Fiction

Fantasy Friday WK 1: “Books Are Magic”

Every Friday you'll find a short story based on a picture, portrait or painting. The stories and rights to the fiction are my own. "Books are Magic" is about an obsessive reader.
Every Friday you’ll find a short story based on a picture, portrait or painting. The stories and rights to the fiction are my own. Hope you enjoy! 

Fantasy Friday 1

He sat beside the opened window alone, passing the time with a small paperback book. His seat cushion was worn to the wood and was mildly uncomfortable. Not enough for Michael to pick a new spot. He loved it there, loved how the sun streamed in to provide natural light. His classmates tried to convince him to read in the library where the chairs were plush and the lamps were always on. But he needed to be near open air.

Michael was waiting for something. He just didn’t know what.

Often times, he was so absorbed in the tale of a book Michael would forget to go to class. Forget to eat and forget to sleep. And when he would remember to do all those things, he rushed to complete his errands, his nose still in the book trying to finish just one more chapter. This would cause him to run into people and furniture.

At first, his classmates found that irritating. Spilled coffee and shattered vases spoiled even the best of moods. But they found his absentminded apology and brief smile endearing. It didn’t take long for people to understand him. And now when they saw him coming, they darted out his path and guided him around heavy tables.

Michael fell in love with books early in his life. Every night, for as long as he could remember, his mother would read him a bedtime story. She would be so animated, assigning each character their own voice and tone. He always went to sleep happy. And when he was old enough to read and choose his own stories, he couldn’t help but use his imagination to really hear them. She taught him to see without images. He could walk along the Great Wall of China, feel the stone under his feet. He could witness the Vampire Queen Lilith sire a lover and feel revolted and sympathetic to her pain.

That was the power of written words. Books were magic. So why would anyone waste their time worrying about the mundane follies of reality?

He felt a breeze tease the smoke from his pipe. But it felt different. Deliberate. Michael lifted his eyes from the page and glanced around the room. He was indeed still alone. He peered outside. Not a soul in sight.

Did he just feel…?

Michael looked back down at his book, shaking his head. But he couldn’t concentrate on the words. The breeze returned and this time it fluttered the pages of his book and tugged on the collar of his shirt. He closed the book gently and sat up.

Roses.

He could smell a woman’s rose perfume, strong and intoxicating. There wasn’t a lady in sight and all his classmates were men. This was a sign. A warning? Is this what he had been waiting for? Michael felt the breeze sneak through the open window again and brush against the cord of his neck. And he was damn sure he felt a pair of delicate lips press lightly against his flesh.

Women carried a power all on their own, simply by existing. And if they had a man’s heart, that magic was infinite. Apparently, there was soon to be a woman in his future. And she had a power so raw, so pure, he could already feel her. She was sending him hints of what was to come. Michael was already under her spell. A woman who disliked his smoking habits. A woman who would demand his attention over his books.

And he would give it. She would take it, although he wouldn’t be able to help but offer it. He brushed a hand along his neck, where she had already pressed a kiss. And noted the red lipstick smeared on his fingers. She was a temptress and wielded passion like a double bladed sword. She would doom and delight him.

Michael placed his book aside and smiled to himself. He understood the magic of books so easily he was able to sense the magic of reality as well. His books had prepared him for this. For her. His fingers were already flexing in anticipation.

Finally, his story would be more interesting than the pages of his book. And he was ready for their first chapter.

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