I sat on the bench, hearing the approaching sound of thunder ricocheting through the air, colliding with the gleeful screeching of small children. I sighed and got up to find my friend, who supposedly was going to grab a quick snack at the nearby store. Instead, I noticed her staring at a tattered piece of paper clinging for dear life on a pole. As she looked back at me, I saw a manic smile spreading across her face, much to my amazement alike to the Cheshire Cat.
"You know what Indie? I think you should go to this karaoke event, you might enjoy it." She said as I watched the gears clicking in her brain as she evaluated how to persuade me into this. I realized what she was doing, because after our friend Sadie left town, I've done nothing but go through the motions of life. I sighed as I looked around. Fieldtown hasn't changed since Sadie left. In fact, I cannot remember ever growing up or having a childhood. I've not aged for five years. Neither has Evelyn, my friend, or anyone at school... Or anyone. I looked back at Evelyn and grimaced.
"Funny, remember last time I tried singing in public?"
"Just try it... We need to change things up a bit." Evelyn states, crossing her arms. I knew that look on her face, and now I knew I had to find a way out of karaoke.
The library stands next to the old shopping mart, which has been closed since forever. The library is made with crumbling bricks with little groupings of lichen sprouting all throughout the exterior walls. Inside, you are greeted with the smell of must and mold, old paper and cedar wood. Wallpaper that was filled with youth and light now is a faded image of the past. The main desk is mahogany with rings from lazy coffee cups dripping without a coaster. The lady behind the desk has dyed copper hair and a face with soft folded skin from years of work, and smiling green eyes. While pacing the rickety bookshelves, I ran one finger through the thick dust that frosted the entire room, and scanned the shelves for a interesting looking book. As I turned, about to give up my search, I saw a strange door. It was definitely ancient, as opposed to everything and everyone else in this town, this door was showing its age. I guessed it to be over one hundred years old, and it was dark dark mahogany like the librarian's desk, but without the coffee rings. It was intricate and stained from years of wear. I slowly looked to see if anyone was around, and finding no one, I slowly pushed open the door. It gave way with ease, and was surprisingly silent for its rusty hinges. I spun and slowly dragged the door closed over the rough carpet, and sighed when I heard the latch click shut. As I turned back to the room, I felt the air flee from my chest. The room was all spotless, dust free, and extremely ornate. Every bookshelf was light pine with unique carvings of books, pencils, and people. The space was immaculate and also gigantic. Light flooded in from somewhere I could not identify, and when I looked upwards it was so bright caused my eyes to water and burn. I walked across the dark, polished hardwood floors which creaked slightly under my weight. The walls were some kind of polished marble with pillars cascading from the ceiling. I finally reached one of the bookshelves, and knelt down to the lowest shelf. Light flowed from behind the books, and my eyes locked on one small red book. It had no title on it, and the pages were old and torn. I opened it and turned the first page. 'Sadie! We have to get going!' Complained Evelyn. We have to go get Indigo! Evelyn? Sadie? Like my old friends? Wait and me?! I heard quiet voices beginning to echo through the air.
"Absolutely! There's been a whole new batch of writers coming out with new books! So yes, I'll get those delivered... And you be careful with..." A oddly accented voice echoed from somewhere across the room from me.
"Yes I know, no one will ever know that book exists but you and me." I heard the librarian say. I heard the clicking of her scuffed ergonomically friendly shoes coming towards me, and I dove behind another bookshelf.
"PRESTON! THE... THE BOOK...IT'S GONE!" She shrieked at the top of her lungs.
"Impossible, no one could ever find that specific book, let alone get in here." The man Preston said slowly. As he passed me, I noted he was shorter than many people in town, and had greying brown curly hair with thin rimmed glasses.
"No, it's gone. This isn't a joke Preston! Do something!"
"Why should I do anything? Everyone else knows about their books. Plus it's not my issue." Preston then grinned. "In fact, kudos to the person who got it, they deserve to know the truth." Instantly I heard the sound of wind moving.
"I'll be back tomorrow with more books." And then he left.
I read halfway through the book when Sadie left Fieldtown in the story. Just like she did in my life, and also the Evelyn character was an exact copy of my friend Evelyn. In fact, the side character, Indigo, was exactly like me. At first I considered the possibility of someone writing a story about my life, but no one could get inside of my or my friends minds like that. I knew now that I had to find that Preston guy. I grabbed my phone and called Evelyn and told her to meet me at the library. I was surprised to find her sitting on the front stoop when I arrived.
"Okay, now what were you talking about?" Evelyn said while looking at me like I was crazy.
"Here... Read some of this book. It's... It's weird." As Evelyn reached for the book, I felt a shadow fold over us, and as I turned around, I saw a smirking Preston.
"Well I guess that solves the mystery of where the book went."
"Um... I've never..."
"It's fine kid." Preston said, sighing. "I was hoping one of you people would find it." He said, sitting next to us. I watched Evelyn's face pale as she finished the first chapter.
"Is this really... About us Sir?" She asked nervously.
Preston began to laugh, until he saw our nervous faces. "Uh... Yes it is. Let's just say, it was written by a person from a whole different world than yours." I blinked slowly and stared out into space.
"Then how did you get here? I've never seen you before." Evelyn asked quietly.
"Alright I'll just tell you the whole story." He declared, and began his story. "So, you know that the book is about you. I'm able to go to any book, because my author wrote that into my character. As for my job, I deliver books. Well, this is your world, called Red by all the other worlds, and it's all about your friend Shelly or whatever it was. Now she's gone from this town, so your part of the story is irrelevant, so nothing changes, because it wasn't written to change. So, you can do nothing interesting now, and your life is useless to any story events." He finished and smiled back at us.
"Harsh." I said quietly. "So can I go to other worlds like you?"
"I think so kid, but I'll have to talk to my advisor. Meet me here tomorrow, and I'll bring my advisor, and we will talk. Do not let anyone see that book, got it?" Preston fretted.
"Wasn't planning on it, but alright sir." Evelyn smiled, grabbed my arm, and walked away.
The next hours were agony and waiting. I finished reading the Red Book, completed my homework and watched some tv before going to sleep. The idea of other worlds, of having no control over my life nagged at me. I knew I had to get out of this book, so when I saw Preston and an old man sitting in front of the library, excitement bubbled up inside me. We walked into a meeting room and sat down around an old, broken down table.
"Indigo, meet my advisor. In my story, the characters need advisors to teach them about going from place to place so..."
"This is the girl?" The advisor said in a voice like nails dragging on a chalkboard.
"Yessir." Preston said, jittery.
"Why Sir?" Preston asked quietly.
"It is not in her character, I cannot help you get her out. If you do this, you do it alone Preston." The advisor snapped. He stood and left the room abruptly, stirring the dust off of the creaking linoleum floor.
"So that's it? I can't leave?" I asked, desperate to flee my worthless life.
"There is a way." Preston sighed. "I can take you out with me, but it is extremely dangerous, kid."
"When can I leave?" I asked, excited. Preston let out the breath he had been holding.
"Tomorrow kid. Better tell your parents, your friends, whoever."
"Oh, parents aren't a problem."
"They went with Sadie." I said sadly. "They went to supervise her on a trip, as her parents couldn't spare the time, and now Evelyn's parents watch me."
"Alright kid, we'll meet me here tomorrow at dawn, we should go before the townspeople get up." Preston said with a weak smile. As he left I knew how nervous he was about tomorrow, and I would bet he knew how I felt too. I was practically shaking as I walked to Evelyn's house. I had called her and told her we needed to talk, so now I'm staying the night. Her mom answered the door after four nervous knocks on the old metal, and told me Evelyn was in the backyard. My friend was smiling like the Cheshire Cat when I came out.
"So who should we tell about the book? What..." Her excited words were somewhat like a slap considering the news I was about to tell.
"There won't be any telling anyone." I said sadly remembering our childhood. Evelyn was like a sister to me.
"Okay we will keep it a secret." She said quietly alike to a pouting child.
"Evelyn, I'm leaving."
"But you can't do anything, remember what Pre...."
"Preston is getting me out of the book." I choked out finally, creating a silence to follow. Evelyn looked at me for a second, and then put on a lopsided grin.
"I want you to do what you want. Indigo, you have nothing left for you here, so go."
"But..." I was shocked by the way she was taking this.
"I'm sure if I ever want to see you, Preston can take me, but really. You can't do anything here. Your parents are with Sadie, and they stay with her the whole time in the red book. I don't think they will come back to get you. So go." She stood, have me a quick hug, and pushed me out the door.
I walked up to the library, ready to leave the world I always knew. I looked back to the house I used to live in, the cafè I would eat at, the school I learned at. As I slowly turned to the door, there stood the librarian. She looked down at my hands where I held the book tightly.
"You! You took it! Give me that book!" She snarled as she grabbed for the book. I yelled and spun away from her. I heard Preston yell from the back of the library as I broke into a run.
"Indigo! Hurry! You can't lose the book!" I ran into the secret room with Preston and he slammed the door shut and locked it. Instantly I heard the librarian pounding on the door and screaming to be let in.
"Why does she care this much?" I asked hurriedly.
"She is supposed to make sure no one leaves."
"No time Indigo. Follow me." We walked down a hallway with large, marble columns. We reached a large, red door, and stopped.
"This is it Indigo. The final minute of you here. Any messages you want me to send?"
I swallowed slowly before speaking."Tell my parents that I... I can't wait to see them again." I smiled weakly.
"Alright. I'll give it to them. Don't worry, I know where they are." I didn't ask how he knew, but he opened the door the next moment.
"See you on the other side." He smiled as I walked through the door.
I woke up with fuzzy vision. My head pounded as I sat up.
"Kid are you okay?" I heard a voice crack. As I looked up I saw a serious face, that then broke into a smirk.
"Welcome to the real world, Indigo."