All Roads Lead to Tome


Isabella Fountain '25, Author

There it lay, poised and too high and mighty for a shelf. Its golden brown leather shone against the ashen marble of the ruins, casting a yellowed reflection across the mosaic floor from a little bit of light that had broken in through an alcove. No signs of life remained except for this one book, which was too intact to have been here all along. A DVI (that is, Department of Verifying Information) officer, must have carelessly dropped it while on a run. That was a grave mistake for whoever left this artifact of the Unruly Times behind. Feeling bold, I decided then that I must take it back home. My fingers grazed its cracked spine, just about to grasp it when a twig snapped some distance away. I pressed myself against a wall, holding my breath with all the force in my chest and abdomen. I was about to reach out my foot to drag the book closer, but fortunately I decided that was a terrible idea just in time. A silent bullet whizzed inches from me and clattered against the old statue to my right, blowing off her elegant marble fingers.

“WHO’S THERE!?” a ferocious, deep male voice bellowed. Hard footfalls echoed throughout the chamber.

“I said WHO’S THERE!” the presumed officer shouted again. “Come out from there if you know what’s good for you!”

No. I refused to give up my right to curiosity. I’ve snuck down to explore these ruins every night without fail. I wasn’t going to stop now. Fortunately, though, the man continued his search in the opposite direction, giving me time to sneak away.

I decided not to return to the ruins until I knew the DVI was gone from the area. On my walk home from school, I went over my near-death experience over and over again in my head, carelessly dragging my feet in the dirt until I stubbed my toe. I looked down to find the culprit, which was not a sneaky tree root, but another thick book. It was weary and worn but beautiful, bound in brown leather glowing gold in the sunlight.