Day 41 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Your character finds a book that changes everything.
Erin: “Of course, we got stuck with cleaning the attic,” I groaned as a puff of dust started to fill my lungs with death.
“Why were all of these things kept,” my co-worker ignored my comment with her own. “I can’t even read whatever print was on this paper. It’s faded more than my memories from Friday night.”
“I think it was an office memo,” I squinted at the light gray specks barely hanging on to the paper fibers.
“Well it is garbage and always should have been,” she threw the sheet into the recycle.
“Hey look,” I found an old record player in the corner and when I plugged it in it didn’t explode. I placed the Elvis record in and smooth crackling tones lulled into my ears.
“Yes,” my co-worker finally upped her mood.
As I unloaded one of the crates a book with an opal cover caught my eye. “Spells and Curses.” I didn’t touch it. I worked on eliminating the binders, hole punches, and staplers surrounding them.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” Lace informed before leaving me alone in the dingy space.
That is when I opened the opal book. I checked the appendix and found what I was looking for. I turned the page and practiced the hand motion. Then I added the words at the same time, “Laky Gool Faricke.”
“How the fuck did you get this done so fast,” Lace screamed once she had climbed the steps. I hid the book behind my back.
Shannon: I thought it was just an ordinary library book, and I wanted to read it because of the description of the fictional story on the back cover. However when I open it up I got a lot more than I was ever expecting.
I was reading it just fine, because the first few pages weren’t tampered with, but as I went on that’s when I started finding little characters and opinions written next to the seams and any free space their creator could find. The person who wrote them meant for someone else to find them. They were meant to be read by someone in the future, and at the same time no one in particular. It was like a secret book club inside the book, giving his or her opinions and making funny jokes.
There was no way to know when they were written, and if this person had graduated, or if they were still going to the school. If they were still going to the school then I had to meet them, heck, even if they weren’t I still wanted to know. I guess I also want the writer to know that there additions weren’t disappearing into thin air, and that at least one person had caught them, and she was very grateful.
Write about something someone else wrote affecting the life of someone you write.
Lightning struck the spiralling temple tower as my foot stepped across the threshold of Serena’s sparse yard, causing a modest flock of crows to soar into the dreary sky. As they screeched at each other, circling mercilessly, from their lofty views, I watched them wheeling with trepidation. This long-lost cousin of mine had been quite rude and brash last we spoke and the last thing I wanted was angering some powerful relative over nothing; she’d spoken of a diary containing spells no one had ever attempted. I was on a quest to recover this ancient spell book.
But as I gingerly stepped across the weed-mired brick walkway my mind wandered back to our encounter in the Blue-Green café and what she’d said. After a few moments attempting to read her expressions and scouring her eyes for minute tells that obviously weren’t there I had given up and occupied the cushy chair across from her. With my travel mugs creating a barrier between us I’d felt less uncomfortable with the strange woman’s gaze.
Smiling with just her lips Serena Cor had deliberately flicked a tray hair out of her eye before almost growling, “We’re related, you know. The Cors eventually changed with the times,” the terrifying woman had huffed indignantly and continued with daggers in her eyes. “The wanted to fit in,” the words were a curse, “so they changed to Heart hoping their past wouldn’t eventually come back to bite them.” When she had paused to grin like an aggressive dog she bared her teeth to snarl, “Well, I’m the teeth, sweetheart.”
There had been a horrifying moment when I looked around the café and no one seemed to notice the creature I was sharing a table with; like no one could see us. Savean was wiping off the counter, glancing over in my direction occasionally, without a smidge of concern in her features. Beside me a woman nervously peered over her mug when anyone made more noise than a cough but didn’t see Serena practically drooling on me. Some kind of powerful magick was being woven by this Victorian-dressed temptress.
I had gotten up to leave but something stopped me in my tracks; the room had frozen around me like everyone had turned to ice. Shivers crept up my spine when I saw the frost spread to passersby outside the windows and I realized whatever magick this woman had was out of my league.
She had risen deliberately and gathered up her trailing skirts with lacy-gloved hands before noticing my gaze as the only person in the room capable of movement. Chuckling lightly she breathed, “Oh, silly me, forgot you were still here. I did want to give you one tip.” Carelessly Serena tapped her chin and puckered her lips to the side making a show of pulling the memory from her mind, “Oh!” she exclaimed, “I recall. I would really suggest going to the library. Take out the Cor Family Tree and have a good peruse.” As she’d crossed the café’s threshold the spell melted away like so much ice.
Pulling the heavy tome from my bag I turned to the pages Serena had alluded to; the family tree connecting the two of us to opposite roots. Serena’s ancestor had been the evil step sister Selene Cor whose father had been killed on the eve of my ancestor Aurora’s birth. As the tale went, Aurora was so powerful as a babe she’d destroyed Selene’s father as she waited just outside the window to take her place as princess. Suddenly a dread drifted to cover my heart, reminding me that this was simply a fairy tale and that none of it could be trusted.
