It was a gloomy January day, at lunchtime if I recall correctly, when she first spoke to me in that cockney English I now know wasn’t her real voice.
“Alright, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. It’s been, what, months that you’ve been sitting on that ladder. Day in and day out – even when it snowed you came. I guess the least I can do is find out what you want.”
“Oh, hello. You do talk!”
“I do talk! What is this? An MnM commercial with Santa? Isn’t that why you’re here? To ask the great Krystal – with a K, mind you – a question?”
I was silent a bit as the realization sunk in.
I had first come out of curiosity – my mates at the flat had told stories of the crystal ball on the top floor of the library that was supposed to grant wishes or impart wisdom, like a genie but not in a bottle. What they didn’t mention was her luminous sheen and the gentle curve of her orb. I was mesmerized by the light that got captured in her clear core. It would bounce and twirl, then burst back out, illuminated and improved from being held within her translucent membrane. I wanted to be that light.
Instead, I played it cool. “Krystal, with a K, how are you today?”
“Oh my! A poet, I bet you didn’t know it. Now what can I do for you?”
“Nothing right now. I just wanted to hear you talk and get to know you.”
“Get to know me? Why? I’m just a ball of glass.”
“You’re the most beautiful ball of glass I’ve ever seen.”
There was silence and then the faint rustling of paper that grew louder and louder. I covered my head as it reached it’s crescendo, then a flash of blinding light.
When I finally opened my eyes and pulled my hands away from ears, Krystal was gone. I checked all around the area for shattered shards, but there were none, not even a sliver the floor. Instead, what I found was an iridescent note with the number “549.18” etched on it. It took me minute, and then I knew just where to go.
As I turned the corner of the “549-550” shelves, I noticed a silhouette at end of the row, outlined by the library window, it seemed to sparkle. As I approached, the figure turned around and said, “It took you long enough. Next time, remember, Krystal doesn’t like to wait.”
This short fiction story was written for Hélène’s “What do you see?” Writing Prompt. The picture above (courtesy of Hélène) inspired this little piece. The title references the Dewey Decimal System.
Libraries are wondrous places! Knowledge and dreams all crammed onto shelves and sheltered in its four walls. It’s organized and comfortingly quiet. I’ve always thought of libraries as safe places where you can be who you are or be someone else for a bit; where you can fall in love with someone else or even, with yourself.
©️ iido 2019