Sunday, September 25, 2016
Two more Fantasy tales-about libraries this time
Both of these were inspired by pictures like the two last week but this time it was form different sources. The first one is another from Charlie Hoover's #geekscapes Link is just before the story. But the other one is taken from a writing prompt in another area of Google+. I believe you would have to be a member of that community to see the pic so I will describe it before that story.
The second one was suppose to be under 600 words and it came in at 596. Now it is 952 words long,
Both stories deal with libraries which is one of two reasons I put them together. The other reason are the combined lengths 2,452 words. Not too long but still long enough for a good tale. Anyway, both libraries are different, with different settings, different characters and such.
So to the tales:
Dina sat in the library alone; she liked the quiet and the fact that no one studied, or talked here during meal time. One of her weaknesses, lack of correct social skills and a tendency to embarrass herself, along with a dislike for noise, inspired her to study alone. And to eat by herself. Her dinner had been an hour ago before the tables had been set. She had made special arrangements months ago to eat early. Her excuse had been her job at the time, but even though that had ended she still ate her meal before the others.
The small area she liked to use had an old tiny desk, small beaten up small stuffed chair, with a small table next to it with one of the very few electric lights, gave her what she needed. A quiet, solitary place to study. She joined the school late and was always behind. She hadn’t known they would take her even with her ability. Few of the other students said anything but she could tell many looked down on her. She was behind, and poor with few social skills. Some thought she would always be behind with her power level. Every now and again she believed them.
She breathed in, coughed. The place always smelled dusty with mildew mixed in along with various human odors, some good, some not so good, from throughout the day. Once she had brought a roll for a snack, but some dust had gotten on it which ruined the flavor. The stinks didn’t help either.
The room appeared larger than any other on campus by many times. It had only half walls and ceiling high shelves to break up the space. Those shelves along with smaller ones, desks-mostly small-as well as counters and odd types of art made the library look crowded. Portraits hung here and there too. Some could speak while others just made everyone uneasy who stared at them. Stain glass windows decorated the room too. Three sets looked straight out of some church. Another one off in a corner glowed as if an outside light shone through it even though there should have been a wall behind it. Lamps had been left on and even though burnt oil invaded her sinuses, she knew the place had protections from fires; accidental or purposeful.
Dina sighed, for she needed the extra study time to catch up and that she wanted to learn areas of magic most other students didn’t. Those areas could be dangerous but also they were just odd or unusual.
After half an hour of reading she sat back, relaxed. She had already rolled up her sleeves and let her auburn hair hang where it wanted to. Her red lipstick probably needed to be redone, but she didn’t care this late.
She lazily looked around. This part of the library looked like an old den in an English mansion. It had a fireplace that was closed up. To keep wind out, to keep thieves out, or something else?
Two of the paintings hung near her and the shelf right behind her had what appeared to be old fashion lanterns, with a glass chimney that sat by itself. They all burned-something. It should heat up the shelf above it but didn’t. More of the fire protection or did they produce a cold flame for another reason?
In the middle of rotating her chair she jumped: something sent a shiver down her back. Without a thought she opened her palm and formed ball lightning above her skin. It crackled a light blue, and its insides rolled with very tiny bolts. It wouldn’t do to have it touch her hand. She had done that once and the result made her swear never to let it touch her again. Her teacher thought that was one good way to learn even though there were easier methods.
A quick glance one way showed her nothing, a look at the ceiling revealed nothing unusual. Nothing appeared obvious when she took another quick look to her left again. She found nothing after a search of the floor. Spiders and ants could take on strange appearances in here. And less said about the roaches the better. Just the thought of what she had seen on display creeped her out.
Something, a very slight rustle of robes, a sigh, or a shadow that moved, caused her to jerk her head back at the other side. A figure stood there, just behind and to one side of the small lamp. It wore a black, tattered robe with a cowl that covered the wearer’s head. It was so large its sides created shadows that blocked the person’s-if it was a person-face. The whole thing looked half transparent. It glided forward-in her direction.
“Teacher, what are you doing here?”
She had never seen him anywhere, but his class room and office. Those were his favorite and she had thought only hunts, but it would make sense for him to come here too. Few students could stand to be around him long enough to learn, even though he had always been one of the better teachers. That had been true before he died, now it was even more so. He made their skin crawl though-or so they said. It might be more the small whiffs of decay that followed him around, of the fact that they could not see his face. But she didn’t mind his appearance or that only a part of him was there. It was the part that made him such a good teacher. His stink didn’t stay around all that much-usually, and she was used to bad odors.
He stopped his glide and said, “I came looking for you. Why do you spend your spare time here?”
The Teacher looked around as if he wasn’t sure where he was.
“I like it here. The quiet helps me to research and to concentrate better on my homework.”
After a moment what he said hit her. How he knew that she spent her time here? Had he been here before? Was it part of his knowledge he always seemed to have?
He pointed a bony finger at her-no at her hand.
“That was a good reaction. You formed it very quickly and I see that while deadly to smaller creatures, it would only render unconscious a man, or most other larger creatures. The atmospheric conditions in your open hand are just right to keep it formed until you need it. But remember there are those that it would only stun for a few second if that. And it will fade in while no matter what you do to keep it. They are not made to last long in nature.”
She smiled for he did not compliment students very often, unlike Moriartcy who was related to Holmes enemy-and who gave too many compliments.
“Thank you, I have been practicing.”
“It shows. Now if I can remember why I wanted to speak to you.”
He looked around again, “I know this place. It looks like my old study.”
