It was the oldest building in town. The amount of people usually would contradict the lack of noise. It was silent as a mausoleum, yet not as morbid. There were novels, comics and dictionaries filling rows of elderly wooden shelves. Today seemed to be especially marked by a dreaded presence, however. The townspeople would rarely leave their homes. Not because of the uncommon rain of summer on that day. But because there had always been a feeling of unmoved tension that lurked in the North.
The boy was able to calm down by running through the collected pools of water residing in the dirt. He was running away. Going towards nowhere. He had entered, soaking, inside the pale and aged building, through the only door it had. All the way to the farthest corner, nobody was disturbed there. The boy thought as he finally slowed, satisfied amidst it all, for he at least found a good hideout.
The boy's deep panting scribbled on the blank sheet of silence. Outside the window was the painted portrait of rain on an empty town. It was a peculiar sight; the troubled child in a troubled town.
So he thought to himself before he was startled by a voice not his own.
"What are you doing?" Said the voice, light and timid.
Surprised, the boy turned with a fright, jittery and all, and made the girl laugh a bit.
The boy embarrassed, jaw open from surprise, wet from the rain, in front of a girl seemingly of same age. He felt things were getting
"Well? Do you plan to catch a cold or catch flies with your mouth?" The girl with auburn haired exclaimed.
The boy shut his gaping mouth, confused how to reply.
"There are some rags behind the counter there, come on." She said as she grabbed the boy by the wrist, pulling him away from the window.
Silently drying himself, the boy walked away from the counter, the girl had disappeared. Wondering where the girl had went, the boy wandered the halls, knowing the silence meant solidarity. He started to walk around, not out of curiosity, rather, out of boredom. It was until he reached the far west end of the building that he his had been able to rid his mind of his previous thoughts. Only listening to his own steps, he reached a candle-lit table. A book stood with four small fingers on each side, standing alone on the table made for four.
The boy walked around the table and saw the girl. He didn't know whether to apologize to her or thank her. Or even disturb the silence at all. He gently took the chair beside the quiet girl, and sat. Bored with wondering, after a short while he decided to read. He came across one of those uninteresting science books, colourful but unexciting. It told of something the boy never knew of, lights in the sky that appears at night. Small lights guided men and lit the dark of night.
"You like books?" The girl asked, the boy shook his head.
"Then why are you here?" She asked.
"I ran away from home." The boy said, sombrely.
Silence sat for a while but left quickly.
"I know I'm not supposed to be here…" The boy said as he started standing with intentions of leaving, but the sudden grip that caught his wrist stopped the boy. He stared at the girl.
"It's okay to stay, it's better than being alone in the rain." The girl said, not looking back at him.
The boy sat again. They read for a while, and then the boy gathered the courage to ask.
"Is this a book about myths or fantasy?" The boy asked.
"This is a book about stars! Don't you know what a star is?" She exclaimed astonished, the boy just looked confused and shook his head.
The girl then told the boy stories. How people used to looked at stars for hope of finding home again. Of people lying on meadows and pointing at how stars made funny shapes. Tales of constellations like the cow, the tiger, and the dogs. As the boy listened, he felt something changed. The more he listened, the more his fascination grew, and all the more he became curious until he finally asked:
"But why aren't there stars anymore?" The boy asked.
The girl shrugged, "Some books say that clouds in the north are thickest. I don't know. Someday, I'll leave this town and find one."
"Why would you leave? Isn't this town your home?" He asked.
"I feel isolated here; at least going on an adventure seems exciting."
"Yeah, I guess I'd want to go on one too." The boy agreed.
"Who needs home if you have cows flying in the sky?" The girl joked.
They both smiled and laughed in the silent labyrinth.
Night fell, and then came the sound of jingling keys. The two children left before they were locked in. They parted their ways; the boy looked up, at clouds above like a huge blanket of cotton. Yet tonight was different, and the rain had ended. The boy smiled. No longer afraid of the world, he ran for home.
Autumn breezes made the town lazy, so many would rather stay home than work on those days. In came the boy's habit of reading inside the building with the girl. Walking towards the far west table where sat the book he last stopped reading. On that day there was a pad of paper and a pen accompanying the regular books. As expected was a small hand holding that pen.
"What's that?" The boy asked.
"I'm writing a book." The girl replied.
"What's it about?"
"About a young man who fights his twin brother and will defeat his father to change his ways, the hero will fight for all the people's hopes and save the world." The girl proudly said.
"Isn't the twin brother a little cliché?" The boy asked.
"No it's not!" The girl protested.
"And that's just silly, how can that actually show others good things like faith and hope if the hero fights his own family? That's stupid."
The boy said bluntly.
"What? My story isn't stupid! You're stupid! I'll show you, when I'm done, this will be the greatest story ever! You better promise to read it when I'm done writing!" she exclaimed while poking the boy with the dull side of her pen.
"Okay, okay, I promise."
Silent as ever in the old building it was. People passed by, but nobody would ever bother them on their table. Even time walks slowly there, nobody ran, preserving the silence. Until the sky was finally scarlet out the window, the two sat there as always. Reading or writing, they both enjoyed the silent company.
The girl broke silence, looking at him "If you found a star, what would you wish for?" she asked.
The boy thought about it, and eventually shrugged his response to her, "I don't know, I don't really want anything that much."
"Do you still want to go on an adventure out there?" The girl asked meekly.
"I think home is better than any adventure, don't you think so?" the boy asked smiling, the girl nodded in agreement.
"Home is better anyway, I like the people here." The boy said.
Suddenly, the sound of jingling keys rang, and they knew that they were about to be locked in again. So they ran off, leaving books and papers behind.
The market, loud as ever and the streets full of adults even on drowsy mornings. The boy thought to himself as he walked to the usual place. As he walked up the short, wide stair case in front of the door, a familiar face passed by. He smiled to her. Her eyes didn't meet his as she walked past him, away from where he was headed. Holding papers left the past day, the wind blew as she went.
Nothing changes in the town. People come and go, yet time seemed to loop itself as the unchanging mood never progresses. A day after the girl had left the town, the boy comes out of the building as the man closes the door.
"Where's the girl you're always with?" The man inquired, laugh quietly.
"She left town, she no longer lives here." The boy replied.
"So you were in there by yourself?" The man asked, the boy nodded.
"Son, you must really enjoy books a lot to stay in there all day." The man said, but the boy shook his head in reply and started walking away.
"I'm just waiting for the best book ever." The boy said to himself, smiling innocently at the night. He ran towards home. Staring at the sky, hoping there was a star listening, "I wish I could have said sorry."