Last week, Dustfinger, from Inkheart, came to our class to study for a week. I was very excited, as Inkheart is one of my favourite books, and Dustfinger is a very special character, from all the books I’ve read. He could not be classified simply as good or bad. I have been eager to know more about him since years ago. However, my classmates weren’t that pleased. His outfit was weird to them and what annoyed them most was the scars on his face, and those eyes that were as sharp as knives.
Dustfinger sat at the back corner of the classroom on the first day. His hostile face scared away lots of kind smiles.
The first two lessons were Home Economics lessons. I saw Dustfinger’s eyes lit up as he saw those stoves and ovens. My partner was absent so I paired up with him. I knew that Dustfinger’s hobby was playing with fire, but unfortunately, we were baking queen cakes that lesson. Dustfinger didn’t listen to the teacher’s instructions and played with fire. Due to some accidents, our queen cake was burnt and we got 3 marks out of 10 only.
In recesses and lunchtime, Dustfinger was always alone. I tried to approach him but his icy stare sent me away.
The second day was better. The first two lessons made Dustfinger sleep, but the teachers just ignored him. In the History lesson, though, Dustfinger was deeply interested in the topic of French Revolution. He asked many questions about it. But surprisingly. in recess, he asked me to answer some more questions. I was shocked but willing to help him. Probably because he found me trustworthy, he asked me, “Do you know where I came from?”
“ Inkheart,” I said, my eyes sparkling.
Then he smiled. It was the first smile I’ve ever seen on his face.
“ So, you’ve read the book.”
“ How did you know? Our teacher told us the answer.”
“ Your eyes told me so.” He replied gently. “Your eyes are like those eyes of Silvertongue’s daughter. Full of words.”
“ Meggie, you mean?”
And that’s how our friendship started.
We then stuck together in all recesses, lunchtimes and after school. My friends weren’t happy, though. They still thought Dustfinger was weird and scary. They stopped approaching me and stayed away from me for a long time. That’s fine for me, for I’ve got Dustfinger anyway.
The last day was the best. In CTP lesson, Dustfinger was deeply emotional. It was about the ISIS killing the Japanese journalist. I knew why he reacted like that. He had experienced similar stuff.
At last, Dustfinger had to go. We were chatting in the Roman Square. There was a question I longed to ask him.
“How did you come here?” I whispered. My eyes were searching for his expression, but he was staring at the ground. His long hair covered half of his face, so I couldn’t see it clearly.
“I was going back to where I belong to but failed,” Dustfinger said with a sigh. “ Silvertongue and Meggie tried to help, but I got here instead.”
“ So, you are still trying to go back, even now.”
“ Of course.”
“ But it’s dangerous, a place full of darkness and sin.”
“ Capricorn’s dead.”
“ But his mother…”
“So, you still remember the Magpie,” said Dustfinger with a faint smile. And that was the last smile I’ll ever see on his face.
“I know, she is alive and will be a pain, but that is where I belong, where fairies and trolls surround me. Even if I’m having a sad ending, I still have to go back into the book.” Dustfinger told me, his eyes on me were no longer icy, like on the first day, but full of hope, power and faith.
“Thanks for teaching me that you can’t judge one person by his appearance and behaviour. Farewell, my friend.” And off he went, searching for the way back home.
However, as I watched him go, inside me, a voice called out, “No, Dustfinger. It was you who taught me such a lesson.”
Chong Mei Sze Cindy