Alex was a perfectly normal teenage boy living in a perfectly normal Midwestern town. Of course, he thought he was a special little snowflake, different from everyone else; but he was, in fact an incredibly average ordinary boy. He had always felt like his life was a bit boring. He had tried different things to spice up his dull life, but had found nothing satisfactory. Many people had told him that reading was a good way to find adventure so he decided to make a trip to the local library to give it a try.
Alex lived in a financially challenged town and the library reflected the town’s humble sense. The windows (or lack thereof) made the library a dark and disagreeable place. It was short on cleaning staff so it was always a bit dingy inside. It was so quiet Alex could hear the intermittent wheezing of the old librarian as she shuffled between the bookshelves There was scarcely anyone in the chilly library but the few recluse nerds present looked up at him as he passed.
Alex chose an empty table in the corner and sat down. He gazed around with a bored expression on his face. He glanced back at the table and there was a quill, an inkwell, and a yellowish sheet of old looking paper. He could have sworn those weren’t there when he sat down a minute ago. He scanned the library to see if anyone was watching and gingerly picked up the quill.
It was soft to the touch and had a wispy feel about it. The ivory color reminded him of spoiled milk and he put it down. The inkwell was a stout glass bottle filled with a sullen dark liquid. It was smooth and heavy but had a rustic feel about it. The parchment was obviously ancient and almost falling apart. It looked like someone had taken the skin off of a very old person and stretched it out to dry.
The aged trinkets absolutely enthralled Alex. Not quite fully aware of what he was doing, he uncapped the inkwell and dipped the quill in to the ominous liquid. He moved the quill carefully over the parchment and began to write. “My name is Alex Lovel and I,” Alex didn’t get to finish his sentence. He stared at his hand in awe as it moved seamlessly across the page.
It seemed as if his hand was moving all on its own. No! it was the quill! The quill was moving Alex’s hand. He tried frantically to let go but his hand was stuck to the quill. He tried to pry his hand off the enchanted item but it did not budge. The quill was moving fast now, scribbling symbols and patterns he did not recognize. His hand was moving so fast he could barely see it. Alex started panicking. He looked around frantically for help but no one was paying any attention.
The quill decided to move off the parchment. The strange inscriptions floated off the page and into the air. They circled around Alex, spinning faster and faster until he could no longer see the musty library.
Alex had no idea such turmoil could be experienced. He tried to scream for help but the library was gone. He was screaming into a vicious cyclone of archaic letters. He thrashed about violently trying to escape but he was tossed about like a rag-doll. Alex could hardly hear his frantic heart beat over the howling winds. The wind tore the sweat off his face before it formed.
The whirlwind trapped him inside its unforgiving cycle for so long Alex lost track of time. All he knew was that he was about to reach his limit. His body was exhausted and he was on the verge of passing out. Stars danced in front of his eyes. No! Wait! Those were real stars! The swirling had slowed enough for him to make out a starry night sky. He lunged towards the sky trying to grasp it. The words slowed more, revealing trees in a circle around the sky. It was as if he was lying on his back and looking up at a forest clearing. The only this missing was the solid ground under his back.
When he hit the ground it felt like his insides shattered. The pain was so extreme he could not breathe, move, or even think. He tried to take a breath but there was no air to breathe. He tried again. but still nothing. When he was finally able to breathe again his ribs rattles in pain. He tried to sit up but that only doubled the pain. He fell back to the ground, too hurt for tears, lying in a broken heap.
He opened on his eyes and began to take in his surroundings. Everything was so incredibly green. Unnaturally green. The new surroundings entranced Alex. The green seemed to seep out of the forest and into his body. He somehow gathered the strength to sit up and look around. He took a deep breath of the fresh forest air, taking in the earthy smell. The air entered his lungs, and a warm fuzzy feeling spread throughout his body. He sat up and stretched his arms. He felt completely fine! All the pain was gone.
Alex stood up excitedly. He hopped from one foot to another testing out his legs. They worked fine. Joy and relief overwhelmed Alex. The feeling he felt was like no other. He felt like he was floating on a cloud; his head was clouded by the incredible happiness. One minute he was lying helpless on the ground, and now he was feeling better than ever. He bounced gaily around the clearing. It was so bright and cheery he thought he could never be hurt again. The grass was so soft and cushy, like carpet that would be in a kings room. The trees seemed to beckon him closer to them, calling, luring him into their tangled branches. He hardly noticed as he drifted over to the edge of the clearing.
There was a stunning piece of fruit hanging off one of the low branches in the forest. It was only couple yards in. It was an apple, redder than a scarlet sunset, bathing in dazzling light. It stood out like a drop of blood against the greenery of the forest. A consuming need for the ravishing piece of fruit came over Alex. He knew he would simply die with out it. Alex had never felt such an engrossing desire for something. Alex stumbled across mossy logs to get to the alluring fruit. Everything seemed to be getting in his way. Rocks and sticks tripped Alex as he blundered towards his precious prize. The whole bloody forest was keeping it from him. He felt as though one more moment apart from it and he would explode.
