Anger. So much anger and shouting. Mom hadn’t done anything wrong, but Dad was drunk as usual. It was of no strange occurrence. Mom had rushed me into my small bedroom and shut the door tightly behind her, leaving without another word. I lay curled up on my small, hard, twin mattress and listened to the rain pounding harshly on my window. It almost drowned out the sound of my parents shouting at each other. Mom’s voice rose to a fevered pitch and I heard Mom scream my name. I just rolled over, not even flinching when I heard the sound of Dad slapping Mom, even though the sound was ringing and brutal. After 7 years, I was used to it all. The shouting, the beatings, the overall abuse; it was a part of life. I just wanted to escape from this wretched life, but how could I, a 7 year old girl run away from all this? I thought hard on this, my brow furrowed. How could I escape this hell that was called my life? I thought for nearly half an hour before coming to a conclusion. I could escape into my mind. There I would be safe. I lay on my back and closed my crystal cobalt eyes. What would my perfect world entail…? A library. That was a must. A comfortable loveseat for sure. It had to be dark maroon red though. It was my favorite color. There also had to be a fireplace with…emerald fire! Now there had to be a million bookshelves that reached all the way up to the ceiling with every single book known to man on their mahogany shelves. The room was round and had a domed ceiling with elegant golden trim. What else would my library have…? I nearly opened my eyes at the brilliant idea that struck me. What did every library have? An old, mysterious librarian! He was short and stooped from age and little wrinkles pulled at the corners of his mouth whenever he smiled. He wore brightly colored suits and quirky ties. He had an old pair of spectacles on his face, making his buttery yellow eyes look huge. What was his name…? Something old and wise sounding. Then it came to me like a bus comes to a bus stop. His name would be Radamar, and everyone loved him! The kids would call him Old Man Radamar, but I just called him Radamar. My library was complete. The rain was still tapping at my window, echoing in the back of my mind. I took a deep breath and imagined myself walking through the doors of this great library. It was total silence except for the sound of my footsteps. I trailed my fingers over the hard spines, feeling the leather bound books whispering beneath my fingertips. It was almost like I could feel the books in real life. Wait. I could. I could feel the book and the warmth from the roaring fir-
My eyes flew open, but I wasn’t look at the moldy, sagging ceiling of my bedroom. I was in front of a bookcase in my library that I had imagined! Everything was exactly how I had
envisioned it, right down to the emerald green fire. This wasn’t possible, was it…?
“It is very possible, Angel.” chuckled an ancient, wheezy voice behind me. I spun around, my eyes widening. It was a little, bent over old man dressed in a vibrant plum suit. He had amber yellow eyes behind a pair of magnifying spectacles, just like I had imagined him.
“You’re…Radamar?” I gasped out, my mouth hanging open like a trout. The old man nodded with an amused gurgle.
“Well in this Utopia, yes. More accurately I am called The Director.” He said in a hoarse chuckle. This was all so strange to me. Utopia? The Director? What was all this? Once more he smiled knowingly and I felt again like he was reading my mind.
“You don’t have to be scared. Utopia is mostly harmless!” he cheerfully assured me. ‘Mostly harmless’? That worried me. It worried me a lot. What did that mean?
“What do you mean mostly harmless-“
“I mean that the side effects of Utopia include physical and mental exhaustion, hunger, thirst, dehydration and lucidness.” he said cheerily. He was exactly how I had imagined him, even to a fault. This still didn’t make sense to me.
“What’s Utopia?” his elderly voice cut in again. He chuckled dryly and shuffled about the room. “Utopia was a little idea of mine. It’s a separate dimension in everyone’s minds. It takes some focus to get into, but if you can access it, it’s amazing. It was a very long and tedious procedure, but so far it has played out with only a few mistakes. There’s one dangerous glitch, but it shouldn’t hurt you.” he pulled a book off the shelf before shaking his head and putting it back. I was still thoroughly confused. He noticed my raised eyebrows and smiled understandingly. “Utopia is a bit hard to explain, but I’ll do my best.” he promised, sitting himself down on the couch by the roaring verdant fire. I sat down beside him, my hands in my lap and listening politely.
“In short, Utopia is your own personal paradise. It’s an entirely new, fifth dimension in your mind. You can have anything and everything you can imagine. At first, you really have to focus to create a Utopia, but if you use Utopia often, it’ll form around your base idea without much mental effort on your part. He explained, sitting in a very dignified and polite position. He acted younger than he looked. I blamed my mind for imagining him that way. I was astonished by all this though. My own personal paradise? It sounded like a fairytale!
“Do I have to pay for this…?” I queried tentatively. Radamar let out a loud bark of laughter before he realized I was being serious.
“No, you don’t have to pay.” he chortled amusedly, wiping tears of mirth from his watery looking blue eyes. “Do you pay for ideas?”
I numbly shook my head when he asked me this question. The shock of this all had rather dulled my reaction time.
