The book was waiting for her in the shelf, as it always was. Waiting to be opened, to be read, to come back to life. To exist.
Written by hand centuries ago it had survived wars and famine. The essence of its author was still alive in the curved lines of the letters, in the beautiful words, in the magic spaces between them. Thoughts of a mind long gone, still alive in the minds of others.
She loved her book. It was the only book she had, the book her father used when he thought her to read. It had been in her family for generations, before that, no one knew more than the name of its author.
Sitting in her favourite chair by the window, she heard noises outside. She put down the book on the table and looked out. There was a knock on the door.
The king’s soldiers. Open up!
She opened the door, unknowing of what they wanted. They entered without permission.
The big man’s eyes fell on the book on the table. He went over, picked it up.
Search the house! There might be more.
He left with the book in his hand.
There was a pile of things down the street. The priest was there. Soldiers were coming out of the houses, carrying books, paintings and sculptures. One of them held a torch in his hand.
She watched the fire take hold of the pile with tears in her eyes. As she saw the flames caught the sheets of her book she started sobbing, crying loudly. She could hear it’s words in the air as it disappeared into smoke, see the vivid images it had created in her mind so many times. After a while there was nothing but a ashes.
She sat in her chair, looking out of the window. Her book was gone, the only beloved thing she had left was gone up in flames. After a while she dried her tears and went over to the old desk standing in the corner. She dipped the feather in the little bottle of ink and started writing. She wrote down all she could remember from the book, but she knew it wouldn’t be the same. The magic in the curved lines, the deep thoughts between the sentences would be gone forever.
But a part of it would live on, and some day be lived by others.