Karina is addicted to books. This is her story.

{Read it from the beginning by clicking here.}

The church is as dark and quiet as it was last week. No signs of life, yet the pews seem full of eyes. Her fingers hover above the piano keys, unable to strike for fear of disturbing the spirits she senses.

She forces a finger to play a single note. It echoes off the walls like they reject it. Closing her eyes, she doesn’t move another muscle for fear of displeasing something or someone. Still, the uncomfortable feeling of judgment presses in.

Leaving the piano bench, she ventures into the pews, seeking the source of her uncertainty. She finds it between the hymnals.

There must be a couple hundred copies of The Book here. Haunting her, whispering, “Thou shalt not steal.”

She sits near the center aisle halfway between the back doors and the piano that seemed so inviting only a week ago. The voices become one and grow louder. “THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.”

Louder and louder until she can’t take it anymore. She grabs the nearest Book and rips it from its place between the hymnals in the pew back. The voices stop before she can hurl it into the aisle. They were never coming from The Book in the first place. It’s almost as if The Book silenced them.

She carries The Book back with her to the piano bench and sets it up next to the hymnal that someone left open on the piano’s music stand. Instead of playing something her fingers already know by heart, she teaches them a new dance, picking out the notes from the page in front of her. She follows along with the words.

“Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

The words don’t quite make sense, but they’re comforting all the same, not unlike the Italian love song she learned that one year in high school that she managed to survive choir.

She plays the melody again and adds chords with her left hand.

Her fingers tap her jeans on the walk home, solidifying the notes in her long-term memory. She’s already forgotten the words that went with them.