Honorable Mention

The Book in the Attic

Written by Esme Shane

Emma sat down on the dusty chair and opened up the book she found in her grandmother’s old trunk. The book was very heavy, and it made a cracking noise when she lifted the cover which was a faded blue color with gold lettering. She couldn’t read the words because they were written in some foreign language. Suddenly, Emma felt a chill and it felt like the attic had an open window. She looked around and the two round windows at either end of the long, narrow attic were tightly closed. Yet she felt colder than she had before, and she was sure there was a slight breeze inside the room. Emma spotted an old sweater hanging on the clothes rack pushed up against the wall. She pulled it off the hanger and quickly put the sweater on her goose-bumped skin.

Settling down in the chair, she picked up the book and opened it up. Slowly and carefully, she turned the pages which were yellow with age. Some of the pages were decorated with beautiful pictures, their colors faded but still vibrant. Other pages had words printed on them. Emma tried reading the words and even though they appeared to be English words, many of them were spelled funny. There were a lot of thee’s and thou’s. In the middle of the book was a needlepoint bookmark. Emma turned to the page and was shocked to find a note addressed to Emma.

She wondered who this other Emma was and why was there a note to her in this old book. Curious to find out more about this other Emma, Emma opened the note. She read the words slowly:
Emma my dear
Do not fear
Read these words out loud
And I will appear in a cloud

As quickly as she read out loud the last word, the attic filled with a brilliant white light and with a mist-like haze. Emma jumped from the chair but couldn’t move her feet. She stood there watching the haze swirl around and around until it formed a big, fluffy cloud. The light swirled around the cloud, so the cloud appeared to be shining from the inside.

The figure smiled at her, held out her hand and said her name, Emma. Emma reached out and touched her mother’s hand. She felt herself being pulled into her mother’s embrace and her mother’s arms folded around Emma. They stood there hugging for several minutes until her mother let her go and just stood looking at her and smiling.

“Is it really you Mom, or am I having some type of weird dream?”
“It’s really me Emma but I am not in human form but in spirit form. I’m still dead and I no longer live in the human world. I now live with the angels up in Heaven.”
“Are you an angel Mom?”
“No darling I am not but I am one of God’s special ambassadors. We are chosen by God to help spread the word about his existence to the people who live on Earth. So many people don’t believe in God, and we visit those people and help them believe.”
“But Mom I do believe in God. I still believe even after He took you away. Is God angry with me because I was so mad at him for so long after you died?”
“No Emma, God is forgiving. I am not here to teach you; I am here to visit with you.”

In the middle of the cloud a figure was taking shape. Emma watched as the shape began to form into the body of a woman. The woman was dressed in a beautiful white gown, and she had long dark hair. As the face began to materialize, Emma couldn’t believe her eyes. The woman standing before her looked just like her mother. But that was impossible because Emma’s mother was dead. She died last year in a horrible car accident.
Emma started to cry, and she wanted to run away. But she still couldn’t move her feet. She closed her eyes and hoped when she opened them the cloud would be gone. It wasn’t. By this time the woman was fully developed, and Emma knew in her heart the woman was her mother.

For the next hour, Emma and her mother sat on the cloud and talked. Emma told her mom all about how she, her sister and her father had learned to live without her. She shared the details of school, her friends, the boy she liked and her first kiss. It was wonderful. Soon the cloud began to fade, and Emma’s mother told her it was time for her to leave. Emma begged her not to go but her mother said she had to go since her time was up.
Emma hugged her mother and stepped off the cloud.

“Will I ever see you again Mom?”
“Anytime you want Emma. All you must do is open the book to the page I marked with the note and then read the note out loud. I will come back, and we can visit again. The only rule is that you can’t tell anyone about me. You must keep this our secret.”

Emma watched as her mother faded away into the cloud of mist and dimming light. Grabbing the book and putting the note back in the right place, Emma left the attic and went downstairs. Her grandmother was having a cup of tea in the sunroom. She wanted to know if Emma had enjoyed exploring the attic and had she found any hidden treasures. The look she gave Emma made Emma wonder if her grandmother knew about the magical powers of the book. For a moment, she almost told her grandmother the secret. She opened her mouth but then changed her mind.

Emma never told anyone the secret. She kept the book and for many years Emma would visit her mother whenever she wanted to talk to her and tell her about her life. Emma told her mother about high school, senior prom, her college years, meeting her future husband, her first real job as a psychiatrist and the birth of her three children. Although it was always sad when her mother had to leave, Emma was grateful for the time she had with her mother.

And the book? Emma kept it locked up day and night in a safe. She explained to her family that it was a priceless antique book that had been given to her by her deceased mother and NO ONE was to touch it. No one ever did.

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