Tinesia look around the library and smiled to herself. I’ve done it, she thought happily. I’ve got my dream job and it’s everything I ever dreamed of.
Tinesia looked up and found the branch manager Betty in front of her. Next to her was a tan rolling cart filled with books. “Sorry, was I spacing again?” Tinesia asked, chuckling. “What can I do to help you, Betty?”
“I was wondering if you could put these books away for me before leaving today.”
“Of course. I’ll get right on it,” Tinesia promised. She got up from her desk and took over the job of the cart of books. It was an hour before closing and it was their slowest time. This is my favorite time of the day. Tinesia thought happily to herself. There’s hardly anyone here. Putting books away also is my favorite thing. I love seeing what people read and what they find interesting.
As she put things away, Tinesia couldn’t help but think about how she came to her current position in life. It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. She thought with a sigh. Shaking the thoughts of her life, she gave a sigh and returned to thinking about books.
As she finished the second row and about to start the third row, she felt her spine tingle. Standing straight, she began looking around the library from where she stood. It was a small and simple library with one level. When one entered, the front desk and check out stations were to the left with the movies, self help, and miscellany genres along the left wall. To the right there was the teen section and holds area. Down a hall on the right side there was the bathrooms, a computer room, a community room, and a few offices. In the center of the library you could find tables and chairs along with bookshelves that held the romance section. Along the wall opposite of the entrance was the fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and western genres. Then the children’s section was opposite of the teens section, separated by two or three bookshelves of young adult books.
Something was different. She knew it, but couldn’t explain how she knew it. Everything looked ordinary to her. Except that she couldn’t find Betty. Or the other two librarians. She was the only one in the library. Curiosity got the better of her and she made her way to the front desk. “Betty?” she called out. She kept her calm as she searched the entire library. Finding no one, she began locking doors before getting on the phone. After calling Betty and the other two librarians and getting no response, she debated what she was going to do. Looking about the desks, she found a memo pad in her spot. There was something scribbled on it. Taking a closer look, Tinesia found a note from Betty.
“Sia,” the note read, “family emergency. Twins taking me to hospital.”
Tinesia stared at the note for several minutes. She let out the breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. Everything was alright. Looking at the time, she decided she would leave once she finished the last row of books on the tan rolling cart. Returning to the cart, she rolled it to the last section. The teens section, her all time favorite section. As she took a few books from the cart and turned to the bookshelf she was at, she gasped.
Before her was a glowing space between two books. She became mesmerized by it. Setting the books down without taking her eyes off the books, Tinesia reached out to touch the glowing space. As she touched it, she heard the sound of bells as the glowing seemed to explode all around her.
When the glowing subsided, Tinesia felt her stomach drop and her breath gone. She found herself standing on a cliff that dropped several hundred feet down to a forest that went on as far as her eyes could see. The sky was the most brilliant blue she had ever seen. Slowly turning around, she found a castle that seemed right out of a fairy tale. Finally finding the ability to breath, Tinesia found it hard to keep herself calm. I’ve... Been transported? To another place? Realm? What the heck is happening here? Panic fought to rise to the surface. “Panicking isn’t going to help any Sia,” she whispered. “There has to be a reasonable explanation for all this. You love a good mystery. It just happens to be an adventure as well. Embrace it.”
Taking a steadying breath, she began walking to the castle. She found it odd that she couldn’t see any knights about. In all the fairy tales and books dealing with royalty like this, there were knights all over the place. You’d think they’d be all over me all ready. When she reached the wall around the castle , she began following it around, hoping to find an entrance. She found it hard to keep her thoughts running a mile a minute. She wondered where she was and wondered how she was going to get home. Good going in locking the library doors Sia. Now no one will be able to get in and report a disappearance. She thought wryly to herself. I wonder what kind of people these royals are. She wondered. They usually fall into two different categories. The kind, gentle, respectful ones who take good care of their subjects like in Disney films. Or the kind of harsh dictators that are ‘My way or the highway’ kind. What am I going to do either way? Just stroll in like I belong and tell them the truth? Would they even believe me?
