Underneath the old bookstore

Hannah Smrcka, Editor

The room sat still, untouched by time except for the thick layers of dust and the faded covers of books in the window sill. Light flowed in through the gaps of the old curtains and covered portions of the room like lens flares in photographs. Nothing appeared to have been touched in the old bookstore on the corner for at least twenty years. No one in, and no one out. There weren’t even spiders in the shadowed corners because there weren’t any bugs coming through the screens of open windows or doors from habitats of the store. All that remained were the dusty old books, yet if someone were to listen closely there might not be complete silence there. There was noise outside and in surrounding shops for sure, but with the doors closed those sounds didn’t cut the stillness. Yet, there is a small almost beating, drumming, patting of something that must still lurk there.

Little feet pattering gently beneath the floorboards of hard-at-work mice. They worked around the clock to make sure all was in order around the whole city and to make sure that all children had a book to read. There’s always the occasional mouse in the restaurant or the subway station, but they’re just there to make sure the food is prepared right and everything goes as planned. These mice are to thank for your train never derailing. They take books from the shop above and deliver them (four mice to carry each book and one for lookout) in squadrons of five to make sure that all children can be given the joy of a book to let them escape into worlds outside their own.

The mice work around the clock and collect change that they find on the street to buy more and more books and parts for the things around the city and sometimes they come across them too. They never steal things they find. They know when the things they find are theirs to take or still a beloved object or needed part of someone else because they always keep a look out for what’s going on. They return lost items to people when they know the object isn’t theirs to take. No one comes near the store mainly because they think it’s either haunted or because there must be something wrong with it if it has sat empty for all these years? For the mice though, and the city, this peaceful daily bookstore is the habitat that runs the day to day world of the city.