My Wonderful Readers, the time has come for the amazing conclusion of The Gurong!
If you missed part one and/or two, just scroll on down to read first.
And now, without further ado…
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Like the darkest corner of the school library where his book had been found, The Gurong’s place was hidden by night, the slight cast of moonlight making it appear even more ghostly at this late hour.
Crispin pulled the bike to the side of the gate, then went around to its lowest point and hopped over it. Now on the other side, he found the latch that would unlock it, setting off a rusty screech as he pushed it open.
“Yikes. If I wasn’t so excited I’d be chilled to the bone!” Reagan whispered.
“Same here!” Crispin replied.
There were only a few feet of space between the gate and building, but it was enough to wheel her in, with him then closing the gate behind them.
With flashlights they found what appeared to be the entrance, so narrow two people couldn’t have walked through it at the same.
“Ready?” Crispin asked.
“Yep,” Reagan smiled. “For over sixty years now.”
He squatted down so she could drape her frail little arms over his shoulders, then held them close as he straightened back up, taking it one step at a time through the doorless doorway and into the cold cement shell.
It seemed a bit bigger on the inside, growing wider as it expanded towards the center, a spiral staircase leading up to the other two floors.
There was really nothing else to see, so bare, so lonely, sorrow feeling both their hearts as they looked over the empty space and thought of what The Gurong had tried to accomplish.
“You must be getting tired,” Reagan said. “Why don’t you set me down on those steps and go up and have a look around the rest of the place.”
Crispin followed her suggestion, and began to climb the stairs to the next floor.
It was just as vacant as downstairs, not a single item to serve as a clue as to what had happened so long ago. Strange, but not really eerie, the less he tried to make sense of it the more serene the surroundings started to feel.
With one more level to explore Crispin returned to the staircase and looked down to Reagan. “Same ol’?,” she asked. “Nothin’ to be found?”
“Not yet,” he replied. “I’ll go check out the attic.”
“Alrighty then, be careful,” she said.
He still had hope. After all, that’s what had brought him here, what had started this whole journey for him.
And then, as if such hope heard and answered, as he stepped up into the attic his eyes immediately spotted something in the corner, it being the only thing up here.
A small desk and chair, with something atop the table.
Wings of excitement flew Crispin on over there, and spotlighted by the moonlight coming through one of the many windows he saw that there were a high stack of papers, along with a bottle of ink and a quill for writing.
The tower of pages were filled with words, paragraphs, chapters, undoubtedly a book in progress.
This is when Crispin’s mind really began to branch out into new possibilities, thoughts of wonder like never before taking sprout.
The building itself, sculptured to look like a giant book…
The many windows, obviously meant to let in natural light, but what if, like a book, this building held within it its secrets…?
Crispin rushed over to the darkened crevices that made up the hollowed window frames and stuck his hand inside. There his fingers found a book, and so he grabbed hold of it and withdrew it from the wall.
He reached back in to see if there were more, and indeed there were, every gap, every opening stuffed with books, as if the walls were just covered bookshelves.
And so he pulled at the wall, with it surprisingly coming down like wallpaper, the more he peeled away the more beautiful the attic magically became, from the hand carvings of the shelves to the paintings of the outer trim of these walls of literature. From the crystal chandeliers now hanging above and lighting up the space to the warm inviting furniture which now filled it. An intricate palace of poetry in contrast to the cold hard mausoleum it resembled just moments ago.
A gentle sound of music even spread throughout.
It appeared the whole building was blossoming to life, Crispin calling out to Reagan with such exhilaration. “Do you see it, Reagan?! Isn’t it amazing?!”
He looked down the spiral staircase. She was no longer there…
Crispin ran down, to find a stranger dancing with Reagan. He was dressed like one of those gentlemen from a couple of centuries ago, with top hat and three-piece suit.
Reagan’s legs, her feet, now moving, flowing, as if she were a young girl again.
The stranger turned around to greet him.
“Ah, and this must be the hero to our story! Nice to meet you, Crispin.”
Although surrounded by them, as each of the three floors were now filled with books, Crispin searched for words as he shook the gentleman’s extended hand.
“Indeed I am, and thanks to you my work has now been freed.”
“What happened to you? Why did you disappear way back then?”
The three sat down on one of the lovely sofas, The Gurong more than happy to share his tale.
“I was only one fellow, trying to do the work of a dozen, hard labor by day, writing by night. With only a few books to my name I set out to produce my own, so that I could one day fill this library-to-be. The more I wrote the more I became absorbed by story, the magic of it, and yes, it really is magic, consuming me to the point to where I decided to become a part of it, as opposed to remaining part of a place that was obstinate to such a gift.
“And so I was part of this timeless thing called story, like it, never aging, creating countless tales of wonder, neither bound by genre nor the ignorance of the outside world.
“But stories are meant to be shared, so I attempted to put my own out into the world when precious Reagan here could no longer visit me. Like a brave little messenger she had placed it in her library after reading it, but there it sat, readers choosing what the world told them to read rather than discovering something on their own.
“That is until you came along, my dear boy! And now, just like a fairy tale ending, my library will be available for all who care to read stories of substance!”
Reagan, Crispin, and The Gurong sat for hours, talking, laughing, enjoying their shared passion for the gift of story.
Then the sun began to rise, the two friends who had come here in wonder leaving with so much more, promising to visit every day, and to bring those who would be just as eager to read The Gurong’s literary treasures.
Upon leaving they noticed that the library now looked like a place one would want to visit, the color of Butter Rum LifeSaver it was coated in bringing an even bigger smile to their faces. They decided to stroll home, now that Reagan could do so, walking the sidecar bike along with them while taking in the cool morning air.
A friendship built around the wonder of the written word.
A friendship that would indeed be read about by lovers of story from all around the world!
Like the gift of story,
the gift of support is a powerful thing.
Tip jar with a purpose…