don't you see the starlight (#TS)

United States

WtW's "cool cousin you see once a year, but the conversation you guys were having... picks up where it left off without missing a beat" (rosi)

Daughter of God

jr in HS
VB~running
10.5.20
sporadically here

Message to Readers

Thank you SO MUCH to every peer reviewer, commenter, liker, supporter, and follower. I can't express how much gratitude I have for all of you. Best of luck to everyone!
(I checked the peer review box, but I probably won't be making any other revisions for the competition.)

The Things Which Can Happen in a Bookstore

November 15, 2020

    He was starving. Deprived. He needed books like a heroin junkie needed a hit.
    Never had he felt so desperate for black typeface on paper. For those written enchantments. For the inexplicable warmth that emanated from the pages. Reminding him who he was and giving life to dreams of who he might become.
    His legs changed from walking to jogging without consulting him first. White Converse thudded against leaf shadows on the sidewalk. Books for the Soul felt infinitely far. Would his paper-and-ink lifeline stretch—stretch—and—snap
    A quarter mile from his own house, and he seriously doubted he’d make it. It wasn’t his physical abilities that he questioned; he was a runner. His mental and emotional states, however, needed a swig of that life-giving water: books. And possibly an iced latte.
    Tag breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the bookstore's rough-cut wooden sign dangling in the distance. Rays of July morning sun glistened across the hand painted letters. Brooks would know what he needed. Most days, he ventured into Books for the Soul with no specific title in mind, but Brooks Felmar—assistant manager, shelver, best friend—always found the right book.
    Tag peered through the window before stepping into his second home. Rather than bells on the door, like any other store, a cacophony of bagpipes and harmonica greeted him. As the recording ended, a potpourri of aromas enveloped Tag. Coffee. Cinnamon tea. Chocolate chip cookies. Musty pages. Lemon cleaner. Tag shook off the nostalgia and was about to search for Brooks when he emerged from the cafe section, grinning.
    “Montag Croftrow. Where. Have. You. Been? School ended weeks ago!" he exclaimed. "And I know that varsity soccer workouts don’t start until August," he added. 
    "Just busy.” Tag shrugged. "And no one calls me Montag but my grandmother."
    "Busy. Mhm. So, Tag, what's up?" Brooks wrapped an arm around Tag's shoulders, grinning down at him. His other hand snaked around and jabbed Tag in the ribs. Brooks’ nickname for Tag had emerged years ago—during a game of tag. From there on, Montag ceased to exist. He was always Tag. 
    Brooks let Tag trail behind him without complaint, advising him on breaking curfew, trigonometry, homecoming dances and everything in between. When Tag turned fifteen, the six year gap became less insurmountable, and they evolved into something closer than brothers. 
    Tag cut to the point. “I need a book. Now.” 
    “C'mon, don’t you want to pour out your conflicted teenage heart to me? It’s been at least a month since our last therapy session,” Brooks mocked. Tag ducked out of Brooks’ arm. Although they had pulled more than one all-nighter in conversation, Tag had no desire to start a long heart-to-heart. 
    “I told you, I need a book.” Tag cursed how his tone dissolved into pleading.
    "My, my, aren't we desperate?”
    “Brooks. Please. You know what it’s like when you need—”
    “The right book. Yeah, I understand.” Brooks sighed; his gaze—storms hovering between blue and gray—turned solemn and businesslike. 
    “What do you have?” Tag knew he sounded idiotic like this, but the hunger for a comforting story gnawed at him. Insatiable.
    “There’s a new collection in the RUU. Arrived at the crack of dawn today.” RUU—a room filled with Rare, Unusual, and Unique books—was one of many acronyms for sections of the bookstore.
    “A crate of twenty-five?”
    “Ten this time.”
    “What were you doing here at the crack of dawn?” Tag wondered, inching toward the stairs.
    “Couldn’t sleep. Besides, I’m implementing a new organization system.”
    “Have you looked through the books yet?” Tag was already at the top of the curved landing, eyeing the second floor.
    “Nope, it’s all yours to discover. And the girl’s.”
    “A girl?” Tag’s foot hovered over the next step. Brooks smirked.
