Eric Lahti, a fellow author (one of my favorites), blogger and member of the Indie Author Support and Discussion (IASD) group tasked writers to select a graphic and attempt a short story, less than 1,000 words.
Kalara stared into the book before her with delight, reverence, and a bit of desire. It spoke to her in a way few things ever had. She didn’t know, or maybe she wasn’t allowed to know, why the book held her like it did.
From the moment she touched it, she could feel the energy surge through her. It grabbed her mind and soul. It was in control of her. She leaned on the table in front or her to steady herself.
The book gazed into her, as if reading her thoughts.
There was no explanation for it, but just having spent a few brief moments with the book, she could see the wizards who had come before her. This was the book of Merlin, Gwydion, Maugris, Jafar, Väinämöinen, and Rasputin. It was the notebook which had endured for centuries. Merlin had caste a great spell on it which made it last the ages. Decreeing that only one wizard at time could possess it. And now it was her turn.
Downstairs she could hear the breaking of glass as the barricades she had built to keep people out of the Russian palace soon fell victim to her pursuers. Unaware that their mission to stop her had failed.
She could feel them; the book gave her the abilities to see beyond herself. She only had a moment, but that was all she needed. Every probability was calculated and she knew how this confrontation would end.
Kalara felt the presence of Delroy McKinnley, bounty hunter and treasure expert. He had been hunting the book for years. Like her, he also knew its power. Although he could never wield it, he wanted to the book almost as bad as she did. Maybe he would give up without a fight. She could let him live if he just decided to back off. But she knew this was a pipe dream. He’d never back down form a prize of this magnitude.
The ancient voices spoke to her, reminding her that although she was now the most powerful being on the planet, she wasn’t immortal, and she needed to bring this confrontation to a quick conclusion. It was only then that it occurred to her the trap the book really presented. The book gave her unimaginable powers, but it also made her a slave to it, and its magic. She was to wield it, but also responsible for its safe keeping. It was the price to be paid.
Behind her a man burst through the door. It wasn’t Delroy, but one of his lackeys. He fired a shot at her, she stopped the bullet in mid-air four feet from her head.
“Well, that’s interesting,” she said, examining the bullet spinning in mid-air.
The man, too shocked to do anything, ran back the way he came. She heard him leap out the window in the adjoining room.
Flicking the bullet with her finger, it fell to the floor with a dull thud on the wooden floorboards. She walked to the door, it was time to end this.
Kalara began her descent on the grand staircase. Delroy, and his assistants, as he called them, froze in their places, not entirely sure what to do.
“Kalara, give me the book. You don’t know what you’re doing,” Delroy yelled.
“Oh, that’s where you’re wrong. For the first time in my life I understand completely what I’m doing.”
“But, I need that book. I’ll give you everything you want and more. But, please give me the book.”
“You don’t understand, Delroy, you don’t get its full power. You could never hold this book in your hands. It’d kill you.”
One of Delroys hired men moved forward, as if to try and take the book from her. She swept her hand and suddenly each of his remaining six men turned to skeletons. For a brief moment, they hung in the air, like dolls on strings, before suddenly crashing down in a clatter of dry bones.
He glanced at them briefly. “Karlara, you don’t understand. I don’t want you to do this. This power is too much for you. I don’t want you to take on this mantel. I love you. You were my all, and I can’t bear to watch you do this.”
“Delroy, you never truly understood what this book meant. It isn’t just fairy tales and legends. It isn’t just stories that mothers tell their kids, or Disney makes movies about. It’s true, it’s all true. The magicians, the magic, dragons, everything … all of it. True.”
Once Delroy and Kalara had been friends and lovers. She loved him as no other woman had loved a man. He adored her, with a passion few others had felt. That was until they began their search. At first together and then separate. Each wanting it for their own purposes.
“I love you. Don’t you see that? I love you more than anything on planet earth. I want to be with you, but we have to destroy that awful book. I can’t watch it destroy you.”
She looked down at the pages. The wisdom it contained still flew off the pages, and into her soul. Thousands of years’ worth of magic was being uploaded, all with the unspoken agreement she would write the next chapters.
“I can’t let it go,” She said. Tears filled her eyes. “You know I just can’t let it go. I need this, but, Delroy, it needs me too. With me it’ll be safe, you’ll see.”
He made a sudden lunge for the book. Maybe if he could get it out of her hands. As he came down, reaching for the book, his hand came upon a simple piece of satin. It was a satin handkerchief, the one he bought her when they were still deeply in love. She had made her choice. She chose to turn her back on him.
Kalara, the woman he deeply loved, had vanished.