FLICKERS ON A DARK DAWN (CHAPTER 1)

“Dylan Grey’s 15 Years Of Existence Have Consisted Of Everything There Is To Know About Normal. That Is, Until He Learns Who He Truly Is. And What The days Leading Up To His 16th Birthday Look Like. A World Of Certainty Has Turned Upside Down And Inside Out; The Question Has Been Raised: “Who Are You?”

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Natalie McLaren

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Vivien Phillips, Staff Writer

It was another melancholy London morning; not that I was expecting something different. As I put my glasses on the bright lights were no longer some flickers on dark dawn, but instead many cars lined up waiting for the traffic to clear. Big Ben was in perfect view outside my window. What’s the point in a broken clock tower? I sure didn’t see one. The sky was as gray as a boulder, the clouds covering the only light from the sun. Instead, lampposts were lit in every direction, some were about to go out. The pavement was slick. “I guess I will be wearing rain boots today,” I said to my mother. 

 As I began to eat breakfast my brother, Gabriel, said that I should stay home today as it was dark and dangerous outside. “You could slip in a puddle and fall!” he said with a disapproving tone.

But rain or shine, I would go to the library today. I put down my fork and got up from the table to grab my backpack, “My school has a test next month; I need to study!” I responded.

 As I draped the black backpack over my shoulder as Gabriel said, “Fine! But I will drive you!”

I felt the need to shoot back at him, but I held my tongue.

When we got in the car he asked me why I seemed so unhappy. “Nothing, it’s just that… well we moved here on this date, last year from New York and I miss it there!” 

He nodded. “I get it, I miss it there too.”

I brushed the strand of dark hair off my face “You don’t understand! You make friends so easily! You’re even class president!! I’ve been here the same amount of time as you and only have two friends; the whole school likes you!”. There was a long pause of silence, all you could hear was the rain slamming against the top of the car. The words I said echoed through my mind, “I’m-I’m sorry… I didn’t mean that!”. I realized my apology didn’t matter as his eyes filled with tears; he unlocked the doors. I could see in his expression what he wanted to say; leave, just leave. 

As I stepped out of the car door, I saw a slightly crumpled coffee stained piece of paper that read “Library closed today, normal hours Mon-Wed: 7 AM-5 PM Thu-Fri: 8 AM-5 PM Sat-Sun: 7 AM-4 PM” I let out a sigh. I would be walking. Thanks, Gabriel, I thought.

As I unfolded the blue umbrella resting in my hand, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I must have jumped because a small girl responded, “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to spook you!” she laughed awkwardly as if she had mistaken me for someone else. “I’m really sorry…!” I looked at her confused, “Um… it’s okay.” I could barely see her complexion but she looked to have rather long red hair and a red raincoat with matching boots. The girl thrust her hand out towards me, silently inviting me to shake it. “I’m Anne, Anne Williams!” “

Confused, I looked around to see if she was looking for someone else; she was so interested to meet me, but anyone else in London would have brushed it off and walked away. “Oh, my name is Dylan.” Anne just warmly smiled before responding, “Nice to meet you, Dylan! I couldn’t help but notice that you were waiting for the library to open? It’s St. Andrews day! My mom runs the library, she’s from Scotland and we normally close on Scottish holidays.” 

“Oh well-“ My sentence was cut short. “If you want to you can come in.”

“Oh, well…” I peeked at my watch; it was so early, should I really accept? “I don’t want to intrude.”

“It’s fine! Really.” Her shoulders dropped; she was less nervous than before.

 “Oh well,” I hesitated, looked around, and said, “Okay, I guess.” 

 She smiled at me before she gestured towards the door a few feet away from us. “Let’s go!” she walked quickly, and I followed.

“Mom!! We have a guest!” Anne opened the door letting a few droplets of rain come in with us. The library was wooden and tall, yet the bookshelves were filled with books all the way to the ceiling. The library was divided into two stories, though the second was really a balcony looking onto the first-floor. stairs lead to the books closer to the ceiling. It appeared as though the first story was all autobiographies, textbooks, and other nonfiction books, while the second was filled with fantasy, poems, and different fictional literature. Although being so large, it felt quite comfortable. It was so calm and peaceful; I loved it.

Soon the quiet was interrupted when the librarian called from a distance. “Who is it?” 

The librarian walked down another staircase leading to a different story, this one completely separate from the first two. She was a tall, pale woman, with a long green dress and long brown hair held in place by a bun with a pencil. 

“Oh, hello I’m-”

“Dylan Grey, Library card number 150267?”

I was shocked, how could anyone remember that information, especially with only one look at me. “Wow, how did you remember that?” I asked. 

“It’s,” she paused suspiciously, “a talent of mine.” Before I could speak, she continued. “Well, Dylan you’re welcome to join us for breakfast.”

They were all so kind. “That would be amazing thank you!”. The three of us climbed up the stairs. As we walked to the third story I picked up the smell of hotcakes and cinnamon.

Once we reached the third floor there was a door with a sign that read, “Employees only”. Although instead of looking like a break room, I could see that Anne and her mother clearly lived there. It resembled a home, containing a living area with a sofa, a few doors leading to other rooms, and another bookshelf. I didn’t get a chance to read any of the titles as we continued through another door that opened to reveal where the scent was coming from; the dining room. As I walked in I caught sight of a tall and skinny boy with brown hair sitting behind the table about to cut a bite out of a pancake. “Logan? Don’t you think you should at least wait for everyone to sit at the table?” Anne said, it was then that I realized the two were siblings. Logan merely scoffed and waited for everyone to sit down.

Soon everyone sat down at the table and everyone discussed book-related topics, it made me wonder if their entire life revolved around the library. As I bit into the hotcake flavor exploded in my mouth, cinnamon and brown sugar were dusted on the top, while other spices were incorporated into the batter as well. After I had eaten an entire plate, I remembered the whole reason I was there.

“Oh! I need to study!” I exclaimed. 

Anne stood up from the table. “I can help!” 

Hesitantly, I responded. “Okay.”

Logan and his mother stood up and headed to the kitchen, “You two can go pick out books from downstairs, Logan, and I will clean up.” Logan sighed, got up from the table, and began picking up plates.

Anne and I headed down the stairs, and once we were there we grabbed all sorts of math books, 11th grade to be precise. I turned to Anne. “Thank you for your help!” she nodded. 

We began to walk to an area with some chairs and computers in the middle of the library when a raised part of the carpet tripped me, and I went flying to the floor. I soon realized by the sharp pain in my left arm that I had put it in front of me to block my fall. I heard the rain pick up as Logan and Mrs. Williams ran down the stairs. “Here.” Logan had held out his arm so I could get a grip and stand up. As I stood up I noticed the entire Williams’ family staring in awe at something. For a minute I couldn’t tell what it was, but my eyes locked on what they were staring at.

The math books I was carrying were floating mid-air. I rubbed my eyes and rubbed them again. I was seeing things correctly.

The books were actually floating.

I didn’t quite understand what had happened but, then frantically yet quietly at the same time, Mrs. Williams asked me if I knew about the Alternaverse. Excuse me… did I hear them right? 

“The what?”

The three of them exchanged a look. Then Logan quietly broke the silence.

“Come upstairs, we need to tell you something.”