A Simple Trip is a short story coming out in a Phoenix Prime anthology
Here’s your One and Only Snippet from it!
It had taken me months to convince the twins to come to school early, so we could go into the strange shop that was on the way from our homes. I like the twins, they are an interesting pair. They’re both Russian, but not what you’d typically think of as Russian. They are about five foot four, with dark hair and olive skin. Although they come from a family that claims Cossack Heritage they don’t look like the traditional blonde haired, blue-eyed, tall, muscular Cossacks. They looked closer to the Romani, both in features and in the quirky temperament.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Asked Katya nervously.
“What makes you so sure he will even be open this early?” Tatiana asked grumpily. Tatiana was not a morning person. One of the major differences between the twins.
“It will be open. I’ve got a good feeling about this.” I said confidently.
The twins looked at each other, as if they knew something I didn’t. If I’d been paying more attention I have noticed the deep sadness and the edge of timorousness to their faces. But I was too wrapped up in my own excitement at getting a chance to see what was in the store. Secondhand stores like this one had some of the best stuff you can find, and for prices a teenager like me could afford.
We left early enough to give ourselves at least half an hour in the shop. Probably longer, as in my excited anticipation I’d hurried. With my long legged gait they’d had to jog to keep up. When we arrived I could hear their heavy breathing, and feel the slight burn of their angry stares at the back of my head. I ignored it. They had agreed to come along, after all. I just hoped Tatiana, the more volatile twin, wasn’t actually mad at me. She could be terrifying.
As we entered the store I barely noticed the elderly cat cleaning itself next the register. What hit me was the overwhelming odor of old books. The kind of smell that only the best bookstores that sell new books have, but secondhand bookstores all seem to have it permeating them. Used paper and ink, with a hint of another, sort of musty odor. A smell that is one of the simple pleasures of life, in my opinion.
It surprised me because from the front of the store, all you could see was furniture and knick knacks. As the bell above the door tinkled, I heard the shuffling of the store owner. I’d never met him before, for some reason he always closed the shop between three and four. He probably didn’t want the younger kids pawing through his shop and damaging things.
When I spotted him, he seemed to tense up at the sight of us. There was some apprehension, and the flicker of fear crossed his expression. I bowed deeply and said “Good storekeeper, we merely wish to peruse your wares. I swear there will be no damage done to them.”
He nodded cautiously, and said in broken English, with a cough “You break, your buy.” I nodded politely to him. He relaxed, and affable smile pressed onto his face.