Fantasy Fiction

A short, jolly fellow named King Hunch ruled Aurora Island. The citizens of the island trusted King Hunch even though he often had changing perceptions of how to rule the land. He often had dreams which led him to make important decisions or sometimes, he just had a hunch of how things should be done. King Hunch was from a lengthy line of family members gifted with a believed discernment and insight, so no one questioned him. Well, not until the day, a little boy was born, named Philomath, better known as Phil.

Phil was born on March 2nd, otherwise known on the calendar as National Reading Day. At a youthful age, he developed a fascination coinciding with his date of birth, reading everything he could get his hands on. However, Phil had one major problem with his interest, no one else on Aurora Island cared anything about reading anything, much less books.

Aurora Island didn't have a library or a bookstore. The children went to school every day, but other than learning the basic language of the island, most of the children's time was spent in activities King Hunch felt were more suitable, like music, art and playing sports. King Hunch felt these tasks encouraged children to use their imaginations and explore their own feelings.

Born in a land where no one else felt the same way, Phil often found himself spending most of his time alone in search of anything to study, research or read. One day, while Phil wandered about the island alone, he ventured much farther than usual. He came across a small yellow cottage he'd never seen before. An elderly woman in a long flowery dress sat on the porch humming as she knitted a blanket.

"Young man, you've come a long way from town. Are you lost?" She asked.

"I'm not lost," Phil answered.

"Everyone who ventures this far out is lost."

"I have a map."

"A map? Just where did you find a map on this island?"

"I didn't find it. I made it," Phil said as he reached in his pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper outlining everywhere he had previously ventured on the island.

The elderly woman glanced at the map then looked at Phil with one raised brow, "So you're one of us?"

"One of who?" Phil wrinkled his brow.

"When is your birthday?"

"Why do you want to know my birthday? I don't even know your name."

"My name is Prudence, and my birthday is March 2nd."

"That's my birthday too!"

"I know. We all have the same birthday.


"Those of us born this way.... different."

"I thought I was the only one. Where are the others?"

"You will know the answer to your question when you gain more knowledge."

"How can I gain knowledge when there is nothing to read or study. Who will teach me?"

"There are books, but remember no one reads them, so you won't find them in plain sight. You're smart. You will figure it out." Prudence disappeared into the house.

Phil followed his map back towards town, but instead of looking in plain sight, he walked slower and looked more closely at his surroundings. Still, he didn't notice anything different. Other than the numbers on mailboxes along the path, there were no words to read anywhere and certainly not any books

When Phil reached home, he plopped down on his bed and brainstormed. Where would he find something that's not in plain sight. Where would he even start looking? He decided to search the entire house.

He went to the kitchen and opened all the cupboards. The cans and boxes had words, but he had read these words a million times over in his life. He searched the entire house, opening every single door and drawer he could find. Still, he found nothing beyond words he had read again and again. Then out of the blue, an idea popped in his mind, the attic. It was a place he hadn't looked in before except for when Mom made him lug the Christmas decorations up and down each holiday season.

Phil headed to the attic, excited about the possibility of finding something new to study. He searched through boxes of things his mother no longer wanted but couldn't dispose of, but still he found nothing. Just as he was about to give up completely and write Prudence off as a crazy old bat, he spotted an old trunk in the corner covered in thick spider webs.

Anxiously, Phil brushed away the sticky webs so he could lift the lid, but when he pulled, it didn't budge. He pulled harder, but still nothing. He continued to brush away the web until he discovered the problem. The trunk was locked. The key had to be here somewhere, he thought.

He looked around searching the attic for where someone might have hidden a key. There must be something especially important in that trunk if someone took the time to lock it. As he was thinking about where to look next, he heard someone outside the house. He yanked the curtain back to see Dad at the front door, but before releasing the curtain, he noticed it. A key hung on a nail inside the window frame. Moving quickly before Dad came inside, he inserted the key in the lock and lifted the lid. There it was, the most beautiful sight he'd ever seen in his life, a huge trunk full of books of all kinds.

From that day forward, every chance he had, Phil snuck into the attic to read until he had nearly memorized the words in every book in that old trunk. Reading was his favorite thing to do. He couldn’t comprehend why King Hunch felt the citizens, especially the kids, didn’t need books to read. Phil had only one wish, beyond spending all his spare time reading. He wished that Aurora Island had a library where everyone could visit and read. Then they would see how wonderful reading could be.

