Deep in the embrace of the ancient attic, connecting the ancient row of houses on the ancient Elsinore Avenue, Kyrielle Fable sat in the long-abandoned velvet armchair, its fabric torn in enough places to reveal the marshmallow stuffing concealed inside it. There was a draft in the room, coming up from the various holes peeking through the rotting plywood to taunt Kyrielle as she sat in the armchair. It was dark, too, the depths of the night offering no starlight to her. These less than satisfactory conditions were of no concern to her though. She had banished the dark with a precious candle she had bought the day before with her meager savings, every centimeter of wax slowly melting away as she sat in the attic worth the hours of work she’d had to put in to earn enough money to purchase the light. The cold did not trouble her either, thanks to the comfort of the thin blanket she now wrapped tightly around herself. Indeed, there may as well have been a snowstorm in that attic, and still Kyrielle would not have flinched, for she was fully immersed in another world. 

Kyrielle was one of those rare souls that deeply suffered from a condition commonly known as “fantasizing.” Some—although Kyrielle hesitated to apply this title to her own self—had even gone so far as to call her a “writer.” Nonetheless, she could not deny that writing did give her a special sense of peace. She wrote to give herself strength. She wrote to be the characters she never could be. And she wrote to explore all that she was afraid of. No doubt, writing was the painting of Kyrielle’s voice. 

The trouble with choosing such methods to express oneself is the slack one often gets from society. A certain amount of nerve is required to fully be a writer. One must be accustomed to the fact that others will forever be judging. Kyrielle had grown used to hearing mutters of “strange” and “insane” being thrown out whenever someone found her furiously scrawling her latest idea down in the little pocket journal she always carried with her. What they did not understand about Kyrielle is that writing was more than a talent or potential future career for her. Her gift was an imaginary friend, a warm presence she could sit down to afternoon tea with at any time and unburden her soul to. But no one except Kyrielle recognized this, and so she accepted the assumption of madness thrust upon her. 

If someone were to pause and ask Kyrielle where her fantasies came from, she would have perhaps replied that it began with her discovery of books at a very young age. When her father had still been alive, she had lived in a quaint flat in which each wall seemed to be brimming with tightly packed books. Mr. Fable had been a professor and had taken great care to read to his daughter with every spare moment he had. He liked to tell Kyrielle that inside each book was a friend, imprisoned long ago by some marvelous enchanter who had tied the poor soul to a life of paper bound in leather. And much to Kyrielle’s delight, she discovered that she not only found these friends with each new book she devoured, but that, almost paradoxically, she somehow found herself too. As a matter of fact, it seemed like the self she encountered when she read was somehow more real than the tangible self she actually was in her London school-girl life. The fiction just made too much sense, whereas reality never did. Reality, in her humble opinion, was much too fragile and cruel. It did not make sense to Kyrielle when she came home one day to find her father dead by myocardial infarction on the floor of her study, so easily destroyed. Stories, Kyrielle decided, could endure far more than people, almost infinite in their very being. And so Kyrielle found fantasy the most agreeable form of ignoring the pain of reality. 

Reading had given Kyrielle someplace comforting to go when she was made to leave that lovely flat she had shared with her father and come to live with her wicked aunt in her rotten old house that was always cold and dark. Sometime during this rude transitionary period in her life however, Kyrielle realized that she could write her own stories too. Some part of her had always known this to be true, but with no more friends bound to books lining the walls of her new residence, it was up to Kyrielle to take matters into her own hands now. It was her turn to paint the world in a different light, through words carefully arranged on a page. To assume the role of the enchanter and cast her clever spells. To dream with her eyes wide open. 

Such was the situation Kyrielle found herself in that night in the frigid attic, as she sat with her journal on her lap, a blank page staring up at her in anticipation of the words yet to inscribe themselves in ebony ink. The story was there, flitting around in the folds of her subconscious. And the story inside her mind was beautiful, but she did not yet know how to make it so. It was as if she were witnessing a great dance in her imagination, a dance so intricate and complex that she could not find the proper moment to join it. It was an undeniably frustrating state to be in. To hold within one a story still in search of the perfect words, on the verge of blurring that fine line between fantasy and reality that Kyrielle knew all too well. She knew and she did not. She was and she was not. 

A particularly strong gust of wind suddenly blew through the attic, threatening to extinguish the candle flame dutifully lighting the room. The cold brushed Kyrielle’s face, as if it were a gentle caress urging her to simply pick up the pen and let some unknown force do the rest. And so Kyrielle dipped her pen in the pot of ink perched in anticipation on the small table that stood by that velvet armchair, and wrote what she knew best.

Deep in the embrace of the ancient attic…

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