“How do I get home?” I asked hesitantly after a full minute of silence. I toyed tensely with the cuff of my sleeve, feeling odd in this area. I felt so out of place…
Here I was in this majestic palace of books, dressing in a too big, plaid, flannel shirt and scuffed jeans that hung off my small body. My long, stick straight ebony hair was in two tight plaits, making me look scarily like a hillbilly country girl. I was so thin and sickly looking, a great contrast to the sturdy books that decorated the gorgeous shelves. Someone like a princess should be here, not me. Not some tiny, bruised 7 year old girl. I felt like a puzzle piece being shoved into the wrong place.
“Angel?” Radamar speaking my name pulled me out of my self-pitying thoughts. I tore my light brown eyes off the floor and looked up at him.
“Yes sir?” I asked politely, not hearing anything he had just said. Radamar chuckled and shook his head.
“I said that when you want to go home, just think about your home. You’ll know what to do from there.” he promised with a wink, getting to his feet and starting to shuffle away.
“Hey, where’re you going?” I spluttered, managing to jump to my feet without toppling over before starting after him. Radamar turned around and raised his eyebrows in a questioning manner, straightening his vibrant green tie with one withered, wrinkled hand.
“I can’t dawdle around everyone’s Utopia. I have work to do! Feel free to expand your Utopia.” he vanished seconds later after these courteous words. I stood there, feeling bewildered, lost and confused. Then, a slow smile spread across my rosy lips.
“Anything I can imagine, hm…?” I thought aloud.
The library was gone. Radamar had made this seem hard, but it was simple! I had just crossed my legs and relaxed. It all came to me in a flash. When I opened my eyes, I was here.
Forever sunset. Half black, half light. It was like a war. The forces of the light trying to push back the armies of the evil, black night. I loved that time. The sky was painted blood red, plum purple and pumpkin orange. The bright, vivid colors always managed to enthrall me…
I was in a beautiful grove. It was protected by a ring of thick, old elm trees, their leaves stained bright reds and oranges. The grass was high and light brown, reaching up to the sky, but only managing to reach up to a couple inches below my knees. Small fairies flitted around in the bright, yet dark skies. Their soft laughter resounded around me. There was a light bubbling creek cutting through the glade, the soft sounds of water trickling over stones calmed me greatly. It was paradise. A veritable garden of Eden.
I was just lying in the high grass, enjoying watching the fairies dance above my head. They were beautiful. Occasionally, one swooped down and alighted down onto my shoulder, tugging at my braids.
When they got that close to me, I was delighted to be able to make out their sharp facial features and their tiny little petite hands. Their clothes were made of leaves that scantily clad their
bodies. Some had short cropped hair that hugged their skulls, and some had long flowing hair that blew out behind them. Sometimes, the ones with long hair got their gorgeous locks tangled in their
paper thin, sparkling wings. I would always just chuckle and gently help them. They always squeaked a word of thanks before leaping into flight again. I was just playing with the fairies, enjoying
the power I had when:
That silenced the fairies and utterly destroyed my smile. I sat up bolt upright, my heart pounding feverishly in my chest. There shouldn’t be anyone here with me! I hadn’t imagined anything else. I was trembling as I stood up, my face white as a sheet.
“H-hello?” I called in a shrill tone, mentally chastising myself for letting my voice crack from fear. I heard a rustling from above in the tree nearest me. My mind instantly went into panic mode and I started to imagine the worst. My fight or flight instinct kicked in. I could fight, but I couldn’t figure out how to get out of here. I just managed to squeak in fear and scramble backwards. All I managed to do successfully was fall back onto my butt. Who was there? Was it a monster? Was I going to die?! Oh god, why had I come here? It was such a stupid idea!
My panicked internal monologue was cut off when someone dropped out of the tree. I squeezed my eyes shut and pulled my knees to my chest.
“Please don’t hurt me!” I whimpered pathetically. I hated confrontation. I always got hurt in the end. I was curious to see what the monster looked like, but my fear kept my eyes shut. Then, it spoke.
“Now why would I hurt you?” A voice scoffed. A girl’s voice. It was a girl! I still didn’t open my eyes. She or it could still be lying…
“How’d you get here?” I demanded loudly. There was an annoyed sigh that followed my seemingly paranoid words. I had every right to be paranoid though! She wasn’t supposed to be in here.
“I’m not going to hurt you, squirt.” her voice was incredulous and frustrated, but she assured me that I was safe around her. I refused to open my eyes though. She could be a huge monster! Something like Medusa…
“Who are you?” I barked sharply, adrenaline shooting through my veins and setting me on edge. “What’s your name?!” I shouted, fighting to keep my voice even and steady. Another sigh was heard after a full minute of silence.
“Glitch. My name’s Glitch. I was the first one to use Utopia. I’ve been here 200 years, and you’re one of the most powerful ones I’ve seen for about 50 years.”
© Copyright 2016 Hiril Greenleaf. All rights reserved.
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