When Phil had grown into a man, he kept his love of books a secret for fear of what everyone else might think of him, until one day he could no longer contain it. Phil decided it was time to share his love of books with the others, but before he did, he wanted to pay Prudence a visit.

He made his way using the same old map from his youth to the yellow cottage where Prudence lived. When he arrived, the cottage was dark, and it appeared that maybe Prudence was no longer there. He went to the door anyway and softly knocked. He wondered if he was wasting his time, just as a woman about his age opened the door.

"Who are you?" the woman asked.

"I'm Phil. I came to see Prudence."

"And just how do you know my grandmother?"

"I met her a long time ago. She introduced me to something incredibly special that changed my life. I want to thank her."

"She isn't doing very well. You can come in, but I can't promise she will even know you are here."

Phil followed the young lady inside to Prudence's bedside. Her body was frail, her face pale and she didn't even twitch when Phil reached down to touch her hand.

"This is Phil. I met you when I was a young boy. You inspired me to find the things in my life that brought me great happiness."

At the sound of his voice, Prudence's eyes fluttered and slightly opened, "You found the books?" she asked.

"Yes, I found them. I loved them. I read them many times over. I want everyone on the island to know what joy reading brings."

Prudence's lip lowered from a half smile to a frown, "No one will believe you, besides you know how King Hunch feels."

"They must believe me. He must believe me. They have no idea what amazing thing they are missing in life."

"I must warn you, it won't be easy. Others, before you, have tried. You must find a way to convince them. You can't just tell them."

"I will." Phil said before he made his way to the door to leave, "I will find a way to show them. I will convince them."

As Phil made his way back toward town, he thought long and hard for a way that would convince the people that books are wonderful. By the time he reached home, he had decided exactly what he would do.

The very next morning, Phil woke early and went outside to begin clearing land. He worked from sunrise to sunset in all kinds of weather. He made trip after trip to the home goods store. He nailed boards together one after the other. He hung windows and doors, painted walls and laid shingles on the roof. He worked every single day. As the people of the island walked past, they often asked him what he was building. The only answer he would give them was that he was building the most beautiful and interesting place on the island.

One day, he finally finished and stood outside the front door to hang the final piece in place, the sign above the door which read "Phil's Place." Once that was done, he unloaded the trunk from his parents’ attic, and filled one shelf with the books. It was all he had, but it was a start.

When the citizens who passed by realized he was finished, they began asking when they could come inside to look around.

"I will let you come inside," Phil said, "but only if you agree to do one small thing for me once you get inside."

The people were too afraid to enter, not knowing what Phil might ask them to do, no one would risk going inside. Then one day, Prudence's granddaughter came by for a visit. She had heard rumors of the town tale that no one had seen inside Phil's place because no one wanted to chance what he might ask them to do once inside.

"I'll go inside,” she said.

Phil led her inside the building and explained, “The only thing I ask you to do is spend fifteen minutes reading one of these books. If it makes you happy, then tell the others all about it when you go back outside."

"That's all you want?" she asked tilting her head.

"Yes, that's all."

She read for fifteen minutes then fifteen minutes more before she completely lost track of the time. Page after page she read, sometimes she laughed and other times the words made her sad, but she loved it, more than anything else she’d done before in her life.

After an entire hour had passed, Phil finally asked, "Do you like it?"

"It's the best thing I've ever done. I don't ever want to stop."

This is my library. It's all I ever wanted when I was a boy. I wish I could make everyone else see just how amazing it is to read books. The others are waiting for you to come back out and tell them all about it. Please tell them you love it. By the way, you can come back anytime and read as much as you want.”

When she made her way back outside, everyone waited in complete silence for her to tell them all about the inside of this magnificent, yet mysterious, building.

"It is beautiful, amazing, interesting, and beyond your imagination. But you'll have to go inside to find out for yourselves."

One by one, the citizens decided to go inside Phil's Place until every table and chair were filled with people holding books. No one else could even fit inside. A line formed outside the place of people waiting their turn to go inside.

When King Hunch noticed all the activity going on around Phil's Place, he gathered his men and rode over to check things out.

"Just what is going on over here with all these people in one place? The town is so quiet, there's no singing, no dancing and no games today because everyone has gathered here."

Nervously, Phil tried to think of a way to explain to King Hunch what he had done, but just as he opened his mouth to speak, the young woman, granddaughter of Prudence, spoke up first.

