Monday, November 25, 2013

The Magic of Libraries

The visual prompt:
Our main characters are:
A Giant ~ She thinks she's a normal-sized girl living in a tiny world. She is wrong.
A Wizard ~ He can cast every trick in the book as long as there's time for a spell check.
The special object in this story is:
A Flame Bow ~ For hot shots who want to fire fire.
Our story takes place in:
The Library ~ Shhh! The books are sleeping and waking them up would be a literal nightmare.
A library can be a very magical place. Anyone who is fond of reading knows this to be true. Large or small, scholarly or literary, thoroughly organized or eclectically random, every library offers the same magic, through its books.
Where does this magic stem from? Is it from the seeds in the imaginations of the authors? Those great minds who always strive to dig deep down the truth that is buried inside them and plant them in their writing?
Or does the magic stem from the readers? Those who pick up these fruits of knowledge and harvest the truths inside, to sow the magic seeds into their own minds?
Which comes first? The chicken, or the egg?
Let me clarify something, if you are questioning the claim that all writers speak the truth. Whether an author produces fiction or non-fiction, both types are still writing about the truth. Naturally, not everything you read should be taken as *literally* true, especially all the stories that are obviously completely made up! But at the heart of every well-written piece of work, there is a seed of truth, whether it be fact or history or moral or lesson. The reader only has to look for it.
Some people may believe that a library is a place that would be farthest from being described as anything like "magical." All they see are boring buildings that are stuffed with shelves upon shelves of books upon books. Most of these books will contain subjects or tales that you don't consider your interest or taste, books which you will never read or even touch in your entire life.
Only a *teeny* tiny fraction of these books will pique your curiosity and offer you the magical truth you were looking for. Sometimes the truth won't be what you expected it to be, but the magic is always there.
Do you believe that a library is full of magic? Because it's only true if you believe in it.
Let me tell you a story. You don't have to believe that it's a true story, as many events are exagerated, or even completely invented.
But... if you can suspend your disbelief for a little while...
If you can open yourself up to the possibility that some part of this story *might* be true...
If you believe in it, you may find a bit of magic.

All alone in the middle of the Fantazian forest, the wizard Perdu got ready to perform a very important spell. He wasn't sure that it would work at all, as the spell had never been attempted before, but times were desperate.
The Great Library was about to come under attack.
A little bird had told the wizard that the army of Malum was less than a day's march away from the library, with the intention of destroying it. The bird didn't say how many soldiers there were, or what weapons they had, but it was definitely scared. The wizard couldn't let anything or anyone harm the Great Library, as it was his sworn duty to protect its wealth of knowledge at all costs, like Trux the Wild and Verus the True before him.
But Perdu didn't feel powerful enough to stop an entire army all on his own. He needed outside help. So he had decided to teleport far away from the library and perform his spell in the privacy of the forest, so if there were any adverse effects to this never before tried magic, the library would come to no harm.
He laid the Wizard's Grimoire on a rock and opened it to the page where he'd written his carefully worded incantation. He rolled back his sleeves and held his hornbeam wand in the air like a conductor about to lead a full orchestra in the most important symphony of his career. Then he began waving his arms back and forth in a smooth, flowing motion, and started to chant in the ancient language:
Ignis, aqua, terra, aer,
Et elementariis quaeso
Ad borras et orientum, austri et occidens
Auxilia mittere.
Herba, bestia, homo,
Et non refert
Quod si potens solis
Aut luna ut suavis,
Et non refert.
In tempore necessitatis illius, et hoc vocat magus.

As Perdu spoke, the book began to levitate in front of him, and the surrounding area soon became charged with powerful magic. The air around him swirled in a fierce wind that threatened to knock him over, but he stood his ground, his long white beard whipping in different directions.
His wand began crackling with energy, spewing forth scarlet sparks, and his normally blue eyes glowed the same red color like he was being posessed. His arms began moving faster and faster, almost of their own accord, the spell nearly taking him over.
As he reached the end of his incantation, his wand arm shot up at an angle and pointed towards the bright, sunny sky. The wand shot out a beam of red light and, unable to control his own body, the wizard began to slowly and steadily draw a gigantic red circle in the air.
When the circle became complete, Perdu at last regained the use of his limbs and collapsed to the ground, exhausted from the great effort the magic had needed. The great circle started to glow and swirl and shine white, even brighter than the sun currently above him, forcing him to quickly cover his eyes with his arm.
Was his spell actually working? What was happening? What was this enormous thing that he had created?
Just then, squinting at the powerful light, Perdu thought he saw something step through the white circle. He gasped. He must have unknowingly created a portal between worlds! Someone was coming through it now. Someone really, really big.

