The door creaked open, and shards of light illuminated the dust-filled air.

“What is this place?”

“A place of stories,” the woman replied, opening one of the books on the table and reeling back as a cloud of dust flew from its covers. “Or it was, once.”

He coughed and waved his hand in front of his face in an effort to drive the dust elsewhere. “What kind of stories?”

She shrugged. “Old ones retold. New ones discovered. Completed and unfinished. Whatever stories needed to be told that day.”

He wrestled with a window, finally flinging it open to let fresh air in and some of the dust out.

“Ugh, it’s cold,” she said. “Come here, let’s see if we can light this fire.”

He crossed the room, lit a match and held it up in the fireplace. “Looks to be pulling alright,” he said, “I think the chimney’s clear.”

He laid and lit the fire whilst she opened the other windows. “So what happened?”

“To the stories? They’re all still here.”

He rolled his eyes and laughed. “No, silly. To the storyteller.”

She pulled a dusty sheet away from a bulky shape beside the fireplace, revealing a large chair with comfortable red velvet cushions, and sat down with a smile.

“I’m right here,” she said. “It just took me a while to find my way back.”

© Kari Fay

Author’s Note: Yes, I’m back! Although for various reasons I’m not committing to a schedule for this year, I do hope to post something every week, on average at least. We’ll see how it goes!