The library is filled with the sounds of silence. Soft padding of shoes against the carpeted floor. Pages scratching against one another as the reader turns one page into the next, continuing their adventure through the text. The librarians long manicured nails hit the keyboard rhythmically and rain slides along against the window. I hear this all from my place on the couch in the farthest corner of the room where I’m sitting, watching trails of water trickle down the glass panes.
I can hear the world beyond these walls. The sounds of water sailing quickly through the eavestroughs, vaguely audible past the panes of glass. Yet despite the symphony that plays beautifully around me, I also hear nothing. My mind is lost in the process of deciding what book should swoop me up and take me away from my worries.
I have several books spread out upon the surface of the distressed wooden trunk before me. The one on the far right is enveloped in a deep blue hardback cover with simple black arial printed across the front, it reads Love in Italy. Beside it is a paperback that has a swirling bright purple cover, and in rather obnoxious bubble letters it reads Last Summer. Presumably, this was some perky teen drama novel. Not my thing. A few more books were splayed precariously across the surface, some of them overlapping. But it was only the last one on the left that caught my attention. It had an aged yet beautiful appearance. The pages were rimmed with gold tinge and the cover itself was a rich red leather with several scratches on it. Carefully, I lift its worn but beautiful exterior into my lap and wrap my fingers along its edges as I try to open it. Much to my disappointment, a small golden lock won’t allow me the pleasure.
Confused, I stroked my fingers carefully down its spine as I searched for a title, author or any other description that would help me understand the origins of this mysterious text. I turned it over and over in my hands. But there was nothing. I even approached the librarian for help identifying it, and she couldn’t find a barcode.
“This isn’t one of our books,” she said as she passed the red-coated mystery back across the counter to me. “Keep it though if you like. It’s been sitting around for a while and no one has claimed it.”
“Okay, thanks for you help.” I replied with a smile.
I opened the doors to the spiralling staircase at the far end of the library and made my descent out onto Main Street. Half an hour later, arriving at my little home nestled at the end of a long winding street. I climbed up the squeaking stairs to the attic, two by two until I reached my cosy little space.
It was composed of a large window overviewing a field with elegant willow trees shooting out from the ground and reaching up to catch the rain drops. Before the view sits a window seat upon which I have covered with blankets and pillows in an array of colours and patterns. This is my happy place.
Launching myself into the plushness of the warm blankets, I settled into the comfort of the seat with my leather book in hand. Something about it spoke to me. I felt as though the pages beneath its locked exterior have whispered through the golden clasp, coaxing me into searching again for an opening, a way into its world. This time, however, as I searching the leather bindings was different because when I slid my hands over the book, something miraculous occurred. Golden lettered appeared sprawled across the pages in a luxurious cursive font. Almost as though an invisible hand had elegantly scratched the words out as I looked upon them.
“I’m sure the author used a particular type of ink that only appears in a specific kind of light,” I muttered to myself in an effort to make sense of what I’d just seen.
The words written on the cover read Estrella.
The sound of metal clanging against the floor suddenly echoed across the room. I spun around quickly, awakening from my dream like state and scanned the room for the source of the sound. A flash of golden light caught my eye as I caught sight of a key sitting below a smaller open window in the corner of my room.
How did that come open… I thought to myself as I pushed down the window and stared down at the key by my feet.
“Maybe, just maybe if I tried…”, I whispered to the red leather cover as I picked up the key and began to try unlocking the golden clasp.
It slid into the lock smoothly and turned it a quarter to the right before a satisfying click was heard. I dropped the book onto the pillow and stared at it with wide eyes.
At that very moment, the book began humming.
Not something of a machine but that of the sound coming from a woman. A beautiful melodic noise that would lull you to sleep with its soothing symphony. Each note hypnotising me into a strange half state of consciousness. I wasn’t aware of anything. Not the steady sound of the air conditioning rattling away, or the rain crashing hard against the window. I knew I should be somewhat afraid of strange sounds coming from a book, but instead, I was mesmerized.
Reaching down to once again pick up its delicate exterior, I felt compelled to open its pages and as I did the music grew stronger. This time accompanied by other voices that swirled amongst each other fluidly but none more beautiful the first woman. The sounds became a storm around me, funnelling wildly into a spinning vortex of music. The ground beneath me rattled and I grew more fearful with each passing second. The probabilities echoed loudly through my mind… what if I’m going crazy.
The noise grew louder as the steady rhythm of drums began accompanying the choir of voices, and suddenly the pages flew open. Each one flipping at an incredibly fast rate until finally, it stopped on a page with a single word in the middle of a blank page.
I threw the book across the room and pushed away any urge to cry, scream or even run. I couldn’t run. No, I wanted to figure out how this was possible… my name? How did it know my name?
Suddenly, lights began flashed blindingly from the pages and powerful winds pulled me across the floor towards the funnelling vortex. As I slid along the hardwood I managed to wrap my fingers around a table leg and I hung there for a few moments in pure shock.
The vortex didn’t let up so I simply floated with the force of the winds. Desperately going through all the books I have read and trying to think of a way out of this. I wasn’t long before I made my decision, or rather, it was made for me by my gradually weakening grasp on the chair.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and let the table leg slip away.
The world became a swirling mess as I was tossed every which way and eventually blacked out.
My eyes flickered open slowly and with caution, I got myself to my feet.
“Where am I?”