I admit it. I buy used books. Sometimes they are out of print, so I have to. Sometimes it’s just too good of a deal to pass up. Often they contain notes and highlights, remnants of those who came and read before me. Some of them (curse them!) have covered entire pages in neon-colored highlighter, and some underline entire paragraphs with pens in squiggly, uneven lines. The more sensible of them use pencils. They write with a light touch in the margins, as if not to disturb the words on the page.
Then there are people like Barbara, who stake their claim on their book by writing their name in big, bold letters on the first page. They underline, cross out, draw lines up and down, and all around the paragraphs. Barbara also had a bad habit of writing out her every thought in the margins. For example, next to sentences that she thought funny, she wrote funny. Thank you, Barbara; I might have missed it. But then there was this note: I’ve always wondered about eating yourself. Would you be getting fat, or would you disappear?
I can’t help but wonder if she ever found an answer to her question. I wonder if it kept her awake at night. Did she think about it while doing dishes or drinking coffee? While violating another book? While she was making love to her partner? Or her secret lover?
In their den under the fallen oak tree, the four young wolves stared out at the ever-moving wall of snow. Their warm breath puffed out their noses, turning into cold little clouds. It had not been their first winter storm, but this blizzard was rolling over the lands for many days and nights. Whenever the winds died down for a moment of reprieve, one could hear their growling stomachs. Laying in the darkness behind them were the elders; they had endured many winters before and knew this wouldn’t be their last.
As Emilia drifted into her dreams, she heard a whisper in her room, that did not sound like her father’s familiar voice. Another whisper, this one different. Her eyes quickly shot open. She wasn’t alone. Firmly holding onto her plush cat Morning, she jumped out of bed and spurted towards the door. She reached up, turned the handle, and ran down the hallway towards her father’s study.
“Daddy! Daddy! There is something in my room,” she said, almost stumbling over her own words. “There is a monster in my room!” Setting down his newspaper, her father looked at her through his big, round reading glasses. Cecil, who was purring on his lap, yawned.
“It looks to me, that there is a little monster in my room,” he said with his eyebrows raised.
“No, really, really! I heard it!” she pleaded. For extra emphasis, she added, “I promise.”
“Alright then,” he said as he got up from his chair and Cecil jumped from his lap to the floor.