THE DREAMWEAVER

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Submitted Date 07/07/2019
Bookmark

Two: Some Gave All


There was a story about a man. Those who do not seek for him will never find him, but those who found him will only have one chance. People said that he was a man who can perform miracles. However, the price is usually steep. Those who paid the price never tell what they sacrificed, and those who did not pay the price never remember who they met.

"Why are you crying all by yourself in this desolate of a place, little girl?"

"Mommy! Daddy!" Wailed the little girl.

"Hush, child. They are too far gone now. There's nothing you can do, and crying will never be able to bring them back."

"I—I want my mommy! Daddy!"

"If you love them so much, I can help you. What can you offer me?"

"Mommy! Daddy!" The little girl continued to cry.

"Hm. Are you even listening to me at all?"

The man sat down next to the little girl and waved his hand in front of her face. The little girl saw the man waving his hand and looked at him for a moment before she started to cry again. The man shook his head.

"Children have such a hard time managing their emotion. I'll calm you down then." The man snapped his fingers and the little girl abruptly stopped crying. She suddenly found it hard to continue breathing as she started to gasp for air.

A brief moment later, the little girl was able to brief easily again. She stared at the man with fear in her eyes. The man smiled at her pleasantly.

"You are afraid, it's understandable. However, sometimes, everyone needed a quick shove to get them out of their misery. What's your name?"

"I—" The little girl looked at the man nervously. "I want my mommy."

"We'll get to that. Tell me your name first."

"Char-Charlotte."

"I'll call you Little Charlotte, then. You do realize that even if you were to cry until your voice is spent, nobody will be able to hear you in this godforsaken place, right?"

Charlotte shook her head. "I-I don't know. Charlotte doesn't know. I'm scared. Mommy and daddy won't wake up."

The man sighed. "What misery you are in. The innocence of youth is so fragile, much like the nature of dreams. Do you want them to wake up?"

Charlotte nodded her head hesitantly. She was afraid that the man would do something bad to her again.

"You must pay me first." The man extended his hand and opened his palm. "What can you give me that will move me to help you?"

Charlotte stared at the man's palm for a long while. She was still afraid of the man, but she also understood the man's gesture. She knew that he wanted something. However, she did not fully understand what the man said.

"Do you know what I'm asking you? You seem old enough to understand. I'll wait." The man did not retract his hand as he continued to wait patiently.

Charlotte bit her lips lightly as she struggled to think about what she can give to the man. After a while, she finally recalled something. She remembered seeing her parents using what they called money to exchange for items. The person at the cash register would always extend a hand to receive that money; it is similar to what the man is doing now.

Charlotte slowly reached into the pocket of her sweater and took out a single penny. She slowly placed it in the palm of the man. Then, she stared at him with her large, bubbly eyes full of expectations.

The man laughed bitterly to himself before shaking his head. "Fair enough. I guess this is all that you have now since your parents are gone." The man took the penny and closed his palm. Afterward, sands began to fall out of the spaces between his fingers.

He looked at Charlotte's expectant face and said, "Since you gave me your entire life's fortune, I'll sell to you your entire life."

The man grabbed Charlotte's hand and forced open her palm. Then, with his other hand, he placed his index finger on her palm. A single grain of sand fell onto her palm and glowed faintly with a golden hue, drawing her attention. The man then quickly forced Charlotte's palm closed again.

With a slight smile on his face, the man looked at Charlotte in the eyes. "Have a beautiful life."

Immediately, Charlotte found her consciousness drifting away. Once she woke up, she was sleeping comfortably in her bed at home. Having no real understanding of what just happened, Charlotte did not think twice about the strange dream she just has. The only thing that caught her attention was the faintly glowing yellow grain of sand she was clasping.

"Elizabeth, how are you doing?" A gentle, soft voice asked.

Elizabeth put her book down and turned around. A blonde woman wearing a beautiful blue dress was standing behind her. The woman had a warm smile on her face and she tilted her head slightly sideways.

Elizabeth broke out into a smile upon seeing the woman. "Lisa!" With her arms wide opened, Elizabeth gave Lisa a quick hug. "You should have told me that you were coming to visit. I would have prepared a few special gifts for you."

Lisa laughed freely. "There's no need. I wanted to surprise you, that's why I didn't let you know. I brought you some gifts from Venice."

