Mr. Linden's Library- Harris Burdick

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Inspired by Harris Burdick's sketch 'Mr. Linden's Library' (the attatched image), I have written a small story with an unexpected twist. Feel free to leave any comments :)

Anna Smith quickly slid into her bed. It was ten p.m., she still had time to read before going to sleep and she was especially excited about the new book she had purchased.

It had seemed like a shady place, the bookstore on the corner of the Wells Avenue and Sun Street intersection. But she was early coming back from college; her biology class had been cancelled at the last minute, so she had decided to wander in the streets for a while, and eventually stumbled upon the book store. It was cozy, blending into its surroundings, and under any other circumstance, she probably would not have noticed it. The door was wooden and there was one large window, displaying books that spanned from the sixteen hundreds to present day. She wanted to call it antique, but she saw the familiar covers of the Twilight series and smirked to herself.

She opened the door, and an old fashioned bell announced her arrival. Someone stirred in the back room, and she began browsing the bookshelves, looking for thick books to keep her busy in her upcoming spring break. She stuffed three large books under her arm and was just about to turn around when a small glint caught her eye. She looked closely and realized it was the light reflecting off the metal embellishments of an old forgotten book, shoved into the back of the shelf. She picked it up and her dainty fingers left small fingerprints in the thick dust coating.

"Can I help you?" A voice announced in the peaceful silence. Startled, Anna dropped the book.
"No, no I think I've found what I'm looking for, thank you."
She picked up the book, realizing its weight was disproportionately heavier than its size, and added it to the stacks of books she was going to purchase.

"Okay, okay." the small man said, swiftly weaving his way to the register. Anna knocked down several books as she struggled to keep up with him. She set her books down on the counter, and saw it was pristine, as if this man had rigorously cleaned it every day in the hopes that he might have a customer. Too bad his books weren't in the same condition.  His veiny hands reached across the counter, muscles tightening as he lifted each book. His eyes strained behind his thick glasses as he read the prices of each one, and manually entered it in the ancient register.

"What Really Happened to Sarah Brown? Interesting choice. Are you sure you want to buy it?" He asked conversationally.
"Yes." Anna's reply was curt. She hated the man’s seemingly condescending attitude. "I'm positive."
"I don't think it's right for you." He responded. But Anna, disliking the way her intelligence was being questioned, ignored the old man's comment. She quickly paid for her books and hastily turned around, leaving the small bookstore store without a second glance.

Now, three hours later, she was curled up in her bed with the book. She traced the patterns on the cover and noticed, for the first time, that there was no author. That's weird, she thought to herself and she opened the book. She began reading the story of what really happened to Sarah Brown, someone she had never heard of. She was so into the book that she didn't notice the small tendrils growing out of its spine. She didn’t feel them beginning to entwine with her slim fingers, and soon her small wrists and slender arms. She didn't notice the smooth vines wrapping around her petite frame, the book was far too interesting. And then it was dark.

The next morning, Mr. Smith entered Anna's room after knocking several times, to wake his daughter up. Her mother would be taking her home for the weekend. She was a very punctual woman and would somehow blame Mr. Smith for Anna's possible tardiness. Her bed was empty, but Anna hadn’t left her room. Her bathroom was vacant, and the window was locked from the inside. He checked the closet, empty. Then a glint caught his eye. He walked to the bed and saw it was the light reflecting off the metal embellishments of an antique book. He picked it up and a small leaf fell out. The title read What Really Happened to Anna Smith.

Submitted: April 04, 2014

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