“Psst…”

I whipped around. I could hear the voice yet I could not locate its source.

“Over here!” said the voice again. I was getting anxious now. I was standing in the middle of the library frantically searching for the owner of the voice, when I saw him, or should I say, it. It was a dusty old book lying in the corner shelf just out of reach. There was something intriguing about the book, and I felt myself compelled to walk towards it. I stood on my tiptoes and pulled the book out. It was quite large and heavy and I stumbled under its weight. I took the book to a table and placed it down. Little clouds of dust flew into the air. I sat down and looked at the book in wonder. Had the book really been calling me? “Don’t be surprised. Only you can hear me”, the book said. I looked around and saw that it was true. All the other kids didn’t seem to notice the book had spoken. I looked back at the book. “What do you want from me?” I asked. “I need you to do me a favour. I’m an extremely old book with only a little time left. I haven’t been read in a very long time, and my last wish is to be read by someone who will appreciate my contents.”
I looked at the book in astonishment. It had not occurred to me that books could have an expiry date and the thought seemed absurd. But as I looked closely I could see that indeed the book was in a pretty bad shape and would only be able to hold itself together for one more read. “What happened to you?” I asked. “How did you manage to get into such a bad condition?”

“I have sat on that shelf my entire life.” The book replied. “When I was young, children would come and take me home with them and we would go on amazing adventures together. I would be with the children as they laughed and cried, moving from towering castles with princes and princesses to dangerous quests for treasure accompanied by pirates. I had gone on so many adventures with so many children and my life felt complete. Then slowly as time passed on, the number of children adventuring with me reduced, and gradually the number of adventures decreased. It has been almost a decade since I last went on an adventure, and sitting in the corner of that shelf has made me age faster. The children nowadays have moved on to virtual games and eBooks. They have forgotten the pleasures of curling up in a corner with a book in one hand, living the lives of each character, experiencing all sorts of emotions. I wish for those days to come back, but they are long gone” The book sounded wistful as he remembered his bygone days.

Hearing the plight of the book, I vowed to myself that I would try to ensure no other book faced the same sorrow as this book did. Keeping in mind the book’s last wish, I opened the cover and plunged into many mysterious adventures accompanied by the book.

 

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