The Book (Flash Fiction)

It was a rag-tag little thing, this forgotten book of stories, so worn the name was lost to the past and the cover had faded to an nondescript bluish gray. The edges of the pages yellowed and stained from countless readings. Allie held the tiny volume in trembling hands. She had always felt a special affinity with books, the strange characters and enchanting worlds held between the covers had the power to transport her away from the everyday and made the time seem to pass all at once.

Until this moment she has sought all of them at the school library which left the Summer looming as a huge void every year. She had lost count of the times she had asked her mother to go to the city library or maybe a bookstore like she had seen on television, only to be told there was too little time or too little money. She admonished herself, her mom worked hard at two jobs, she struggled for them to make it from month to month. To think of something so frivolous was selfish when paying for school was enough to leave her mother in tears.

This was the reason she in this store, a simple little thrift store where they could buy an entire years worth of school clothes for what they would pay for a single outfit at a department store. Books and toys were an extravagance. She closed her eyes, smiling wistfully as her hands caressed the cloth before returning the book to its place. She let out a small sigh and went to find her mother.

When they had finished and went to pay, she was surprised to see the little book sitting next to the register. The sales clerk slipped it into the bag with their other purchases, she winked and whispered, “A gift from a secret admirer.”

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