George and Jenny met in college, had a whirlwind romance and married the day after graduation. They moved to Green Mountain for George’s job as the book restorer for the local historical society. The town was not very large, so they were quite happy to learn George’s position came with a house.
“Oh, honey,” Jenny said, clutching George’s arm as they stepped out of the taxi. “Look at it. It’s so beautiful. Are you sure this is the right address?”
George chuckled and patted her arm. “Yes, it is. Melanie sent me photos. I just wanted to see your face when you saw it the first time.” He flashed the charming grin that caught her eye four years ago in the library stacks.
He dangled the house key in front of her. She giggled with delight, grabbing the key, and ran up the front steps of the three-story Victorian. As she opened the door, she could swear that she heard a little voice say ‘hello’. The inside of the home was immaculate. The wood banister lured her upstairs, calling her to see the rest of the house. On the second floor was a library that could their whole apartment in it. Floor to ceiling book shelves were filled with classics and unfamiliar leather-bound books.
“Thought I’d find you in here.” George laughed. “You could always smell the written word.”
“Oh, shush,” she said, spinning in a circle, laughing. “This is amazing…no, it’s beyond amazing, its magical.”
Their first week in the house passed blissfully and early Saturday morning, while George still slept, Jenny tiptoed into the library to take in more words. There wasn’t a book she didn’t like and there were enough books in there to keep her happy for years. Curled up in a large, comfortable chair that sat on the second floor of the library, she dozed while reading of a traveler through a strange land of mystics, fairies, and pesky trolls.
“Wakey, wakey,” George said, tickling her bare feet.
In her dream, a dog was licking her feet and she woke herself up laughing. “You brute! I was having such a great dream.” She playfully slapped George on the arm, laughing.
“This is a great room, isn’t it?” he asked, looking around. I could stay in here forever.”
“So could I.” Jenny looked around the room and sighed. “Hmm…”
“I never noticed that book before,” she said, pointing to a tiny book on the third shelf across the room from her chair. “It looks like is glistening. Is that gold lettering?”
George shrugged. “Don’t know.”
Together they walked over to the book, pulled it from the shelf, and looked at the gold lettering. “Behind the Wall,” Jenny read, running her fingers over the book.
Just as she read the title, mist swirled around the couple and they were no longer standing on the second floor of the library in their Victorian home. They were now in the middle of a lush forest with fireflies, fairies, dragons, and other fantastical creatures around them, welcoming them to the world behind the wall.
Melanie let herself into the house when George didn’t come to work for the third day. The house was empty. “Lost another one,” she said on the phone to Francis. On her way out, she could swear she heard the house laughing.
© Teresa Grabs, 2018. You can find me on Twitter @TeresaGrabs.
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