The school day went fast and Brea found herself in Mr. Morris’ room before long. He was writing on the board and she began removing her things from her back pack, including the book with the tree on the cover she found in her grandmother’s house. She held the book up, “Excuse me professor,” he turned and looked at it, “but have you ever seen a book like-”
“Where did you get that!” he walked toward when someone unexpectedly poked their head into the room.
“Professor Delvin wants a word with you.”
“Just a minute.” He held up his finger but kept his eyes on the book as he continued walking towards it.
“She said it was important.”
He sighed. “Alright, I’m coming.” He stared directly at Brea, “Do not open that book.”
“What?” She was puzzled.
“Just don’t open that book!” he said as he left hurriedly.
Thirty seconds felt like an hour as she stared at the glistening leaves on the cover.
Don’t open the book? Why not? And like anyone not understanding why they’ve been told not to do something, she was dying to open the book. After two minutes her curiosity got the best of her. She walked to the center of the room and opened it.
Out of the book surged a cloud of blackness that pushed itself off the pages and swirled all around Brea. She stood in complete darkness except for ambient light emanating from the book that placed a glow large enough for Brea to see everything around her in a shallow radius.
“It’s a creation book,” Mr. Morris said from behind Brea.
Startled she replied, in a shaky voice, “…a…creation book?” She looked towards the void of blackness that Mr. Morris emerged from. He walked slowly circling Brea with both hands in his pockets.
“I didn’t think I’d make it, the cloud was moving so fast.”
“What is a creation book?” she said.
He was right next to her now but he was staring at the book, “My grandfather told me stories all the time to help me sleep. My favorite story he told me was about a book that creates.”
“Creates?” she said.
“Anything and everything, ‘A creation book has no bounds, whatever you want comes to life, even life itself,’” he said.
Brea was now looking at the book and running her fingers over the open pages.
“Brea,” he said as he gently lifted her chin and hunched down so they were eye level, “You are holding a world in your hands.”
“Making a world? A Creation book? None of this makes sense.”
“Really? Look around you. What do you see?” Mr. Morris stood and walked around arms wide.
“I don’t see anything.”
“Exactly! You haven’t created it yet. Before God said ‘Let there be light’ there was nothing. You’re in an empty dome, it’s the starting place.”
“How did your grandfather know about this book?”
“I don’t know. He told me about it and I fell in love with the idea. He told me stories as if it were true. I even tried to research it in college. You know mythologies, fairytales, I hoped I’d find something but I kept thinking ‘how do you research something that probably doesn’t exist?’”
“Well it seems real enough to me. What do we do now?” she said. She stood up holding the book open against her chest as if she were scared to break it, and began to walk around the dome like Professor Morris. The bubble of light moved with her.
He stopped and pondered. “Well…I guess we should try and write in it.”
“Okay. Do you have a pen?” She said. He patted his pockets. “Oh wait, I have one in my back pack. We can just go back and grab…oh no.” It suddenly occurred to Brea that she had no idea how to get back.
“How do we get back?” she said. She clutched the key around her neck with her free hand. He read her eyes and her tone and they both told him she was getting nervous fast.
“Don’t panic Brea. We’ll figure this out.” He put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, “There’s no need to get excited.”
Actually there’s never been a better time, she thought. His hand stroked the back of his neck as he weighed the situation.
“Wait! I have a pen right here.”
“That’s great but I’m ready to get back now and we can go from there.”
He shook his head, “No you don’t follow me. You want to get home right?”
He held the pen in front of her and shrugged, “Take us home.”
“Could it be that easy?” She took the pen and lowered the book holding it like a painter holding a scrape plate.
The atmosphere had been quiet before but now it was silent, and she suddenly felt the stale musk of the room as her hand put the pen to the top left side of the paper. She pushed it across the page…nothing happened.
“This pen’s broken. It hasn’t even indented the page”, she handed it back to Mr. Morris.
“What? Hold on.” He licked the tip and swirled the point on his hand which left little circles in his palm.
He handed the pen back to her, “Here you go.”
She grabbed it and tried again but nothing happened, “Great,” she said, “Now what?”
“The pen is the creation key,” he said closing his eyes and thinking.
“What?” she said.
