Andy Knowmore left the cemetery and remaining family with questions surrounding the empty casket. He wanted to get at his family’s namesake. He needed to know more.
So, he returns to his aunt Devorah’s deceased estate, to respectfully comb through remains. He enters her lavish two-storey library, stacked to the ceiling with leather spines and frayed journals. Lifting the first weighted book.
They say she escaped lockdown into fiction, but this is something else.
Scouring every shelf, nook, and cranny of the word bound walls, dust rests in the loose stacks.
Wedged between scientific journals on metaphysics, entropy, and differing repetitions of scholarly annuals -- he finds a small scrappy notebook tucked inside the heavy volumes.
In a final notebook entry, sits pinstripe sacred geometry dotted with stars and celestial faces. Under eloquent markings is a scratched message from the dead.
‘A nameless city awaits hidden in clear crystal. The crystal hides in books. Its pages are close.’
Andy’s head starts dripping with perspirant and potential.
The book’s gotta be here!
He tears at the walls, making wordy waterfalls of freed pages and tipping cages.
As they rip from their wells a hardcover thesaurus spills onto his head, bruising his crown.
On emptying slitted cavities of books and bindings, undoing all the library’s covers, he pauses.
Hovering over a yet opened thick circular book, he stalls the reveal.
If it’s not in here, it won’t be anywhere.
Opening a round ornate black leather binder, he sees a deep cavity where a crystal might sit.
Stolen? Pawned? Missing? Or never was!?
Upon closing the book his cuffs start sucking between the covers.
He’s vacuumed up by the strange round book.
Andy’s whisked away to a sun-bleached sandstone port smattered with bobbing wordy sails.
‘Devorah! Uncle Jack! Great-aunt Linda, Simon the Pieman, August the Third, and mum!’
His aunt beams, ‘We’re so glad you’re here. Thank you for reading up on us.’
‘So, where is the crystal to the secret city?’
‘You are. You fill the cavity. You bring us to life.’
‘But why the hidden world?’
‘We hide in books to escape the hum drum. We make our own worlds with whatever language we choose. Us ancestor wordsmiths need a place to rest our heads. Did you leave someone to open it again?’
‘Am I fixed to this space till they do?’
‘You’re only here until you close the book.’
‘The book of ages. The tome of time.’
‘But, why this book? I must know more.’
‘And that is why you are here. You are one of us. A Knowmore out of time and space.’
‘And how do I get back?’
‘There are no backs, only blurbs to a new beginning.’
Andy regains consciousness amidst enormous piles of tattered books.
He instinctively reaches for his mobile and starts calling his ex-partner.
‘Sally, you won’t believe it! I was thrown into a hidden other world of a secret crystal city by my family’s notebook. They told me I need to create someone to keep opening the pages. Want to try again post-lockdown-break?’
‘Andrew, NO MORE calling!’