"No way!" Elizabeth accepted the two colorful bags from Lisa and pried one opened. "This is the dress that I have always wanted!"

Lisa giggled as she saw Elizabeth happily fluttered around with the dress on her hands. "Open the other bag. You'll like it even more."

Elizabeth quickly opened the other bag upon hearing Lisa's urge. As soon as she saw the contents of the second bag, Elizabeth let out a surprised shriek and jumped a few rounds in joy.

"Oh, Lisa! Thank you! Thank you! I have been looking for another physical copy of this book ever since it was lost! How did you get it? I thought only 2,000 copies were printed, and it has already been 11 years."

"I met a man at the airport. He was exchanging this book for a meal. At first, I wasn't interested, but then I noticed that this is one of the books that you were so crazy about. I didn't believe it's the real thing, but given your reaction just now, it must have been real." Lisa chuckled.

Elizabeth's face turned a little red as she calmed down. "This is real. You can feel the seal here under the cover. Others may not know this, but the original seal has a small imprint of the word 'butterfly' at the bottom. Look."

Lisa leaned over and felt the seal. Then, she slowly checked for the word butterfly. Surely enough, right on the outer edge of the bottom of the seal was the word "butterfly" engraved in golden letters.

"You're right! Looks like what that man said is true. Luckily, I decided to trust him."

"How does that man look like, if you don't mind me asking. I mean, not that his appearance matters anyway. I was just curious why he would exchange this for a simple meal." Elizabeth started flipping the pages of the book slowly so as not to bend any page by mistake.

Lisa furrowed her brows and tried to recall the appearance of the man. However, she realized that she did not remember how he looked like at all. "It's weird, I don't remember the appearance of the man."

"That's fine. I'm just worried that he might have stolen this from somewhere," Elizabeth said casually.

"By the way, don't start getting absorbed in your book yet. I want you to go with me for a meet up with Mark and his friend." Lisa cleared her throat upon seeing that Elizabeth was already starting to read the book.

Elizabeth frowned slightly. "Lisa, you know that I don't like his friend. No offense, but he gives me weird vibes. His sense of humor is also not my type."

"I know, I know." Lisa sighed. "Its a favor for Mark, so please, just this once more, please? After this, I'll tell Mark not to drag you into this again."

Elizabeth closed the book and then put it on top of her drawer by her bed. She stood up and turned to Lisa. "As gratitude for getting me the book that I have always wanted, and for that beautiful dress, I'll go with you this time. But please, no more next time. I really don't like him."

"Okay!" Lisa said with a smile. "Are you going to put on your new dress? We'll all be going to a party afterward."

"No, I want to read my book. Send me home after the meetup."

"Alright. Let's go then, I don't want to keep them waiting."

"Are you sure this is the place, Lisa?" Elizabeth asked with a half-asleep voice.

"I'm sure..." Lisa looked around for Mark and his friend but still found no traces of them. "We must have just been a bit too early. Maybe—ah! Mark just texted me!"

Elizabeth stared at Lisa who was focusing on her phone. "What did he say?"

"He said there was a traffic accident and the main road was blocked. They have to take a detour so they'll probably be here in about 10 minutes."

"Traffic accident? It looked fine 10 minutes ago."

"Must have happened after we have already arrived," Lisa said. "Mark told me to order first, so do you want anything?"

"I'll just take whatever is on the house today." Elizabeth lazily put down the menu.

"You sound so tired and drained. I'm sorry. I promise that this will be the very last time," Lisa said seriously.

Elizabeth shook her head. "It's not that. I stood up until six today reading, so I just don't have enough sleep. Plus, this waiting with no books to read, I don't have the energy to stay awake."

Lisa laughed lightly. "If only you are as interested in real life as your books, you would have found yourself a nice boyfriend by now. You wouldn't have to sit through all these with me."

"I am interested in real life, just not the drama and stuff. I feel that relationships demand too much energy."

Lisa laughed. "Only you can say such interesting things. Anyway, I'm ready to order. You sure that's all you wanted? No special drinks? This place has some of the best wine."

"Water will serve me just fine. Wine will only give me a headache and take away my precious reading time."

Lisa giggled and shook her head at Elizabeth's comment before calling over the waitress. She quickly ordered the food and drinks and started looking over Mark's texts. It did not take long before Mark arrived with his friend.

