This story is for Friday's Web, who gave me the word "pandemonium." It's loosely inspired by
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg.
...There was one book in particular that caught the girl's attention. As she pulled it off the shelf, a breeze from the open door ruffled the pages and settled on page 23. Just then, the party host walked into the room. "No!" he said. "Don't open that book!" But it was too late. The pages had already begun to fly out of the spine and swirl around the room. Some of the pages became flapping doves, while others folded themselves into little bells with wings. A few innocuous pages gently settled on the floor and turned into rose-petals.
There was pandemonium as the party guests attempted to shield their finery from the storm of feathers. Meanwhile, the girl still held the book cover. One page remained in the spine. It was page 23. The little girl's mother grabbed her daughter and was about to take the book cover away when something on the page caught her eye. "My goodness," the mother said, "I've finally found it!"
"Stop!" the host cried out. Then he sighed. Why did he even bother? No one ever paid attention to the warnings, not in books, and certainly not in real life. The mother, oblivious to the chaos of feathers and bells, sat down with the book.
"I've been looking for this story," the mother said.
"Read it," the little girl commanded.
"Say please," the mother countered. The girl shook her head, and turned her attention to a rose petal. It was then that the host saw his chance. He lunged for the book.
The mother held fast to the cover. As the two adults struggled, page 23 finally wiggled its way out of the spine and swooped up toward the top of the open door-frame.
"It's gone," the host said. "I can't believe it's actually gone."
"I remember the first line," the mother said.
"It's not enough," the host said.
"It might be," the mother replied.