It seemed like an eternity before Alex reached his destination. His fingers made contact with with the flawless skin and and a shiver went down his spine. He snatched the apple from the tree and marveled at its beauty. It was the deepest red he had ever seen. The skin was smooth and glossy to the touch. Alex could almost taste the sweet, crisp flavor filling his mouth. The thought made his mouth water.
Alex turned the apple over in his hand expecting to see the unmatched beauty continue to the other side. Instead he was met with an ugly, putrid rotten mess. He was too shocked to move. It felt as though he had been ripped from a dream. His beautiful apple was nothing but overripe chaos. Alex felt betrayed; like his only friend in the world had beat him with a stick and left him in the mud.
The apple began to crumble in his hand. He tried to hold it together but it ran out of his hands like sand. He felt the tears begin to fall. At first, he was confused as to why he was crying, but then he felt the pain. All of the pain he thought had left him hit him like a ton of bricks. It was worse this time, more intense. He fell to his knees screaming in agony.
The pain was so vivid he could almost see it. Every part of his body burned with all the fires from hell. His insides were trying to eat themselves. Alex was sure that his brain would not be able to take it and just short-circuit. It was so fierce he thought he would die right then and there.
Then the darkness came. It rushed its was out of the once welcoming forest and barreled towards Alex with the force of a moving train. The green that was once bright and cheery became dark and menacing. The trees grew taller, swirling and churning making Alex dizzy. Vines burst out of the canopy and lashed at his face. The once soft grass became a cold, hard, floor. The darkness filled every crevice. It was pitch black all around him. Something very dark pummeled towards him, tearing at his clothes.
Then Alex began to hear things. Laughter. Someone was laughing at him. It started out as a soft chuckle, then a cynical snicker, then it escalated into a roaring guffaw. It was not like any human laughter. It was almost 3D. The laughter was coming at him from all directions. Alex put his hands to his head to his ears trying desperately to block it out. It felt like Alex’s eardrums were going to burst inside his head. He screamed, begging for the awful noise to stop.
The noise did stop but what followed was even worse. Everything went silent. Nothing moved. Alex held his breath, listening anxiously. There was nothing. Not a sound. Alex had never experienced such quiet. It was eerily peaceful. Almost…… safe. He dared to let a breath out but instantly regretted it. He heard something. A scuttle in the darkness. Something behind him.
He jumped to his feet, crouching, ready for an attack. He began slowly walking in circles, pacing an invisible enemy. There was a soft swishing behind him. He whirled around to face it but only succeeded in loosing balance and falling over. He scrambled to his feet again and spun around but faced only more darkness. He heard another scuffle and felt a tap on his back. Something was toying with him.
It was quiet for a while but then Alex heard it again, this time in front of him. He backed up slowly looking around frantically in the dark. The shuffling inched closer and Alex retreated faster. He tripped over his feet and fell hard on his back. He started to crawl backwards but hit something solid, like a wall.
The monster had him trapped in a corner and was coming at him. He curled his legs into a tight ball and began to rock back an forth. His face was twisted with fear and wet with tears and he made no effort to wipe them away. Alex sat in the corner, whimpering and sniveling as the beast drew closer. It was completely silent except for the uneven shuffling. He tried to shrink out of the darkness and out of the corner. He drew his hands to his face trying to block out the fear.
All of a sudden it felt like his heart stopped and Alex was hit with an incredible light. The glorious light washed away the darkness and proudly took its place. He stood up. His body was healed; but not like it was in the forest. Alex somehow knew that his body was healed for real this time.
He was on a beach. The cleanest and purest beach he had ever seen. The sand was like thousands of diamonds reflecting the beaming sun. The water was docile as it lapped at the pearly shores. Alex could see nothing for miles off the coast. He looked right and left and saw endless beach stretching for eternity on either side. The gentle wind, the comfortable sound of the waves, the taste of the salty air, it was all so peaceful.
Alex felt like he was floating. He drifted aimlessly towards the the sparkling water. The sand was warm on his feet. The sun rays descended onto his back like an angel from heaven. He stopped when he got to the water. The waves crept closer and closer to him. One especially zealous wave managed to brush his toes. The water was cold, but not in an unwelcoming way. It was refreshing and exhilarating. Alex stepped into the water and let the sand beneath his foot be sucked away by the oceans genial pull. He took another step and the water washed over his ankle. One step after another Alex made his way out into the shimmering waters. Soon enough his whole body was immersed and he was washed away by the gentle current.
Alex woke up in the stuffy library to a cranky librarian standing over him. “This is a library young man, not place to take a nap. Now get out! We are closing,”
Alex shot out of his seat, “Oh! B-but the quill! Where did it go? It was right here,” He looked around confusedly for the quill.
“Don’t be daft child. A quill? You must have gone mad,” she said with an exasperated tone, “Just get your stuff and get out of here.”
“Uhh, yes Ma’am sorry. Won’t happen again,” Alex grabbed his backpack and dashed out. He was awfully disturbed. He walked in a daze into the daylight and found a simple metal bench to sit on.
He was in shock. He had no idea all those emotions and experiences were inside him. The quill had shown him these new things and he was a bit scared. He had never felt such fear before. But the peace from the beach was still with him. It was faint, but Alex could still feel the safety of the never-ending seaside. It was something he was not accustomed to feeling. He would get used to it though, as it would stay with him for the rest of his life.