"With all respect, your majesty, my name is Genie, short for Ingenious. Philomath has built this lovely place, filled it with books from his childhood and invited the people inside to experience the same joy he did as a child."

"What nonsense is this? Joy from books? No one likes to study. Take me inside to see this place so I can talk to my people."

Phil and Genie led the King and his men inside the library. Once inside, the King was amazed when he saw the people with their heads buried in a book. Everyone had an emotion on their face. Some were sad, some were happy, and some were plain tickled. They were all feeling things in a way they’d never felt before.

"These books are quite amazing. They make the people feel so many feelings!" King Hunch declared. "This is wonderful beyond my imagination! I’ve never seen so many feelings in one place. I feel like we will should fill this library with all the books we can find! The children can come to visit during school hours. What a grand idea! Aurora Island Library, I like the sound of it!"

Before the King left out to locate more books to fill the library shelves, he promised to pay Phil and Genie to run the library the rest of their lives.

Phil wanted to thank Genie for helping him. When he parted his lips to speak to her, she leaned in and planted a kiss right on his face. Not long later, they were married and had three children named Bri, short for Brilliance, Tute, short for Astute and Sage, short for Sagacious, who all loved reading very much.

November 14, 2022 00:01

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Lily Finch
01:50 Jan 08, 2023

I was wondering if the King had some reason for banning books first? Did something happen? Maybe he is the original conflict maker? I like the story - great bones. A perfect kid story, for sure. Maybe the books caused King Hunch some discomfort in his family somewhere along the line. I like how Phil handled the situation, but I wonder why his parents didn't tell him about the books? Someone in his family knew about them. The story is awesome for literacy promotion. The names were great. LF6 One sentence I found: I feel like we will should...


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Millie Hazen
01:43 Nov 22, 2022

Prudence is a very creative name, along with all the others. This story was short and sweet and I enjoyed it very much! I also think it would make a great picture book, my little brothers would definitely read it. I actually am going to do some drawings for it in my free time just for the fun of it!


Melony Beard
02:28 Nov 22, 2022

I am so glad you stopped by to read it. I'd absolutely love to see your drawings. My email is melonybeard@gmail.com Thank you so much for the kind comments


Millie Hazen
03:18 Nov 22, 2022

I will definitely email them to you when I finish!


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Mary Lehnert
23:42 Nov 21, 2022

The Agatha Christie in me wonders if there were no books - how did they all read? Good work Melony and yes this is definitely one for the Children. Imaginative


Melony Beard
00:12 Nov 22, 2022

Well in the story I did briefly mention they learned the basic language in school. But yes I can see where that would be questionable. Good catch!


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Delbert Griffith
11:06 Nov 19, 2022

I really liked this tale, Melony. Feels like a fable because we get a message out of it. The names are cute as well. You know, if you had some illustrations to go along with this story, it would make a nice children's book. It has a contemporary feel and no violence.


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MJ Simons
19:19 Nov 16, 2022

I was glad when Phil met Prudence. It made the story interesting since they share the same birthday. I also like that the story focused on the importance of reading. This is a wonderful short story that I believe kids will love. I'm not sure which age group of children is the intended audience (if you decide to lengthen the story) but the kiss might be too much for them.


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Tommy Goround
04:31 Nov 14, 2022

Hiya... Nice start. Nice bones... Can we examine the conflict just a little bit? Suppose King hunch had lost his father because he planned everything. Suppose there was something that harms the island and created a king that was ' by the seat of the pants ' (haphazard) and did not like books. I don't recall Ray Bradbury saying why books were illegal in the future. Can you think of a reason? (The internet says: to keep people happy.) Perhaps it was just really control. It's a lovely story but it really really needs some conflict. Like...


Melony Beard
14:18 Nov 14, 2022

Thanks for the ideas. I appreciate you taking the time. I guess in my mind, the conflict is within Phil himself, an internal conflict. The prompt itself was about people using their feelings to make decisions. I never considered the King needed a reason beyond he didn't appreciate literature himself. I will rethink the story and see if I can pull it together a little better. I like the idea of using the King's past experience as a reason for his lack of literature appreciation, maybe like you mentioned, using his father. Thank for reading ...


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Mike Panasitti
02:23 Nov 14, 2022

A story on the joys of literacy with a romantic ending...who couldn't enjoy that?


Melony Beard
14:19 Nov 14, 2022

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment


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