    “Maybe you’ll get your first girlfriend since, what, sophomore year? This girl was striking, I’ll give her that. You know I can’t help but notice everything about everyone. Tall, around your age. Her hair… it was dark with unusual highlights, kind of russet and gold. Like streaks of fire and sunlight.” He paused, contemplating. “You know, that's straight up poetry. Anyway, I think you should find her.”
    “You're turning into a gen-yoo-wine poet,” Tag noted. Beneath the banter, the steady thrum of necessity bored into him.
    Books. Books. Books, insisted the shelves. But a whisper of girl, girl, girl joined the cadence as Tag's curiosity swelled.
    "Yeah, I’ll be the next Tennyson or Wordsworth,” laughed Brooks. “Before I get back to work” —he gestured toward three unopened book crates beside the register counter—“let me grab your latte. I figured you’d need it when I saw you running.” Brooks hurried to the cafe and returned bearing an iced latte. Where would I be without Brooks?
    “Thank goodness for friends and iced lattes, right?” said Brooks as Tag took a sip and nodded with approval.
    “And books.”
    “And books,” he heard Brooks agree. 
    But Tag could wait no longer, throwing a hasty “thanks” over his shoulder as he flew up the second flight of stairs. He stood, almost reverently, outside of the RUU with latte spillage on his hand.
    The RUU exerted a curious magnetism for Tag. Added to the fact that the dark-haired girl had piqued his interest, and a herd of wild stallions couldn't have dragged him away. He wiped a latte-covered hand on his stained jeans and pushed open the warped door. Creeeaaak
    Low bookcases wound around in a dizzying oval. Particles of dust drifted above an armchair and a sofa, illuminated by the morning sun that beamed through a single window. Ten leather-bound volumes, ornate and meticulously crafted, were spread on a paisley rug that lay at the foot of the sofa.
    Tag stared ravenously at two identical books. Centered on their mahogany covers was an intricate symbol, shining within a gold circle. Tag snatched one of the copies just as the second book disappeared.
    Into the hands of a girl with fire and sunlight in her hair.
Update as of 11.15.20: This is my final, final draft! I'm going to submit it! HUGE THANKS TO EVERYONE! <3 A few minor edits since the last draft; this is draft #7. Word Count: 994
Update as of 11.13.20: Ok... at the suggestion of maryse (whose username I adore, btw), I cut an entire character: Elly. The more I considered it, the more I realized she wasn't necessary in this excerpt. I'm keeping her in my original, though. It allowed me to add more details to Tag and the bookstore and explore characters more. Lots of minor edits! Word Count: 995
Update as of 11.10.20: I CUT DOWN THE WORDS!!! TO 998! GUYS! I'M IN HISTORY CLASS TRYING NOT TO FREAK OUT! EEEEE!!! (can you tell i'm a wee bit excited?)
Update as of 11.9.20: unfortunately, the expert review limit has been reached, but I've cut to 1065 words!!!
Update as of 11.7.20: I can't edit anymore right now. I've cut down at 1240 words, but it's still 240 too many. *bangs head against desk* I'm also going to look at some different sections of this story (because I have more on the google doc) and see if I might change which part I submit. 
Update as of 11.6.20: after 2 peer reviews, I've changed several things, but it still way exceeds the word limit at 1651 words. GRRRR. Much thanks to Stone of Jade and BizzleWrites!
11.4.20: This is a very rough draft... but I've loved this idea for a long time. It's been sitting in my drive for a while, and I realized I could just pull it and use it here. I know it exceeds the word limit. I'm working on it.
The inspiration for this was originally from Pinterest, but that actually isn't even mentioned in this excerpt yet. It was the idea of a book where the main character falls in love with the reader. The book mentioned here is that book, written directly to the reader. If you'd like a transcript of that pin, message me in the comments and I'll copy and paste it in a reply. It's a fascinating idea. I decided to put a story within a story here, but unfortunately, I'm already exceeding the word limit...
I'll cut more eventually, but I just wanted to publish it for now. I'll also release another excerpt of a different section so you guys can help me decide which to submit. This piece starts from the beginning. It's chapter 1 of part 1.
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7 Comments
  • In Which Yaya Writes

    I'm so sorry XD. Before you read the below comment, know that literally went through my reading log and picked out all the books I liked to tell you about XDD.


