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Mystery

The library had been closed for two years when Rachel Samson walked into it. The shelves were empty now and dust rested peacefully where books used to stand. The lighting gave the room a yellow, hazy tone. The air was stale and hot, and Rachel could feel her allergies waking up as she walked towards what used to be the checkout counter. Yellow highlighters, sticky note pads, old pencils and library hour flyers littered the counter top. Rachel stepped behind the counter and looked around the library that she had recently inherited from an uncle that she had never known. Henry Samson’s will had stated that Rachel Emma Samson was bequeathed the library located at 256 Tine Ave because she would know what to do with it. Along with the deed to the library, Rachel had been left a folder of short stories written by the deceased Henry Samson. Rachel had no idea why he had left these things to her or what she was supposed to do with an old library.

The library was small with only twenty-five shelves for books, a checkout counter that stood close to the entrance, and a small coffee bar area towards the back of the room. There was a small reading area that still held three maroon colored cushioned chairs that had been placed in a circle around a dark wooden coffee table. The chairs and coffee table were now covered with clear plastic tarps. Rachel moved to the reading area, pulled the plastic tarp off of one of the chairs and sat down. She had just started to pull her Uncle Henry’s folder of stories from her bag when she heard a loud thudding noise. The noise startled her, and she jumped from the seat.

Nervously, she called, “Hello? Hello, is someone here?"

Her eyes quickly scanned the room, but she saw nothing. The thudding noise started again. It sounded as if it was coming from one of the aisles. Clutching her bag that was hung across her chest, she walked slowly towards the shelves. Silence filled the room as she checked each row for a sign of something that could have made the noise, but there was nothing. Rachel could feel her heart pounding rapidly, and realized that she was holding her breath.

“Oh, calm down! It’s an old empty building that’s just making creaking noises.” She tried telling herself as she took a deep breath and walked towards the coffee bar area.

Just as Rachel reached up to open the door on the cabinet that hung above the coffee machines, the room went dark. She froze. As she slowly turned around, she saw a dim light starting to shine next to the checkout counter. She stood watching as the light at the counter grew brighter and brighter until she could see that a large hole had opened. With her heart pounding, she started to make her way towards the front door. As she got closer to the hole, she could hear what sounded like wind swirling around inside of it. The brightness and heat of the light was now radiating out into the room, and the air was filled with the scent of dampness. She inched her way along the wall trying to stay far from the lighted opening that was growing wider. As she got closer to the opening, she could feel an energy pulling at her body. The energy pulled her towards the opening. She screamed as she grasped for things to hold on to. Everything she reached for slipped from her grip, and she was suddenly right in the foggy mix of dark and light at the entrance of the hole. She heard the loud scraping noise and at that moment was fully sucked into the depth of the hole. Almost immediately, the hole closed and she could feel her body rushing through a long vessel into darkness. Suddenly, her body stopped and silence surrounded her. The darkness lifted and she saw that she was in a forest. She jumped to her feet, out of breath and heart racing. She looked around, scanning the area for danger.

The forest was quiet, except for the distant sound of a lone bird’s song. A periwinkle blue sky hung above the tips of the dark green pine trees. Streams of sunshine shone through the thickness of the trees and lit up a path that led deep into the woods. Rachel began cautiously walking the path; her shoes crunching on the hard dirt trail. After walking for a bit, she was startled by movements in the trees. Her body tensed up and her breathing quickened. She tried to calm herself with a slow deep breath, but just as she tried, she saw a large group of small creatures rushing towards her. They were coming from every direction. She tried to run, but tripped on a small stone and tumbled to the ground. As she sat herself up, she found herself completely surrounded by elf-like creatures. They had large, blue eyes and narrow, pointy ears. They were dressed in colorful clothes with black belts, pointy toed boots and beanie type hats. Anger and fear mixed together to give their faces a harsh, fierce look. They came at her with weapons of stones, spears, and sharp metal pieces making loud screeching noises.

