The bell on the door of Louie’s rang as Elizabeth entered the store. She tossed her keys onto the nearby clerk counter awakening Walter from his daydreaming state. The musty and aged smell of the stacks flooded Elizabeth with Joy. Walter, the youngest and most vibrant clerk Elizabeth had ever met greeted her with a smile.
“Hiya, Lizzy! What’s cookin’?” Walter said reaching behind the counter.
“Oh nothin’ Walt. Just the usual.” Elizabeth walked forward beneath the dusty beams that lined Louie’s ceilings. The amber bookshelves lined with volumes upon volumes of literature seemed to greet, and entice Elizabeth further into the stacks. Walter left the clerk counter and followed Elizabeth. The air thickened and seemed to buzz causing Walter to sneeze.
“Bless you,” said Elizabeth.
“Thanks,” Walter replied.
Elizabeth found the opening between the sections labeled Misc. and Mystery. She removed an animal skin bound journal from her backpack. The journal looked insignificant. Walter thought it repulsive. It was crumbling as Elizabeth touched it though her pale nimble fingers seemed to grace the pages with the most delicate touch. It’s pages were yellowed and were splattered with ink blotches.
“What is that?” Walter said disgusted.
“I found it! Isn’t it marvelous?” Elizabeth said, ignoring his tone.
Elizabeth opened the journal to the first page. The doorbell rang
and Walter reluctantly attended to a customer and their child. Elizabeth
couldn’t seem to look away from it. The decaying pages seemed to heal
themselves as she scanned. They became brightened and smoothed. Elizabeth
gasped. The ink blotches moved across the pages blending with each other, and
revealed a swirly hand script.
The customers son was chaotic and seemed to enjoy running a muck. Elizabeth walked further down the amber stacks. Louie’s was the town’s only bookstore and seemed to be the most vacant establishment in all of Georgia. It was dusty beyond measure and tended to smell like decay ever since Walter had left a tuna melt under the counter for a week. Nevertheless, Elizabeth enjoyed Louie’s more than most things. Because every Sunday, when Louie’s was emptier than usual and the doorbell stopped ringing. Elizabeth would hide in the endless stacks and imagine worlds more magnificent than her own.
Louie’s was unremarkable, but to Elizabeth and Walter, it transcended above the modern architecture of the twenty first century and surpassed the seven wonders of the world.
Walter had finished attending to the customer and their son, and began walking over to Elizabeth. After half a minute searching he arrived in front of Elizabeth deep within the stacks. Elizabeth was wide-eyed and her lips trembled.
“Can I have a look?” Walter asked, intrigued by the journal and Elizabeth’s current state. Elizabeth snapped it shut, a stormy look in her green eyes.
“Definitely not!” She said. Walter leaped backwards, shocked by her sudden change of demeanor.
“And do, not, ask again!” Elizabeth rushed through the stacks exiting swiftly towards the counter. She reached for her keys and stormed out with the journal in hand.