A flash of light, a mysterious girl, and an even more mysterious land. These are just some of the things that await you behind the doors of "Where to Belong." When books and girls fly and where the very fabric of reality is tested, "Where to Belong" will keep you guessing to the very end.
|Artwork by Michael H., Grade 8|
Where to Belong
A striking flash of light struck the house in two. Acrid smells of smoke curled from the burning house. But strangely, it wasn’t burning. No, it was merely the blinding light engulfing the house, filling every nook and crevice. Every part of the house was smothered in this mysterious light- except for one tiny corner. The light stretched and teared to get to it, pulling with every drop of its energy. Then, in that one millisecond, everything disappeared.
Caroline slid out of the window. What had happened? She wasn’t sure. One moment she had been sitting on her bed, admiring the daylight streaming from her window, the very window she tumbled out of, reading her book, when she noticed the light getting stronger and stronger, and stronger still…..Caroline felt the grass beneath her. Course, rough, and bland, just like the way everything else seemed to her. Sighing, she picked up the bland book off of the bland grass and walked through the bland neighborhood that she was in. She came across the grasslands with the path winding towards a land nobody has ever dared ventured before. Now, it was deserted. Now, it was just a bland scenery for bland people to look at when life was too bland to be noticed. Caroline looked up at the sky stretching infinitely from the horizon.
She wanted to be a bird; she wanted to fly on the never-ending sky and let her soul be free. In her imagination, she saw a girl holding onto the strings of balloons, their colors striking compared to the dull neighborhood. The girl was somehow different from anyone Caroline had ever seen. It wasn’t her complexion; it wasn’t even the fact that she was flying. It was her energy, how it surrounded her, how it danced around her the most buoyantly out of all of the striking features that she possessed. It was the smile, so bright and graceful. The girl seemed so much more content than Caroline. On the girl’s dress was the word “Ella” sown in beautiful flowing letters. Then Caroline realized that it wasn’t her imagination. It was reality. The balloons were books drifting away, pulling Ella with her. Caroline glanced around her, but nobody seemed to notice the girl flying in the sky.
Ella gracefully retrieved a book with a flourish of her hand, and the book traveled down to Caroline. It situated itself on the fence in one graceful movement and flipped open the pages. It was a picture of Dumbo, the elephant. The pages flipped again, depicting Dumbo waving. Caroline hesitantly waved back. Another page. Dumbo’s long trunk pointed towards the direction of the grassland. Follow me, it seemed to say. With one fluid movement, it leapt off of the molding fence and fluttered onto the crusty path. It seemed to Caroline that it was winding to the very brink of the world. Cautiously, she stepped on the trail to follow the flyaway volume.
It seemed to go on for an eternity. But strangely, Caroline enjoyed the feeling of never reaching the end, so when they finally came to stop at a tall, stocky house, she felt a little disappointed. She would have pursued this peculiar book to the end of the world if it hadn’t been such an odd circumstance. The book swooped down and landed at her feet. This page was Dumbo taking his hat off as a welcome greeting. Caroline warily stepped into the house. She didn’t know why, but for some odd reason, this place gave her a feeling she never felt before. It wasn’t just that paperbacks were flying around at their leisure or that every nook and cranny was jammed with books; it was something more. The feeling of energy seemed to show up everywhere here. It seemed to brighten up; the air seemed to fill with color, emotion, and everything that Caroline had never experienced before. It was a refreshing feeling, suddenly opening her eyes to the world. Life didn’t seem as dull anymore; everywhere there was this magical feeling of happiness that seemed to thrive in every corner and every molecule of air in this house. Dumbo had a look of anticipation on his face as he looked to Caroline. He showed her a huge book twice as big as her, propped up on the lectern. It was filled with curlicues of letters, myriad characters, and seemed more magical than any book she had ever seen. Dumbo seemed to be asking her, Can you comprehend this? Caroline realized with a start that she could; the meaning was coming to her faster than a rapid going downstream. She wandered through this place in awe. Everything seemed so peaceful and just. Books-old, new, fancy, plain, big, small, hardcover, textbooks- anything you could think of- they were all here in this beautiful house. And to think that nobody has ever thought of coming here! Sequence the books into chronological order, commanded Dumbo to the mounds of books. He was clearly the boss here. The piles and piles of volumes greeted Caroline warmly with bursts of excitement. Some settling down on her arm whiles others bowed in unison.
"Will you dance with us?" asked the books. Caroline never felt so happy, so loved. The events following were blurs of joy, music, color, and energy. It was the most exhilarating day she had ever experienced. The pleasure was almost too much to process; Caroline only remembered the dancing, the jubilancy, and the laughing.
Somehow, she ended up in the most peaceful sleep she’s ever experienced. The large book, that acted as a bed, also helped. Sometime in the period between falling asleep and waking up, she seemed to realize something. That she was chosen. Chosen to be the one like Ella and find someone to pass on this life, to make someone else’s existence feel appreciated and fill it with color. She was chosen to help the world understand the importance of books, and to cherish these memories. Someday, she would be like Ella, floating with the books to someplace only people who have realized where the key can go to. Maybe she will pass down the book too, and fill up someone else’s heart to the brim of happiness.
by Ling X., Grade 8