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Castle of Books - Laura Wise

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June 14th, 2010


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06:04 pm - Castle of Books
Monday, hiding inside to escape the Pernicious* Heat...

[*Pernicious, a wonderful word: according to the Concise OED, "Origin: ME. From L. perniciosus 'destructive,' from pernicies 'ruin,' based on 'nex'...'death'.)

So, to honor escapes from the heat, and to thank the wonderful mobile_alh for her surprise gift to me to note this journal's earlier discussion of castles made of books, a vignette:


A had never been so hot in her life.

The air-conditioning in her apartment had broken; the bus had been suffocatingly hot, its broken windows concentrating passengers' breaths and sweat and curses into steam; the pavement burned her feet even through heavy-soled shoes. But she hurried, nevertheless, because the Library loomed just a block away.

A had just moved to the city a week ago, come to find her home after an exiled childhood. Even before she'd made the decision to move, however, she'd heard of the city's Library, a columned, ice-grey edifice that anchored the heart of downtown.

Here it would have to be cool, she thought.

Huge but smiling statues of gryphons marked the entrance to the Library. As the sun moved just to the most unbearably oven-element position in the sky, A scrambled between the gryphons' paws, up the dozen stairs, and to the glass doors.

She pushed. The doors didn't move.

"Say the magic words," came a whisper from behind her. When she turned, no one was there.

"Say the magic words," came the whisper again. Had the near gryphon moved? No. No, the heat was getting to her.

Shaking her head, she turned back to the doors. The stone surrounding the doors looked different -- not like stone at all, in fact, but like the leather spines of books. What she had taken to be specks of mica in the rockface were letters. But she couldn't read them.

"Magic words, my girl!" came the whisper, impatient now.

All sorts of half-remembered phrases danced in her mind's eye. Open sesame; Click your heels together three times; If you call him, he will let you in. None of them seemed right.

She looked up, up to the sky, where a strange pennant now unfurled in a gust of heat. The cloth snapped as it moved --

And A turned to the door, and snapped her fingers, and said, "I wish to enter the Castle of Books."

The glass doors opened -- not in a normal way, but as if they were the covers of a book being pushed apart by a reader's hand -- and A went inside.

The hallway was cool, and linen-light, and smelt of leather and paste.

"Now I'm home," said A, on a happy sigh.

The gryphons closed the door behind her and went back to waiting in the heat, guarding the Library's doors against those who didn't know the magic words.


May your week begin with happy sighs and lovely presents! :-)

(16 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:June 14th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
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Lovely:)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, L! Thanks, and happy World-Cup viewage. :-)
[User Picture]
From:anne_d
Date:June 14th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
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"Now I'm home," said A, on a happy sigh.

Oh, I like this!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 14th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Thank you thank you!

And I hope your week has started well. Have a lovely Tuesday!
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From:wildrider
Date:June 15th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
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I tried to read last night but kept falling asleep.

Good luck with the Castle! {hugs}
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 15th, 2010 11:22 am (UTC)
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I understand late-night sleepiness entirely!

Happy Tuesday, too. [hugs]
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From:stateless82
Date:June 15th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC)
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Me, too. I wish to enter.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 15th, 2010 11:22 am (UTC)
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Enter, enter. ;-)

Happy Tuesday, with added cool!
[User Picture]
From:nutterbudgie
Date:June 15th, 2010 05:48 am (UTC)
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Me three, please.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 15th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
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There's plenty of room. :-)

Thank you so much for reading -- I do appreciate it! Happy Tuesday, too.
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From:stevie_carroll
Date:June 15th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)
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Lovely imagery there!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 15th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
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Thank you! :-)

Happy Tuesday, too.
[User Picture]
From:mobile_alh
Date:June 15th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
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Oh, yes...happy sigh indeed.

What a delightful surprise!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 15th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
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I so appreciated the gift -- thank you, ALH. :-))

Have fun with Rainkatt, too! Happy week!
[User Picture]
From:heron_pose
Date:June 15th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
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I would've been stuck w/"Open Sesame".

(Perhaps you didn't know that it's All About Me.)

In other news, this week has been 10 degrees hotter than 'normal' for us'ns. On the one hand, I believe it; on the other hand, who can tell? Beastly is beastly, says I.

Also, pernicious.

::cool hugs; iced water w/lemon::
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:June 15th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
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Pernicious heat indeed! I send all sympathies your way, after I feel sorry for myself. (Heat index at 2 pm today? 108 degrees. OMG.)

Hugs, iced water, thanks, and thoughts of cool breezes!

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