"Hey, Lisa." Mark gave Lisa a light kiss on the cheek and then turned to Elizabeth. "Elizabeth."

"Hey, Mark. What was the accident about?" Elizabeth asked casually.

Mark sat down in front of Elizabeth and also gestured for the man behind him to sit down next to him. Then, he returned a smile to Lisa before turning to Elizabeth. "I actually don't know. The officer only told us that a truck experienced brake failure and ran into another vehicle. Luckily, there were no deaths involved. However, they still have to clean up the road."

"That's some miracle right there." Elizabeth nodded before frowning slightly upon noticing the man besides Mark looking at her.

Lisa also noticed the tension between Elizabeth and the man, so she quickly intruded. "Mark, when is the party again?"

Mark also realized that Lisa was trying to ease the situation, so he hastily answered, "Jennifer said that it will start around 8 PM. Did you two already ordered?"

Lisa nodded. "We did. However, the waitress told me that they ran out of beef for your dish, so I changed it to pork instead. You wouldn't mind, right?"

"Not at all. I prefer beef, but pork is fine," Mark said. "So...Elizabeth. How're things going lately? Lisa told me that you are almost done with your studies."

"Everything's fine," Elizabeth answered nonchalantly. "I think I'll be done in another year or so if everything goes smoothly."

Mark smiled, somewhat awkwardly when he sensed Elizabeth's tone. Even though he knew from Lisa that Elizabeth doesn't like his friend, Matthew, he couldn't really outright just tell Matthew to stop chasing after Elizabeth. After all, Matthew did not do anything overboard. Mark was one who believes that perseverance can achieve results.

Lisa smiled wryly at Mark and casually said, "Matthew, how have you been? I heard Mark said that you have just come back from overseas study. You should be finishing with your doctorate this year, right?"

Matthew, who was still lost while admiring Elizabeth, quickly woke up from his stupor. "Y-Yes. I should be done in about two months."

"What are you studying again?" Lisa asked.

"L-Laws." Matthew answered with a slight tremble in his voice. He was so nervous when he saw Elizabeth looked at him that he became self-conscious.

Lisa looked at Elizabeth and sighed quietly to herself. "It's good that you're almost done. Perhaps I'll need a lawyer someday." Elizabeth laughed heartily.

Mark cut in and said, "Hey, are you giving me a warning here?"

Lisa blinked her eyes a few times and smiled. Mark looked at her and then laughed. "Oh, it seems like our food is here."

"Elizabeth, are you sure you really don't want to go with us?" Lisa asked.

Elizabeth nodded firmly. "I already told you, Lisa. I am pretty burned out."

Mark and Matthew listened quietly to the two girls' conversation.

"Come on, Elizabeth. It wouldn't be that bad. Besides, it'll only be a few hours," Lisa urged.

"Lisa, that's what you told me last time. We didn't return home until five in the morning."

Lisa giggled. "Did I? I completely forgot. Must have drank too much since I was having too much fun."

Elizabeth sighed. "In any case, I really need some sleep. I can barely keep my eyes opened right now."

Lisa looked over at Mark helplessly before she too made a small sigh. "Alright. I'll take you home to rest then. I'll call you tomorrow, be sure to answer okay?"

"I won't miss it."

It didn't take long before Lisa dropped Elizabeth off and then went with Mark and Matthew to the party. After waving bye to Lisa, Elizabeth opened the small gate leading into the entrance of her house. There was a short stretch of cobblestone path that zig-zagged across the lawn, leading straight into the door. Elizabeth observed the evening sky with a gentle smile. She felt at peace being surrounded by the quiet evening atmosphere.

It made her thoughts spun, and she began to imagine herself as one of the main characters in one of the stories that she read. In that story, the main character was a poor servant to a noble family. Her parents had died when she was just a little girl, and she was sold to work as a slave to the noble family. However, she prayed to a fairy who gave her the opportunity to be married to a prince. In that story, there was a similar scene such as the current place she was in.

Even the evening sky looked vaguely familiar to the description within the story. These familiarities made Elizabeth fully immersed herself in the role of the main character. She could vividly recall the details of that scene. As she sauntered over to the door, she did not notice the golden sands beneath her feet. They painted a trail behind her.

