(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Rebekkah was written by Rebekkah Shaw.)
Kelly walked down the corridor, pass the gardens, and up some winding stairs until she came to a more narrow passage line by torches on either side. She halted at the end of the passage before a huge wooden door then grabbed the door handle and pulled it open, revealing the majestic setting of an impressive library.
She strolled in. Although she had been here countless times, the sheer magnitude of it never ceased to amaze her. She glimpsed around the massive chamber, which was lined with huge bookshelves, but also had multiple levels to it. She spied narrow windows in the high ceiling but also along the walls which provided natural lighting, but somehow the place seemed more lit than merely by sunlight or torches, but she walked beyond all this to the center of the room.
The floor terraced with the top level having a comfortable sitting area while the next level had numerous plants and a small waterfall that cascaded to the level below which, had a small pond directly and more plants and sitting areas. Above all this was a huge opening in the ceiling, which let the sunlight feed the garden in the library. When Kelly had asked what happened when it rained, Lorrek told her there was a spell over the opening, so no rain ever fell into the library. She took his word for it.
However, today she wasn’t going to continue her explorations of the library because today she had a meeting and was waiting for her visitor.
She didn’t wait long before the door opened and a visitor was escorted in by Lorrek. Kelly heard their approach, and she smiled, acknowledging Lorrek with a nod before setting her gaze on Rebekkah Shaw. “Hey! It’s so great to finally meet you.” She reached out to shake Rebekkah’s hand. “I see you got Lorrek to escort you here. Lucky you.” She winked.
“Indeed, I am.” She shot Lorrek a quick smile before taking Kelly’s hand. “I hear you’ve been here a few times before. Have you been to the Archive hall yet?” She released Kelly’s hand to turn and point at a level high above them. “There’s a quick passage on the other side of the garden. I promise it’s more interesting than it sounds.” Without waiting for a reponse, Rebekkah started toward the waterfall.
Kelly shot Lorrek a surprised look. She knew Rebekkah hadn’t been here before, but she also knew that the imagination worlds were strange places. Sometimes two people’s worlds converged, so Kelly let her lead the way, curious where they were going. “Well, this is different.” Kelly smiled as they walked, but she knew they had to stay on topic. “So…tell me a bit about yourself…” then she looked around, “And what is this place?”
Rebekkah had stopped at the waterfall, relishing the sound of water against stone. “Huh? Oh, well, I am an Archivist, of course. I’ve been trying to get records from some cities for months. They can’t preserve them the way this library can. Time seems to stand still here, doesn’t it? I mean, a waterfall in a library, any good Archivist would scream. But this place,” she gestured around her, “is magical.”
Upon arriving where her supposed passage should be, she stopped, confused. “Hm. I thought there was an elevator here. I mean, it’s like an elevator, but…more mystical?”
Kelly wasn’t sure what to say. This was Rebekkah’s imagination, and things might get misplaced–or relocated–and Rebekkah was the one who would have to find them. Kelly couldn’t help because she didn’t know where anything was here. “So, you’re an Archivist. That’s pretty neat.” Kelly watched Rebekkah looking around. “I’m sure you’ve come across a lot of interesting stories with your job, right? Any come to mind immediately?”
Forgetting about the elevator, Rebekkah excitedly told her tale. “There’s a town that got buried by a open pit mine. The school, the houses, everything was buried in tailings. But, the records survive! There were councils held and great arguments as the town was closing. Can you imagine living somewhere as it turns into a ghost? Empty houses, no street lights. Creepy!” Remembering the elevator, she began walking again. “So, apparently there was an old woman who went to every meeting and kept saying if they allowed the mine to take the town, the riches of the city would be lost. Everyone thinks she was being metaphorical, but I’m not so sure.”
Kelly’s eyes widened as she listened to the tale, but then she realized Rebekkah was walking away, so she quickly caught up. “Now that is quite amazing! Do the stories influence your own writing?”
“Not really. But the people I work with do.” She laughed. “There’s this guy at work who speaks Latin and quotes Tolkien like it’s scripture. I’m making him a city guard in one of my stories.” Looking around again, she gave a sudden shout. “There it is! Odd. Lorrek? Did you move it?” Knowing little about magic herself, things that seemed inconsistent were easy to blame on him.
Kelly laughed at this. “There are no elevators in Cuskelom—not tech like that. This is your own imagination. If it’s relocating things, then your imagination is probably sulking, which is odd. Have you been able to write recently?”
