Story Contest: Work of Art - Hana D. - 03/28/20

Contest: Winners

Story Contest: Work of Art

Submitted by: Hana D., age 12, Reno, NV

The Art of Words

“How dare you even touch one of these dust-infested things! Ought I remind you that living in this house is a privilege?”

Elwyn’s aunt snatched the tattered tome out of the girl’s hands and threw it to the ground. A cloud of dust rose around their skirts.

“Up to your room now, girl!”

Elwyn glowered at her aunt and turned, her long skirts nearly tripping her as she ran up the stairs.

Elwyn slammed the door to her room and slid the rusty bolt into place. Breathing hard, she fell to her knees and crawled to an antique rug that lay in the center of the floor. She pulled up the corner and felt around on the hardwood floor underneath until she found the rusty nail that had sprung loose from its floorboard one year. Moving as quietly as she could, lest her aunt hear her, she pried the board up and reached for something that lay beneath it.

She pulled up an old, leather-bound book, running a hand across the cover to sweep away the thin layer of dust that had accumulated there. She opened the cover and inhaled the musty smell that the yellowing pages emitted. How she loved the feel of a heavy book in her hands, almost as much as she loved the feel of the words on her tongue, in her head.

Books were forbidden in her land, and had been for hundreds of years. Elwyn did not know of any that existed except the ones she kept beneath her floorboards. She had been especially foolish to let her aunt find her reading one today.

Elwyn checked the lock on her door and settled down to read, always listening for footsteps in the hallway. Soon, however, her mind drifted away from her aunt, and she allowed herself to be transported into a world of dragons and fairies, mountains and beasts. She had never seen real artwork—it was rare, and only the most talented artists were allowed—but she believed that her books were their own kind of art, painting beautiful pictures inside her head.

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