Becoming the Hero
Nora spent her nights trying to not get kicked out the library. There had been a few nights she’d managed to just crash in the massive pillows in the kids section. Then the security got wise of her hiding under them and she had to get more creative. There were the high windows were she could hide if the ladders were close. But it was dangerous considering she had to push the ladder away or someone would think to look in the one she was hiding in.
But once everyone had left the building was hers. As were all the books. That was the best part, they were better to cuddle up with than her grandmother’s bity dogs. Nora adored her grandmother, but she still needed a break from the constant care she had to give. The house nurse came by three times a week, so Nora took those chances to sneak into staying over at the library.
She’d told grandma that she had friends living nearby that she was staying with. It wasn’t entirely untrue, she considered these old spines and the sweet smell of paper were her dearest and sweetest friends. Nora had spent a good amount of this evening in one of the study rooms, a history book keeping her company.
The whispers started then. The first time it had happened she’d thoughts someone else was hiding in the library. She’d spent the night searching for someone, anyone, Nora didn’t want to share this place with anyone else at night.
After the third time it had happened she realized, it was the books. The ones on the shelves. They were telling their stories, not just the ones on the pages, she’d gone to the childrens section and listened to them once, it had been hard at first hear one when they were all whispering, but she could hear it, they were telling the stories that weren’t written, the stories that continued beyond the pages.
Smiling Nora closed the history book and put it on the shelf next to its fellows, where it began to argue with the book next to it about the subtle difference between its own record of history and the one the next book contained. Nora preferred the literature sections to the history, non-fiction, and philosophy sections, all they ever did was ague. The literature, fiction, sci-fi, even the romance sections, they told stories.
Nora sat with her back against the shelf listening to the tales, she still couldn’t always pick out exactly which story she was listening to but that didn’t really matter to her. She liked the voices of the stories.
“So, you can hear it.”
Her eyes shot open, and she looked around in panic. The voice had sounded from right infront of her. No one.
“Honestly, when they even suggested I keep an eye on you I thought it would be a waste of time.”
“Up, you plebian, up.”
He was floating, wisps of dark smoke, the color of his suit were slowly drifting away from his form, and Nora could see the stained glass window behind him through him.
Her first instinct kicked in, she screamed and ran.
The figure sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose while floating after her, slowly sinking to the ground.
“What are you going to do? Call the athorities? Your trespassing on private property yourself, child. I have more right to be here than you do.”
Nora paused with the library public phone in her hand. She was sure she was loosing her mind, but what he said made sense. Maybe it was just a figment of her imagination, after all she’d been staying at a library to avoid responsibility... Slowly she put the phone down and turned. He was standing in the doorway, seeming more solid by the moment, he brushed something off his shoulder.
“Well at least she has some intellegence.”
“Who, or, what are you?” She managed.
“I’m not important,” he said. Nora raised an eyebrow to which he sighed, “If you must have a name or a title or something you can call me Wisp. I am here to ensure you get off on the right foot.”
Wisp sighed, “I had to be assigned to the one world where the dominant inhabitants think it is all just a story.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose again. “I suppose the quickest way just for me to show you.”
Without another word he took her wrist, his grip much stronger than Nora would have thought for his size, and dragged her down the hall, up the stairs to the second floor.
“What are you-”
“Just wait and you’ll see.” Wisp said, he pulled her to stand before the stained glass windows. “Just take a step through here and-”
“And what, die? That window is over the parking lot.”
“For one who hears the books, you don’t have much of an imagination.” Wisp pushed her to stumble forward into the window.
There was a shattering of glass, but she didn’t feel the sensation of freefalling. She stumbled forward into a long, dark hallway. A quick glance backwards left her staring at a whole glass window, but it wasn’t the same she’d always seen. This one was of the library she’d just left.
She stammered and stumbled over her words, staring at the window.
“Wisp? Wisp where are-”
“Go forward and take the test,” his voice came from everywhere. “I hope you’re more successful than you actually look. Who knows you could become the next hero. I pray to the Last Hero that you’re not a villan. That would make three in a row from Earth, we may never get to participate again.”
“Just follow the hallway, I’ll see you again, hopefully.”
The hall didn't stay dark for long. Windows twice the height of the library's flooded in bright morning light. Nora timidly went to one of the windows. She stumbled away after only a moment's glance.
Either the windows were all just screens with an ocean background, or this hallways was floating above a massive sea. Nora swallowed and turned her attention to the other change in the hallway. The statues.
Each one stood as tall as the room, they were people in heroic poses, weapons drawn, trimph written on their faces. They each looked to be the work of a master. She glanced at the plaque at one of their feet.
Elisabeth "Red Riding Hood" Whipstaf & Leon "Huntsmen" Whipstaf
Victors over Erin "Big Bad Wolf" Remlulous
Third Semi-Annual Tales Event