Rebekkah’s eyes shot down guiltily. “I haven’t.” Leading Kelly down the passage lined with bookshelves. “I have so many ideas in my head, but when I write it gnaws at me, like I’m wasting time. I’m helping my husband look for work, my niece’s best friend died in a car crash … other stuff.” Turning to one bookshelf, she gave the siding a push and the shelf opened like a door. “Even painting, which I HAVE to do for the venue in September is gnawing at me.”
“Wow, I’m so very sorry about your niece’s best friend, and I can understand how Real Life has a way of…” Kelly tried to find the word, “of just taking up too much time. At least you’re thinking and have ideas.” She offered her a warm smile. “Maybe you’ll be inspired to write after this adventure of ours! So tell me, when did you start writing? And when did you get serious about it?”
Rebekkah took a torch from the hall to light their way as they walked up a stone spiral staircase. “Oh, I started writing silly little stories when I was 7. Brave little indian tales and such. I didn’t get serious until a series of nightmares I had in college.” They entered an open area with tables messily covered in old parchment and dusty books. The whole room had a sepia tone to it. “My roommate said I should write it down to make them go away. Been messing with that story ever since. I’ve written it completely, but the first draft… let’s say I’d burn it if it didn’t double as an outline.”
Putting the torch in an empty slot on the wall, Rebekkah went to a table and looked at the papers, after reading a few a tear fell down her cheek. “These are all abandoned stories. Tales of great adventure and good versus evil, left to dust and rot. I want to write them, but I just … I don’t know how to do everything I need to do and everything I aspire to do.”
Hearing that Rebekkah would want to burn anything she wrote caused Kelly to wince, but she could relate. “Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend you burn anything. Never know what might inspire something else.” She then looked around at the dimly lot room filled with books and scrolls covered with dust.
Kelly went to a table where there were open books, and she traced her fingers over their pages, leaving a trail in the dust thereon. She could feel the stories on the pages–enticing her to read them, but she had to stay focused, so she turned back to Rebekkah with a smile. “This is lovely. And don’t worry, you haven’t abandoned them. Even if you didn’t finish each one, they all taught you something of great value with writing, and that is irreplaceable.”
Rebekkah smiled in gratitude. “Can we leave? This room is more depressing than I remember.”
“Sure. Do you want to come back to Cuskelom?” Kelly gestured to the door. “I can show you around there.”
“Absolutely!” Rebekkah waived the lead and followed Kelly.
This time Kelly took the torch off the wall and led the way. As they walked, she could already feel the world around them shifting to her more familiar imagination. For now though, they walked down the darkened stairs with torch in hand—careful not to slip down the stairs.
Kelly took the opportunity to glance back at Rebekkah and ask, “So you said you’re not writing at this very moment, but what’s the story you want to focus on when you have the time?”
Rebekkah had a hand on each wall to steady her decline. Going up stairs was easy, but going down she worried she’d fall down the steep steps. “Galaxy of Fire. The one I started from nightmares. I want it done. It’s been over 10 years. Kinda embarrassing to take that long on one story, don’t you think?”
“I don’t think so—not at all.” Kelly shook her head. “Like I said, all those years, you’ve learned something about your craft, about your story, and about life you can now add to the story when it’s time to write it, but it is good to write it as soon as you can.”
Finally, they came to the bottom of the stairs, and Kelly pushed open the heavy door.They were on the second level of the library, looking down to all the numerous shelves lined with books. Just inhaling was like breathing in the life of the stories, and it made Kelly smile.
She cast Rebekkah a grin then led the way down the winding stairs to the first floor. “Feel free to meander! Never know what you’ll find here.” But as she said this, Kelly trailed Rebekkah only so they could continue their conversation. “Now, I’ve mentored you before, and by the way, I absolutely miss our mentoring sessions, so I personally know what the story ‘Galaxy of Fire’ is about, but…there are others who don’t know, so tell me again…what is it about?” As she said this, she traced her fingers along the spines of ancient books on the shelves and watched Rebekkah.
Rebekkah tried to look everywhere at once, her eyes darted all around. So many books! So much history! She wondered if she could survive staying here the rest of her life to explore and read. Distractedly, she gave her usual description about her book, “It’s about a boy who doesn’t save the world, or the human race, really. Still, he becomes a hero in a larger battle of freedom from the tyrant of the Galaxy of Fire. Ok, that was more cynical, but it’s true.”
