Fiction: ‘The Bookshop’

She pulls the thread taught down the crease between the pages and around the spine. The book creaks as it stretches wide. She ties the string in the centre of the spine and hangs it from a small hook on the ceiling.

She does this over and over until the ceiling is covered with books.

When she tugs at a thread which runs the length of the wall, the books begin to flap their covers so they look as though they’re flying. Their pages rustle as tiny letters spill from them like glitter to the floor.

She smiles. It’s a marvellous effect, really.

Next she paints the walls with swirling stars across a midnight background. The stars coalesce at certain points so that when you stand far away enough they form the words:

Let us read, and let us dance.

The words seem to pulse upon the walls, as though all the stars which make them up are twinkling.

Next she brings in armchairs made from worn leather, and sets up lamps with warm shimmering orbs upon their iron stands. Little tin soldiers and tiny fairies with fluorescent wings are placed about the shelves. Every now and then they change positions ever so slightly.

A smile. A wink. A friendly wave.

Owls made from paper sit quietly in the highest corners of this enchanted place. They fluff their crepe feathers, shaking the dust from the tops of the bookcases.

But most magical of all are the books.

They sit upon mahogany shelves, full of wonder and magic, waiting for someone to open them. They have such stories to tell and worlds to reveal. You can feel their excitement like an electric current pulsating through the air.

The magic is in the smell of paper when you walk in. It’s in the rows of spines with beautiful lettering running down their length. It’s in the power of the words concealed within their covers, ready to burst forth into existence.

When the time comes at last, the bookseller turns the brass doorknob and opens the turquoise doors to a crowd of curious onlookers.

‘Welcome,’ she calls out, ‘to the Neverending Bookshop.’

~ Ekaterina

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