Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Bookmaster

Jericho Jones stepped out of the rain and into the cramped bookstore, and took a moment to slick his wet hair out of his face and pull a rubber band around it. His eyes scanned for anomalies, but all he could see were mountains of books, stacked high into the darkness of the ceiling.  A haze caught what little light there was, twisting the shadows and pulling his attention to the back of the store, where an old man sat.

He looked like somebody's frail grandfather, lost in a beige sweater that might have once fit snugly, his balding head reflecting the dim light. There was something quaint about the old man, a reminder of bygone days. He looked completely harmless, right down to the bifocals, a papery hand resting on top of a stack of old books.

Jericho wasn't a bit fooled. He was supposed to protect that guy?

"It's about damn time you got here, Jericho," Tiberius groused.  "You think I can take on an army by myself?"

"Old man," Jericho laughed. "I've seen you do just that."  He made his way to the island of light and found a chair.  He picked up the book lying on the seat, the title gleaming in the musty light.

"No, no!" Tiberius said. "That is just the book I was looking for.  Let me have that." 

"Are you sure about this book?" Jericho had to ask.

"Yes, yes! Give it to me! And whatever you do, stay in the light!"

Tiberius' intensity was disconcerting.  Jericho uneasily placed the book into the old man's hands before he sat down.  Tiberius caressed the leathery cover of the book, his fingers tracing the raised lettering of the title. He cackled, nodding his head and Jericho watched as the Bookmaster whispered over his chosen tome.

Then he opened The Selected Works of H.P. Lovecraft, and the monsters came out to play.

The prompt is the third definition of QUAINT.

The prompt is this quote:

“Sometimes legends make reality, and become more useful than the facts.”

~ Salman Rushdie


  1. I feel like Jericho is about to learn something from the old Bookmaster. Nice job playing up his physical frailty against the idea of what he can potentially do.

  2. Loved the description of the old man and how that is juxtaposed against his coarse words and whatever trouble he's brewing. Also the words, "island of light" are wonderfully rich.

  3. Is there an extra chair in there???
    Love the light twisting the shadows, and this phrase: lost in a beige sweater that might have once fit snugly - such a great descriptor.
    What a fun tale, Tina!

  4. Fantastic and I loved how you combined two prompts so seamlessly into one:-)

  5. I read this twice. So intriguing! I wonder what happens after the book is opened? Your descriptions of these characters, in so few words, sets this story up so well.

  6. I love the use of light and shadows. This makes me think of The Neverending Story, and I feel like Lovecraft's monsters are about to jump out of the book.

    1. Made me think of the Neverending Story too. Great write, Tina and excellent work combining the two prompts. These characters and the details of the bookshop really drew me in. I want to read more!

  7. This is such a cool piece of writing! Lots of great imagery, and I have a feeling that when it come to Tiberius, looks are going to be deceiving! Good one, Tina!!

  8. A superb piece and how wonderful to see Lovecraft's work play a role... always adds a disquieting air to any setting, but a bookshop most of all. Really enjoyed this.

  9. I wonder if he's calling the monsters to help them defeat whatever is threatening him? Interesting story! The old man brings to mind the saying. "you can't judge a book by its cover" Funny, since they're in a bookstore :)

  10. I think I used to work in a bookstore like this: magical and other-worldly. But my boss was nothing like this old man. I wish he had been. Nice write!

  11. I loved your descriptions, they were so rich, I could smell the dust, that sweater and the old pages of that book.
    the last sentence was wonderful, every time I open a book (a real book, when we used to open them) felt like that...characters were coming out to talk, play, engage.
    Just like your story. It was excellent.

  12. "a papery hand resting on top of a stack of old books." Excellent description. And love the names Jericho and Tiberius. This was so well written I wanted to read more.

  13. What a wonderful scene! I hope you keep this one going!


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