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Original stories, set in my own universe

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ISN Anchor Desk - Original Short Stories

This story was written on 1-20-2001, and has nothing to do with any fictional universe other than my own mind. It is the first fiction Iíve shared with anyone online, and I hope you enjoy it. At the bottom of the page, you will find a guest book. Please, if you donít mind, let me know what you think. Thank you! Star/Mitch

***

"Typical," he said. "These things never end up where you expect them to." He looked around the old shop, searching for that certain book, the one he'd read a thousand times as a child. He'd made sure to have a copy ready, should anyone wish to stray from the so-called "modern" books, and try a true, original classic tale.

One not with dragons, and monsters, and politicians, but with people, searching for their true selves.

He thought back to the first time he had read it ... It must have been sixty years ago, he thought. He was eight, and preparing for his birthday, which by coincidence rang in the first day of the new school year. The second grade. He was a big boy now. He'd spent the summer with his Aunt, a lovely yet eccentric woman who spent her time listening to the sounds of Beethoven and Tschaikowsky on an old Victrola player.

He recalled the joy in her face when a new note played, as if she were hearing it for the first time.

Her name was Elizabeth, and it was she who gave him the book, wrapped so delicately in newspaper from years long since gone, and trimmed in delicate golden lace, with a beautiful red ribbon on the top.

He'd unwrapped it so carefully, so very slowly, savoring the smell of ink laid on paper, mixed with the sweet pine scent which permeated everything Aunt Elizabeth came into contact with.

Despite his age, he knew better than to tear into something like this; very few gifts were passed into other hands, as the money to buy them was nowhere to be found. Instead, gifts were from the heart, something to be treasured, as they were few in number and far between.

He had stared at it, not knowing the words to express what he thought, except "Thank you, Auntie." He'd seen books, of course, but this was his book, something he owned himself! He'd hugged her tightly and said "Thank you" at least a hundred times before entering into the worlds offered by the magical text before him.

Unlike any story he'd ever heard, it offered a new perspective with each new reading, and it seemed each person lucky enough to finish came back a new, changed soul.

Thinking back upon his childhood experiences, the old man smiled, then laid his glasses upon a table left to him when his dear Auntie Elizabeth had passed on.

He sat in an old leather chair next to the table, reflecting on the many customers he'd met over the years at the Antiquarium, when his eyes met a tattered burgundy cover under his glasses, which he had not before noticed.

The book. Not just any book, but the very one Elizabeth had given him those many years ago.

Unexpectedly, he laughed. A laugh which seemed to come from inside his very soul, a deep, hearty laugh, thinking again "Never where you expect them."

He reached out with a hand covered in wrinkles and age spots, yet surprisingly strong, and brought the book to him, opened it to the first page, and lost himself in the story once again, with tears of happiness covering the smile which brightened his entire being.

"Once upon a time..."

by Mitch Obrecht, January 20, 2001.