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The Night Reader

Since the sun’s darkness, conversations never interested Emma, she was too busy reading fiction, non-fiction anything she could find from the debris of old ash from fires that created heat. But when her grandmother started to talk aloud of the libraries, village of books, she listened intently. Her mind was transported to a world full of authors and libraries full of ideas and new worlds to get lost in. This town wasn’t far from where she was, it’s the north of Sail hill, the peak of the island she lived on but she would have to sail there as it was an island covered with mist.

Her grandmother Elizabeth began describing this town and as she did Emma felt her mind swirl with opportunities. She could read lost plays of Shakespeare and read J.K. Rowling books… This town was covered in cobblestone and thatched roofed cottages with grand fireplaces that filled the night sky with clouds of warmth and safety. She continued through the village in her mind as Elizabeth described the village square. It was filled with stalls of hot, sticky cinnamon buns and ice cold drinks and candy stalls made from gingerbread. “They would have grand fairs,” Elizabeth said with delight, “With lights covering every roof and fireworks at night.” Emma smiled with encouragement, she wanted to know more. The fairs were magnificent, they would have village bands out on the street that could be heard for miles and waiters from nearby café’s serving wine to everyone. There would be cheer and laughter, “even if it rained” Elizabeth spoke with excitement. Her Grandmother stopped, Emma, looked up and noticed her protector’s sad face and recognised the emotion so well. Her loving Grandmother had stopped because for those few moments of remembering the past she forgot about the present, she forgot about the darkness that fell on the Earth.

The ‘Black Out’, happened when Emma was a toddler not even able to walk. Many speculate about what happened but none know the truth. Environmentalists say that it was pollution that built up and covers the Earth from the Sun. Scientists say the sun just burnt out contradictory to popular belief. But if any were true, the plants would be dead, so no food. If so oxygen couldn’t be created, so no breathing. All are false because there is still food and nobody died from the impact. It just went cold and dark, never again has it turned to day. People started to notice it when the automatic lights at night stayed on for hours longer. Then eventually they never turned off. Emma was brought up in this dark world and never really understood her Grandmother’s grief properly.

Emma comforted her emotional guardian then walked back over to her comfortable curled up beside the fire reading position. A few moments passed then Elizabeth cleared her throat and said, “You haven’t heard about the books”. Emma turned in an instant to sit crossed legged below her guardian to hear about her little place in paradise. The same as Mother she adored books, her grandmother taught her to read and write she would say, “Words are powerful and they are what makes us human”. Her passion rubbed off onto Emma, she was imagining every word and sound dancing from her guardian’s mouth to create a black and white picture of the past.

Elizabeth began describing the bookstore. The smell of coffee drifted towards the doors, as you enter a ring signals your arrival in paradise. The shop is small and cosy, with high shelves filled with words of inspiration to an imaginative mind. The books were all perfectly inline all the titles neatly put all the same direction. “The smell is best,” she said with her eyes shut and inhaled heavily through her nose, their minds flowing back into the story smelling the softened old book smell which provides many comforts. The smell of home, of your imagination being set free running around in your head with no cares or problem, just daydreams in the night reader’s mind. The windows have wide enough sills to create Emma’s reading nook, curled up with the world just outside. A fire sits in the corner furthest from the welcoming door, always lit with two perfect windowsills on either side of the warm homely feeling. Her favourite place to sit is up a set of small steep steps with a low sloping roofed attic with books. A half-moon window looking down on the busy world sits in wait of its next lover of unread words. This room is where Elizabeth not only fell in love with books but with the book keeper’s son. Their love of words brought them together in that attic where they would sit for hours reading alone and together. So often they sat together in the sanctuary of books, with their heartbeats synchronised in the peaceful silent air. Elizabeth opened her eyes and said, “And this is where you must go, to learn from the books of the past.”

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