Kelly chuckled at the obvious distraction this library was for Rebekkah. “I’ll let you explore after our interview, okay? So first, I need you to focus…” She waited until Rebekkah finally looked at her although she looked disappointed, and this made Kelly laugh again. “Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time to explore, and who knows? Maybe Lorrek will show you around.”
Knowing though they should probably get away from the books, Kelly gestured for Rebekkah to follow her to the sitting area in the garden part of the library. As they sat near the stream which then fell as a waterfall into the second level, Kelly returned to the topic at hand. “Okay, so I like how this isn’t about a boy who’s going to save the world and such. That makes it different. But tell me about the characters?” She tilted her head. She already knew most of the characters but wondered if they had morphed a lot more since her last mentoring session with Rebekkah.
With a sigh, Rebekkah sat and thought, thinking to her characters with an apology for not talking to them. “Well, our hero is Andrew. He’s not a ‘chosen one’ or anything, but it seems that way. It’s really just an accident and he makes the choice to do everything he can with the situation he’s in. Tikon… now he’s interesting. I didn’t get to know him until our mentor sessions.” She chuckled to herself as she remembered the ride home from work, talking to her husband about Tikon and the flood of character backstory that came. “There had been civil war in the Galaxy of Fire for centuries and there seemed to be an end in sight. Tikon was a pacifist at first. He had great ideas for negotiations, but his plans ended up getting his brother killed by a suicide bomber. That is what changed him. Tikon wants peace as much as anyone, but after his loss, he is convinced talks are useless. You get peace by winning. I hope to some reader, Tikon could also be the hero. If that happens, then I told his story right.”
“I love the fact that Tikon has developed so much for you.” Kelly beamed and sat back in her chair proud of Rebekkah. “Now though, isn’t there something about dreams in this story? And somebody who’s reaching out to Andrew? I can’t recall that character’s name right now, sorry.”
Rebekkah hesitated. A little fear of her story being used by another always worried her, but she trusted Kelly and hoped she could trust those who would read the interview. “I call it Dream-speak. It’s how the aliens of this sci-fi communicate with each other, especially humans. Andrew meets Volrolp, who apparently doesn’t like his name because you swallow your tongue when you say it, in Dream-speak. It’s through dreams that we earthlings learn the end is coming. V works for the rebellion and uses dreams to warn earth. He doesn’t know Tikon is destroying Dream-speak, so no one but Andrew is able to see V.”
“I love that idea. Very unique.” Kelly smiled. “Now you do realize you’re going to have to get on with it and get it published soon, right? Because I do want to read it! And I’m sure others will be very eager to read it as well because it’s a different kind of ‘savior’ story, if I can say that.”
Then Kelly heard the chiming of a clock and frowned. “Ugh, these interviews never last long enough!” She gave Rebekkah a frustrated look. “I need to head back to the Real World, but you’re welcome to stay here and explore like I said you could.” She smiled as she rose to her feet. “I’m sure Lorrek will appreciate the company.”
Rebekkah smiled back. “Well, because you asked, I’ll finish it.” Before Kelly left, Rebekkah met her eyes, “Thank you, Kelly. Really.”
Kelly stared at Rebekkah then smiled and gave her a hug. “You’re a fantastic writer!” She pulled back at arm’s length to lock eyes with Rebekkah. “I know you’re going through a lot in life right now, but you ARE a writer. Don’t ever doubt that. And if you ever need someone to remind you of that, you know where you can find me. K?” She raised her brows as she smiled.
Rebekkah’s eyes glistened with water. “Ok.” Sniffing the glisten away, she took a step back. “Now, where did Lorrek go?”
“Oh, he’s over there.” Still smiling warmly, Kelly gestured behind Rebekkah as Lorrek approached them. She then lifted her gaze to him. “Lorrek, Rebekkah would like to be shown around the place. Would you mind?”
He shook his head as he drew near. “Not at all.” He bowed to Rebekkah then straightened and offered her a bent elbow. “I will show you now if you wish.”
Knowing Rebekkah was in good hands, Kelly waved farewell with a grin then headed out—back to the Real World.
Rebekkah Shaw’s story is titled ‘Galaxy of Fire’ and has no releasee date set, but you can follow her online here: