A figure sat in the shadows of a tall-backed, reading chair. I couldn't see his face, but I could tell he was very tall and broad shouldered. I backed up until I felt the bookshelves behind me.
"Who are you?" I demanded.
"I am the owner of this tower," came the gentle, but firm response.
"But who are you?" I asked again slowly.
"Unfortunately I can't answer that question right now," he replied. "I have been waiting for you for quite some time now."
"Me? You were waiting for me?" I couldn't fathom why he would be waiting for me. I was a simple girl from a small town working as a flight attendant for a smaller airline. I was not anyone of importance, so why would this mysterious figure in the strange tower be waiting for me?
"For all the reasons you just listed in your head and for the fact that you were brave enough to climb the stairs...and because you saw the books before you even knew I was here," he replied. Even in the shadows I could tell he was smiling.
I relaxed a little, very little. I still didn't understand so I waited for him to continue.
He took a deep breath. "There is a book on the fourth shelf with a dark purple cover and silver writing, will you bring it to me?"
Though nervous to turn my back on him, I faced the shelves and located the volume in question. I pulled it carefully from the shelf. It was very old and the leather was worn and cracked on the corners. As it fell completely into my hands I realized it was very heavy, more so than any text book I had ever carried in college.
I stepped toward the chair and the man moved to get up. For the first time the firelight illuminated his face. It was a very handsome face with piercing blue eyes and dark brown hair. His features were tired and worn, but the wisdom in his expression could not be masked.
He got to his feet and I looked up in surprise. He had to be at least six foot seven or taller. I stepped back involuntarily and he paused. A look of chagrin crossed his face and he reached out carefully for the book I held.
"I forgot how my height amazes your people," he said moving toward a reading stand.
I shook my head. "Only a little surprised. I have a cousin who is six seven," I replied. "I just don't see many people as tall as you."
He looked back at me with an expression of pleasure. He carefully set the volume on the stand and began turning the pages. I watched for several moments before I realized that he hadn't actually touched the pages.
When he stopped he beckoned me closer. Though still a bit uncertain I moved to his side and glanced down at the pages in front of us. In an instant I could feel myself being pulled back through the darkness of sleep.
to be continued...