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Mr. Linden's Library
Carina, Age 12, Duri, Indonesia

He had warned her about the book. Now it was too late. The vines had entwined her thin fingers and encircled her tiny, freckled arm. Her face turned a ghostly shade of green and twitched slightly. The ancient book was slowly taking over her body.

Mr. Linden owned a quaint library in Scotts Town just off of Bakers Street. One bright summer day while he was sorting out his new books Rosie, a little seven-year-old girl, came in and skipped towards the section that had the oldest books of the library. Nobody ever went there because the lights never worked, it looked dark and frightening.

“Hi Mr. Linden!” she said sweetly.

Rosie walked into the eerie section. She searched and searched. Finally she found what she was looking for and reached up and grabbed an aged text from the top shelf. She blew the thick dust off and set it on a table. “Vines of the Elves.” She read aloud.

Mr. Linden had been so bored with his job, his mind had floated elsewhere. When Rosie read the title he jumped up and exclaimed, “Rosie don’t open that book!” For he knew what sort of horrors lay inside for the unfortunate one who did.

“Why? An old little book like this wouldn’t hurt anyone.” And with that she checked out her book and walked out the door.

“Oh great!  Now she’ll be, - no- maybe the curse has worn off.” Mr. Linden thought as he ran after her.  “Wait! There is a curse on that book!”

“Don’t worry. I’ll bring it back.  You don’t have to make up a fairy tale to make me give it back on time!” Rosie exclaimed. Without another word she ran into her house.

Mr. Linden was wrong, the curse had not worn off. That night something horribly amazing happened. Rosie had fallen asleep while she was reading the book. While she slept green vines started creeping out of the book. They crawled down the bed and up Rosie’s arm.

The next day, Monday, Rosie’s parents left a note for her on the kitchen table, but they didn’t notice that it was already lunchtime and poor little Rosie hadn’t awakened. While they were gone, Mr. Linden left his bookstore and crept into Rosie’s house, for that was a very safe town and no one needed to lock their doors. As he walked in he found the note sitting on the table, it read,

Dear Rosie,

We will be gone for a week. We are going to Canada for our anniversary. There is turkey in the refrigerator and if you need any more help you can ask our dear friend Mr. Linden.

Your loving parents,
Mom and Dad.

P.S. Hugs and kisses. We will call you.

Mr. Linden was proud to be their friends, but he knew he would have to take Rosie to his house to protect her. He ran up to her bedroom and tried to pick her up. The vines grew tighter around Rosie’s arm and her now slightly green skin turned white then a darker shade of green. Her ears had been cute, and round, just like a perfect seven year old should be, but now they were green and pointy. “Why?” Thought Mr. Linden, “Why did I let her walk out my door with that book?” He went down the stairs and made himself a steaming hot cup of coffee.

On Thursday there was another letter in the mail saying that Rosie’s parents wouldn’t be back until the next fortnight. Mr. Linden heaved a huge sigh of relief.  He had started thinking of what to tell Lisa and John when they came back.

“What will I do?  Ugh, what to do?  I know!”

Mr. Linden crept through the open door of Rosie’s bedroom with a pair of scissors in his hand. He hung there for a second trying not to look at her green face and pointed ears, teeth, and nose. Finally he moved stealthily up to Rosie’s bed and snipped the vines carefully off as close as he could to the book’s spine. Rosie turned slowly over in her bed, but stayed asleep.  He picked her up and carried her down to the living room couch. When they got there she slowly sat up and turned towards Mr. Linden. Suddenly she snarled and jumped up. From there she ran out the back door, screaming into the forest. He tried to follow, but couldn’t because of the prickly bushes blocking his path.

Back at the house Mr. Linden read the book at the dinner table. It stated that when you open the book that the curse will stay with you until you become an elf forever. Then it will find another victim.  The only way you can stop it is burning the hair of the human, before they become an elf, with a leaf from the vine that comes out of the book.

Mr. Linden hurried up to Rosie’s room. The book was growing new vines, which were following Rosie, and were already out of the window. He searched the bed and found a piece of green hair that was once part of Rosie’s beautiful brown locks. He searched and searched and finally found what he was looking for, a brown piece of hair. He lit a fire in the hearth and hurried upstairs. When there he quickly cut a leaf from the vine and rushed down stairs again. Burning the hair and leaf together made a wispy green smoke rise out of the fire. It moved at a brisk pace towards the forest.

Mr. Linden followed the smoke into the dark, humid forest. For a long time he couldn’t see anything but the ground and a few feet of the trail ahead of him. The smoke, which had turned white in the forest, started hovering over a huge root from an old, rustic tree. Mr. Linden peeked over the edge, and there was Rosie!  She was now slowly turning into her old, or rather young, self again. Her green hair was fading into brown and her pale skin was fading into pink. Her teeth started shrinking and her pointy elf nose was turning round. Finally, when Rosie was back to her normal self, Mr. Linden picked her up and carried her out of the forest.

Inside the house Mr. Linden revived Rosie. “Wha… what’s happening? Where am I?”

“You’re at your house.” Mr. Linden said smoothly, “Just rest and I will tell you what happened later.”

Mr. Linden got Rosie a mug of steaming hot cocoa while she sat on the couch. 

“Mr. Linden?”

“Yes?”

“What happened? I’m itching to know.”

Mr. Linden explained the whole story while Rosie, still a little weak, listened with intent interest to it. “How did you know about the book?” Rosie questioned.

“Well, I read it myself once. Another person, who had read it before me, saved me before I even turned green. That was when I was your age.” Mr. Linden said thoughtfully.

“You know? I felt like I was living in the world of the book and I was trapped in some sort of dungeon.  It was freaky and cool at the same time, but I don’t want to do it again.”

“That’s good.” Mr. Linden replied contentedly.

That night he stayed at Rosie’s house to comfort her because they were like family now. The next day Rosie’s parents came back, but Rosie and Mr. Linden decided to keep the whole book tale a secret. As for the book, it disappeared, nobody knows where it went.

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