You get closer to the spinning vortex. The rug slides under your feet as you’re pulled closer to this enchanted copy of Where the Red Fern Grows. Sounds from the book world echo throughout your bedroom. The barks of “coonhounds.” The bloody screams of a man tripping over his axe and dying, like a goddamn chump. The sounds of a red fern, planted by an angel, growing slowly and painfully in the Ozarks.

Even though you refuse to read school assigned books, you’ve read your fair share of BTS activity books and Minecraft joke collections. Point being: you know how books work. To fight against the powerful forces attempting to demonstrate the magic of reading first-hand, you manage to snake your palm underneath the front cover and slam the book closed.

The portal disappears. The winds cease. Your parents are gonna have a fit when they see your room’s a mess. But you didn’t have to learn any lessons about the magic of reading, so this is a victory. You grab your Nintendo Switch in triumph, gladly taking an “F” tomorrow for a few glorious hours of Fortnight.


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