She knew she looked shocked. He said, “I cannot recall my name, or why I wear this outfit, but I do have memories that flow into the forward part of my mind at times. This place is in many of them.”
Dina felt uncomfortable. What would happen if he did recall his name? Would he still teach, go one to hunt some other place, like his house, or just cease to exist? Whatever the case, would it be her fault that his shade was to disappear?
He looked back at her and smiled. She somehow always knew when the Teacher smiled, frowned, even though there was no way to make out his face in that shadow.
He titled his head as if he knew what she thought and wondered why, and said, “I have a new lesson for you. It will be very hard to learn but once you have it down it will take you to the one place you want very much to see. Tomorrow you will begin your knew lessons on how to go to the home lands of Fairies.”
She gasped for she had been pestering him for ages about that. She loved the fairies that visited the school. She wanted to know more about them to make friends with some, too see how their society and family life was like.
“Thank you Teacher. I will learn that lesson well.”
He said, “I know you will,” and winked out. Probably to go back to the office or classroom.
Her heart rose up, he had said two good things about her. She had to be improving, all of this studying was paying off after all. This would show the others students and herself she could be on a higher skill level than she thought.
She couldn’t help but smile even with her earlier concern.
Second story "Library"
This one was inspired by a pic of a young woman standing just inside an open door, on a floor or bridge that was in the process of appearing. She is dressed simply in faded back dress with simple shoes. The dress looks like something the Amish might wear. She is staring at a large room full of shelves of books. All of the shelves are against the walls of the room with just enough space to walk in front of them. There are no floors on any levels but as I said The room is round, like a tower or silo. There are levels of shelves. At least three upwards and at least three downwards.
Some of those or wrote stories inspired by this picture thought the floor was vanishing, but to me her expression shows the opposite.
So for this tale:
Sushion looked through the now empty doorway. She froze, her eyes popped open. Part of the brick wall had just disappeared, as she explored the old ruins. They looked like a very small castle with stone walls and two short towers. Parts of the walls lay smashed, and only tattered remnants showed that once there had been a wood roof, with support beams. She could smell that small animals had used this place for nest. She had told herself to be careful; not only because of the debris but what she could step in. Some snakes must still be here by the sounds. The walls only cut the cold wind a little and the hard, rough stones scrapped her skin where her clothes didn’t cover it.
She had seen what looked like a thin crack in one wall and went to look closer. Sushion had hoped to find something she could use as a way to learn. Looters had been here but with so much debris on the floor and bundled in some corners there had to be something else.
A step into the room now revealed and the wind no longer tugged at her simple black dress nor did it blow through her worn fade blue shoes. The bird songs and snake rustling noises grew faint.
Her eyes were open as wide as she could get them, so she could take in everything and out of amazement. The hidden door had opened at what looked like halfway up a tower. The walls fell further than the light from the open door. They also went up. It must have been curved from the mountain the ruins sat next to. Maybe it had been a cistern at one time, but it hadn’t been used for that. She licked her lips. The taste of caked blood mixed with dust from when she tripped headlong over a floor stone with a corner lifted up distracted her for a heartbeat. The journey through the ruins of the very small castle had been hard. The ceiling no longer existed so rain and the hot summer sun had invaded the D’Oents house. That made mud over the floors, rocks lay about in uneven piles, plants grew here and there too. One section still had a roof so she had spent the night there to wait for daylight. Bones lay about but those she could see clearly were animal, mostly small ones. However some of the oldest and most decayed she found in her search could be human. The whole castle smelled like mud, plant decay, old rock, and urine.
Over the years previous searchers and looters had ransacked the house looking for its secrets, thus the uneven floor. Possibly they may have looked for this room. Its contents were all still here and still protected from the weather and obviously from vandals and thieves. Some of what she saw appeared ancient and therefore worth a lot of money.
She had seen what she thought were even lines in the early light and after hours of scraping dirt, water spots and lichen off the this one wall she could see it had been a door. No lock, no handle, not even a spring latch. Sushion had spent another hour pushing and tapping rocks but nothing. Then she either stepped on a very small hidden lock or it just decided to open.
After she recovered from her backward stumble Sushion moved back to the now clear doorway. It took her breath away. The next step was straight down at least three levels.
She could see hundreds of books, all set up with their spines up and down. She might be able to reach the few near the door way on both sides, but that was it. She moved in with very short steps. Started to reach for one when the toes of one foot reached over the step. Just as she started to pull a book out, something with her toes made her blink. She glanced down and she realized her toes now lay on a hard surface. She straightened, looked down, blinked again. The step looked twice as long. She slid her foot toward the new edge. A flat floor stone appeared along the whole edge. A gasp escaped her closed mouth.
Three more steps and more of the floor appeared. Five steps and she could see sections of the floor further on appear. Some sections hung there while the first main part of the floor-bridge-passageway caught up with it. She squealed and wanted to jump up and down, she could now get to the other side where she could see a way to an area in front of the shelves where she could walk.
Sushion stopped breathed in fast. It took her second to realize that the air felt warm in this special room, yet not too hot. The air even felt dry and tasted fresh when she breathed in. Air drafts brought the odor of the books: some ancient, some moldy, some fresh amazingly enough.
After hours of looking the books over and reading stories as well as books that showed her how to cook, how to sew, philosophies, politics and two history books, she knew she would come here again. No, she would work hard enough so she could buy or otherwise take over the castle, fix it up and life here. The books might be able to help her with that. She thought about taking a couple of novels but wondered if the library would consider that theft. Sushion decided not to risk it. But she could now learn and that gave her confidence to come back and study here.