Hit the Books

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

Lo wants to let her friends in on a big secret.

“You’re insane, Lo,” Dana scoffed, crossing her arms. They were sat in a shoddy-looking circle, in Lo’s room. Food and pizza boxes were strewn around the room, and the TV was on, showing some game show. Another girl, Ari, was braiding Dana’s hair, so she didn’t move her head but she started to sneer, “I mean, you can’t seriously believe that you have ‘magical powers’, and even if you did, why don’t you show us then?”

She had put air quotes around ‘magical powers’. Lo, determined to not let Dana, of all people, show her up, grabbed a small grey book with frayed edges off of her ever-growing bookshelf.

A few days after Lo had gotten into a car accident, a random book had shown up on her desk. Her mother had assumed it was a book she forgot she bought, but Lo knew she didn’t. It wasn’t a book she would usually read. But it also wasn’t what she imagined a creepy book would look like. Instead of being old, leather-bound or covered in dust and cobwebs, it was a small, black diary with a glossy cover, and an orange sticky note on the top, that read, ‘Open me’. 

She didn’t, at first. Trusting sticky notes on strange books was a surefire way of getting in trouble. But the book sat there on the corner of her cabinet, and she watched it from her peripherals, eyeing it longer and longer each time, her curiosity growing.

She had opened it and the words seemed to float around the page. Lo blinked a few times, the words not becoming any clearer, so she rubbed her eyes so hard that weird colours became visible on the back of her eyelids. When she had opened them again, she was not in her room anymore and instead in a small meadow. What looked to be the same book was laying beside her. She grabbed it and got thrown out of the original into the real world, the new book still in hand. Every time she opened the next one, she got thrown into another situation. It always held another book which she collected and got transported back into the real world.

Every book looked like a more worn down version of the last. She had tried to explain this to anybody who would listen, and now she had told her friends. Lo grabbed their hands, making them form a seance-style circle. Dana and Ari grabbed each of her arms, and Lo opened the book. Each time she used one of them, it got quicker and quicker to get into the worlds. And each time it was a different situation.

But it was never like this.

The first thing that set her off was that it was nighttime. In her books, it was always sunny. They were sprawled across the same meadow from her first time in the books. That was the second suspicious thing, she had never visited the same ‘world’ twice.

As she looked closer, the universe seemed to tip on its side. She stood, helping each of her friends up. Dana gave her a dirty look, but accepted her hand, dusting herself off. Lo looked around and beckoned Ari towards her and Dana. She edged over the line between meadow and parklands, watching for dangerous snakes or toads in the dim moonlight. The place didn’t look very well-kept, and she would rather bungee jump without a harness than trust the meadow blind. Once she was sure that it was safe, she nodded to her friends and started to walk towards a nearby bench, that sat under a tree. Leaves scattered around the bench, despite the fact it was summer.

The sky seemed so much brighter than it usually was. Ari was stargazing, when she called out, “Hey, look at the sky!”

Lo glanced up and did a double take. Instead of stars, in its place was billions of names, shining just as brightly. Dana’s eyes were wide, and Lo could feel her shaking. She still maintained a scowl on her face though. Not even Lo being right could shake her pride.

As they all were staring at the night sky, leaves crunched behind them. A sigh, and the sound of a lighter. Smoke filled her lungs, making it harder to breathe. But she felt a sense of melancholy fall over her.

Lo turned to the bench to find an old man watching them, a twinkle of innocent curiosity on his eyes. He smoked a cigar, and wore a wide-brimmed hat, a navy blue suit and had frizzy orange hair. He moved towards the edge of the bench and patted the spot next to him. Major red signals went off in the logical part of her brain. She approached him. After all, she was never hurt in the worlds before, why would she now? 

Tonight was a night of many firsts. As she got into arm’s length of the man, he grabbed her wrists and twisted it towards him. She yelped, digging her nails into his arm, struggling to free her now bruised wrist. He whispered, “You better get out of here before you forget how,”

Her eyes widened and her heart almost leapt out of her chest. She felt both hot and cold. As a last ditch attempt, she leaned down, yanked him out of his seat and bit his fingers hard enough to draw blood. A coppery taste filled her mouth. He shouted something and slapped her, smearing blood against her cheeks. She bared her teeth like a feral animal and hissed, red spit flying everywhere.

He clicked his fingers and disappeared in a flash of green light. Lo spat on the grass a couple times, but the taste would not leave her tongue. She looked up and her friends were frozen in midair. As soon as she focused on them, they started to run towards her, barraging her with worried comments. Ari looked up and started to panic. Plain white walls were sprouting out the grass in a square formation, barricading them in. Dana tried to run and jump over them, but they sprouted up too fast, and she crashed into it.

Lo knew they weren’t entering the real world, because she had never left a world like this, plus they didn’t have the new book, and those weren’t her dark blue walls. They were trapped. A plain mahogany door faced them, and she raced to it. She tested the door handle. Locked. Ari, who was the only one of them with any muscle, tried to barge through it. Dana swore, and she and Ari tried to kick it down, with Lo pressing her weight against it.

After an agonizing minute of trying to get it open, they finally burst through the door, to reveal Lo’s living room. She looked back into her room, which was now fading back into its normal appearance.

Dana sneered at her, “Great, you’re delusional and now you’re dragging me and Ari into this. Don’t try to talk to us anymore, we don’t want a freak for a friend.”

She turned on her heel and strutted away, calling her mum to come pick her up. Ari gave Lo one last sad look and scuttled behind Dana, pulling out her phone as well.

After Ari and Dana had left, Lo put every iteration of the book in a large cardboard box and dropped it off at a thrift store. They cost her her friends, they wouldn’t cost her her life.

Submitted: October 25, 2018

© Copyright 2020 wildthingsinwickedwalls. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



An interesting story. Well-written too.

Thu, October 25th, 2018 8:31pm


Thank you!

Thu, October 25th, 2018 4:00pm

Megan Fox

Hi Ron
Nice powerful ending. If I didn't love reading that would be enough to make me scared of picking up books. I've always wanted to leave one on the train with a post-it "read me" - not any more.

Thu, October 25th, 2018 11:37pm


Hi Megan,
This was actually one of the prompts for NAPLAN next year and I thought it was really interesting. Thanks!

Sat, November 3rd, 2018 7:29am

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