The world was grey.
The sky was bright most of the day. The sun from the window was scorching hot. But the world was still grey.
It was more of a feeling than anything. But it was something hard to ignore. Unless you were used to it.
Lunch was uneventful.
Class was repetitive.
And it was time to go home.
On the way out, I left a book at the library and selected the next one in the series before I realized what my hand was doing. The sky feels familiar now, grey and dreary, with the threatening scent of rain in the air.
I don't actually dislike the rain, I just don't have the money to replace the book if it gets damaged on the way home. The rain itself is soothing, comforting. With a little luck it might hold off until I get home.
My luck isn't very good.
Halfway back raindrops landed loudly on the autumn leaves all around me, forcing me to realize I should've listened to my nose not my unfounded hopes. At least I could've found a place to stay out of the rain then. Now I was on the side of the road halfway to nowhere and no shelter in sight.
Or was there?
Blinking surprise and a lucky raindrop out of my eyes I headed towards the old pavilion I'd just spotted. I would swear I'd never seen it before just now, but with the cost of replacing my library book playing through my head in a hundred different elaborate fonts I decided I could question my sanity after I reached shelter.
Oh stars please don't let the thing leak much. It was old enough, surely it would leak some, but maybe it wouldn't leak a lot?
For once, my luck was actually good.
It didn't leak. The rain picked up and pounded against the roof. Some of it slid in the open side when the wind changed direction. But it stayed surprisingly dry under that old pavilion. I guess they just don't build them like they used to.
I didn't have any homework, so I settled in to wait out the storm with the library book I'd been worried about.
There was something special about hiding away from the world by running to a different one. A good author can make you feel right at home with their characters, even when they're fighting evil or running for their lives. The way some places are vividly detailed to make you feel like you're in that fresh spring forest with morning dew dripping out of the trees into patches of sunlight that was trying so hard to dry the grass before it couldn't reach that particular little spot.
It's also amazing to let the rain around you block out all of the distractions that could tear you out of the world the author worked so hard to build for us readers.
At least, it was nice. Until I realized the rain had stopped and I had no idea ho long I'd been curled up on the floor reading.
I cursed to myself and stuffed the book back into my old backpack. Yanking my bike up, I kicked up the stand and walked out the opposite side to the one I'd come in.
I'm not sure why that struck me as important. But then I looked up as I hopped onto my bike.
Halfway. I knew I'd only been halfway home when I got into that pavilion. But, there was my house only a couple minutes away even if I'd been on foot.
Blinking, I looked back and saw the pavilion in the distance behind me.
Two steps and I was halfway between my house and the pavilion.
Two steps back towards the pavilion, and I was halfway and two steps away from my house.
Well. I wasn't going to complain about the boost towards home. The time it saved me would also save me from a very thorough scolding. I would, however, be confused about how in hell it had done that.
Magic was supposed to stay in books, wasn't it?
On the way home from school the next day, right about halfway, I stopped and looked around carefully.
Where was it?
A little ways from the road, my house nowhere in sight, was the pavilion.
This time I didn't walk right into it. I'd read a book where a fairy set up a trap by making it seem helpful, only to catch people the minute they let down their guard all the way. Instead I walked around the side and tried to spot my house. My sense of direction was questionable at best, so there was a very real possibility that I'd just discovered a shortcut.
Except I couldn't see my house from outside the pavilion at all.
Okay. Alright then. I decided I'd just have to suck it up and check from inside the pavilion.
Getting trapped by a fairy didn't sound all that bad anyways.
I hadn't really noticed the day before, but the pavilion seemed much bigger on the inside than it did on the outside.
And looking straight through the pavilion, out the other side, was my house in plain view.
I didn't mean to say anything. It just slipped out. How cool was this? My own, magical shortcut home. As long as it stuck around. And I didn't get kidnapped by fairies.
I absolutely had to make this my reading spot too. At home I didn't really get quiet, private time for me and my books. Between things to do and everyone else being noisy, it was basically impossible. No more! I would figure out how much time this magic shortcut could save me and take that time to read every day. What my parents don't know won't hurt them. It won't make daily life fall apart if I add some me time to it.
I took a guess at how long it had been raining the day before, set a timer on my watch, and settled back to enjoy my book.
And if I got kidnapped by fairies, at least I'd get to skip my turn to make dinner that night.