    10 months ago
  • In Which Yaya Writes

    Ok, somehow I COMPLETELY missed one of your comments XD. So be prepared for a longgg comment... (Starting with the one I missed)
    Replying: Oh, that makes sense. That's really cool!
    Yes, I love the name, Penelope Porpenstein. But I couldn't add her to the draft because if I did I'd have to add her best friend Gilly. These characters are actually based on voices my little brother and sister made up XD. They're so cute.
    Um, literally I just looked up "Dragon sketch" or something like that and chose one XD. I liked her horns. But I'm drawing a fallen dragon which I'm going to change to my pfp.
    Yes! I love Wings of Fire! It was actually one of the first long series I read, I believe. We actually lived in a really small town with one row of Youth books at the library XD. Apart from the Vampire books and such XD. But I will totally fangirl with you, too!
    Woah, you just opened a full can of worms XD. So, I love Rowling and Harry Potter. In that fandom, I'm actually dating Neville Longbottom XD. I see you had her in your Message, so I can assume you also like her.
    I also like Tui T. Sutherland (Who wrote the Menagerie and Wings of Fire), McMann (Who wrote The Unwanteds), Francine Rivers (Who takes stories from the Bible and writer them in story-form), I remember Katherine Applegate but I think she wrote The One and Only Ivan... I don't really remember the names of authors XD. It never seemed important before, but I probably should keep track XD.
    I also like the series Wings of Fire, UNWANTEDS (I haven't finished it but I'm dying to. Creative kids get thrown into a pit of fire but are actually transported to my dream home ), Wing and Claw (Taking over animals brains and talking bats? Oh yeah), The Missing (Famous kids who died but didn't... well, I can't say XD), The Incorrigible Children (A nanny who must raise kids who used to live with wolves but might be closer to them than she thinks), Revenge of Magic (He's amazing. Magic beasts from a different universe arise, taking a kids dad. Then the government wants to teach him magical to fight?!), The Hunger Games (I'm sure you know what it's about. Kids are forced into an arena to fight to the death for food), Edge of Extinction (Which is about dinosaurs that force people into underground {or so they thought} and that's amazing) Among the Hidden (Third children are banned and must be killed... if they're caught) and the Dear America (the diaries of girls who lived in America's past) series. If you haven't read those I will be happy to explain all of them XD. They're amazing. OOOHH! And The Seeds of America Trilogy is AMAZING. It's about a slave girl and her sister who's supposed to go free but has a dirty lawyer and they end up in the hands of a Tory... My gosh, I freakin' love it. I also just watched Maze Runner (as you know) but I've been told the books are wayyy better than the movies, so I'm going to be reading those soon XD. But I LOVED it. I also just started reading The Lord of the Rings, which is pretty good so far.
    Stand-alone books... The Simple Art of Flying literally made me cry more than any other book, I think XD. It's about this bird and his sister who are in a pet store, but the bird would much rather be free, but his sister loves humans. It has a really nice faith-based, Christian ending and I love it. If you're into weird, creepy books, Serafina and the Black Cloak is for you (Kids start disappearing, a girl is found with a panther for a mom, this guy is rich and talented all of a sudden, I can't say more than that). Oooh, Sister's of Glass (followed by Daughters of Steel) is so amazing and kinda trippy but I LOVE it (Magic is banned, but what happens when everything you touch turns to magic? And what happens with this weird mirror?)! Fever 1793 is also amazing (It's about the Fever in Philadelphia but is so well-written and really interesting.)! Strange Birds: A Feild Guide to Ruffling Feathers is pretty good, too (A group of girls fights to protect poached birds). The Miraculous is also trippy and strange, but good (A boy is crushed when his sister dies but has to remember that miracles are real). OH, List! That one I read in like 2 days XD. (The leader of Ark limits the language, but he may have bigger, more sinister plans than that). The Remarkables is really good (Wait, that house is empty but how come I see teenagers sometimes but not at others?). There's another one about a house that has ghosts (or something of that sort) living in it and it's really good (with a huge twist) but I can't remember the name. Now you have to answer all those questions so I don't feel like a doofus XD.
    Yeah, well, it's just your typical science class but she doesn't lie to you XD. We do dissections, experiments, watch documentaries, the whole shebang. I'm actually going to write a piece about my teacher because she's so nice and amazing but sometimes she sounds like a crazy scientist XD. But that sounds really cool! Have you ever heard of Ken Ham with Answers in Genesis? He does a whole bunch of Creation-based stuff.
    Yeah! I listened the that Thanksgiving one and I loved the music video! (I also listened to the Christian one but I was writing so I didn't hear much of it XD. I need to re-listen to it XD.) Have you seen Matthew West's "Gobble Gobble?" It's not as... real (?) as the one you gave me, but it's really funny XD.
    Yes! Thank you. Of course, for some people, it might be sad. But we still have lots of stuff to be thankful about! Especially if you're a Christian.
    Ok, I'll read those! Thanks for giving them to me!
    Yay! Glad you liked it!
    And now is the end of this obnoxiously long comment XD.


