To The Bookshop & Beyond

Ellie loved going to the bookshop, it was one of her absolute favourite things to do, sometimes she would just go and hide there of an afternoon. It was her happy place in times of joy and her safe place in times of sadness, she had an unspoken agreement with the shop owner who appreciated her visiting and buying books as often as she did. It was set off the main high street on the corner of a row of Victorian houses, there was a chip shop next door and although it had changed hands over the years it had always been something book related, some of the incarnations had cafes some didnt.

The current owners however had been there for about 5 years now and had kept it true to its eclectic collections of books. The variety was quite astonishing, she made a point of spending time in a different section every time she went in, she was barely half way through. It wasn’t that it was big but it was like a tardis in there, infinite piles of books on every subject, some might even be hundreds of years old. She was determined one way or another to work her way through every section, she might not be able to read every book but she would at least like to read two from each section, she had been stuck in the fiction section for about two and a half years and while she was about two thirds of the way though she still felt like she should be moving on. The problem was choosing books when it came down to working her way through the alphabet, she was trying to read one from every author, as you can imagine that was a lot of books.

This particular visit was an off the cuff decision, she was on her way home and felt drawn to it more than normal. It wasn’t far out of the way so she walked the few minutes off the main street, everything looked normal as far as she could see, the door opened in the same way and it still smelled of musty old books and coffee from the owners kitchen at the back. Something felt different the atmosphere had changed ever so slightly, there seemed to be a lot less dust than normal as well which was odd, it had never been clean simply through the age of the place, the books hadn’t changed with the owners it was much like a guardian system more than anyone actually owning it.

She looked to the back of the shop to see if the owner was around but it was empty, not unusual sometimes they just went out into the garden they normally reappeared shortly after. She returned to the section she had been exploring last with the intention of resuming where she had left off, as she stood looking at the section she was confused to discover half of it had disappeared, had someone finally bought some books? Some how she didn’t think anyone had bought an entire section of the bookshop something wasn’t right. She headed to the back of the shop to try and find someone, someone must know what’s going on here, the kitchen was empty so she walked through to the garden hoping someone was out there. As she approached the back door the light changed as if something had run quickly passed the window, she hesitated for a moment wondering whether calling out would be a good idea or if the element of surprise was a better idea. She kept quiet and carried on slowly it was half open so she started to peer around to see if there were any clues but nothing obvious sprang out. As she stopped at the door and looked out something appeared out of nowhere and launched itself at her knocking her over backwards into the kitchen, she rolled over and tried to hide under the sink, she no idea what it was but she wasn’t overtly interested in finding out either. Out of nowhere the shop owner appeared next to her, she jumped out of her skin “holy crap you scared me!” she whispered “what the hell is that in the garden?” Arthur gave her a panicked look “to be honest I’ve no idea” he whispered as loudly as he dared “I’ve been hiding in the basement since this morning” Ellie was horrified “half the fiction section has gone, where did it go?” Arthur sighed “and do it begins, do you know which letters are gone?” Ellie paused to think “up to about N, maybe, that was as far as I’d got to whilst reading them in the shop” Arthur gave her a reproachful look “you bought some of them at least through didn’t you?” Ellie smiled “yes I did several on fact, but definitely not all of them” the door slammed open making both of them jump.

The dark shape walked into the kitchen, it wasn’t a big room and it seemed to fill it like a cloud. Ellie and Arthur were sat behind a curtain praying they wouldn’t be seen, like something out of the Lord of the Rings it sniffed the air and continued into the shop. Arthur swore under his breath “I need to save the shop, it can’t be allowed to take anymore” Ellie gave Arthur a sideways look “do you know what that thing is? Did you know this was coming?” Arthur hung his head “sort of but I did try to stop it, I was just a bit too late.”

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