The Shop of Lost Tales and Books of Age.

Where do all the old books go?

Books forgotten, passed to-and-fro,

Stories regected, not wanted, oh,

Where do all the old books go?

                                *                   *                   *                *

Eloise Baker needed a job. A good job, mind you. Eloise wasn't into this whole 'do whatever you can to get money' sort-of-thing. As a result of her situation, she was now stood outside a door. It wasn't a very young-looking door. It was very plain. Rain pitter-pattered on the glowing window next to it.Yet somehow, this door stirred up uncomfortable feelings in Eloise's stomach.

Apprehension. Exitement. Apprehension again. Optimism.

But Eloise was a brave young lady. She wasn't to be scared off by some wood. It would take a lot more than that to put down an inquisitive girl like that. A lot more.

She stretchhed her fingers, testing them one by one, then reached out slowly for the door handle. As her hand hovered over the black, twisted iron, her skin burned. Almost literally. But Eloise banished the fear from her hand and rashly grabbed the handle, pushing on it with more force than she ought to, and broke the handle clean from the wood. Crap, she thought, eyes bulging.

Eloise twisted her head left and right to see if anyone had saw. As she did, the hood of her mac swished and slipped down, and the rain splashed unperturbed on her strange, black and blue hair.

"Aw, crud." She growled, fumbling with the hood again, the door handle in the other hand. Eloise had stupidly forgotten to zip up her coat, and now as she fiddled around with the top, the bottom and left arm slid down and onto the floor. She was well and truly screwed.

Now, as luck would have it, the owner of the shop Eloise had been about to enter was just about to leave. He had put on his coat, zipped it up, pulled the hood over his long, dark hair and and pulled the draw strings so his hood wouldn't fall down when he was out. He reached for the handle, grabbed with just enough grip and tugged gently on the old door.

Nothing happened. His handome features contorted to frown in confusion. He tried again. Nothing happened.

"What the...?" he murmured.

As a last resort, he tugged hard on the frame of the door and the handle, and the wood burst freely to reveal what was, in all truth, a hilarious yet distressing scene. There was a young lady, standing, no, twisting in the middle of the alleyway. Her coat was round her ankles, trapping her legs and making her stumble, and there was an abstract door handle in her other hand.

And the man recognised the door handle.

He turned to look at the unfortunate door next to him, only to find a large chunk was missing, viciously ripped from the poor frame. He sighed. His day was just getting better and better.

At the sudden noise behind her, Eloise span round, wide-eyed, to spot the man emerging slowly from behind his broken shop door. When he looked up, she looked at him in a very odd way. A desperate way.

In fact, that look was the very portrayal of the faces of the damned as they were told by their God that there was no more room in heaven, and he would either leave them in limbo or send them southwards. It was the look a man gave when he saw death and his scythe. It was the look of an ill puppy as the gun is aimed at it's fragile little head. The look of utter terror.

Mouth agast, eyes wide and fearful, Eloise almost dropped to her knees in horror.

"Miss Baker?" The man asked. Please don't shout at me! It was an accident! Her mind screamed.

"Ahh..y-yes?" She wimpered.

There was a silence.

"Are you having trouble with your coat?" He asked, but there was no trace of a smile on his face. Eloise's hopes plunges severeal million feet to their doom, hitting heavy pigeons of humiliation and embarrasment on their way down.

"Ah, uhm, sorry. I think I broke your door."

"Mm. Yes. I can see that, I think."


The man folded his arms in the rain. Then after a minute or so he unfolded them. Then he put them in his pockets.

Rain splattered the scene, turning everything grey.

He sighed. She jumped.

"Right. Come inside, Miss Baker. I suppose it is you who asked for the job?" the man asked.

"Oh, yes! That was me..." Eloise replied instantly. The man turned and walked back inside, hunching his back against a gust of wind that had blown past the side of the shop.

Eloise gathered herself up and ran inside after him. Finally, it seemed, she hadn't entirely screwed up her chances of a good job. Eloise Baker, you see, was a very clumsy girl. She was brave, and intelligent. But she was clumsy. Very, very clumsy.

The End

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