Tag: fantasticcreatures

Secret Passage

Austin was at the library, looking through the history books. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but he was sure he’d know it when he saw it. Whatever it was.

First, he took out a book about the history of flight and flipped through it. Nope. Then, a book about film history. Nope. He spotted a book about the history of pencils. A whole book about pencils? Interesting, but nope.

That was the end of the second shelf. He knelt down to read the titles on the bottom shelf, and walked sideways on his knees as he scanned each one. Just before he reached the end, something hit his arm as he side-walked. Ouch.

He turned, rubbing his arm, and looked down. There was a doorknob attached to the wall. There wasn’t a door, or even an outline for a door, and the doorknob was rather low. How strange.

Austin tried turning the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. It seemed to be locked, which didn’t make any sense. There wasn’t a keyhole, so how could it be locked? Besides, why would you lock the knob when there wasn’t even a door?

Wait a minute. Austin sat back on his heels and looked more closely at the wall. If the knob was locked, maybe there really was a door here after all. If it didn’t need a key, maybe there was a button or a lever somewhere.

Taking the books off the shelf one at a time didn’t work. He made sure to check the knob after each one, and it stayed locked. There was nothing behind the books, either. The wall seemed to be perfectly flat, other than the door knob.

He tried knocking on the wall as though it were a door. He tried tapping different patterns on the wall. He knocked and tapped quietly, of course. After all, this was a library. Nothing seemed to make any difference.

He tried stepping on each inch of carpet within sight of the door, but there were no clicking sounds, and all of the carpet felt the same. The adventure stories made this seem much easier.

What was next? Magic words. That sometimes worked. He really hoped they weren’t in a different language, because he didn’t know very many words in other languages. He counted to ten in Spanish. Nope. He tried random hissing sounds. Nope.

“Open Sesame.” Nope.

“Abracadabra.” Nope.

“You are a very lovely door.” Nope.

Austin sighed. “Please open.” There was a clicking sound. Austin turned the knob and the whole wall slid sideways, leaving an opening next to the bookshelf.

Inside, there was a short, dark hallway that turned sharply. A little light shone from around the corner. Cautiously, Austin stepped inside. If this was a secret passage for polite people, he needed to remember his manners. “Um, thank you?” The door slid shut.

Was that a good thing? Could he open it from the inside? He’d better check before going any further. “Please open.” The door opened. “Thank you.” It closed.

He walked forward and peeked around the corner. The next hallway was even shorter, and ended in a frosted glass door that was lit brightly from the inside. He thought about politeness and knocked quietly at the door.

A little monkey answered the door. He was wearing a suit and hovering in mid-air. This was probably because of his giant wings. Austin was a little surprised, but tried to continue to be polite. “Pardon me,” he said. “I found this secret passage by accident. I was curious.”

“Oh, that’s alright,” the winged monkey said. “You’re welcome to come in.”

“Thank you.” Austin stepped through the doorway.

The room inside looked like a lot of the other reading rooms in the library. It had comfortable chairs and a small window and shelves of books. There were a few other doors that perhaps led to other secret passages.

Unlike the other rooms, there was a large tank of water with a mermaid in it. A unicorn stood by the window. A short green person with one large eye was sitting in one of the chairs.

He briefly looked around at everyone in the room, but didn’t mention how strange they seemed. Politeness was important here, he knew that. So he didn’t say anything and instead walked over to the bookshelves and started looking at the books.

The history of leprechaun gold? Mermaid battles of the last five hundred years? Modern Sphinx riddles? This was more like it!

He pulled out the last book and looked for an empty chair. He found one and sat down. The room was quiet, except for the occasional sound of a page being turned. It was just right. Austin settled in to read. Being polite really paid off. It was almost magical.

Flashback Friday: A Terrible Headache

This story was originally posted on June 17, 2017. I had been having a lot of bad headaches, but there wasn’t an obvious cause. Could there be any good causes for a terrible headache?

