PAGE THIRTEEN 🔐

Taxi waiting at curb

Library books on lap. Suitcase on back seat

Time on dashboard clock: 7.18

Wait a minute… 7.18??

Unread phone notification: Daylight saving ends. Remember to put clocks back one hour

At least now she wouldn’t miss her flight

The driver slowed to a stop across the road from the red brick library

which was still shut since it was only 7.23am

A woman with a familiar face was walking a cute labradoodle

and holding a warm cup of coffee in one hand

Zayla unbuckled her seatbelt and scooped up the stack of heavy books in both arms,

resting her chin firmly on the top of the stack to hold it in place

Far too many books. She always meant to only borrow two or three at a time,

but then she’d spot another, and another,

and before she knew it there were seventeen books on her bedside table

bursting with new adventures, characters, recipes, photographs, and worlds to explore

Shutting the door of the car with her foot,

she crossed half way to the yellow centre line of the street

With traffic flowing in opposite directions either side of her,

Zayla’s arms began to ache underneath the weight of the books

She couldn’t wait to offload them into the ‘Return Books Here’ slot

on the wall to the left of the huge emerald green door with the brass handles

The library door always reminded her of a mystical secret portal to another land

It looked like it belonged to a story book rather than a modern building

At last, a gap in the traffic… could she make it?

She decided to run across the lane as one driver slowed enough to let her cross

The car behind them tooted their horn impatiently

Zayla’s view was impaired by the book closest to her nose and she misjudged the height of the curb

Her right shoe caught the edge of the cobblestone, and she began to lose her balance

She felt the neatly stacked books begin to slide out of formation and escape from between her arms

A burgundy covered cookbook with sticky fingerprints and butter stained pages

landed with a thud on the side walk and fell open to a recipe for plum flavored jello

Zayla found it odd that her arms still felt so heavy even though the books were no longer within their grasp

She couldn’t be sure, but from the corner of her eye it seemed as though

all the cars had disappeared from the road the moment the books had hit the ground

Everything had frozen into place and she was fallingfalling…. endlessly falling