General Fiction posted May 14, 2024

This work has reached the exceptional level
Would you wander in?

Dickson Bookshop

by Videl Sky

Retail Therapy Contest Winner 








Riko stepped out onto the bustling main street, her eyes shining with excitement. The hot midday sun bathed the familiar storefronts in a blinding glow, but there was a new addition – a bookstore that hadn’t been there the day prior.

    "Dickson Bookshop," she said aloud, reading a weathered wooden sign swinging in the breeze.

She swore up and down that she’d never seen it before, and she would know. She was somewhat of a book connoisseur herself and had made it a point to scout out any bookstores within a two-hour radius of her house. That didn’t change the fact that it was here now and looked like it had always been, nestled securely between a tea shop and an antique market. She couldn’t for the life of her remember what store had been there before.

She inwardly shrugged, more concerned with exploring the inside than giving more thought to that mystery. A bell chimed as she pushed open the door, a kind-looking woman glancing up at her.

    “Welcome in, my name is Viola! Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?” She asked.

    “Hi!” Riko said while smiling warmly, “Just browsing for now! I’ll let you know if I need anything.”

She started to move away from the desk when Viola stopped her.

    “Not quite yet, young lady,” she said as she wagged a finger at Riko, “I have something to give you before you run off.”

Riko held her hand out and was surprised to find a map put into it.

    She looked up quizzically, “What would I need a map for?”

Viola gave her an enigmatic smile before turning to help another customer.

Riko thought again that this all seemed a little strange, but before she could dwell on it, it seemed to slip out of her grasp. She shook her head, trying to shake the odd feelings away. ‘Get ahold of yourself Riko!’ she thought. ‘You just graduated college - look around, find some books and splurge a little! Your bank account might not be happy, but you deserve to treat yourself today.’

With a decisive nod, she finally turned around and took the store in, astonished by the sheer number of books that welcomed her. The shelves rose to the ceilings, packed with volumes of every shape and size. There were even large stacks lying on the floor! It was a challenge navigating them and the other patrons milling about, but she managed. Every once in a while, a title would interest her, and she’d pull it off the shelf, glancing over the contents with the loud hum of conversation and outdoor traffic in her ears.

She continued on.

Over the course of an hour, she steadily moved deeper in and had accumulated a pile of seven large books on her way. Though her arms were beginning to ache, she didn’t want to set them down just to have someone else take and buy them! As she walked, the scent of old paper and leather increasingly invaded her senses while the hum of noise steadily disappeared. It had been some time since she had run into another person, but for some reason she didn’t find that odd.

She continued on.

Even the books grew older as she walked, a heavy layer of dust covering their bindings and almost obscuring their titles. A few minutes ago (minutes? she could’ve sworn it had been longer), she had pulled out the map but couldn’t find where she was located at all. It should have filled her with panic, but she simply couldn’t muster up anything other than a vague feeling of wonder. However, seconds later, a twinge of pain shot through her, and she looked down at her shaking arms, the skin red and irritated from the constant rubbing of the books. ‘Well, I haven’t seen anyone in a while; surely I could set them down and come back for them later?’ With that thought, she set down her load.

She continued on.

In her daze-like state, she failed to see a figure slumped down between a large pile of books in the corner of one of the rooms – the white bone of its hand standing stark against a dark brown cover. Further and further, she walked, pulling out any volumes that seemed interesting before setting them on the ground behind her. The rustling of her clothes and the gentle thump of her feet on the ground were the only sounds left in that dim place. But when she moved on, the halls were once again silent. The trail of tomes the only evidence she’d ever been there at all.

She continued on.

Writing Prompt
Theme: A new shop in town just opened, but there is something really strange about it.
Write a story 100-1000 words.
No poetry. Any genre.

Retail Therapy
Contest Winner

The bookshop in this story actually exists (minus the supernatural aspect)! The Dickson Street Bookshop can be found on Dickson Street (shocker!) in Fayettville, Arkansas. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend checking it out! It's one of the coolest bookstores I've had the pleasure of wandering into.
The photo is a map that they sell at the bookstore.
Side note: I wrote this in a rush so I'm sorry in advance for any spelling/grammatical errors!
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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© Copyright 2024. Videl Sky All rights reserved.
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