The books had all but disappeared by
the time Miguel was born. Words written were no longer useful for
anything but fuel. You could boil water over Atlas Shrugged.
War and Peace would
fry an egg, provided you could find one. Infinite Jest
could soften rice. Fish was done when each page of Les
Miserables had blackened and
curled and broken into bits that floated away upon the breeze.
children were encouraged to explore the woods surrounding the
village, rewarded whenever they brought something useful to the
elders. On his sixth birthday, in the back of a dank cave, Miguel
discovered a cache of books, wrapped in blankets and tucked inside
several wooden cases.
Thomas." Miguel handed a book out shyly. "I found more
opened the book and ran a hand across the page. He coughed quietly
into his palm and then broke into tears. "This is not fuel,
Miguel. There are words here. Ideas. Listen." He pointed to the
top of a page and began to read. After one page, he closed the book.
did you stop?" Miguel asked.
are for fuel."
cave is full of them," Miguel said.
stood and glanced around at the other elders. "Show me," he
he saw the books, Thomas fell to his knees. "You must never tell
nodded and scratched at a scab.
taught Miguel to read in secret, Miguel sounding out exotic words
that felt heavy on his tongue.
"You appear to have a talent for words," Thomas said a year later.
the end, they were discovered hunched over the tiny print of A
Wrinkle in Time.
chief elder, Miguel's grandfather, ordered the hidden books to be
burned to burn the bodies of the teacher and the boy.
villagers watched as blackened bits rose to the sky and blew away.
Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge