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Author's Ramblings: This is a snippet of prompt fiction, thanks to a certain sibling of mine who provided the prompts of "book, sheep, lock and house." I started with the book and it kind of wanted to runaway on me, so I kept it short. :P Anyway, happy reading to everyone and thanks for stopping by!
“Well, are you going to open it?” Lindsey snapped her chewing gum, her perfectly manicured fingers hovering over the thick, gilt-edged book. “It looks good.”
“It’s a book, how could it possibly be good?” Tasha rolled her eyes, fishing inside her shirt to retrieve the necklace key. “I don’t know, I’ve heard a lot about these books, Gram just said for us to dust them off and put them back up on the shelf.”
“Uh-huh and that’s exactly why you’re gonna gimme that.” Lindsey made a swipe for the golden triangle pendant.
“Ow, hey! Watch it!” Tasha jerked backwards. “It’s still around my neck you know, are you trying to pull my head off?”
“Good grief, like no!” Lindsey sighed, extending her hand in exaggerated politeness. “May I please see that key?”
“And if you open it and something weird jumps out?” Tasha handed over the long golden necklace. “Be careful with that.” Her soft brown eyes narrowed. “And I do mean careful, Lind.”
The blonde rolled her eyes with a particularly loud snap of her gum. “Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all, if I’m not careful, then I’ll never get the chance to do this again and we all know just how hard it was to convince you to let me help you clean your grandmother’s bookstore.”
“My grandmother’s antique bookstore.” Tasha corrected. “And no one’s twisting your arm.”
“Yeah, but you’re always spending all your free time here and we never get a chance to hang out anymore.”
Tasha snorted. “You mean we don’t get to waste time and money by standing in the mall drinking milkshakes and eating pretzels.”
“They’re books!” Lindsey scowled. “Big fat books with big fat locks on them and so much dust, I can hardly breathe! You should have a vacuum and a feather duster going in here and—wait, what are you doing?”
“Reading…” Tasha mumbled, having found a seat amidst the stack of books, another pendant necklace dangling between her fingers, still hanging ‘round her neck.
“You’re reading?” Lindsey sputtered. “Now? How can you—wait, you have two of these thingys?” She held up the triangle pendant.
“I have more than two.” Tasha turned a page, settling more comfortably in her seat on the floor, her back resting against a tall stack of locked, dusty books. “It’s part of my job. I told you that already.”
“Part of your job is reading?” Lindsey threaded her way through the stacks of books to look over her best friend’s shoulder. “You said you just had to make sure the books were in good condition and then—what’s going on?”
“Shh!” Tasha waved a hand behind her, eyes glued to one colorful page.
“It’s a story about a sheep.”
“A sheep?” Lindsey slowly curled one free hand into a fist. “You’re reading a story about a sheep?”
Tasha slowly closed the book, turning with an expression of extreme annoyance written on her freckled face. “Lindsey?” Her soft voice demanded that her friend listen close.
“Sit down and read your own book.” Tasha’s eyes flickered dangerously with a hint of her redheaded temper. “Now, please.”
Lindsey swallowed. She sat. She waited. Nothing happened.
“Put the necklace in the book.” Tasha murmured, locking and patting the hardcover volume. “Now I have to wait until tomorrow to finish this one.” She sighed, setting the book down beside her and reaching for a dusty specimen. “Do it like this. Read it all the way through and then lock it back again.”
“It’ll clean itself.” Tasha gestured towards the recently returned book beside her. “See? It’s almost all new and shiny again, but you just had to interrupt.”
“I don’t get it.”
“You don’t have to. The books just work that way.” Tasha smiled, fondly. “Trust me, there’s some adventures in here that you’ll want to read over and over again.”
Lindsey opened her mouth to speak, then shut it. There was something about the smile on her friend’s face, even as Tasha’s attention turned to the book in her lap. She watched her friend use the necklace to open the complicated golden medallion on the front and run her fingers reverently over the first few pages.
She looked at the necklace in her hand and then pressed it to the front of her book and twisted, just like she’d seen Tasha do. Within minutes, she found herself caught up in a world where fishes were people and aliens lived in stone castle towers.
“Good story?” Tasha shifted to sit back to back with her. “Mine’s good, it’s about a shadow that sneaks out at night and puts candy in-”
“Shh! Don’t tell me.” Lindsey elbowed her. “I’m done with this one, that was wild.”
“There’s normal ones in that stack over there.”
“Houses with happy people kind of normal.” Tasha wrinkled her nose. “Very normal.”
“No wonder it takes you forever.” Lindsey set the newly finished volume on the ground. The book was virtually dust-free and gleaming as if it’d just been printed. “There’s only one of you. Looks like I’ll have to help every afternoon.”
Tasha elbowed her back. “Like I mind.”
© Sara Harricharan