2:17pm – Five minutes before it started

The afternoon air had a heavy slowness to it. Perhaps it was the low-angled golden sunlight and drifting motes of dust weighing it down, or perhaps it was something less tangible. Something unusual. The green wooden door opening off the alleyway was not unusual – at least not in its greenness or its doorness. That it was open at all seemed odd, for never in all the mornings passing it on her way to work had she seen it so, but then of course this was not a morning and so it was not unthinkable. The shop itself didn’t seem unusual – not any more than every other small bookstore that she had ever wandered into. It wasn’t actually small, to be sure, but then who was to say it wasn’t simply a property of bookstores themselves that the owners of bigger stores mostly managed to stamp out. The books were not unusual at all, though if pressed she would say that a book never could be unusual. That it was a property or a lack in the reader, not the pages. But this air – this light – to find it here so deep in the city, where you were more like to find garbage trucks or traffic lights or spreadsheets, that was unusual. That was worth investigating.

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