Anxiety hits me hard every time I have to go outside. Sunny invited me and some other friends to his house; I couldn’t refuse. I got dressed and mustered the courage I needed to leave my sweet library. Sunny picked me up… by the time we got to his house, everyone was already there. The place was so big, like a small castle, full of wooden details and old furniture. He showed us all the rooms in the mansion. At our request, of course, each room seemed bigger than my entire house and more beautiful than any place I’d ever seen.
The room that made me lose my breath was the library. A round room full of books, ceiling to floor, all around us. There was a desk with a chair in the middle, Sunny said that’s where his father reads. While looking at the books I saw something, exactly in front of the chair, there was a book that I recognized on the fifth shelf. I walked over to get a closer look at it, without touching it, making sure it was the book I was thinking of.
Sunny and the others were ready to leave and watch the movie, but I wasn’t.
“I’ll check the library for a few minutes if it’s okay with you,” I said.
“Of course,” Sunny said, “call me when you’re done.”
After a few minutes, I heard the door, looked back and saw Sunny’s father.
“Hello sir, I am friends with Sunny…I have a question for you.”
He smiled and took a seat in his chair, he was dressed in a black suit with red details, with a long white beard.
“You must be Flower,” he said. “Sunny talks fondly of you. Nice to meet you, I’m Mack.”
I nodded. “Where did you get that book from?” I say pointing to the book. “I have it too and the author never signed it, it’s my favourite book.”
He looked at me with his eyes wide open.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he said, then stood up and grabbed the book from the shelf.
Mack was not the type of person you meet regularly. There was something mysterious about Sunny’s father.
“Try me… you will be surprised,” I said.
“Come with me,” Mack said.
His broad shoulders under the coat of his suit made him look almost twice the size of Sunny.
“Sit with me,” he finally said and turned around.
I sat on the edge of a sofa and waited for him…
“It all started when I met Gustaf Lottie,” he said, sitting on a couch to my right and handing me the book.
“I was sceptical of the supernatural before I met him.”
“You are friends with the author,” I said, pressing the book against my chest.
“You can say that,” he said, looking away for an instant. “We became very close after what happened.”
“Please tell me more.”
“I had a day to burn in Morocco,” he continued, “but I got bored of the same tour of the city as anywhere else. I found an advertisement for an expedition to the countryside. Just a couple of hours away. I needed to clear my mind…”
He stopped and looked at the bookshelf.
“I never thought Gustaf Lottie would have been my guide. He was not a very well known writer at the time. I think he was just trying to make a living while he mastered his craft.”
“How long have you known him?” I asked and thought it was silly of me to interrupt.
“It’s been almost ten years,” he said and looked at me. “There is more to him than meets the eye. He has been trained as a shaman, but I did not know it at the time…”
Mack paused, remembering.
“Anyway, we met in a park and we immediately hit it off like he was an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while. His ease with words was incredible. At that moment, I knew he wasn’t the usual guide.”
Mack got up and looked at me smiling. “Follow me, Flower,” he said. “There’s something I would like to show you.”
He grabbed a book from his shelf and a secret door opened. Mack’s dark brown shoes seemed to drown in the wood of the staircase below. He reached a black door, opened it and turned on the light.
“All the books he has written are here…”
“This is amazing, a treasure, a gold mine.”
Mack took a book and handed it to me.
“This is my favourite, On Gustaf Lottie’s Waves of Immortality. His last book.”
“What happened to him? Where is he now?”
“Unfortunately… in an old cemetery. He died last year. We finished the book a week before his death.”
“Us?” I asked, looking around at all the old books.
“Yes, we… he taught me how to write a good book. He was a supernatural entity, you know? He lived many more years than I could count. He was aware of most of the events that happened on this earth.”
“What was he? How could he live longer than humans do?”
“That’s not something I can tell you, maybe he will, somehow.”
Every word Mack said taught me something and I became more confused: he spoke clearly and yet not.
Mack pulled out a bottle of whiskey from under the ladder, the ladder used to reach the upper books, opened it and took a sip.
“He was a god or something. Gustaf Lottie knew the way and taught me how to find mine.
“You see… Gustaf Lottie did more than take me on a journey to the countryside. Although, I never thought we would find the most amazing waterfall… Anyway, he knew the ways of the Earth.”
He paused and looked into the old bottle of whiskey.
“Gustaf healed me that day,” he finally said. “We don’t know anything.”
“What do you mean?”
“Our planet, it has been around for millions of years. He knew how to tap into the information of the world’s history.”
“Gustaf talked about a key,” Mack said, “a door to the archives. He was able to access information… all these books are nothing. He told me that the eternal consciousness of the planet is at our reach. We just needed to heal ourselves.
“He healed me. I saw him gather energy with his palms and heal my psychological wounds. After my trip with him, I was never the same.
“All this wealth… everything I own came after meeting him. We get lost easily. Following our path requires focus and complete dedication. Not a step of our lives can be taken without careful attention.
“I lost my way a couple of times after meeting Gustaf. He was the only one I knew who was able to steer me back.
“Every century has a guide, he told me—he was our generation’s.”
“But you told me he lived for longer than any other human,” I said and immediately regretted it.
“Our world needed him… that’s why he was given the power to heal. Without him, there would be no human race.
“Money came easily after I met him. My purpose was to be his eyes. Not many knew this about Gustaf but he was blind.”
“Really?” I said in surprise. “But how?”
“He could not complete his task without the help of another. I became his eyes and we wrote all these books to heal the world.
“I haven’t finished my task. But I hope to see him soon.”
–BH in collaboration with RelatoCorto