How I Learned to Love to Read~
I used to loathe reading. It was the worst. For projects, I only studied the smallest of the smallest books that I could find.
Now, I was sitting alone one day in a big, red plastic chair after school had let out, waiting to talk to the school secretary. Suddenly, though, the librarian noticed me and asked if I could come help her in the library. Of course, I did not want to do this, but I didn’t want to be rude either. So I had said, “Yes,” and followed her.
The library was a big place, full of bookshelves filled from top to bottom, almost bursting because of how full they were, but back then, I didn’t care much. Who cared about reading?
She first asked if I was allowed to help her, if my parents would not mind. My parents were still at work, and I could just stroll home from school.
Anyway, I said that I could help her, and she told me to help sort through some new books for the library and put them on the shelf. Then, she left.
I stayed, all the while, sorting through this and that, not caring at all about where they went on the shelves. At least, that was until I saw one of the volumes. It had a radiant and vivid jacket, with two exuberant, lively characters on it. It looked a little interesting to me, yet the book was a million pages long. It was very unusual for the book to be this thick, so I opened it. Suddenly, I was swallowed into the story, not able to put the book down.
A girl glanced around, and then at her friend. They sat down, a little distance away from me. Then, I looked around, and the place was fascinating! A meadow full of trees and flowers, a great place to just sit down and watch the animals.
I walked over to them. “Hey! How are you guys? Can you tell me where I am?” I asked.
“Do I know you?” the girl inquired of me.
“No. I’m lost. Help me, will you?” I remember speaking.
“You’re in Rapacious Meadows. It’s about a mile away from the city. We biked here.” she stated.
“Rapacious? Doesn’t that mean greedy, or cheap?” I wondered.
“If it did, I don’t think it would be very fitting for this place.”she gestured around.
Her friend leaned over to whisper in her ear. I couldn’t hear much, but they might have been talking about me. Maybe they thought I was weird for asking these questions.
“Look, we have to go.” the girl said. “But if you walk thataway, following that path, you’ll find the city. People there can help you.”
Both of the girls stood up and started walking away, and I headed down the path, shooting weird glances at me.
Abruptly, the locale changed, and everything started to turn black as night, with millions of stars, as if someone sprinkled sugar over a black piece of paper. Then, I saw something.
I saw a police officer inspecting a crime scene.
“Hey, what happened?” I had asked.
“Murder.” she said, and walked away.
“Who??” I cried.
“You don’t recognise him?” she had replied.
“No. Should I?”
“Yeah. He’s the mayor. Mayor Ubben, if you didn’t know.”
“He’s not the mayor!” I cried.
“Are you lost?” she asked.
“I think so.” I said.
The police officer told me to follow her, and so I did. We got into her car and drove past some buildings. I didn’t recognise any one of them.
“Where do you live?” she asked.
“2024, Robinson Avenue, Harlem County, Indiana.” I answered.
“Indiana?” she asked. “Is this some kind of joke?”
“Well, you’re in North Carolina, honey.”
I didn’t understand what was happening. I then asked her to drop me off, but I soon realized that was a stupid idea. What would I do next?
I kept ambling this way and that, until again, everything went black and obscure. Why did that keep happening?
Up ahead, a few kids walking along a sidewalk, in a neighborhood.
I ran up to them and asked them where I was. They chortled, said I was in Liverpool, and sauntered off. This was outrageous! It was unfeasible! It was preposterous! How could I be in North Carolina one minute, and then in Liverpool, England, the next minute?
But it wasn’t just the site that changed. It was also the attire of the people. Ladies were wearing more ornate, formal dresses, and men were wearing suits. I had comprehended that I went back in time!
I asked a fellow passerby what year it was, and he told me. I was stuck sometime in the 1300s! From my history class, I knew that that was a time when the Black Death, a fatal, deadly, and dangerous plague had struck. It could be anytime! I hurtled away as fast as I could, past buildings and people, ending at a harbor.
A medium sized ship was moving toward me. Its yellow painted bird on the bow loomed over me like an edifice. On the side of the wooden boat, I remember seeing the word ‘Eagle’ painted on the chipped timber.
A man who appeared out of thin air threw a thick rope around a big hook on the ship. He then tied it around a pole.
When the ship had finally stopped, more men stepped down from the ship and pulled out tremendous crates. I could just hear the rats in there. One squeezed through the slats of the crate.
It just happened. The beginning of bubonic plague. And I just witnessed it. The disease carrying rats scattered about. There could’ve been hundreds of them! However, the other men did not notice, as if this was normal. I needed to get out of here.
Again, I started running. Doing this as fast as I could usually turned the scene different. As I expected, the surroundings slowly disintegrated and turned ebony.
I walked toward the illumination, out of a cave. When was this going to cease? To my left was a cottage. I knew I could go that way to find someone to converse with.
In the cottage, there was only a rocking chair and a small fire. Whoever had been there was not here now. At least, that was what I first contemplated. I looked out the only window, greasy and foggy, for the fact that I had heard something. An old lady came walking along the path, holding a basket, and I hid in the corner behind the rocking chair.
I watched as she came in, pointed her finger at the fire and made it stop. She pointed with her ring finger now, and there was an opening where the fire was before. She closed her eyes, and slithered through the gap like a snake. I had the immediate hankering urge to follow, but I didn’t. Accidentally, though, I leaned against the wall and made a small sound. The woman came back out, and saw me. How alarmed and terrified I had been!
She asked me who I was, how I got there, and what I was doing. I could most obviously only answer the first question, for I didn’t know the answer to the further ones.
After this, she asked if I wanted to eat something. I was hungry, so I said yes.
I watched her pull a huge cauldron from the gap in the fireplace, realizing she was a witch! I was the most scared I have ever been in my whole and undivided life, the feeling eating away my insides.
She put in a bit of something pink unknown to me, a weird liquid that was blue, frog eyes, and a few lamb hooves. She added many other things I couldn’t decipher. I asked her what she was doing, and she replied that she was making me a soup. I told her that I thought that was the most unusual type of soup I ever heard of, and she said it was delectable! I could not believe her.
“I actually don’t want it anymore.” I had said, but she replied that I must eat it.
Weirdly, I felt threatened, so I started to run. Away I went, anywhere away from her!
Then suddenly I woke up. The four books that I had just read a few pages of were in front of me, astrew across the table. My surroundings were easier to see now, and I was in the library.
The librarian came walking back into the room, and I picked up the four books and asked to check them out. I did, put them in my backpack, and walked out of the school. Along the road, on the sidewalk I walked, toward home. And when I got there, I kicked off my shoes, ran upstairs, sat on my bed, and started to read.