The Pompey Bookshop
“I love the smell of this old place, don’t you, Fred?”
“Yer, it smells of death, all that paper and old trees whispering. You found anything good to read yet?”
“Not so far. Quiet, here comes one now. I wonder what she’s looking for? Watch out, she’s coming your way, to the esoteric stuff. She’s looking for a little magic…”
“Let’s give her some, drop a book on her.”
“I can’t do that, Fred. It might hurt her, besides, she’s troubled. Can’t you see the sadness in her eyes? Can’t you feel it?”
“Yer, yer. I thought we could have a bit of fun for a change.”
“Trouble with you Fred, you are a good ghost. You don’t hear too much about good spooks these days. Maybe we can help her out. One of these old trees might be of some use. This one for instance, How to Find your Own Bliss.”
“Go ahead then Jim. Poke it out, your best at that, but don’t be too heavy-handed. Don’t want it dropping on her head, remember?”
Jim did his best and the book moved slowly, sticking out about two inches, but the woman didn’t notice it had moved.
“Damn…” Jim said.
“If I push any harder it’s going to fall…”
“Let me help, I’ll play with her hair to make her look up. You push.”
Alice touched the top of her head. Must be her nerves, she thought, it felt like fingers playing with her hair.
Jim pushed and the book fell at her feet. Picking it up, Alice read the blurb on the back and decided to take it. She continued her search, her fingers brushing against the spines, the pages inside rippling at her touch.
“You can stop playing with her hair now, Fred. You’re messing with the pages. They’re getting all excited, thinking they might be read. They don’t know how lucky they are. Luck, maybe that’s what she needs. After all, that’s what the Pompey Bookshop is all about, helping people to find what they need.”
“Good idea. No pushing this time. Look, she’s still stroking the spines. She’s coming up to the one with the green spine, that one will make her hand tingle…”
“Which one are you on about, Fred?”
“That one, Luck Made Easy. It’s a big book so will need both of us.”
Alice snatched her hand away from the book, her hand stinging.
“Now see what you’ve done. You’ve come on too strong…”
“She might not be brave enough to touch it again. She must believe in stuff like this or she wouldn’t be here. Make it glow, Fred!”
“It’s almost closing time, Mr. Pompey will be looking to see if the shop’s empty before lights out.”
The book had moved out of line just a bit and was glowing. Alice found some courage and pulled it out. She almost ran to the till.
“You’re our last customer of the day, Miss. Have a good evening.”
Alice’s thank you was barely a whisper as she made her way to the door.
“Good job done there, Fred…”
“Let’s hope so, Jim. I reckon she ‘ll find just what she needs between them old leaves. “
“See you come morning. Jim.”
The Petersfield Bookshop didn’t sleep. The leaves between all the book covers were too busy whispering their stories to each other all night…