Short Stories

Lucy

The writer stared at the paper for a long time, pencil frozen a few inches away, Ready to write but not writing. Every now and then the pencil would get close to the page only to get jerked away and freeze again. The writer glared at her paper and quietly began to berate it.

“Curse you, paper, and your blankness. How dare you mock me? Do you know who I am?”

Her scolding was cut off suddenly by a giggle. The writer set her pencil down and looked up. It was not a mean giggle, but a quiet, playful giggle like that of a child. The writer took a long look around. It was not unheard of for a child to be in the adult section of the library, but they were usually looking for their parents and not giggling. There was not child in sight, but with all of the book shelves, just because the writer didn’t see a child didn’t mean there wasn’t one. Slowly, the writer went back to her paper. She picked up her pencil and heard the giggle again. The writer ignored it and set the pencil to the paper. It sat there for a moment and then jerked back. This was answered with a laugh. The writer glanced around. Maybe this kid was just reading a funny book and they just happened to laugh every time the writer did something. The writer set her pencil to the paper again. Another giggle. Then jerked it back. And a laugh. This happened several more times before the writer threw down her pencil and stood up. Where was this kid? And where were it’s parents? And why was it laughing at her? The writer made her way to the nearest shelf and looked around it. The child giggled again and the writer heard the sound of tiny feet running off. The writer walked back toward the table. Maybe the kid had decided to leave her in peace. As soon as the writer sat down the child giggled again. This time, the writer followed the sound. Every time she got close, the child would laugh and run off. The writer never saw the child, but once or twice she caught a glimpse of a pink jacket and white shoes.

After a while, the writer noticed that they weren’t in the adult section anymore. They were moving toward the children’s books. The writer glanced around at the books on the shelf and started to smile and laugh. She knew these books. These were her books. These were the books she grew up with. She ran her fingers across the spines in awe. Here were fairy tales and heroes, dragons and knights. Kings and wizards and swords. The daring princess and children falling into other worlds. Talking animals, flying horses, magic spells. Here were epic battles and parts so dark and scary that sometimes as a child she’d had to close the book in order to sleep at night. Only to open it the next day to find out if the hero really saved them. Here, anything could happen, everything could happen. Because to a child anything was believable and everything was possible. Lost in memories, the writer rounded the corner of a book shelf and nearly tripped over a little girl. She was about 4 years old with blonde hair and huge, bright blue eyes. She was clutching an upside down book to her chest and still giggling. The writer knelt down in front of the child.

“Were you the one I was following?” She asked.

The child nodded. The writer laughed.

“What book do you have there?”

The child held out the book for the writer to see. The writer took it and turned it right side up.

“The Cat in the Hat?!” The writer exclaimed. She looked back at the child.

“Would you like me to read it to you?”

The little girl nodded a few times very quickly then sat down right next to the writer. The writer glanced around.

“Right here? Okay.”

She sat down next to the child and opened the book. She looked at the little girl and the little girl stared back brightly with anticipation. The writer smiled. She looked back at the book and read the first page.

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.”

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