Happy 21st Birthday!!!!!
*hands 21 Birthday cupcakes*
Hope you have a shiny day filled with a ton of books, cake and ice cream, and more books! :D
(Sorry it's a bit shorter than the other ones)
"Get it off me!" She yelled, wiping at her face.
"Sally, calm down." Bram said, grabbing her arms and turning her away from her reflection. "Breathe, okay?"
She took a deep, quivering breath.
"Good," He said. "We'll figure it out, okay?"
She nodded, but her eyes betrayed her fear. "What's happening to me?"
He shook his head. "I don't know," He admitted. "Look, it's gone."
She looked at her reflection again and to find her pale, wide-eyed face staring back at her, sans the symbols. She sighed in relief.
"But what was it? What caused it?" She asked her blue-eyed reflection. Behind her, Bram shrugged.
"I'll figure it out, I promise, but for now I think you should go home," He said, releasing her arms. "Try and get some rest. I promise I will contact you in a few days, alright?"
She nodded, too shaken to argue, and tried to calm her shaking hands. "How do I get back?"
"The same way you got here," He said. "Picture it in your mind and then will yourself there."
"Okay," She closed her eyes, picturing her bedroom, imagined how everything felt, what it smelled like.
When she opened her eyes, she was back in her room. She sighed and collapsed on her bed, studying her arms, but there was no sign that only a few minutes prior they were covered in swirling black symbols.
What did those symbols mean? She almost laughed. What did any of this mean? Why was she able to summon creatures, or travel to places she shouldn't be able to?
What was happening to her?
After Sally disappeared, Bram began picking up the remnants of what had once been a semi-organized table.
He looked around for the book she had picked up, finally finding it where it had landed several feet away.
He frowned as he studied it: there were no symbols on it now.
* * * *
"It has begun," The cloaked man said, raising his hands above the fiery brazier. "We won't have to wait much longer, my lord."
The dark figure behind the brazier chuckled. "Good."
* * * *
Sally dreamt strange dreams that night.
Some filled only with walking shadows, reaching out to her. Others were just voices, some screaming in pain, others shouting in what sounded like warnings, with one voice more distinct than the rest, that of a deep voice laughing.
She woke up in a cold sweat, her breathing ragged.
She ran a hand through her hair and looked at her clock. 3:05 am.
Groaning, she got out of bed and walked downstairs to get herself a glass of water.
She got a glass from the cabinet and turned on the faucet, allowing her eyes to close as she waited for the glass to fill.
When she opened them again, she screamed and dropped the glass, which shattered in the sink.
Her mother came racing down the stairs.
"What is it?" She said, carrying Sally's dads' old baseball bat.
Sally wordlessly pointed at the sink, and her mother gasped: what was coming out of the faucet wasn't water. It was ink.
* * * *
He raced down the halls, the now empty book cradled in the crook of his arm, trying to find a librarian to tell him what the book had been.
He had found it lying on the desk and had just picked it up when Sally had arrived, and he couldn't remember what he had been reading.
Finally, he found one, an old man called Slim.
"Slim!" Bram called, making the old man pause, allowing Bram to catch up. "I... need... your... help." He gasped, trying to catch his breath.
"With what?" Slim asked, his voice surprisingly silky for his age.
Bram wordlessly handed him the book while he continued to try and get his breath back.
Slim's eyes widened. "Where did you get this?" He demanded.
Bram shook his head. "It was on the table when I got there."
Slim shook his head, a worried light seeping into his eyes.
"Follow me," He said, leading Bram deeper into the Library.
* * * *
Sally sat at the kitchen island, eating her breakfast, and trying to shake off the bad mood she had been in all morning.
She had snapped at her brother (not all that unusual, actually), but she had become unnerved when she snapped at her mother, something she rarely, if ever, does.
It had been over laundry, of all things.
Her mother had asked her to do the laundry this week (the chores were on a rotation, some weeks Harry would do the laundry [not often, because he always messed it up], and then Sally would cook, and their mother would do the dishes, and other times, Harry would do the dishes, Sally would do the laundry, and their mother would cook, etc. etc.) as she had just taken on a new client to represent, and they had just gotten some new regulations (basically, she was pretty swamped), and Sally had snapped at her about it, leaving both parties in shock before Sally stormed off.
Her mother walked in then, followed by Harry.
"Mornin'," Harry said.
"Good morning, sweetheart." Her mother replied. Sally clenched her spoon tightly, they were being too obvious about trying not to set her off, which was about to set her off.
Instead of blowing her top (again), she stood and walked towards the living room.
"Sally, could you put your bowl in the sink please?" Her mother asked before Sally stepped over the threshold.
Sally just kept walking.
* * * *
Bram followed the librarian through the seemingly endless stacks of books. Some books were stacked neatly on their shelves, while others were piled carelessly on the floor, or on tables and chairs. Some stacks were as tall as Bram, some taller.
Bram hurried to catch up with Slim, who had gotten ahead of him whilst he'd been gawking at the books.
Slim led him to a small door, disguised as a wall. He pushed on a stone and it squeaked open on ancient and barely used hinges. The room beyond was definitely not barely used.
There were lit candelabras every two feet, showering the circular room in light, illuminating the many, upon many more bookshelves, which were infinitely more cared for than most of the ones they'd passed.
Directly across from the door was a large wooden desk, with some books stacked on it, and papers scattered everywhere.
There was a man seated at the desk, his head bowed over a stack of papers. He looked up at them when they walked in.
Slim bowed his head slightly. "Sir, we may have a situation."
"What is it?" The man said, his voice deep and baritone, shoving away the stack of papers, clearly glad of a distraction.
Slim held up the book. "This was found in the middle of the library."
The mans eyebrows shot up. "It was what?" He seemed to notice Bram for the first time. "Who are you?"
"Bram, sir." He said, receiving only a grunt in reply.
"Bram here is the one who discovered the book," Slim explained. "Apparently he found it among some other books that he had gathered."
The man now looked at Bram suspiciously, obviously thinking that Bram had somehow stolen the book.
"No, I didn't steal it." He said, meeting the mans unblinking stare with one of his own. "So you can lose the suspicious look."
The man chuckled. "I like him." Slim cleared his throat, bringing the mans attention back to the matter at hand. "Right, which book is it?"
"We're not sure, sir, its blank."
"How can a book go blank?" Bram asked. He thought it would be a stupid question for any ordinary occasion, but this was a magical library, and these were trained professionals, who were taught the mysterious of the library as soon as they passed the tests that it required, so he felt confident that he wouldn't be laughed out of the library.
"Haven't the faintest." The man behind the desk said, disappointing him. So much for the 'librarians are all knowing' saying. "Shall we find out what book it was?"
"How are you going to do that?"
"The usual way: checking the Catalogs."
"Yes, the Catalogs." He answered as he stood and walked over to one of the bookshelves, followed by Slim and Bram, lagging behind, becoming even more uncomfortable with the situation. Why were they getting so excited about catalogs?
The man waved his hand in front of a large tome that had a strange rune on it that began glowing with a subtle blue light that gradually became brighter, until there was a swirling, blue portal where the bookshelf had once been.
"What is that?" He asked.
"The Catalogs." The man said, and stepped inside.