But there was a part of me that longed to believe the foolish way Serena had obviously revered her ancestor. Just to have the tale to tell would be enough. Slipping the book back into my backpack I slung it over my shoulder and took the final few steps up to the ornate door. Swirling iron flowers wove their way through copper leaves and vines on the massive oak door, hiding the sigils burned in the surfaces. I knocked lightly, not holding my breath, and sat back on my heels comfortably. All around me the damp breeze blew grey leaves and dust in a hazy storm angrily; I almost wished I hadn’t come.
Raising my right hand, momentarily admiring the glowing emerald ring set in a leafy silver setting, I sent a wave of calm through the tornado of debris. The air was immediately motionless, the dead foliage and dirt falling in a pile before my eyes. Behind me the door creaked open on rusted hinges, politely beckoning me inside with the promise of warm, bright company as people’s voices drifted outside.
I hiked my bag into a more comfortable spot on my shoulder and self-consciously straightened my shirt collar as I walked to the cracked door. Shoving it gently I was basked in sunshine coming from an enormous orb floating near the ceiling. Spilling from it was a string of symbols that shimmered and danced through the air high above my head, disappearing as they touched the intricately painted walls. The floor was a mix of gold and black glittering stone that traced their way across the open foyer.
Everything was aglow with light and colour that it was like real daytime in the house compared to the dreariness of the grey city. I was about to call out when a tiny globe floated away from the globe and drifted gently to me, hovering feet from my face. Shivering mid-air it bolted toward a solid onyx door and disappeared through the stone with ease. After a moment it realized I wasn’t following and popped back through the surface.
As I crossed the enormous room, glancing around at the mosaic windows and spotless surfaces, the ball disappeared again. Touching the frozen stone I leaned all my magick into moving it and the door unlatched with a resounding thud, falling into the pitch room. I stepped forward and the room lit with torches on either side. There, a few feet away was the grimoire Serena had been talking about. I took the steps in stride, leaning over the rough leather binding hungrily before reaching out to steal it.
A few moments later I steeled away into the dark dusk with a priceless heirloom I knew would change everything.
Created to Write:
“Auntie Miki, what was Momma like?” August asks. Mikio pauses in washing the dishes from lunch when she hears one of her wards speak.
It’s been almost a year since the two lost both their parents in a car crash, and Mikio has started the process of adopting them. But she’s keeping it a secret from the boys until it’s finalized. Their parents were close to her, so she’s become an aunt to them, but… Mikio knows they need a mother in their life.
She dries her hands, then walks over to the living room, where August is sitting. Josh heard his brother from the room over, so he joins them. He looks distressed. “I can’t remember much about our parents.”
Mikio looks at both boys; Josh is almost six, August is four and a half. She picks up August so he can sit on her lap.
“You are young, so it is no surprise,” Mikio assures, “your father was a martial arts master, and he devoted his life to teaching people, young and old, boys or girls, to defend themselves if evil came their way.”
“He was a super hero?” August asks.
Mikio chuckles, “The correct term would be ninja, Augustus. But he was a hero, yes.”
“You’re mother stayed home with you two while your father was at work. But, she was an author.”
“…What’s an author?” Josh asks.
Mikio smiles at him, “She wrote. She has a few books published, but you won’t be able to read any of them, yet.” Josh nods.
Years down the road, Josh and August are now Mikio’s adopted sons. Josh is ten, three years into his ninja training. August started a year after him, a little envious of his older brother.
Josh and August were practicing their stealth, playing hide and seek. It was August’s turn to search, so Josh runs on silent feet down the hall. He goes to the guest room and slides inside. He looks around the room.
He knows August will look under the bed first, so instead, he goes to the closet. He closes he door after him and sits between a group of boxes. He waits for August to find him, but gets distracted by something sticking out of one of the boxes.
It’s a composition notebook, with beautiful scrawling on the front. He takes it out of the box, trying to read the letters with the dim light.
August finds him not long after, but Josh is too absorbed in the notebook. “What’s that?” August asks.
“…I don’t know. I’m going to ask Mikio,” Josh says, standing. The boys still feel weird calling her ‘Mom.’
Josh runs down the stairs, calling her name. She walks out of the living room, “Yes, Joshua?”
He holds up the notebook, “What does it say?”
She takes it from his hands. “This says, ‘A. Evert’s Journal.'”
“Who’s A. Evert?” August asks, poking his arms through the stairs railing. His cheeks are pressed into the wood bars, staring at his new mom.
“She was your mother,” Mikio says, “she only put her first initial on her notebooks.”
“That’s my mom’s?” Josh asks. Mikio nods, handing it back. Josh traces the letters with his finger, “She wrote prettily.”
“Yes she did. Not just what the words looked like, but also what they said was beautiful as well.”
Josh opens the book. He looks at a page in the middle. The handwriting is the same beautiful script, and he can’t understand it. “…What does it say?”
“Let’s see.” The three sit on the couch, one boy on either side of her, “…She talks about how she’s having a hard time writing her current book, and whenever she’s stuck, she writes out her thoughts, to better understand them. Like how your father would meditate.”
Josh takes the book back, staring at the words. “I wanna write like that someday,” he decides.
“It takes lots of practice,” Mikio warns lightly.
“My mom did it,” Josh says, almost in a trance. The words flow from on to the other. His face spreads into a smile, “I’m going to write like that, too.”