Yes, I was a thief. It was that or become a tradesperson to earn my living. I didn’t fancy something so mundane. Stealing was in my blood too; I was born into gypsies, outcasts and criminals and, inevitably, grew up learning that it was the only way to move forward in life. My black clothes mixed into the darkness of the shop: rubber-soled shoes, jogging bottoms and a sweatshirt jumper with a hood. Typical thief garments.
Whether the bookshop was inhabited or not did not make any difference. I was there to steal. My light footsteps echoed on the creaky floorboards as I tiptoed into the back of the shop. Around me were shelves and shelves of thick and thin, hardback and paper, small and large books. So many books, but I was used to finding and picking the right things to sell. There was a distinct smell of leather all around me and, being used to the fresh air, I gagged a little. I’d never been caught and wouldn’t be able to stand being locked in a prison- claustrophobic or not, it would not be a pleasant experience (as my uncle had experienced and told me once).
On the top shelf I spotted a beautiful book poking slightly out from the others. It seemed to glow.
I removed it and stared. It was glowing. The brown leather book had four cobalt blue gemstones embedded in its cover, spaced in a diamond pattern around a dark brown (or perhaps midnight black) symbol. The symbol was a spiral turning anticlockwise inwards from the right side. Slightly mesmerized, I traced it with my right thumb. Suddenly it occurred to me that the book had no title.
I turned it over in my hands. There was no blurb either.I wonder how much this book will fetch. I wonder what it’s about…
Thinking nothing of it, I opened the book. It was the biggest mistake of my life. The lines of printed writing and blank pages glowed cool blue and I felt my feet being lifted off the ground, and my head hurtled towards the open book.
My eyes closed to combat the dizziness I was feeling, but when I opened them again I was in some place different from the shop.
It was somewhere I’d never even seen before; somewhere mystical.
“Where on Earth…? Or maybe not.”