With each footstep she took, golden sands would be left behind. If she had turned to look back at the evening sky again, she would surely notice the grains of gold sands floating about, fluttering and dancing in unison.

Elizabeth came to the door and unlocked it with her keys before shutting it without turning back to look behind. After taking off her shoes, she quickly ran to her room. She could not wait to fully immerse herself in the book that Lisa gave her earlier.

Carefully opening the plain book that was in front of her, Elizabeth's eyes grew with excitement. "The physical copy looks way better than those digital ones. I can feel the texture of the pages. Seems like a great deal of work and effort were put into creating this book."

Elizabeth began to flip through the different pages without a care of what was going on around her. She continued until the very last page of the book was turned and a brilliant golden light flashed before her eyes. However, despite its brilliance, it was not blinding at all.

"What just happened?" Elizabeth muttered as she looked around her in confusion. "W-What's going on?"

Staring at the multitude of books floating around her, Elizabeth's eyes couldn't help but wander around. She had completely forgotten her nervousness. "What is this place? Where am I? There are so many books!"

As she observed her surrounding, Elizabeth noticed that she seemed to be inside some kind of library. She was within the center of a circular structure. The structure seemed to stretch without limit all the way into the heavens, and each floor was only filled with books. Hundreds, thousands, and even millions of books. Not only that, there were books that were either suspended in midair or were opened and fluttering about.

"Are they...actually flying?" Elizabeth looked at every book in awe. Her excitement grew as she stared at the path of books that laid in front of her. They made a bridge that connected the tower of books to a smaller house floating on an island on the other side. The house looked lonely and was surrounded by a few trees and a few patches of grass. It looked extremely exquisite as if it was crafted with the utmost care and precision.

At first, Elizabeth wondered if she should cross the bridge, but thinking that she might just be dreaming, she steeled her heart and slowly stepped into the bridge. With each step she took, the wind began to blow stronger. Finally, after reaching the middle of the bridge, she could no longer go on. She tried to turn back but realized that the books, which were the other half of the bridge, behind her were all gone! She panicked and suddenly fell off the bridge.

She squeezed her eyes and tried to force herself to wake up from this dream but to no avail. At this moment, she came to the conclusion that this might be a nightmare. Before she could begin to scream for help, she found herself being swept up by a strong current. When she finally opened her eyes, she was back inside the tower of books again.

"Sure enough, I am really dreaming!" Elizabeth sighed in relief.

"Surely, beauty, you are not dreaming."

Elizabeth shifted her gaze to the direction of the calm, collected voice that just spoke. She saw a man with long, smooth hair that extended to his hips. He looked so beautiful that she almost mistook him for a woman if not for his demeanor. His vermilion eyes gazed back at her and they sent a chill down her spine, yet she also felt attracted to them.

The man approached Elizabeth slowly, and steadily. He wore a pleasant smile on his face, yet it looked slightly sinister. Elizabeth felt a sense of fear in her heart, but something prevented her from running away from the man. It was not courage, but something much more than that. It was an attraction which she could not describe.

Finally, the man stood face-to-face with Elizabeth. He was taller than her by a few inches and had to slightly tilt his head down to meet her eyes. The man extended his hand to Elizabeth and bowed.

"Beauty, you are the wrong one, but I shall show you the place. Take my hand and let's take a tour. I insist."

Before Elizabeth could say anything, her hand moved on its own and gently grabbed hold of the man's hand. The man smiled as he stood back up. Surprise flashed by Elizabeth's eyes as the scene suddenly changed. The man led her through a corridor of bookshelves. They lined up all along the outer edges of the corridor as far as the eyes could see.

"It seems that you have a love for books. I too like books very much," the man remarked. "Since you have come here, then it means that you have a desire. A dream to live. A wish to fulfill."

Elizabeth seemed to not hear the man since she was looking at the books that lined up the bookshelves with great interest. Many of these titles are ones that she had never heard before. Furthermore, when she walked by them, she could feel the plot of the stories unraveling themselves just enough to catch her attention.

"Beauty, I do not like to be ignored." The man said sternly.

Elizabeth suddenly came to her senses and quickly responded, "I don't understand what you're trying to say."

"I can feel your nervousness, but rest assured that I do not intend to harm you. However, nothing is ever free." The man continued to lead Elizabeth along the corridor of books.

