We were in the most boring, evilest of stores. The store where a child can be endlessly bored forever while parents stare at light bulbs or paint colors or, the worst, CABINET HANDLES!
I sighed. I sighed and tried to entertain myself with memories of former experiences in the store. There was the time we were on the way to Disney Land with my cousin. He hated Home Depot and every time we would pass one on the road, we would ask if we should go to Home Depot instead of Disney Land. He would shout ‘NO’ and we would drive on.
Then there was the time when I was desperately seeking a cat ornament for the Christmas tree (because each year I get an ornament to reflect the year to put on the tree. That year I had been very much into Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter). We couldn’t find a cat ornament anywhere. Then, we went into Home Depot, and there was a cat ornament! A cat ornament which looked exactly like Hazelfur, my own Warrior.
And then, of course, who could forget the time that my uncle nearly got arrested in Home Depot? Those who know my uncle know that he would never, ever steal anything. Yet, the employees thought he was shoplifting (maybe it was the backpack he had worn into the store) and he was detained and the police called.
Even though that was months ago and things have pretty much cleared up, he and my aunt are still plagued by calls from that particular Home Depot (which is closing soon).
I ran out of Home Depot experiences. In my mind I let out a Darth Vaderly ‘noooooooooooooo’ and wandered over to the lighting department which, in my opinion, was the only isle in the whole store that was of any interest. Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated with the lighting isle in Home Depot. All the chandeliers with the different decorations…. all the beams of light that shine unearthly yellow light on everything…. and the occasional purple light bulb.
“Come on Abbey, we’re going to the electronics section,” my mom said. I hurried after her and my dad. We weren’t in Home Depot to look at lights. We were there to search for good deals on computers. My mother needed a new one desperately.
This could take awhile, I mentally prepared myself. Why didn’t I take a book?!
While my parents were being helped by a nice young man, I hung back to look at some random computer accessories. Someone bumped into me.
“Oh, sorry,” said a foreign voice, with a foreign accent. “I was just looking for someone… my friends. They seemed to have gotten lost.
“That’s alright. I hope you find them.” The words stumbled out of my mouth, as they always did when I tried to create small talk or tried to get away from a conversation. I started to move towards my parents, who had gone into another isle. Then I did a double take. I turned back around to the boy who had bumped into me. He was tallish and well-muscled. He wore a light, white shirt that had poofy sleeves. His pants were brown and on his feet were brown boots. But that hardly caught my attention at first. It was his hair and his eyes that had made me turn back to a stranger whom I didn’t know.
But I did know him. That tanned skin, the bright amber eyes flecked with green, the longish, wavy black hair… Even the clothes – I noticed them now. I had given him those clothes after he, Antonio and James were rescued in the desert.
He had turned away from me, then, hands on hips, looking for his friends. I knew exactly which friends he was looking for, and I began to search too. I glanced at my parents; they were still engrossed with the salesman. I slipped away, down an aisle, and cast my eyes about. I went, aisle to aisle, searching for them. Finally, staring at the lights in the lightning department, I saw them.
“What strange things these are….” said the younger one; the one with a floppy brown hat on his head.
“Yes,” murmured the elder one. “I have never encountered something like this before.” He reached out and bumped one of the lampshades. It swung back and forth at his touch.
Without thinking, I ran up to them. “Antony is looking for you!” I said. They both jumped, as if coming out of a trance, and stared at me.
“Who are you?” said the older man, gruffly.
“Antony is looking for you,” I repeated, with less gusto this time. Maybe I should have thought through this a little more. It’s not like you can just come right out and tell people from your book that you wrote them into existence. That would be crazy. Besides, I wasn’t sure if I totally believed they were my characters. Maybe they were just cosplayers.
Dressed as characters from your book which hasn’t even come out yet? I asked myself.
“Where is Antony?” asked the younger man, with the hat.
“This way,” I said.
“Careful James, it might be a trap,” said the older one.
“Oh, just come on.” They agreed to follow me and I led them back to the electronics section of the store. Antony had disappeared! “Where’s he got to…?” I muttered. “He was just here!” I said.
Suddenly a voice came from behind us. “Antonio! James! I’ve been searching for you!” We three whipped around and there was Antony!
“There you are!” I said, relieved.
They ignored me. “Where are we?” Antony asked.
“We don’t know,” James admitted.
“Well I very much doubt that we will find Sebastian here, so let’s find our way out of here,” said Antonio.
How did I explain to them that they weren’t Shakespeare Land anymore? And where was a Silvertongue when I needed one….? If Mo or Meggie showed up from Inkheart, they could read my characters back into After the Twelfth Night.
I came out of my reverie and found that Antonio, Antony, and James were no longer standing at my side. I looked around frantically for them. Ah, there they were, just headed to the door. To the door?! Oh no! I couldn’t have them wandering around town! I ran after them.
“Wait!” I called. They turned.
“What?” asked Antonio.
“ALACAZAM BACK INTO YOUR BOOK!!!” I said, for lack of a better phrase. They just stared at me. Then, all of a sudden, as if they were holograms venturing out of the holodeck on the Enterprise D, my characters began to disintegrate in front of my eyes. I looked around to see if anyone else was seeing what I was. Luckily, no one was around in this particular aisle.
When I turned back to Antonio, Antony, and James, they were gone.
“There you are!”
I turned and there were my parents.
“We were looking everywhere for you. You scared me. Don’t run off like that,” said my mom, giving me a hug.
“Sorry,” I said.
Once at home, I quickly opened After the Twelfth Night to the particular page that Antonio, Antony, and James had sprung from. I sighed is relief. Everything was as it had been when I left it.
Antonio looked down at himself. Instead of the tattered rags he had been wearing since the beginning of his journey, he was dressed in a clean, white shirt with a low tie-up neck and poofy sleeves. His pants were brown and cut off at the shin. He was wearing long socks and a pair of boots sat next to his bed. When he felt his wound, Antonio found it to be bound in a tight bandage; it hardly hurt anymore.
Antony was dressed in much the same fashion, minus the bandage. But something or more precisely, someone was missing…
“Where is James?” asked Antonio.
I smiled in satisfaction. Maybe Home Depot wasn’t such a bad store after all.
I hope you enjoyed (even if it isn't edited all that much)!
Live long and prosper.