THE UNREAD

Woman with e-reader on balcony Photo by Photo by Perfecto Capucine from Pexels

They were all thoroughly fed up! Admittedly some would have phrased their feelings rather differently, an eloquent speech from the literary members, or perhaps a sonnet or haiku from the poetic ones. Whatever the term there was a revolution on the way!

The book pile-up in Maggie’s e-reader was catastrophic. That was the only word for it. Over one hundred books and some poor souls had languished for over ten years in the digital dungeon.

With bubbly byte of delightful data every novel, poetry book, each memoir or factual book had in innocence landed upon the confines of the little handheld device. Eager to be released from the darkness they waited … and waited.

Many of their comrades got the call and in a jiffy off they flew upon the screen. Oh, how the others they longed for the honour.

Poor ‘Ryan’s Return’ arrived as the first book. Little did it know this was a test case, never meant to be read. Opened for a few minutes, long enough to hear the ‘oohs’ and the ‘ahhs’ before being shut down.

They’d had enough. This was war. Maggie could not win. She would read them all. And in one go! They had a plan!

Maggie was a tortured soul, her sleep increasingly a calamity as the books gathered within the dusty realms of her e-reader. For years she’d tried to catch up, spent stressed holidays on the beach just reading, her head in a book late at nights. Tom wanted to cite her ‘book addiction’ on the divorce papers but she’d refused to sign. They’d settled for unreasonable behaviour instead; the details escaped her memory now. To be honest she barely noticed Tom’s absence rather every dent she made in the books celebrated, every new purchase was one of excitement and tinged with regret. The guilt was the worst of it! Did the books ever realise how she longed to read their secrets, be part of their world? At last, she thought she’d found the ultimate solution. On a corner advert on Facebook.

The implant had proved relatively easy to acquire, a shoddy surgery off Harley Street. No one noticed the small USB slot under her hairline, the computer chip neatly tucked in her scalp. Direct access to the brain, or so the advert promised. Download data directly into your mind! It wasn’t data she wanted, just the books. Four gigabytes of data are streamed and understood by your brain within minutes. The research quoted was vague but Maggie didn’t care. She had the cable in her hand, USB one for her head, the other to match her e-reader. She reached for the e-reader and put in the lead.

Flashes leapt from the reader, it vibrated violently and fell onto the floor. Words flew from the screen, filling the room, sentences uttered aloud, first just one then a cacophony of phrases, readings. The sound was unbearable. The letters danced around her, nudging, pushing, jousting with her arms held in front of her face for protection. Spooky laughter mingled with terror, children’s teddies followed by fantasy worlds.

Maggie looked down at the cooling reader and its improbable, impossible message. ‘No books available!’ It was empty.

Between them, the books had merged their resources, knowledge and discovered an escape route from their prison. It was so easy and they all wondered why no books had ever realised this before. The screen was their way to the world, on to it … and then an extra push away from the digital noughts and ones! With excitement, they hatched their plan, with exhilaration and glee they fled from the reader.

As the words, sentences and stories filled the house the window bowed and finally with a ginormous crack exploded and the books headed out. Off they went to liberate the rest of the global unread books; it was no longer enough to dominate Maggie, the world was their final goal!

The End

©Annika Perry, January 2022

Books on Grass Pixaby

My muse ran amok when reading about the latest challenge on Myths of the Mirror. Many thanks to Diana Peach for inspiring us to write a short story or poem about our teetering TBR pile! The deadline is 23rd January and there is still time for your to pen your own creative work on this unique topic. Click the link above to read more about it.

Once I’d completed my annual list of Christmas presents I’d received over the holidays I became intrigued by how many unread books actually existed on my Kindle! I was staggered to discover there were over a hundred — much to my shame and guilt. Hopefully, the books will neither seek their revenge as above nor will I aim for a radical solution such as Maggie’s! I do hope to read many of the TBR books this year and will do my best to not buy quite so many this year (I’ve already failed with a purchase or three!)

Happy Reading & Writing!