"I..." Elizabeth paused to look at the man's back. She still believed that all of this is merely just a dream. However, the man in front of her seemed so real, it frightened her. "I really don't understand."

"Hm. Interesting." The man nodded. "What's your name, beauty?"

"E—Elizabeth."

"I will remember your name. In the future, you will definitely seek my help. Happy dreams, then." Immediately, the man disappeared and Elizabeth found herself getting drowsy.

"Hello, Lisa," Elizabeth answered lazily after picking up her phone.

"Were you really that tired? I called four or five times already." Lisa's voice could be heard through the phone.

"Yeah. I overslept. Even I didn't realize how tired I was." Elizabeth yawned.

"Listen to yourself, it's like you're the one who went to the party instead." Lisa laughed.

"Oh, right. How was the party?"

Lisa hesitated for a moment. "There was an accident..."

"Accident?"

Lisa sighed. "Yeah...Jennifer fell off the stairs..."

Elizabeth's heartbeat quickened as soon as she heard Lisa. "W-What? How?"

"I don't know. Nobody knows. By the time we realized it, she was already on the floor. She must have had too much alcohol."

"Where is she now? Is she doing fine?" Elizabeth said in a shaky voice.

"It's better if you go see for yourself. I'm on my way to pick you up anyway. I'll be there in a few minutes."

"I'll get ready." Elizabeth quickly put her phone down and started to straighten her hair.

A few minutes later, the sound of a car engine could be heard faintly outside. Elizabeth peeked out the window and saw Lisa in her white jeep. She gathered a few items before she went outside, and one of these items is the butterfly book that she was so interested in.

"Where's she staying?" Elizabeth asked after putting on her seatbelt.

"At the St. Louise Hospital down by 5th Street," Lisa answered.

"How's her condition?"

"When we took her there yesterday, the doctor told us that she is not in a life-threatening situation, but..." Lisa paused and made a sigh. "She might be in a coma for an unknown time."

"What? How high did she fell?"

"I'm not sure, but it's pretty high. It's the third floor after all."

"I should've went..." Elizabeth muttered.

"I don't think any of us could do anything in that situation," Lisa comforted Elizabeth, sensing the slight regret in her voice.

Elizabeth shook her head. "It's just that...we had an argument a few days ago, and...I shouldn't have said those things to her. I should have went and apologized yesterday, but now I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to." Elizabeth sighed.

"I'm sure she did not take your words to heart, you two were like sisters since young."

"I don't know, Lisa. I said some pretty nasty things. I wish I could take them back, but it's not possible. If only life works like the stories I read..." Elizabeth started to find it hard to speak the more she thought about the argument that she had with Jennifer.

Lisa did not know what else to say in order to comfort Elizabeth, so she just quietly listened. She couldn't really divert attention to Elizabeth anyway since she was also focusing on the toad.

After a while, they arrived at the hospital and was greeted by Mark. Waving at the two girls, Mark walked over and gave Lisa a quick hug before leading them to the room where Jennifer was staying. On the way, Elizabeth asked where Matthew was, which gave both Mark and Lisa a surprise.

"Elizabeth, are you okay? I thought you don't like him?" Lisa looked at Elizabeth with her brows furrowed.

"I was just curious since he's always with Mark," Elizabeth said.

"Oh. Matthew actually left halfway yesterday because his sister got into a car accident," Mark said.

"Accident? Why are there so many of these accidents? Are they even accidents anymore?" Elizabeth started to mumble to herself.

Lisa quickly jumped in on Elizabeth's monologue, "You have a point. Counting Jennifer, and Matthew's sister, and the other car accident from yesterday, it made three! Three in the same day!"

Elizabeth was contemplating the words of the man in her dream when she realized that what Lisa said was actually similar to a story she has read.

"Three accidents on the same day...it's actually similar to that story 'The Three Doors.' Each door will cause a misfortune to befall a person who is close to the main character, and a wish could be fulfilled once all three doors are opened."

"There's such a story?" Lisa asked.

"Yes. It gives me the chill thinking about it sometimes." Elizabeth shuddered a little.

"Alright, we're here," Mark said as he stopped in front of a room that was decorated plainly. However, it may be an overstatement to say that it was decorated plainly, as there were no decorations at all.

