Once Dry Pages

With every rasping breath, goosebumps accompanied the puff of steam erupting— seemingly—from the very depths of her soul. The moisture in the air came from her hot breath meeting the bitter air around her. Her face scrunched up in an attempt to stop from gagging. The scent of salty adventure and something else entirely, had overwhelmed her senses, and she felt the ever-present tug of sleep pull at the inside of her eyelids. But she fought to keep them open.

She must pay attention. This moment was crucial, as they had said. So, she sat listening, waiting—looking...

It seemed to have lasted an hour—the silence. The constant ringing in her ears was enough to make her grow mad. As if she weren't a "mental case" as it was. Just ask her parents. They were the ones who sent her to this wretched place. They thought she needed to learn a lesson. She needed to see what it was like to open her eyes to new things. To "wonderful places" and "new sights."

She didn't even flinch when a spider scuttled across the hardwood floor and took rest by her shoe. She merely stared at the little creature—fascinated by its numerous eyes and hairy legs. It seemed to be watching her. Examining her. After ten solid minutes of staring into those great, yet miniscule glassy orbs of eyes, she looked up at one of the largest occupants in the room. It had been her one source of comfort for as long as her parents had sent her here. This thing was constant—unwavering. It was more of a friend than anything that it was actually used for.

I would know. I have been locked in here for years. Why? I was one of the "blessed creations" as they had called me. It was "only going to be for a short time".

Lies.

I knew I would never be chosen. No one would ever pick me. Why would they? I have too many flaws. My skin is blemished and cracked, and my very insides seem to be rotten to the core.

My soul is dry and bare.

But hers was not. Her soul was full of potential, life, longing, hopes, dreams and ambitions. Oh how I envy her, this girl. She had no idea what a great life she had. She had a place to go every night, and at least she had enough of a mind to be able to waltz through the aisles on her perfect human feet, and her perfect human legs.

She reached out her perfect human arms and perfect human hands, and I saw her perfect human fingernails that were painted a crimson red. Her fingers danced on spines that were stacked rather haphazardly on the shelves. When she touched my spine, I closed my eyes and felt an indescribable pleasure that one never gets to feel for more than one moment. It was the first time I had been touched since I had arrived here.

But then she was gone.

She had turned the corner, to browse another section of this asylum that people never seem to stop coming to. They are tricked by the ever so appealing—my heart skips a beat.

She came back.

She came back!

She walked right towards me. Her lips twitched into a twisted smile that was mysterious, but welcoming. She picked me up and scanned over my back. Then she nodded. It was a blissful nod, full of joy and wonder. She wanted me. For the first time I was wanted!

That night, I was opened for the first time. My spine cracked and for once, I felt ALIVE! Truly alive! And as she turned my pages, I became more anxious. If I could cry, believe me—I would. We sat there for hours, in the dim candlelight, and when she closed me, I felt relieved.

And she smiled.

She picked me up.

She carried me out of the room.

She set me on the table in front of her mother.

The mother smirked and looked at her daughter, but picked me up, and began to read.

I am a book.

A book who has spent their entire existence in a library. I was abused, isolated, and uncared for. But in one day, I became a child's first love. As I felt my pages begin to turn once more, I knew my story was just beginning.

By: Ally Washka