“No, please, no!” Rachel screamed, putting her hands up to shield her face. As her words echoed through the air, the elf creatures suddenly stopped.

“You speak? Who are you? A bold elf stepped forward and demanded.

“I’m Rachel. Please don’t hurt me. I don’t know what’s going on.” Rachel stammered as tears streamed down her cheeks.

“Rachel?! You are the one we have been waiting for!” the bold elf shouted as loud cheers began erupting from the group.

“What do you mean?” Rachel asked with confusion as the bold elf tried to quiet the crowd.

“We were in the story your Uncle Henry was writing. It was late and he was at his desk working. He was very close to the end. We were supposed to live happily ever after in our own beautiful world, but then something happened.” The elf frantically explained.

“What happened?” asked Rachel.

“We don’t know for sure, but there was a loud thunder-like noise, then a strong swirling wind pulled us from the pages of the story and shot us down this long, dark passageway. We ended up here in the Forest of the Dark Keltins. The Dark Keltins are large, black creatures with massive, veiny bat-like wings that make a loud thunderous noise when they flap. Their arms are long with sharp claws at the ends of their bony fingers. Their heads are round and covered with scales, and their mouths have sharp, pointy yellow teeth. We have to hide from them all the time or they will grab us and take us away to be eaten. We have already lost some of our group. We have been trying to find a way back. Then a message showed up in the sky from your uncle saying that he could no longer help us get back, but that he would send his niece, Rachel, to get us back to our story, so we have been waiting for you.”

Just then the sound of thunder filled the air. The sky grew black as the Dark Keltins filled its space. Rachel and the elves ran as fast as they could, hiding behind trees and under stones. Holding their breath until the world quieted down and the Keltins passed over. Rachel lay on the ground trying to catch her breath. She sat up next to the tall pine tree as the elves began to come out from hiding and gather around her. She pulled the folder with her uncle’s stories from her bag and dug down to the bottom of it to find a pencil. She found the story called, “Victory of the Elves,” and quickly flipped through the pages until she saw where her uncle had stopped writing. Rachel quickly started writing.

The battle had been fierce, but the elves had prevailed. Everyone in the village had come together to stand strong against the powerful Dark Keltins. And while they had lost some of their community, they knew that battling together had made them stronger. It was a new beginning for the elves. They rebuilt their village with new homes, flower gardens and beautiful statues. They chose the bold elf as their new leader, and they lived happily ever after.

As soon as the sentence was finished, a powerful wind started swirling around Rachel and the elves. Between the trees a large hole filled with light began to open. Rachel and the elves ran to the opening and jumped in. They tumbled through the darkness until everything finally became still.

Rachel stood behind the checkout counter of the library. The floors had been swept, the light bulbs replaced, the coffee machine filled and the shelves dusted and filled with new books. Everything was clean and ready to open. The bell on the front door chimed. Rachel looked up to see a box of books being carried in.

“Rachel Samson,” the delivery man said, “please sign here.”

Rachel signed the delivery slip for the books, and then opened the box. She held the book in front of her as she read the cover, “Victory of the Elves” written by Henry Samson, finished by Rachel Emma Samson.”

“Your new book?” the delivery man asked.

Rachel smiled and answered, “Yes.”

“Congratulations on the new book and the library reopening.” the delivery man said as he walked out.

November 05, 2023 06:11

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4 comments

Hannah Lynn
03:01 Nov 15, 2023

Fun story! I enjoyed it a lot. 😊

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Janni Roberts
02:18 Nov 16, 2023

Thank you. I appreciate you reading it.

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Tom Skye
14:58 Nov 12, 2023

Great magical story, Janni. Shades of Narnia :) Really enjoyable to read, and an imaginative use of the prompt. Nice work. Thanks for sharing.

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Janni Roberts
02:19 Nov 16, 2023

Thank you so much. I appreciate you reading it!

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