Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

He decides to return the book to its shelf. Unfortunately, the book has bled all over the floor, and he slips, nearly falling to the ground. He manages to not completely fall down, and quickly regains his balance. Sid decides to go to a different isle, and hopes no one would notice the mess all over the floor.

The next isle he visits has a stone scone at the end of it, holding a flickering flame. He chooses a book from among the shelves and opens it. He can see nothing on the pages, for no light that hits them seems to be able to escape. An inky blackness is all that Sid can see. A cold breeze grows into a cold wind, coming from behind Sid. He grows bored with this book and decided to close it. The wind dies down and the breeze stops. He puts it back upon the shelf and moves down the aisle.

The next book he picks up appears to have gone through a fire, and immediately crumbles to dust when he tries to open it. He nervously looks around for a place to hide the ashes, and hopes no one had seen the book turn to dust in his hands. If they had, he hopes that he could somehow avoid paying a fine or fee. But as he looks around, he does not see anyone else, and considers himself in the clear.

He sees another book that looks interesting. It is bound in what appeared to be wood, bark, and moss. He decides to open it. Inside he finds illustrations of a castle and medieval European life. He touches one of the pages, and it feels like it is made out of some sort of animal hide. He turns the page and sees some more illustrations, and also what appears to be an illustration of a wizard. He decides that he has spent enough time in this part of the library, so he replaces the book and walks out of the room.

Somehow he feels, or rather knows that something is terribly wrong at this point. He is no longer inside the library, but rather is standing outside, under a very clear night sky. He sees numerous stars, and begins to doubt that he is really still on earth. The night sky he remembers has only so many stars, and all of them could be counted on his hands and feet.

Turning around, he sees what appears to be an old monastery, which is still in use. The large wooden door he shut behind him is locked, or at least jammed since he cannot open it. He tries knocking, but no one answers. Sid figures that he might as well wander around until the monks wake up. There is a trail leading away from the stone building, and into the night. He decides to follow it.