Then, head back in remembrance of what seemed many times of recitation, the Professor said:
“Whether weather it is you seek
Of abundant grace your face shall see
Sea of ocean foam may be
Behold the pen is the creation key.”
“Grandpa said, ‘The pen is the key to creating worlds’. He loved poetry. He knew hundreds of poems, some in other languages. Maybe he mixed this one up. I don’t think so though, I heard it all the time, ‘the pen is the key…”
“Well he must have had a more reliable pen because this one can’t even create a line.”
“No wait.” He opened his eyes with new found revelation. “That’s wasn’t it…it’s not …the pen is the creation key…it’s ‘Behold the Penkey creates all things.’ But that doesn’t make sense either.
Whether weather it is you seek
Of abundant grace your face shall see
Sea of ocean foam may be
Behold the Penkey creates all things.”
But to Brea it did make sense. Well not completely, but in the context of their predicament, why not give it a try.
“I have a key,” she said this time without a quiver in her voice.
Mr. Morris kept moving and without looking at Brea said, “Yeah me too. But mine only starts my magical Toyota Corolla.”
She took a confident step towards him, “No. My key is different. I don’t remember when my father gave it to me, but my mother told me it was from him so I should always wear it.”
“May I see it,” he said holding out his hand.
She took it off from around her neck and it began to shine dark multi colors as it crossed the book. Mr. Morris held it. The top half of the key was in the shape of the trinity, and where the stem would be was the shaft of the key which was as thick as a pen and roughly the same size, only it ended in a cross shape at the bottom. The key itself had no hard edges, everything was rounded and smooth with no scratches, and when it wasn’t shimmering, it looked and felt like hot gold.
“Well, I’ve never seen a magic key before, but of all the keys I’ve seen, this does look the most magical.” He said. He handed it back to Brea.
She took the key and held it to the page and it began to glow like the leaves on the cover had when she first saw the book, holding her breath she touched the key to the page and wrote HOME on the top. She felt a breeze pass through her hair with a wisp of cloud, and then nothing. It was still dark and they weren’t home. Then suddenly, Mr. Morris yelled, “oooowwww!” and fell to the ground.
Brea ran over to him, “Are you ok? What happened?”
“I’m fine. I just walked head first into the HOME you created.”
Brea held the book amongst the dark, and sure enough she saw a very plain cobble stone wall.
“Hey it worked! But we need light and I can’t just write SUN or we might burn up.” Brea paused to think.
“We can’t rush through this,” she said as she closed the book. As the pages were pushed together, the black atmosphere that surrounded them was sucked back into the book in a rush of speed and sound, and just as suddenly as they left Mr. Morris’ room, they were back again.
“Well that was simple enough!” said Mr. Morris. “Let’s go back!”
“Ok. Shouldn’t we bring stuff?” Brea said.
“Right,” he crossed the room and locked the classroom door, “my hat, my coat, and my water.”
“I’ll get my backpack.”
They stood in the middle of the room looking as if they were waiting for a train with Brea holding the book.
“Are we close enough?” she said.
“”Well I was a good 10 feet behind you the first time.”
“Okay, now all I have to do click my heels like last time and say the magic chant and the book will open.”
Mr. Morris’ eye grew wide, “What chant?”
“Ok repeat after me: Corn bread, butter rolls, Sherlock Holmes in scarlet robes.”
“Corn bread, butter rolls, Sherlock Holmes in scarlet robes,” he said.
“That’s it! Keep saying it!”
“Corn bread, butter rolls, Sherlock Holmes in scarlet robes!”
He repeated it increasingly getting louder until Brea couldn’t keep it in any longer and burst out laughing.
Mr. Morris immediately stopped and said, “There is no chant is there?”
Brea struggling through tears said, “No. But that was hilarious!”
Mr. Morris started laughing too as Brea opened the book and the next instant they were back in the dark room standing in the small amount of light in the center of the dome.
“What should we write first? Our last experiment didn’t go too well.” She walked toward where the house was and touched it.
“Wait a second,” she said. “I’ve got an idea.”
She lowered the book to her waist and wrote HELP in the top left corner.
A gust of cool wind swooshed out of the book followed immediately by a voice from behind them.