BY C. A. RANKIN
Copyright is held by the author.
THE KIDS were gone and Laura had the house to herself.
There was never a shortage of things to do, but for a moment, she was perplexed about where to start. The strange peaceful silence had thrown off her stride and then she had an idea. She would do something she hadn’t done in years — take a day off.
With her guilt ridden conscience in tow, she got a cup of her favourite coffee and a book. Instead of using the book as a coaster, she opened it. She seemed to recall there were words inside these things and these words would create a story. Genius, she thought.
She squinted her eyes at the tiny print on the page. “They make these so much smaller than I remember,” she muttered.
She grabbed her magnifying glass and headed for a comfy chair. She put her feet up, took a sip of coffee, and listened to the silence.
“Now this is the life,” she said out loud.
Magnifying glass in one hand, book in the other, she began to read. As the words flowed into sentences and then into chapters, a new world opened up. The story soon came alive and the parts of her brain that had been hibernating for so long, sparked back to life. Each page played out like a scene from a movie. She could see her characters with such detail and her muscles tightened as her emotions became energized.
She had forgotten how much she loved to read.
Part way through a chapter a small noise caught her attention. She looked up from her book not really knowing what to look for. She shook her head and continued to read.
A few more pages and another small noise. Guilt, she decided. Trying to make me feel bad about my day off.
Before having a chance to read again, she heard the faint sound of music. A waltz she thought. It was beautiful, but so quiet.
As she strained to listen, she was able to make out the sound of voices. So many voices. It sounds like a party.
This quiet sound was more of a distraction than the usual earth-shattering noise that screamed through the house. She wanted to know where it was coming from. She put the book down and followed the music.
She scanned the room as she slowly headed in the direction the sound seemed to come from. After a few moments, she saw a movement out of the corner of her eye. She looked toward the area the movement came from, but saw nothing — at first. She stood very still, listening and watching.
There! A movement. It was by the bookcase. She stepped closer. At first she couldn’t see any movement, but the music was louder. Mozart, she realized.
On one of the shelves, sat an old wedding gift — The Village Cricket Pavilion. She had forgotten she even had the thing, it had been there so long. The music seemed to come from that little piece of china, but she didn’t remember it being a music box.
As she reached for it, she saw bursts of tiny colourful movements and pulled her hand back.
Ants maybe, she wondered. But ants aren’t colourful and since when do ants listen to classical music?
Feeling the weight of the forgotten magnifying glass in her hand, she held it up. Looking through the glass, a new world started to become clear.
There, in the tiny Pavilion, were tiny people. They danced like tiny dancers from a music box.
Laura looked away, trying to decide if she was asleep or not. She pinched herself. “Ouch, I’m still awake.
What did I put in that coffee?” she asked the empty house.
She looked back at the scene; nothing had changed. The tiny people were still dancing in swirls of colour. The women dressed in beautiful colourful gowns and the men in handsome tuxedos with top hats. She tried to make out some of the details. They were small, but so wonderful.
Not wanting to scare them away, Laura stood very still and stared.
Eventually, the party came to an end. All of the tiny people turned toward Laura. They held hands and bowed.
In shock, Laura tried to bow. But she was stiff from staying so still for so long. Not sure what she should do, she simply whispered, “Thank you.”
The tiny dancers disappeared into various areas of the bookshelf. When they were all gone she turned and looked at the book she had been reading.
Instead of heading back to her chair to read, she went to her desk. She felt like a new door had been opened inside her mind, as she reached for pen and paper. Without feeling an ounce of guilt, she started to write.
She wrote of a tiny world, full of tiny people, having dances and parties in their beautiful outfits.
She never saw the tiny dancers from the Village Cricket Pavilion again. But she relished every spare moment for the rest of her life, as she brought them to life on the pages of her books for the world to enjoy.