She thought on that last question for a time as she tried to put what had just happened to her in words. “I barely believe what happened to me,” she muttered. She followed the wall around a corner and she stopped. Before her a ways down was a road. One end disappeared into a forest and the other seemed to lead into the castle. She bit her lip and considered her next move. Before she could chicken out, she forced herself forward, telling herself that it was the only way to find answers.
Putting one foot in front of the other was harder than Tinesia thought. At any moment, a knight or two could jump out at her and the suspense was almost paralyzing. As she came to the road, she found the gates open. No one was around. It’s as if it has been abandoned. What am I going to do if it is? She pushed the question from her mind and focused on what was before her. Lets not think about that right now, Sia.
The dirt road ended at the gate and became a stone paved courtyard. As Tinesia entered the courtyard, she found that the courtyard extended far around the castle. The stones of the courtyard were a combination of colors of gray, white, and black.The colors of the castle were the same of the courtyard. The silence of the place unnerved Tinesia. She realized that since arriving, the only noise she heard had been from her, Swallowing, she started walking towards the doors of the castle. When she got there, she found a knocker. As she gave it a good knock, the sound rippled out. Tinesia waited several minutes before trying again. After waiting again, she gave the door a good yank to see if it would open. No give. When she tried pushing, a sound of creaking filled the air. The doors of the castle opened to reveal a grand entry way.
Tinesia timidly entered. As she cleared the doors, they closed. The lighting was dim and when her eyes were adjusted, Tinesia took in the sight. There were two staircases curving upward over a doorway, There seemed to be a room on either side of the stairs above and below. Through the doorway, Tinesia could see a hallway and her curiosity pulled her to it. Before she even knew it, she found herself moving through the hallway. Everything seemed to be made of furnished wood and seemed to be the finest around. The hallway walls were filled with oil paintings of people. Tinesia looked at each person and discovered that they all had the shared some physical features. The royal family? She wondered. Moving down the hallway, Tinesia found the hallway open up into a room that had three more hallways branch off of it. I could get lost in this place. Where are all the people? Aren’t there supposed to be servants dashing about the place doing chores and errands? I wish there were people here. This is just beyond creepy.
She considered each hallway before heading down the hallway to her right. She wandered slowly as she took in her surroundings. Her thoughts threatened to run rampant and scare her out of her mind. She tried doors as she passed them only to find that they were locked. On the final door before the hallway opened up to another cross way of hallways, it opened. On the opposite side was the most magnificent room Tinesia ever saw. It was like the library right out of Beauty and the Beast.
“Are you just going to stand there? Or are you going to get in here for our discussion?”
Startled, Tinesia tore her eyes away from the books and looked more intensively. At table to the left of the door sat an elderly man with his nose in a book. “I’m sorry?” she asked quietly.
The elderly man sighed as he set his book down. He looked towards the door and genuine surprise fills his face. “Who are you?” he asked.
“Tinesia,” she replied, “Who are you? Where am I?”
The elderly man sighed and motioned for the girl to come closer. When she did, he asked, “Tinesia was it?”
Tinesia nodded. She decided to be brave and sit across from the man.
“You’re not from around here,” the man observed.
Tinesia bit back a sarcastic response. No need to start off on the wrong foot here. You still need to get home. “I don’t know where ‘here’ is,” she answered. “Please help me.”
“You seem awfully calm for someone who has no idea where you are.”
“You seem awfully calm for someone who has a stranger in your castle.”
The elderly man chuckled. “A bit of an attitude, eh?” he asked. “Quite alright. All young people are entitled to have an attitude like that at least once in their life.”
“Who are you?” Tinesia asked again. “Where am I?”
“I am Trapen Handar,” the elderly man answered. “This is my home that I share with my son and grandson. We are the rulers of the nation of Grantol.”
Tinesia stared at the man, thinking about what he had said. “Any ideas as to how I got here?” she asked.
