank you…

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For more of Danica Rice:

Twitter: @danica84
                      

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