A Bookstore like you never imagined – October 2019 Furious Fiction – Enjoy!
THE LAST BOOKSTORE
I glanced around the empty store on Thursday night and sighed, dropping my chin onto my hands. The back shelf had been broken for over a month, but it wasn’t worth the trip to the hardware store. Moving to the counter, I opened my emails on the out-dated computer that I preferred and clicked on the email from Martin Summers again.
–IT WOULD BE IN EVERYONE’S BEST INTEREST FOR YOU TO SELL YOUR PROPERTY ‘IVY’S BOOKSTORE’ TO ‘SUMMERS HOLDINGS’. FAILURE TO DO SO WOULD BE UNFORTUNATE FOR BOTH PARTIES.
Unfortunate? I scoffed. He’d been after my store for almost twelve months now, but I was the final holdout. I smiled at the thought of being the final bookstore owner keeping her doors open, like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.
I dropped my shoulders and a deep frown creased my already wrinkling forehead. This was the last bookstore left, and I wasn’t giving it up without a fight.
The bells on top of the front door jingled and I plastered a smile on my face for my first customer of the week. A young man in a black suit flew through the door, talking loudly through the tech implant in his ear.
“I told Dallas last week that his proposal was never going to be accepted. This is the new way of the world; if you don’t have the implant, you don’t get the high power jobs. He knows how we operate.”
The man looked over at me and tapped his ear twice, turning off his phone. He flashed an insincere smile and readjusted a backpack on his shoulder.
“Do you have something called ‘Sherlock Holmes’?”
I cleared my throat, trying not to laugh and cry at the same time, “It’s in the back corner with the mystery novels.”
He nodded and turned, “They don’t print on paper anymore, are you really the last bookstore?” He asked as he disappeared from view.
“I sure am. There’s just something about leafing through a real book and hearing the pages smack together. You can’t get that from the digital ones.” When he didn’t answer, I started making my way towards the mystery section.
Had I imagined a customer? Was I that desperate? I moved back to the counter and waited a few minutes before I spotted him outside my front window, walking away. I took a deep breath, and a distinctive smell wafted from the back room.
I moved quickly, trying to push open the door. When it wouldn’t budge I yelled for help to an empty street. I stepped back as the fire crackled, spreading through the walls. Grabbing my bag from behind the counter, I pulled it close to my chest. I inhaled sharply as I looked at the books one more time. Martin Summers was going to get what he wanted after all.
I watched quietly outside as the flames swallowed up my legacy and I said goodbye to the last bookstore on earth.
-Thanks for reading this Furious Fiction from October 2019 by Christy Grace
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