Two nights ago I dreamed a library.

Well that was a crazy 3am post. Today, let’s have a story. This was the first new story, it just fluttered down one day, zipadeedooda, very light. Those of who you’ve read any of my last two years of stories would probably not describe them as “light.” In moments, but overall no. I hope the lightness and brevity of this and a couple other new stories are a good sign in that department. This one is still sans title.

6.17.09
Do you have a lost book?

Maybe you don’t really remember reading it. You don’t remember the characters’ names, or even the plot. You don’t remember the title – only that its letters were maroon and kind of gothic.

You feel sure you would recognize its cover if you saw it. A gray-blue misty scene with some figures, maybe a girl in a skirt, maybe a cookfire, so you go to the local library where you found it when you were a kid. Let’s say you’re about thirteen. It’s a hot day.

The library is a bulbous polished concrete thing; you guess it’s supposed to be modern, tucked back behind a community center and the police station. It emerges cool and shining from the vast dull parking lot like a submarine. All ashore that’s going ashore! All aboard!

Inside, the cold makes the sweat cling to your skin and you walk around a while for the pleasure of making your own breeze. You find the Young Adult section, which is not quite comfortable and long-ago picked-over, but not uncomfortable like regular Fiction which is full of mom novels and crap who wants to actually read? And anyway, you’re on a mission. So you kneel down at Aa, and you wrinkle your brow, and you work your way through until you find it. The book.

You take your time. Sometimes you take extra time, using that sense that says pay attention to this one. This, and the cold and the kneeling and the repetition put you in a kind of trance, and between the shelves you are invisible. As you go you are reminded of certain details, as if the book is calling out for you. Yes, there’s definitely a tree trunk on the cover. You feel the story everywhere around you. You want it inside you. But you are so certain it will come that you feel no anticipation at all. Every book you pick up is a caress from your story, you are one step closer to me. The ache in your neck from tilting your head to read the spines is vaguely delicious. Each movement you make is accepted as pleasure, a slow dance toward the center. You don’t know it yet, but one day you’ll be in bed and remember these feelings, and laugh most inappropriately. When you stand at the end of each aisle to turn round to the next you feel exposed, and dizzy as you kneel gratefully at the new shelf. After conducting this long and meticulous rite, you close your eyes for a long time.

You do not find the book. Right now I will tell you everything I remember about it.

A young woman with long black hair, in some kind of terrible danger.

She travels around a lot. At one point she lives in a cave, or a tree.

There’s magic.

There’s a young man who’s looking for her, or maybe helping her. She doesn’t really like him, but I have a feeling she comes around after a while.

There’s an old hag who gives out powers.

There’s a ship, and an exciting ride on the ship, with hidden secret bundles, and a foreboding coastal tavern with a round door lit by a lantern and shipwrecks out on the rocks. He has to go in there.

There’s a dramatic fight in a castle, where some old wizard is up to no good with a hostage.

There’s despair, and whispering winds, and boggy moors, and people make each other promises.

There are carved letters and bottles and fire by whose power the world is put right.

From this, can you outline the constellation of the story’s hold on you? When you surface like a submarine and breathe in the fresh night, will you look up at the story passing over your head and know its shape, and maybe twinkle back? And maybe turn to your companion, and ask, do you have a lost book?

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~ by Arrrow Marie on July 9, 2009.

One Response to “Two nights ago I dreamed a library.”

  1. Incredible story!! 😀 I could see myself and everything going on around me in such vivid imagery.

    Ever thought of becoming an author?

    (By the way, I just stumbled onto your blog).

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