Gigi Jones had fallen asleep in the library again.
She lifted her head off the table, stretched her arms out wide and yawned loudly. Gigi looked around blearily and scratched her head, slightly messing up her short black hair, and soon realized that the study room was almost completely dark. The only light she got was from the moonlight shining through window. But she remembered it being daylight just a minute ago.
"Oh no, not again," Gigi groaned. She must have been out of it for hours. The library workers mustn't have known she was in this study section and closed down the building with her inside.
She was at the library because she was struggling in her English Literature college class, but her school work often exhausted her, and she never knew when her narcolepsy would hit her. Normally she would have been in a study group with friends, who would be able to shake her awake after a while, or carry her and drive her home if she was particularly comatose. But this time all her friends had other plans, and she'd been forced to study on her own.
Well, this wasn't the first time this had happened. Of all the places to be locked up in for the night, she figured the library wasn't that bad of a place to be. She stood up and left the little study corner, wandering through the aisles of bookshelves in search of the children and young adult section. Their couches and beanbag chairs would much more comfortable places to sleep in than sitting at a hard mahogany desk.
It was really dark in the library, so it was pretty hard to see where she was going. She held out her hands and felt around for shelves so she didn't bump into them. After a minute she realized she was being dumb and pulled out her cellphone from her back jeans pocket so she could use the screen's light to see by. She noticed that she'd gotten a few texts and missed calls from her roommate Jeanie, asking if she was alright.
Gigi was about to respond to her texts when she heard something heavy THUMP! behind her, and she jumped in surprise.
It was a large book that had fallen off one of the shelves. She went back and picked it up.
"Once Upon a Time," she said, reading the title out loud by the cellphone's light. Taking a look at the back of the book, it seemed to be a large collection of short, updated fairy tales, including "The Banished Little Mermaid".
She looked up, saw the empty space where the book had slipped off its shelf, and placed it back. That was really weird, thought Gigi.
Then she heard another BUMP! and a FLOP! as a couple more books tumbled down and fell less than gracefully to the floor.
Something really strange was going on. Was someone in the library with her, or was she going crazy? "Hello? Is anyone there?"
Then something fantastic began to happen. Something so impossible that she wondered whether she wasn't still asleep and only dreaming.
She watched, amazed as books all around her started pulling themselves off the shelves, floating in mid-air and glowing a strange yellow light. Pages began flipping and turning of their own accord, and the books opened up to random pages. They floated forth and presented themselves to Gigi, one by one.
A slim book on American history for young readers flew in her face and opened up to an illustration of fireworks. She jumped back as little sparks flew out of the book and burst into miniature explosions right in front of her. "Whoa!" she said, eyes wide in awe.
Then another book took its place, this one probably about flowers, and she gasped as thorny vines sprouted out from the pages and bloomed into gorgeous roses.
An old floppy paperback that was next in line opened up and a golden ball with hummingbird wings flitted out of it, buzzed around Gigi's head and then hovered in place.
A Golden Snitch? Like from Harry Potter's Quidditch game?
She laughed in amazement and tried to grab the ball, but it dodged away from her hand. She lunged for it again, but it was just out of her reach.
Then she saw a very large green book float in front of her, distracting her from the Snitch. From its magical glow, she caught a glimpse of the title. "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".
Uh-oh. For some reason, Gigi had a bad feeling about what might come out of that story.
Sure enough, when the pages stopped flapping, it landed on the chapter where Dorothy's house gets caught in the twister. The deafening noise of wailing winds cried out from the book, and Gigi's short hair started whipping and flying in all directions. She saw a spinning tornado starting to rise out of the book. For the first time since these books began magically spewing out miracles, she was scared.
Gigi turned tail and tried to run away from it, but she was too late. The force was too strong, and she felt herself getting sucked into the vacuum of the twister. She screamed, but of course there was no one around to hear her.
"No!" Gigi cried. She hadn't been holding onto her phone tight enough and it had flown right out of her hand. She didn't know where it had gone, but there was no way she could stop and look for it. The force of the wind was so strong that it lifted her up off the ground, and she was helplessly pulled into the vortex, spinning and tumbling, not knowing which way was up or down.
The tornado sucked Gigi Jones right into the book and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz slammed itself shut. All the books that had been glowing and dancing in the air just a moment ago closed and fell to the ground in a great big mess, which would leave many librarians mystified in the morning.

Gigi finally landed on her back on soft, grassy, sweet smelling ground. She quickly sat up and found that she was outdoors in a wide open field, shining in bright sunny daylight. She blinked as her eyes tried to get used to all the sudden light.
Standing and looking around, Gigi had many questions flooding her mind. What the heck had happened in the library? Where was she now? Was she in Oz, or maybe Kansas? She had no idea.
Just then, Gigi heard a booming, ominous voice start speaking, and she couldn't tell what direction it was coming from. Frightened and confused, she spun around in search of the voice's source and heard it say:
By the power of fire, water, earth and air,
Elements, I command you.
To the north, east, south and west
Search for help.
Be it plant, animal or man,
it matters not.
Whether powerful as the sun,
Or gentle as the moon,
It matters not.
This humble wizard calls upon thee in our time of need

Whether the voice was speaking to her or someone else, Gigi couldn't tell, but the next moment she saw a big rip in the space right in front of her, a red laser beam of light burning a circle in the air.
When it finished, a milky white portal glowed and spun before her, almost seeming like it was inviting her to walk through.
Gigi was curious. That voice. It sounded like it was asking for help, and it didn't care who answered the call. Had some higher power greater than herself somehow summoned her to help someone in need?
There was only one way to find out.

To be continued...

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