The Empowering Emporium
Prologue California, Spring 1976
There are some places that are filled with happiness and glee. With walls painted all sorts of colours; red, pink, blue, gold, silver, yellow, purple and green. Bright lights, bunting streamed all over the walls, flags that spell out the word “Welcome!”. They sell brilliant things, from toys to clothes and books. Carpets so soft that you sink right into them, and kind and helpful shop assistants who make great offers and deals. But the Empowering Emporium was nothing like that. Despite the name, the Emporium had nothing empowering about it.
It wasn’t that anyone had never noticed it; it was the first building your saw when you entered the Los Angeles town square. It was extremely dark and dusty next to all the restaurants and clubs and stylish American houses. The emporium’s brown bricks that once used to be cream were covered in rust and dirt from over the years. Even the enormous sign that towers over the shop, even had letters missing. The door’s paint was peeling, and the windows were all dusty and you couldn’t see inside. No one had ever wanted to enter. That is, until Evelyn.
Evelyn was an adventurous and sneaky child. Playing tricks on the house mistress at St. Ellen’s Private Boarding School for Troubled Children with her friends, and buying sweets and chocolate on the weekends in her free time. One Saturday afternoon, Evelyn wanted something fun to do. It was a warm day, and most of her friends were on the Santa Monica beach. But Evelyn wasn’t the beach sort of girl. She had told her friends that she was going to go up into the town and buy some sweets; that’s when she came across the Emporium. Without really thinking, she stepped inside.
Although, it wasn’t as she had expected; scarlet walls with pictures in rose gold frames; chandeliers with diamonds and crystals; dusty grey carpets; furniture to match the walls. There was an oak desk with a black lamp in one of the corners, paper worked piled on top. Cages filled with owls, parrots, kingfishers, rainbow lorikeets and magpies. An enormous bookshelf with many books took up most of the room. Oddly, there was a chest of drawers; each little cabinet contained a small bottle with miniscule labels. Evelyn walked over to them and read each label carefully. The bottles read: Dragons Blood, Fairy Dust, Arctic Snow, Angels Laugh, Devils Nightmares, Unicorns Horn, and Shark Scales. What really caught her eye, was a book. Not any old book in the book shelf, this book stood out from the others. It was red leather, and had a golden spine. It wasn’t dusty like the others, it looked practically new and used. She picked it up and started reading it. ” Ah, I see you’ve found my book of wonders, kid.” echoed a voice from behind her.