It hadn’t taken long to change out of the little cloth gown and leave it in a pile on the crinkled paper covering the exam table. Now, Marcie waited in the exam room, staring at the posters on the wall.   The picture of the inside of the eye was a little creepy. She turned and read through the poster on the importance of sunscreen.

Marcie pulled out her purse and started flipping through her receipts.   It’s too bad that phones couldn’t be used inside the building. If she could turn on her phone, then she could look at Facebook or check her email. She shoved the receipts back inside her purse and shoved her thumbs into the center of her forehead.

She’d had this headache for weeks now, and it was only getting worse.   Aspirin wasn’t taking the pain away anymore. She couldn’t focus for very long, couldn’t really think. However, she was afraid to go to the doctor and hear the results. Her Google searches seemed to prove that these weren’t migraines. Something was very wrong.

The doctor had confirmed her worries when he sent her right away for further testing. It had all happened so fast. That was the part that made her worried the most. Surely, she wouldn’t need to be tested so quickly if it wasn’t something terrible.

She looked up when someone knocked on the door. “Come in,” she said.

The doctor opened the door, carrying a folder. He smiled and sat down. “I’ve had a chance to look at your results. I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?”

Marcie took a deep breath. Should she ask for the bad news and get it over with? No, then she’d not be able to appreciate the good news. “Good news first.”

“It’s not a brain tumor or an aneurysm. In fact, it’s not really anything abnormal at all,” the doctor said.

“But I already had my eyes checked. It wasn’t that,” Marcie said. What else could it be?

“No, I imagine you have great eyesight, right?” the doctor asked.

“I’ve never had any problems with my eyes.” Marcie glanced at the eye poster and looked away quickly. “My eyesight is better than normal.”

“Do people tell you that you have a soothing voice?” the doctor asked.

“I was the narrator in all our school plays,” Marcie said.

“And is the pink stripe in your hair natural?”

“How did you know?” Marcie asked. “What does it mean? Doctor, what is the bad news?”

“Well, I don’t know if I’d really call it bad news. It depends on how you look at it.” the doctor tapped the folder on his knee.

Marcie frowned. “Just tell me.”

“Well, it turns out that you are transforming into a unicorn,” the doctor said.

“What?”

The doctor opened the folder and pulled out some black and white images.   He clipped them to the wall and pointed with his pencil. “If you look here, at the middle of your forehead, you can see the horn bud developing.   I’d say that you have another three weeks until it surfaces. At that point, the transformation will be much more rapid. Do you have any trouble digesting meat?”

“I’m a vegetarian,” Marcie said. “I have no idea. Doctor, unicorns aren’t real. Even if they were, people wouldn’t change into them.”

“Of course they would. It happens all the time.   It’s just that when it happens, their records are erased and everyone forgets about them.” the doctor tapped his pencil on the lumpy bright spot on the image.

“Then how do you know about them? It just doesn’t make any sense,” Marcie said.

“Doctors are allowed to know, in order to help their patients. We swear an oath only to reveal the information to unicorns. I am never able to remember specific patients afterwards though,” he said.

“What will happen with my apartment? My job? My family?”   Marcie asked.

“I don’t know. The unicorns take care of all that. At least, that’s what I think happens.”

“So what do I do?” Marcie asked.

“I really don’t know,” the doctor said. “But here, take this with you.” He handed her the file folder. “We most likely won’t remember you tomorrow, so it won’t do us any good.”

“But my headaches…”

“I can’t write prescriptions for a patient that won’t be in my system tomorrow,” the doctor said. “Ask the unicorns.” He stood up.

“You’re leaving?”

The doctor held out a hand and Marcie took it. He shook her hand gently. “It was nice to meet you. Good luck,” he said. And then he left.

Marcie picked up her purse and her folder. That wasn’t how she’d expected this to go at all. She juggled everything into one hand so that she could push a thumb into to the center of her forehead. Her head hurt.

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