“You are from a neighboring kingdom, are you not?” Trapen asked.
Tinesia chuckled. “No, actually. I’m not. I’m from a place called Michigan. Comstock Park, Michigan. Hear of it?”
Trapen’s eyes seemed to widen at Tinesia’s answer. His mouth moved as if to say something, but nothing came out.
“What is it?” Tinesia asked. She eyed him curiously. “You know something about how I got here don’t you?”
Trapen found his voice, but it came out hardly above a whisper. “It’s been so long, I’ve nearly forgotten about it,” he said.
“What?” Tinesia asked.
“You’ll find out in time, dear,” Trepan said a bit louder. He was regaining his composure. “We should get you home so you can rest. This all must have been a tremendous shock to you and you must be overwhelmed with so much.”
Tinesia couldn’t believe it. She found someone with answers and now he was shooing her away. She didn’t want to admit that she was tired and overwhelmed by her nerves and emotions. “But,” she,stammered, “I have so many questions. Like why there isn’t anyone here. How did I get here? What’s happening?”
Trapen looked at her, his gaze fixated on her questioning face. “My family and I have fallen from grace some time ago,” he explained. “We were allowed to keep the castle and all its furnishings, but we became outcasts. Our people left us because we could no longer provide them with what they needed. They left group by group and never returned. No one wanted to work here either and we couldn’t keep them.”
“There’s more to that story,” Tinesia accused.
“Perhaps,” Trapen mused, “best saved for another day. As for how you came to this place, it is best shown. Come with me.” He stood and rounded the corner. He offered Tinesia his arm. When she took it, they strolled slowly through the library.
So many thoughts and questions demanded Tinesia’s attention and she felt a bit lightheaded. If not for holding onto Trapen’s surprising steady arm, she may not have been standing. With a steadying swallow, she asked, “What are we looking for?”
“Magic,” was Trapen’s simple reply.
The answer made Tinesia realize that what happened to her became very plausible if it had indeed been magic. Despite it being something out of a book. Tinesia took to looking at the books. Before long, something caught her eye. “Look there,” she said to Trapen.
There was a spot on a bookshelf nearby that was glowing. Trapen gently led her towards it. “Look familiar?” Trapen asked.
“Just like the one I saw at the library,” Tinesia explained.
“This is a portal that appears when someone who bears the ability to use them comes near,” Trapen answered. He let go of Tinesia and removed a necklace from around his neck. The chain was a sturdy metal and in the center of it rested an amber jewel that was oval in shape. It was no bigger than a quarter.
“What’s that?” Tinesia asked.
“This is the last bit of magic my family and I hold onto,” Trapen answered. “When you wear it on the other side and enter through a portal like this one to come here, you’ll be deposited to the closest family member the magic comes from. Does that make any sense?”
“It does,” Tinesia replied. “But why give it to me?”
“Because you’ve been given a new life my dear Tinesia,” Trapen answered. “You may not know it yet though. If you’d like to come back and get some more answers and have more of a look around, then you are welcome.”
“Thank you,” Tinesia answered as she took the necklace. “It’s been very nice meeting you Mr. Trapen. I look forward to many more meetings and finding out more about this new life you speak of.”
“It’s been a pleasure meeting you Miss Tinesia,” Trapen answered. “I look forward to your visits.”
“Please, call me Sia,” Tinesia answered. “I’d like it if you did.”
“Goodbye for now Sia,” Trapen said with a smile.
“Goodbye, Mr. Hander,” Tinesia replied, returning his smile. She turned to the glowing in the bookshelf and reached for it.
In an instant, she was back within the library. Her world. She looked about, feeling as if she had been gone for quite a bit of time. She looked out through the front doors and checked her watch and was in total disbelief. It was as if no time had passed. None whatsoever. How can that even be? She pondered as she went about finishing shelving the books on the tan cart. She thought about what had happened to her and knew she couldn’t wait for the next time she had a chance to go to the nation of Grantol.