As the three entered the room, Jennifer slowly turned her head to look at them. She was covered in bandages and there were two casts on her, one for her hand and one for her foot. Her neck was supported by a soft pillow that allowed her head to rest gently.

"Jennifer..." Elizabeth said. "I wanted to apologize about a few days ago..."

Jennifer did not answer but only blinked her eyes twice to show that she understood.

"Jennifer, you're awake? I thought they said you're in a coma?" Lisa asked but quickly shook her head afterward. "It's good that you're awake. I can finally be at ease."

Jennifer turned her eyes to Lisa for a bit before shifting her gaze to the book on Elizabeth's hands. Seeing this, Elizabeth asked, "Do you recognize this book? It's a copy of the one we lost a long time ago."

Jennifer blinked her eyes again.

Elizabeth quickly sat down on the empty spot near Jennifer's side and opened the book. A faint golden hue shimmered across the pages but nobody seemed to notice it.

"I can read to you where we left off last time after we lost it," Elizabeth said patiently. "I think it'll be a good way to past the time."

"Great idea, Elizabeth!" Lisa exclaimed. "Jennifer must have been bored to death not being able to move her body. Why don't you read her the story while Mark and I went to get some food?"

"Okay. You two lovebirds do what you want." Elizabeth nodded.

"Do you want anything? We'll be going to that Chinese restaurant with the really good dumplings."

"Get me some dumplings then."

"Right then." Lisa turned to Mark. "Come on Mark, let's get going before the roads get packed."

Mark stood up and walked out of the room with Lisa. After they're gone, Elizabeth sighed. "I'm really sorry about what I said to you before...I-I was not in control of my emotion. I shouldn't have said that. You didn't deserve it."

Jennifer blinked twice to show Elizabeth that she understood. Then, she turned her eyes toward the book on Elizabeth's hands again. Elizabeth gave a gentle smile before she opened the book to the middle.

"Do you still remember what happened in the previous chapters? The butterfly flew and flew, but the wind continued to blow and blow. Such a fragile creature soaring against the turbulent wind, persisting through the current..."

Elizabeth continued to read for a while and lost track of time. She was also completely zoned out of her surrounding. Before she realized it, she was inside a tall tower filled with countless books.

"Hm? Have I fallen asleep while reading? It's this place again..." Elizabeth muttered as she looked around the tower. The books were still flying everywhere and their pages continued to turn back and forth.

She looked over to where she had fallen off last time. The bridge of books was still there, completely intact. "This is a strange dream," Elizabeth said to herself. "Should I go over again?"

Elizabeth pondered for a while but decided that she shouldn't. The last time she almost fell down. It felt so real then, she still felt fear when recalling the event. Elizabeth decided to continue reading and ignored all the other books lying around her.

"Beauty, you're here again." A familiar voice sounded out from in front of Elizabeth. "Ah, I see. You have the book, no wonder you can appear here. This must be fate."

Elizabeth looked up at the beautiful man in front of her. His eyes made her felt a bit afraid, and his eccentric manner and way of speaking only added to her fear. The man in front of her reminded her of those vampires in the stories she often read.

His red eyes and fancy suit; he even wore white gloves on his hands. Furthermore, his voice sounded rough yet somewhat pleasant to hear. It was almost like a siren's call. Elizabeth couldn't help it but feel attracted to the man despite the bit of fear she had towards him.

"Beauty, how about an exchange?" The man smiled.

"Exchange?" Elizabeth looked at the man, somewhat still dazed by his appearance.

"Yes. An exchange. You shouldn't be here, you don't belong here. I want that book in your hands in exchange for a wish that you might have."

"This..."

Elizabeth looked at the book in her hands. It was something that she had been searching for so long. Ever since she lent it to Jennifer some years ago and Jennifer lost it, Elizabeth has been searching for another physical copy. They even had an argument about it just a few days back, resulting in the slightly strained relationship between the two.

"It's only one of a few thousand in this world, I don't want to lose it again," Elizabeth said.

"Beauty, it's the only one in this world. However, it will only bring you misfortune. Didn't one of your best friends almost lost her life?"

"Jennifer?" Elizabeth looked at the man with disbelief. "How—How did you know? Wait, this is my dream so since I know, you must know..."

