Aylen sits in the cramped attic, legs crossed, nestled in the slant between roof and floor. Light streams through one grimy window, catching the dust suspended in midair like reluctant snowfall. She is doubled over, nose close enough to touch the faded print of an ancient book.

The room is inundated with pages and their weak bindings, heaping masses. They are pallid and abused, billowing over one another in elegant chaos. A film of dust covers all but those closest to Aylen, those with sticky finger prints, marks of her love.

She turns a page and her slender fingers graze over the yellowed paper softly, a gentle murmur of approval from the novel. A hand leaves the book, pulling her reedy brown hair away from her face. It falls back down almost instantly, a scuffling noise across the pages.

Someone below tugs on the trapdoor, an abrasive creak in the quiet. Aylen looks up with sparkling black eyes. She reveals a mischievous grin and disappears. The stranger pokes his head into the attic and sees nothing - only an empty room and timeworn books.

But if you know where to look, you can find Aylen running through forgotten worlds.

The End

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