Books need to be read to come alive. But what if they get restless waiting to be read...?



The Great Book Escape

Chapter 1

Slam... bang... "arghh"

"What was that?"

"I think that was the sound of someone giving up on us..."

All was quiet, and dark, and would probably have stayed that way for a very long time if it hadn't been for the book at the very bottom of the box...

"Eesh... get off me, all of you, I'm getting squashed!"

"What was that?"

"Who was that?"

"It came from down there, right at the bottom of the box."

"Well it'll have to wait its turn, we're on the top, if anyone is going anywhere, we'll be the first."

Rustle, crumple - Rip! The box of books burst open and grumbling books came tumbling out, and some of them got creased!

"What is the meaning of this?" shouted a stern looking book with a fresh rip across its cover. Books in various states of dishevelment shuffled to one side, leaving a defiant looking picture book stood all alone in front of their now empty box.

"It was me," came a small voice, hoping for support from everyone... anyone. "It was me," it said again, in a voice that sounded stronger than it felt. "I was at the bottom, and I couldn't get out."

        "And what gives you the right to get out?" boomed the top book.

        "I'm a book, and I need to be read to come alive, if I stay forever at the bottom of a box I'll eventually be forgotten, and no one will ever read me. I couldn't just lie there at the bottom with all of you stacked on top like a load of dead wood," said BottomBook, looking around accusingly at the other books. There was some muttering and shuffling of bindings, its comments had obviously hit home.

        "We will be read, you just have to be patient," said TopBook, in a far from patient tone of voice.

        "Being patient isn't going to get us out of here. Look around you, we've been stored away, books don't get read in forgotten boxes at the back of storerooms."

        "We're just waiting until an order comes in, that's all."

        "No, we're not," said BottomBook. "We were slammed down here, and the door banged shut, those are not the sounds of possible orders, they're the sounds of defeat. We've been left here and forgotten about."

        "Hmm," muttered TopBook, fidgeting with its ripped cover. "Well look what your impatience has done to me - what chance do I stand now...?"

        "There are worse things than a ripped cover," said BottomBook. "Better to be a little scarred, than to stay pristine and trapped in there..." pointing at the box, with a creased corner, it was only then that it noticed all the other boxes in the room...



"There has to be something we can do," said BottomBook, looking around at the others. "We can't just let these books die, and us along with them. When a book dies it's like a whole planet dying, it takes all the characters along with it; characters who were once loved and important enough for someone to write them down and bind them into a book." BottomBook turned to face the others from its box, and almost every book had turned to face it, all except one. "We all need to work together on this TopBook." TopBook nodded, the rip on its cover rubbing one edge against the other, the edges already softening and not looking as raw.


Chapter 2 





"We need a plan," said TopBook. "We'll form an escape committee."

"What's an escape committee?" asked BottomBook. "It sounds like something that will take a long time, with no guarantee of anything getting done."

"Committees are very important," said TopBook. "We can plan and vote, it's how things should be done."

"Well I plan to leave as soon as possible," said BottomBook. "Everyone else can vote with their feet and follow if they want to." BottomBook set off towards the door. It tried to squeeze under it, but the gap wasn't big enough, and all it got was a bit dog-eared... "Maybe we need a plan," it said, a little sheepishly.

"Excellent idea," said TopBook.

"We need to reach the door handle," said BottomBook. Then everyone started talking at once...

"We could stand together in a stack, and the top one could open the door.

"But how will the top books climb up there?"

"We need steps..."

"We could stack all the boxes up and climb up them..."

"Excellent idea," said TopBook. "See what we can achieve when everyone shares their ideas."

"We're going to need as many empty boxes as we can get. Let's go and wake some books up..." said Bottombook, setting off to the first box. The lid wasn't sealed, and flapped back easily. "Wakey wakey - we're all getting out of here," shouted BottomBook.

The whole box gave a little jump, as 50 copies of The Monster under The Bed were startled out of a deep sleep.

"Wake up!" ordered TopBook, and a 100 copies of Outnumbered by Cats sprang out of another box, arching their bindings and trying to look bigger than whoever might be shouting at them. Seeing no threat, they each calmed down and stretched out after their long nap.

"Live up to your title," said a cheeky little book to 100 copies of But I'm Not Sleepy, and sheepdogs came barking out, followed by several flocks of unruly sheep, and a group of little girls with blonde curly hair, who were all called Lucy...

Next came 100 copies of Basil and the Flappy Thing, which caused chaos when ginger cats started rushing around hissing at the sheepdogs and running away, leaving the sheepdogs torn between rounding up sheep and chasing cats.

Ironically, a box of But What I Really Want is a Box, seemed to contain more giraffes than boxes, which only added to the chaos, especially when the giraffes were followed by lots of toddlers, all called Ollie, who made a grab for all the boxes they'd already gathered, and threatened to have tantrums if anyone tried to take them away.

All might have been lost if it hadn't been for a stack of Doodle Mayhem being tipped out of their box...

"What is the meaning of this commotion?" demanded Miss Roper, striding out of the book, followed by her entire class of infants.

"It wasn't my fault," pointed out BottomBook.

"Well don't look at me," said TopBook. Both books deferring to the authority of a teacher, though they weren't entirely sure why...

"We're the escape committee," piped up CheekyBook, not recognising any authority whatsoever, and enjoying the chaos.

"You don't look like any sort of committee I've ever seen," said Miss Roper, looking round on the off chance that there might be tea and biscuits - if indeed it was a committee... "and what exactly are you all escaping from?"

"Our boxes, and this storeroom," said BottomBook. "We're tired of being left here in boxes; we're going out into the world to be read."

"Boxes!" shouted lots of little Ollies, some were jumping around in boxes as if they were in a sack race, others were running around with boxes on their heads, bumping into everyone and falling over, but only crying if anyone noticed and asked if they were all right...

"Everyone settle down," demanded Miss Roper, "'re only wasting your own time!" Which wasn't entirely true, she felt like they were probably wasting her time too, but she didn't like to admit it. Her class had started to run a mock, and the sheepdogs were trying to round them up as well as the sheep, and the few remaining ginger cats, the ones who hadn't found a comfy spot, and gone back to sleep till someone found the cat food.




To be continued...