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(A short story of 2921 words)

Between the Pages

Literary

by Roland Glover


From between the pages of the very last book I picked up, fell a sheet of paper. Stained manila with ragged edge where it had been ripped from a journal. The network of creases, suggestive of the roads and railways on a map, showed that once torn from its source it had been crumpled and perhaps thrown across the room.


From between the pages of the very last book I picked up, fell a sheet of paper. Stained manila with ragged edge where it had been ripped from a journal. The network of creases, suggestive of the roads and railways on a map, showed that once torn from its source it had been crumpled and perhaps thrown across the room.

It seemed strange that it had been unfolded and pressed carefully between the leaves of this heavy hardback.

Before replacing the book I tilted it to view the gilt on the spine, then moved closer to the long window to catch the light. “An Act of Cruelty by R.T. Booth.” Neither the novel nor its author’s name meant anything to me but I noted on reading the blurb that it described itself as “A murder mystery set in Elizabethan Lancashire.” Any interest I may have had in the book faltered and I placed it back on the shelf, disturbing the film of dust outlining where it had previously stood.

I blew at and tugged away the cobwebs which had attached themselves to my face while I handled the book. I looked down at the green, leather-topped desk realising that I had not returned the sheet of paper.

I read it with the absent mindedness you might apply to reading a cereal packet or a milk carton while you wait for the coffee to kick-in. Except in this case, the opening paragraph shocked me into reality better than any espresso could.

I had hoped him dead...
 

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