Sîan, a member of the ever talented group of young volunteers at Portsmouth Library, has started writing her very own literary masterpiece - Descendant. Here's the first chapter.
Descendant by Sîan from Portsmouth
Chapter One - Part One
The old book, with its tattered binding and dusty pages, was just sitting there, begging to be read. It sat on one of the higher shelves, staring down at him in what could be deemed as a rather smug manner. Felix huffed and glared at the book as once again he reached up for it, standing on the tips of his toes. Of all the books in the entire library, he had somehow decided that the book he wanted to read was the one almost a foot out of his reach, even on his tiptoes. He lowered back down onto the soles of his feet and huffed again, shoving his long blue hair out of his face and readjusting his glasses on his nose. Placing his hands on his hips Felix stared at the book, as if by some magical chance it would float down to him.
No such luck. Felix sighed and peered around the edge of the aisle, hoping to catch sight of a librarian. He knew from his numerous visits to the library that there was at least one who was tall enough to reach the book, or was permitted to use a step-ladder. He scanned the library but didn't spot any librarians, however Felix was determined; he wasn't about to allow his lack of height to stop him from reading the book he wanted. Well, that was what he was trying to convince himself. He sighed again, running his hand through the bangs that weren't covered by his black beanie hat. Without a librarian, or a step-ladder, he wasn't going to be reading that book any time soon.
Pursing his lips, he looked back up to the shelf and jumped almost a foot in the air. "What the―?" he whispered. The book had just been there, literally seconds ago, and now it was gone. Felix swivelled around, eyeing the entire library. He was certain nobody else had been down the aisle, and the library wasn't exactly big, he would have noticed if someone else had entered. In fact, the library was almost deserted, the only other person being the man who always lurked in the far corner. Felix had named him, oh so imaginatively, 'Creepy-Corner-Guy'. Creepy-Corner-Guy literally just sat in the corner, watching people from over the top of whatever book he was reading, or not reading, depending on whether or not he was staring at people. That probably explained why he always seemed to be re-reading the same page. He never spoke or smiled, just sat in his creepy corner, watching with a creepy unblinking gaze. Right that moment he was staring at Felix, a single eyebrow quirked. Felix was immediately jealous that Creepy-Corner-Guy could make one raised eyebrow look cool, while whenever he tried he just ended up looking like a demented beetle.
When one more sweep of the library revealed no more people, Felix walked over to the far corner, albeit slightly reluctantly. He'd never before said a word to Creepy-Corner-Guy, not one. As he approached, Creepy-Corner-Guy lowered his book, staring unblinkingly like a cat. Felix stopped several feet away from Creepy-Corner-Guy's chair and waved awkwardly. Unfortunately, when nervous or feeling awkward, Felix tended to babble.
"Hi! You didn't happen to notice what happened to the book over there did you?" Felix pointed wildly behind him, "because I wanted to read it, obviously, but I was too short to actually reach it. I'm only five-foot-four, do you realise how difficult it is to be sixteen and five-foot-four, nobody ever believes me when I tell them my age, ever! Seriously, people wonder why I dye my hair blue, I mean otherwise I'd just be lost in the crowd, you know. Anyway, the point is it was an old book and looked really, uh, readable but now it's gone! It was there, and now it's not. I don't know what happened but did you see anything, I don't know, suspicious maybe? Like, maybe some person in a cape with 'magicky' powers of levitation or something? Then I can find out what happened to the book, because books don't just disappear, it would be silly to think that. But I was hoping maybe you saw something, because you watch people, like all the time, I mean you stare. Have you noticed that you do that? Because you do, and I'm going to stop talking now before I embarrass myself further."
Felix was almost gasping for breath by the time he had finally finished talking. "I need more lung capacity", Felix thought, "or at least learn how to breathe while talking". He looked at Creepy-Corner-Guy with a hopeful expression. Creepy-Corner-Guy stared at him silently, it was unsettling and caused Felix to shift uncomfortably. "So?" he prompted, hoping to urge on a reaction from Creepy-Corner-Guy, any kind of reaction. Creepy-Corner-Guy blinked, and shook his head, silently. "Oh," Felix said, feeling slightly crestfallen, "uh, sorry to have bothered you." Creepy-Corner-Guy shrugged and went back to the book he probably hadn't been reading. Felix pouted to nobody in particular and left the corner, returning to the aisle. With one last, confused, glance to the empty space on the shelf, he hoisted his bag onto his shoulder and made his way across the library to a collection of tables labelled as the 'Study Zone'.
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Photo credit: Hawk Sugano used under creative commons license.