A/N: Ok guys, this is it. My second attempt at a multichapter story took a lot of thought, but I've finally got something worked out. Trust me, this isn't your usual Myst fanfic. This is Alternate Universe as you've never seen it before. When writing the outline for this story, the first thing I did was promptly take canon and chuck it out the nearest window.
And now, without further ado, I present:
The Finding of the Book
I watched with anticipation as the dust cloud grew closer. It was a big one this time; the biggest devil that I've seen all summer. I steadied myself on the rocky outcropping, gripping the tarp. I watched as the dirt devil came nearer. It was almost eight feet tall, two feet shorter than the small cliff on which I stood. This thing was powerful, too - it was ripping up the smaller plants by the roots. It was close now. I pulled the tarp into the right position. Then, after a swift count to three, I threw the tarp into the wind.
It was airborne! The tarp, with the rock attached, was flying right along with the dirt devil! But it was turning away from me. I scrambled back down the other side of the cliff, then took off at a run after the tarp.
I followed it for some time. It was heading towards the old volcano at the end of my parents' land. That dormant volcano was my 'base of operations'. I had spent months buying wood to transport out there. My dad and I had built a sort of lab in the empty crater. There, I had set up an area to test the wind and possible seismic activity. I had two of those cool little jars with the metal balls that tell you where an earthquake is; I had one set out here and one in my room back at the house.
As the dirt devil neared the volcano, however, the wind died and it disappeared. The tarp carrying the rock dropped to the ground. This was indeed odd, but not unexpected. There was never any wind around the volcano. I looked up at the weather vane, which confirmed my observation. The windless area stretched to about a quarter mile around the volcano itself. I could find no explanation for this; it just was.
I walked over to the fallen rock. Picking it up, I proceeded to scan the surrounding area. This wind. . . or lack thereof. . . there had to be some explanation! There had to be! But I'd spent two years experimenting, researching. . . nothing. No theories, no ideas. I sighed. I guess it was something that I just had to accept, however much my mind rebelled against the idea.
I began my hike up to my garden shed of a lab in the crater of the volcano. And when I say garden shed, I mean garden shed. I opened the door to my little hut and was again painfully aware of the lack of room. In order to sit down, I had to take my office chair out, step inside, pull the chair back in, sit down, spin around, and close the door.
I loved my lab, though. Tables lined three walls and shelves were built up to the ceiling. My dad had built a skylight last year to take in the daylight hours, but when I came out here at night, I needed electricity. Unfortunately, my dad said I had to figure it out on my own. Having no knowledge of electrical engineering, I enlisted the help of my best friend and greatest rival, David. He and I made a cheap battery-powered generator. It had to be charged with a hand crank in my lab every fifteen minutes, but it worked.
I turned to one of my shelves, pulling out a book at random.
"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," I read aloud. "Nice choice, Cecilia."
Oh, I'm sorry, I guess I've forgotten to introduce myself. My name is Cecilia. I'm sixteen years old, living in northern-ish New Mexico. I have blonde hair that's a little shorter than shoulder length. I have green eyes, my build is skinny but not overly so, and my most prized possession is a pair of reading glasses that were made to look exactly like Allan Quartermain's from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. As you can probably tell, I'm very much a literary nerd.
Said reading glasses were balanced on the edge of my nose as I opened the cover of my book.
"Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance," I read aloud, "that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backwards in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and-"
I sat up abruptly.
What in the world was that? I thought. My parents and brother aren't home, and David's off on a college tour at Harvard for the week. Lucky duck.
Book still in hand, I spun around in my chair and opened the door. There was nothing that I could see at first. Just the usual dust and rocks and ugly, scrawny plants. Oh, and that book right there. . . wait. A book?
Curious, I walked out of my lab and over to the rather large volume that had seemingly appeared on the desert floor. The book was very, very old, it's cover a worn sea-green, it's corners and spine slightly damaged. On the cover, in great gold letters, was the word 'Myst'.
"Sounds like something Jules Verne would write," I muttered. Still, I picked up the book and dusted it off. I lifted the old cover, being careful not to damage it. There was nothing on the first page. Nothing, that is, but a word.
It sounded like a name. The author's name, maybe? It was very unusual. I flipped the page. I stared at the symbols weaving their way across the page. It was unlike any writing I had ever seen. It was fluid and graceful looking, the words themselves long. I flipped through the rest of the pages, finding not a trace of English anywhere. But there was something else there, on the very last page. I gasped. It was a beautiful picture of an island. There were amazingly tall tress and bright green grass covered almost all the island. There was a boat and a dock and buildings.
And the picture was moving. It was moving! The picture rotated to the left, showing different views of the island. Gazing in amazement, I turned the last page to see if there was an embedded screen. But it wasn't. It was a perfectly normal-looking picture. Without thinking, I carefully brushed my fingers against it.
A strange tingling sensation ran up my arm. Then, I felt as if I were being drawn into the page. No, wait. I was being drawn into the page! A sensation of falling filled me as the desert scene in front of me faded to black.
Typical, huh? But hey, we've all been there in some way or another, right? ;)
Reviews make me happy and keep me writing! The next chapter is in the works and will be up soon(ish)!