    10 months ago
  • In Which Yaya Writes

    This is amazing! Gosh, I love it so much! I really want to learn more about Brooks, he sounds so cool! And this dark head girl... Who is she? Haha, actually, if I could walk by myself to the library, I'd probably be the dark-haired girl (just without the fire and sunlight. Just a few light streaks XD). Could you notify me when the next one comes out?


    10 months ago
  • Huba Huba

    Woahhh congrats on your submission! Good luck on the contest!
    Re: I lovvvveeeeeeeeee baking too though, it's so fun, and it's one of the only foods that I don't dread spending hours and hours making and scarfing it down in five minutes. I swear sometimes I decide to make something nice for dinner, and I'm spending like over an hour to make it but I only enjoy eating it for less than 10 minutes. It's like waiting in line for a roller coaster ride for hours but for the ride to be over after two minutes. Not sure if that's worth it, but I mean, theme parks and cooking is like that right? I've experienced with many different self made cookie recipes, and so far my favorite is my banana chocolate raisin cookies. My thoughts on tea/coffee? Hm I need a lot of sugar and creme for those, I absolute cannot be a healthy person and drink tea or coffee by itself, it's too bitter for me. I also loooove crepes, and I love this store that sells them called Tous les Jours. I'm not sure if your area has the store, but I'd recommend it if you do :)
    What good books have you read lately (assuming you like reading because most writers like reading I think)?


    11 months ago
  • mirkat

    congrats on submitting! this was a long journey but you did it!!!
    re: we never talked about cookies. i asked how your day was and then said i made cookies today as an example of how my day was.... okay yeah! your comment made me smile tho! XD scones sound amazing tho! yummmm. yeah so i've only read books 1, 2, and 4, but i know books 6-8 are just about the kids and i feel like they won't be that good b/c we see anne give up on here ambitions and writing and that really hurts me...... yeah. that's why i like emily of new moon books better. you really see emily grow as a writer and a person and a friend. and sure gilbert is handsome and kind and perfect for anne but does she have to give up teaching and writing and everything!!! it really bothers me sorry for the rant. but it was a different time.... sigh. and yeah his name is mr. harrison. i mean i like him! i'm only like half way thru book 2 rn so i don't know a lot about him. as for the other girl at redmond who's named starts with p, i haven't gotten there yet! that's in book 3 i think. but yeah anne's romanticism is great and i can';t help but highlight all the beautiful imagery and lines in the books. that's all! good night and let's forget the whole cookie thing! <3<3<3


    11 months ago
  • Brielle P. Chor

    I don't know why, but the dialogue in this piece is so natural it's absolutely incredible. I love how the characters interact with each other. Great work!:))


    11 months ago
  • Moonsinger

    The descriptions here are absolutely beautiful! I'd definitely read more of this :)


    11 months ago