Entrenched in the stores lining a cobblestone street sits a secret. Never would the tourists and pedestrians meandering the busy street realize of the archaic secret in their midst. A plain, single story shop, bland compared to the other stores in the square, beckoned passersby inside. Not a sign to indicate the business name or its services, only an open door, surrounded by blossoming trees, called people in. Without casting a second thought, the brave dare to enter its unknown depths.
Musky air slammed into one’s senses immediately upon entering the corridor, pale walls and floors with a single arm chair in the corner, manned by a studious tabby cat. A faint meow follows you as your footsteps carry through the closed set of doors into a room defying all rules of the mundane world.
The room was impossibly colossal with a ceiling grasping for the heavens, stories above. The ground floor was covered in organized lines of bookshelves and tables stacked high with books. A few people wander the organized disarray, awe permanently plastered on their human features. Couches and chairs scattered the main floor, waiting for a reader to plop into. The room stretched into darkness, farther than the normal eye could perceive, without end.
Floors upon floors lined the walls of the great room, baring row upon row of laden bookshelves. Soft glows, randomly peeking through in spots, emanated from cozy fireplaces in secluded reading areas. Soothing aromas curled against your nose, sweetly whispering to unwind.
But, none of the beautiful aspects of the bookstore compared to the sight of books flying from the shelves. Hundreds of books zipped through the air, on their own whim, each for their own purpose. Some landed near a wandering human, surprise etched into their face before they open its cover and their expression evolves into stunned wonder. Before they realize, they’re planted in a plush chair and engrossed in the magic of written words.
Thomas Gilbralt, a tourist from the States, was intrigued at the plain faced store in the vibrant, centuries old square. Why would something so boring be in a beautiful section of the city? Curiosity pulled him through the front door and a tabby cat meowed him through, almost annoyed at the disturbance during his nap. He pulled open the double doors and froze a few centimeters from the threshold and marveled at the wondrous phenomenon occurring before his eyes. A force stronger than his will pulled him past the doors and through the aisles of bookcases and heaps of books stacked on tables. Attempting to inhale every detail, his russet eyes scanned every square inch, his eyes nearly toppling out of their socket. Thomas had to duck his head to avoid a floating book smacking him in the jaw. What the hell was this place?
Thomas’ feet led him along, as if on their own accord. Letting go of his caution, he allowed the tug to lead him along. The other people twisting through the aisles did not pay attention to him as he paled in comparison to the magic before their eyes. He reached the center of the ground floor and for the second time that day, froze at the wonder before him.
A young woman sat behind a magnificent oak desk, whirling leaves carved out of the ancient wood, in an over-sized chair. Stacks of books and papers occupied the desk, in organized mounds. Engulfed in a thick book, she didn’t take heed of Thomas’ presence. Her straight, midnight-black hair curtained her pretty face and sported round glasses that occasionally slipped as she read. Thomas stood silent, careful not to breathe too loudly, though she and everyone in the store probably could hear his hammering heartbeat.
“Rather than staring, you could converse with me to make your creeping less awkward.” She smirked, closing her book as she looked up. Behind her glasses were the most stunning eyes Thomas ever beheld. One eye, the color of leaves, bright after a heavy rain, calm and soft. The other held the roiling sea in its orb, blue-grey waves thrashing in tempest.
“I don’t mean to be uncomfortable, I am sorry. But you simply stunned me.” Thomas replied honestly and stepped closer to the desk. Questions ran rampant in his mind, trying to construct something creative or clever but each idea was worse than the last.
“What brings you here?” she avoided the compliment but she couldn’t hide the creeping blush on her high cheekbones. Does she not receive praise each day, as she should?
“I wasn’t sure when I walked in. It was out of curiosity.” He shrugged, falling back on honesty. “But now I know why.”
“You do?” An eyebrow flicked up. He couldn’t dare mouth the reason the Universe plopped him before her in this store, bumbling and staring like an idiot.
“What kind of books do you have around here?”
“Every single one.”
“What do you mean?” he looked at her incredulously, making her laugh before giving him a look. “You mean every single book out there?”
“Yes. Every single book published since their beginning.” Her face open and patient, the truth in her two-colored eyes shocking his blood. He couldn’t deny the skip in his heart at the extensive collection around him, glee wrapped his soul as he looked around once more.
“You mean to tell me, every book since the first recorded one is in here?”
“Yes. Let me show you.” she gracefully unfolded herself from her seat and gestured for him to follow her into the depths of the magicked bookstore.
I hope you had a great week and are excited for Halloween to arrive! Leave down in the comments what you’re going to be for Halloween and your plans!
This is my first short story I’ve published on my blog so let me know what you think! I always welcome constructive criticism! 🙂