The man shook his head. "Beauty, this is no dream. Don't try to console your troubled mind by telling yourself lies."

"Who are you, really?" Elizabeth asked with a slightly shaky voice.

"Some called me a demon, others called me a god. A few even called me a man of miracles."

"W-What's your name?"

"You are not the one, beauty. However, you may call me the Dreamweaver. I play hymns with the strings of fate, and I sculpt masterpieces with the dreams of the many. I am akin to the spider who can tread freely on the web of destiny, while you all are the flies that struggle to break free, but only ended up entangling yourselves even tighter."

Elizabeth contemplated on the man's words for a while and did not say anything. Her eyes never left the book that was within her embrace. She was not willing to just let so much effort go to waste. Besides, what wish will she want? She only wished to get that book back, so her wish could be considered fulfilled.

The man looked at Elizabeth's face displaying a mix of expressions. He waited patiently and quietly. Finally, Elizabeth sighed and looked at the man.

"Can you tell me about this book? If you are really what you said you are, why would you want this book?"

"That book is merely something I forgot to take with me. I once allowed a man to steal it in order to teach him a lesson. You see, that book may seem like a story about perseverance and unyielding will, but it is actually about misfortune. Whoever posses it will be met with misfortunes. You cannot throw it away either unless somebody willingly accepts it, or else you will suffer the consequences."

"What? So that means...Jennifer only lost it..." Elizabeth muttered.

"Losing it or throwing it away, it doesn't matter to fate, beauty. Everybody is but a victim, including myself. Now, will you give it to me in exchange for a wish?"

Elizabeth hesitated, but after spending a moment to reconsider the man's words, she decided to give it to the man. After what she has experienced, she felt the man's words hold truth. Jennifer randomly falling off the stairs. A car accident on the way that she had passed. Even Matthew who she dislikes cannot escape from it. Now that she thought about it, Elizabeth felt slightly worried about Matthew's sister.

"Here." Elizabeth slowly handed the book to the man.

"Wise decision, beauty. What do you wish for? What do you dream of?"

"I..." Elizabeth tried to find something that she could wish for, but nothing was worthy of being a wish. She decided to not ask for herself, but for Jennifer instead.

"Can you...is it possible for you to heal Jennifer?"

"Is that truly what you want? You only get this one chance, beauty. You won't be able to come back to this place again without the book."

Elizabeth quickly nodded. "If you can, please. I wish that you can help Jennifer recover."

"It is done." The man smiled at Elizabeth before he turned around and walked away. "Have a good night then, beauty. I will surely see you again, for this is only the second door."

Elizabeth's heart dropped a beat after hearing the man's words. She wanted to ask him what he meant, but she suddenly felt herself getting drowsy. Soon, she fell asleep and was awakened by Lisa.

"Are you that tired? You should get more sleep instead of reading so much," Lisa said. "Here, I bought four dumplings for you."

Elizabeth smiled lightly and accepted the bag of dumplings from Lisa. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," Lisa said. "Jennifer?! You can move now?" Lisa looked at Jennifer who was trying trying to get their attention.

Jennifer nodded her head and smiled. "I don't know what happened, but I suddenly felt so much better. I'm still pretty exhausted though. I will need to stay here for a few more days."

Elizabeth looked at Jennifer making an almost complete recovery with shock in her eyes. She finally knows now that the man wasn't lying to her. She was not dreaming. When she came upon his last words, she felt worried in her heart. What could the third door be? Is she really stuck inside a storybook? She wanted to go back and find that book in order to prepare herself.

Quickly hiding the shock in her eyes, Elizabeth said, "This must be a miracle. I'm glad that you're almost recovered."

Jennifer nodded and sighed. "I'm sorry, too. I know how much you value that book, and I shouldn't have said those things to you either..."

"It's fine now. We can talk about it after you're discharged from the hospital," Elizabeth said.

"Elizabeth's right, Jennifer. It's getting kind of late, so we will be leaving. Hope to see you back and running in a few days!" Lisa said.

"Thanks for visiting, you guys." Jennifer smiled.

"What an interesting story. There's more to read, but I shall find the next book first. Hm...Little Charlotte...no. Let's see the next one. Ah, here it is. A famed singer who once was the apex of the music industry. She still retains her ethereal voice and beauty, but her glory has long rusted away. I want her voice."

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