By Bruna Costa
Posted on January 1, 2024
Cover Image Title: Multiverses
Cover Image By: Breana Kirby
Classification: Digital Art
Specifications: 2360 px X 1640 px
Why live just one life if you can live thousands?
Alice was an introverted girl. She had just one friend - Marc. He was the only one she could trust. Their mothers were best friends since high school, so Alice and Marc grew up close together. At some point in the summer of 2005, Marc and his parents moved to a very faraway country in the north of Asia. That was the last time Alice saw her best friend. Two years later, she feels very lonely from his departure, still thinking about their good times together.
Alice never really had the patience to read, but at this point if she does not make something exceptional for her history project, she will fail the course. So after school, she decides to find a library book to help her history work. After walking for what feels like miles, she finds a bright white building. The board on top was just barely visible and written in a glitter color were the words:
'The place where the magic happens - Enchantia Library Archives'
Alice eagerly approached the building and opened the door. The door seemed to whisper "Welcome" as she opened it. The inside of the building felt very strange. It was empty. There was nothing inside besides the thousands of chromatically organized books lining the shelves. It was hard not to get distracted from her task.
One book in particular stood out to her.. It’s bright silver cover called for her. Or at least, that was how it felt. She looked at her pulse clock, to find that it was still quite early. She could look for the history book later. As Alice took the strange book from the shelf, she felt some electricity run through her hands. On the book's cover was not a title, nor a single word, just that bright silver color, which would hypnotize almost anyone.
As soon as she opened the book, a blinding light came out and spread all around the library. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. When she was able to open her eyes, Alice immediately got scared. She was no longer in the library, but in a park. When she realized where it was, she almost cried.
That was the park where she had picnics with Marc and their mothers. That was the place where she had felt her happiest moments. Every sunny Saturday, they would all go to that park. They would share food and listen to old songs, and the mothers would tell the kids stories about the times when they were younger. There were moments when Alice almost became voiceless from laughing.
That park was destroyed and replaced by a large company. Those picnics never happened again. Until now...
Alice is shocked by the place she is in now. Is she dreaming or hallucinating? Suddenly, a voice wakes her up from her trance. It is Marc:
Alice! Come here, my mom is playing our favorite song!
Alice's eyes widen, and her body is stunned for a moment. She looks at Marc, his mother, and her own mother. She felt thousands of emotions -nostalgia, fear, but mostly happiness. She saw the three of them looking at her, happily. They’re on a blue picnic blanket with a few baskets of food. The strawberry cake and sandwiches that Alice’s mother would usually make. Also present are fresh fruits like grapes and watermelon. Cookies, a chocolate brownie, and potato chips. Her favorite song plays in the background.
Alice sighs, deciding to join them, but still feeling a little hesitant. She sits on the picnic blanket beside Marc. Alice's mother says to her:
Are you okay, honey?
Alice says, trying to sound truthful:
I am okay, mom. I am just excited to eat the brownies.
Alice’s mother smiles and gives her the brownie. Alice takes a bite, then makes a bitter face. She says to Marc:
You made it, didn't you? It is salty, but it is supposed to be a chocolate brownie!
Marc laughs, and his mother says:
I knew I should not let you make the brownies! Unbelievable, Marc!
Everyone starts laughing, Alice included. She can’t remember the last time she laughed so much. After everything that’s happened, her best friend moving to another country, from time to time, she would feel very lonely.
Alice was so immersed in the picnic that she almost forgot about the library and the fact that she probably traveled to another reality just by opening a book. She still couldn't figure out what was going on. She closes her eyes for a moment to collect her thoughts, Thinking to herself:
At first, I wanted to find a history book for my school project, but then I found that library. Strange, but very beautiful. I am sure the door welcomed me. And then I saw that silver book...
Marc's voice wakes her from her thoughts. She shakes her head, readjusting to the world. Marc says:
You are quiet. Was it because of my brownie?
Alice says, laughing:
Probably, I was so excited to eat a good brownie, but yours was a culinary crime.
They both laugh. Everyone at the picnic continues to enjoy the food. After a while, Alice starts thinking again about how she got to this place. She tries to remember what that book was like. That bright and mystical silver cover. That electricity she felt when her hands touched it. That blinding light that appeared when she opened it. While trying to remember all those small details, everything turns blank and bright.
In the blink of an eye, Alice is back in the library, still holding the silver-covered book. She tries, but fails, to process what just happened. After about 20 minutes of looking at nothing, she decides to explore the library. After a moment, a board appears on the wall right in front of her. There is a message:
'Live a thousand lives by opening a book.'
At that moment, everything made sense in Alice's head. She had found a way to live lives besides her own. Then she remembered the books her mother would read to her when she was younger. She had been a mermaid, a princess, and a witch. She wondered why she never read books after her mother stopped reading to her. And that library, that book she opened, the reality she traveled to through the book. Was it all for her?
Alice never got an answer, but after that day, she would always pass by that library to live different lives through the books. She has learned so much. In the end, she did create something exceptional for her history project.
[Writing Editor: Nikky Kroeger]