The Search

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short story about a boy, who had a dream.

Submitted: March 17, 2018

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Submitted: March 17, 2018

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The Search

As little William entered, he heard a familiar voice gently asking, "What kind of tea do you like?" He looked around in surprise. "Where did the voice come from?" he thought for a moment, before the sight of this huge, cathedral-like library made his heart beat faster. The light was actually quite bright in the giant hall, but there were also a lot of dark passages full of nooks and crannies. Here in this place, he had to find a very specific book: his book. On the left, near the entrance was a kind of huge desk, but no one seemed to be around. William shouted, "Hello? Is anyone there?" ...No answer. He decided to take a look around. There were neither windows nor lamps in the hall and he asked himself, "Where does all the light come from?" He looked upward and saw mighty thunderclouds moving across a raven-black sky. The door behind him, through which he had entered a couple of minutes before, was gone. "No! That's impossible," he said to himself. After looking upward for the second time, he caught his breath. It was a clear, starry night...

Despite all these strange things, I was completely calm. Among the shelves, not far from that huge desk, there was a corner next to a small table on which a candle burned. I was sitting there, thinking about my situation, when I heard the slight constant sound again. This sound was scarcely audible but ubiquitous. I already heard it a moment after I had entered the hall. After a short search, I quickly found the thing I was looking for, on a pedestal in the middle of the hall. It was a huge hourglass. I immediately knew it; here, my time was running out. When I carefully touched the lower part of the hourglass with both hands, I saw my reflected image distorted by the falling sand. It was clearly not little William's face anymore but the face of an adult man. I stepped down from the pedestal and went a few steps back to see the entire hourglass. There was a large amount of sand in it, and about one-tenth of my time had already expired. At some distance, I watched the falling sand for a while and estimated the remaining time to be about 60, maybe 70 hours. So I had 70 hours at the most to find my book. Then, I realized it. It was a task...
Meanwhile, all my thoughts were circling around that book. "You'll find it," my inner voice said again and again. So I set out to search for it. First of all, I asked myself how the books were organized, but could discern no distinct system. None of these books had a title; they could be distinguished only by their size, shape and by the color of their covers. The shelves weren't of much help to me either. No signs, no hints. I turned and looked down the hallway I had come through a couple of minutes before. I must have overlooked something, so I had to go back in the direction I had come from; but after taking the first step back, I was suddenly next to a bookshelf made of dark red glass. The books on that shelf were in different red shades too. I hesitated, not knowing what to do. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and I opened one of these books. I couldn't read it however, since never before had I seen such strange looking characters. "What language was it?" I asked myself. I was trying hard to decipher these characters; but all of a sudden, they seemed to dissolve in front of my eyes. For some reason, this book held a strange attraction for me. Then I took another footstep back and found myself in a kind of laboratory full of ultra-modern measuring devices. The glass shelf, which actually should have been one step behind me, was nowhere to be seen. Only when I decided to scout around in this lab, did I notice that the book I had been holding just a moment before, was gone too. Everytime I took a step back, I was offered a new sight. I took the next step and was suddenly in front of a huge black gate. This place was in complete silence; not even the falling sand of the hourglass was audible. Only the deadpan eyes of a Janus face hovering above the gate were watching me, as I slowly began to fade away... 

I went through strange shapes of light and shadow and heard noises which reminded me of a distant thunder, coming from another world. That couldn't be the way I had to go. I was lost. I staggered and fell, seeing my own face, distorted with endless fear.

Standing in the middle of the hallway, I recovered my senses. I felt terrible, but recognized the library at once. My relief was short-lived, for the ubiquitous sound of the falling sand immediately reminded me of my duty. The sound which gradually softened became louder and louder inside of me and seemed to tear me apart. Now I panicked. I didn't know how much time I had lost. I had to calm down, so I sat down on the floor, trying to breathe deeply and slowly. "The book. Where is that book?" I wasn't sure who was asking this question. Was it really me?
Suddenly I had a great idea. Maybe I could climb up one of these shelves to get an overview or at least to get some kind of clue. One of the shelves seemed to have no visible upper end. This must be the right one. I was sure. At first it required some effort to push back a few books at the edge. Then I quickly stepped into the gap with my left foot and began to climb up the shelf. It was actually easier than I had thought. Until now, the hardest part had been pushing back the jammed books that I could climb on. To save energy, I tried keeping my body's centre of gravity as close as possible to the shelf. The higher I climbed the easier it was to push back the books. After I had counted thirty shelves, I looked downward and could no longer see the floor. Meanwhile pushing back the books was an easy task, but now I encountered a new difficulty. I lost my strength and slowly grew tired. Again I felt fear. My situation was hopeless. Nevertheless, I climbed on and on. Now the books pulled themselves back to form a gap, without me touching them. I was convinced I had found the right way. Only now I was high enough to take a look at the entire scene. I turned around and saw a giant grey cloud beginning to disclose the sun. With this sight in front of my eyes, I almost forgot to hold on to the shelf. It was a moment of inner peace and relaxation. I was blinded by the sunlight and turned around to the books again. I didn't know whether it was just a misconception or because of my blinded eyes, but one of these books seemed to radiate in dark blue light.
Without thinking I grabbed at the book. I lost my balance and plunged down. Myriads of pictures flashed through my mind, as I was falling down in slow motion, holding the book in my hand. I saw my own childhood bedroom; my bed inside it, on which a book was lying; a chessboard, ready for a new game; my mother's face and another one, the blurry face of a blond girl looking at me from a great distance. I had finally found my book, but it had cost me my life. I was falling and falling...

A howling wind whipped heavy raindrops against little William's pane. Half asleep he looked into his mother's inquiring eyes. "Well mum, mint tea, as always," he whispered, holding a blue shining book in his hand.


© Copyright 2018 .William. All rights reserved.

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