Author Short Story: Ambriehl Khalil
If you follow along, you know we LOVE the short stories that our authors write for our monthly writing prompts.
We missed two great stories last month while getting things ready to go for all of our new hires, so we're going to share them with you this month!
As it fits, the January topic was new. It's a new year, we might have new goals, we might have a new outlook, we might have a new passion. Here in house, we had a whole lotta new and now we have a whole new bright and shiny focus in the little publishing house that can.
The first story for the year is from Ambriehl Khalil, author of the LGBT YA Coins In The Coffee Cup and is titled, "Letters To Someone."
<<<If you are a book blogger or book reviewer, you can sign up to review Ambriehl's debut, set yourself up for interviews, cover reveals, and more by clicking here and signing up.>>>>>
As always, short stories are kept raw and very reflective of the author. We don't give them input, we don't edit, we just give you our amazingly talented authors.
In case you are not already following Ambriehl or if you want to know more about her upcoming book, follow along with her blog by clicking here.
Letters to Someone
The room is far too elaborately furnished, smells of varnish, and practically fucking glows in the afternoon light. It could essentially be an advert for one of those home improvement magazines where the prestigious designers mix and match every god damned item in the suite, take a picture of it, shove it into a magazine and bing bam boom, they’re making money out of effortless talent. The room is gorgeous—sure—with its almost whipped creamed coloured walls and honey wood panelled flooring, picturesque windows peppering every single room and the plushest and most absolutely ornate furniture all clustered together in the most artful kind of fashion—it basically has a glowing sign on it flashing that it’s a million dollar room. It’s luxurious, posh, ravishingly inviting, and I absolutely fucking detest it. It’s not because it isn’t god strikingly magnificent and elegant. It’s not because it’s something people would pay millions for, it’s because of what it is—what it means.
In the corner, there are men sitting around quiet tables that give away no secrets. They are dressed in vintage suits that are lack lusted in colour (and of course they wouldn’t wear normal suits. Of course they wouldn’t wear normal clothes). They’re washed with faded out ostentatious lilac’s and baby blue’s; the green of a new born child’s walls, the fresh wave of subdued creams and the peaches in the springtime, flourishing on the branches of the over grown trees where the leaves are too vibrant for the blue of the sky, and the soil that crusts on the bottom of the earth—prismatic and kaleidoscopic patterns are etched on the sleeves and the faces that the men (boys, really) own, hold nothing other than a sour expression of knowing. It’s everywhere; it’s in their eyes, in the way one corner of their mouth is pushed upwards in a dirty smirk, it’s even in the way they’re hands are clasped together like they are holding something too precious to show. It’s everywhere.
The door that is staring me down is a deep mahogany with different patterns engraved around the corners, swirling in different directions and creeping from the bottom up like vine leaves. It is effortlessly vintage. It’s a door a millionaire would own, definitely not a door that would be carved just for a library of one of the most prestigious fucking universities in New York City (thanks to Daddy Dearest)—the place everyone wants to be. This is it. This is the moment where life supposedly 'changes'. It's the most disgusting thing, really, when people are so convinced that starting university gives an overwhelming moment of clarity; as if that moment where you walk through the doors, your life is expected to become something more than it is, as if, you become an entirely new person by just walking onto different grounds that you haven't been before. It's horrifying, the reality of it all, when you're two weeks in and realise that your life is still the same crazed shit storm it was the moment you walked through those doors. Stepping on new grounds doesn't change your life—that kind of shit just doesn't happen.
I clasp my hand around the pure golden door handle, push it open and step in. It’s exactly like the flyer said it would be. It’s covered with shelves that reach the ceiling and are filled with hundreds and thousands of books, every single genre, every single category, every single name. There are perfectly placed luxurious cushions and love seats; the most expensive looking red and gold velvet stools and panelled flooring covering every inch of the gigantic room. There are desks scattered throughout, and one attached to the far wall against the window as large as the wall itself. It is raining outside and the droplets of water hit the glass of the window and trickle down and disappear where the window ends and the desk starts.
I turn around and walk down a different isle, running my fingers along the hundreds and thousands of books that have been blessed to be put into one space. Some are old—if you opened one, some pages may fall out. The pages would be washed yellow from the years spent in boxes and in the hands of different people. Some may even have personal notes from previous owners, sentences may even be highlighted—that’s always the best way to find a book; well used. If you smelt it, that sensational smell of ‘old book’ that is nothing compared to the ravishing smell of a stream down by your house, and fresh rain water, or dewing grass in the fall, would wash through your nostrils. Reading a well used book is like extracting into someone else’s thoughts and emotions. You can see the way a book has been cried over, the smell of old tears and dirty hands—the way those same shaky hands would pick up a pen or highlighter and underline that one sentence that hit them straight in the heart like the first time the love of their life said the words ‘I love you’.
Sometimes, rarely, there will even be a note from the first owner and there is nothing else like knowing that the book you’re holding meant everything to somebody else.
My fingertips slither over the bindings and names, my eyes following along just as quickly until it stops on Midnight Cactus by Bella Pollen. I pull it out. On the first page there is a note,
To my lover, it reads. If you find this, you will be deeply satisfied, and it’s everything.