In a bookshop in New York, there is a window. A small window. A rounded one. This window looks upon a three legged stool. A child's stool, to be sure. On this stool, is a man. His hair is grizzled and his face worn. This man will tell you three riddles. If you guess correctly, well... who knows what will happen?
Rachel Wooddell stepped into the bright, warm bookshop. Work had been hell, and this was a great place to relax, not to mention spend her hard-earned dollars on oh-so-beloved books.
"Hey!" exclaimed a girl behind the counter.
"Lizzie! God, you scared my soul right out of me," Rachel said, twisting the common phrase and greeting her friend. She leaned against the edge of the fancy, dark wooden counters and surveyed the warmly lit store. It was bustling with both people and the smell of print and glue.
"I thought you didn't have one," she joked, pulling at the ends of her fiery hair.
"Ha, very funny. You working the eleven to ten?"
"First time in a month. How's work?"
"Crappy as always," she responded mudanely.
"Well, at least the novel's going well."
Rachel frowned. Desperately trying to trade her number-crunching profession for a keyboard, she had started a novel during National Novel Writing Month the month before.
"I had a major plot hole halfway through the revision and chucked it," she muttered.
"Shame. Well, the books are there. Go pick out a new one- and more importantly, buy it so I can put some dinner on the table."
Lizzie smiled over the counter and waited on another customer as Rachel wandered away. She quickly found her favourite section, a large airy one placed by small rounded windows labelled Fantasy.
Soon she was sitting on the floor near one end of the row, cross-legged and surrounded by cloth-bound volumes, poring over each synopsis on the back.
"Excuse me," said a voice.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, did you want through? I'll-" She frantically started to gather her selections, all the while looking around to find the source.
The man seated on a three-legged child's stool at the end of the aisle nearest to her smiled. His eyes twinkled and his grey hair stood out against his dark jacket.
"No, miss. You just seem a book person, and more importantly, a writer. Would you like to hear a riddle?"