That Tuesday, as always, at exactly 7:17 AM Cordell W, walked out of his house and took a short stroll to the nearest bus stop. As always, the bus was on time and at exactly 7:25 AM Cordell boarded on, and took the empty seat in the back taking care to be on the left side of the bus. It was an old habit, since in the morning the sun come from the right side, and when it shone in his face it bothered his weary eyes. And he would need those eyes, staying sharp for the better part of the day. While someone would dream about dealing with so many secret information passing through his hands every day, he was getting ready for another monotonous day in the office. His life was a series of boring days, painfully alike each other, with occasional breaks in the form of weekends. By now he was a slave of his daily routine, working without real interest, enjoying in the times when he was off duty.
Then something changed a course of this whole morning. The driver took an emergency brake, and he slammed into the seat in front of him with both hands. As it made the seat flex a bit, something that was stuck between the seat and the window pane, fell to the floor. Cordell moved a bit to see better what was it and to his surprise found out that it was an oldish looking Book. With the tips of his left hand, he managed to pull it closer and pick it up. Strangely, there was no title on the cover, nothing on the front, nothing on the back nor on the spine. It looked as if the book has been recently rebounded, and whoever did the job haven’t bothered with printing the title. The seat in front of him was empty, ever since he got on the bus. Cordell looked around to see if anybody noticed what he has been doing. There was no one paying any attention to him, let alone claiming this book for his own.
Now there is something you have to know about Cordell. He is what someone would call a bookworm. From his early years he was known to be the child that preferred the books over the real life. His wild imagination would somehow burn with the higher flames when fueled with written words. As much as his days were boring and monotonous, his nights were full of adventures at the wonderful places, found only in his books. So it was not a great wonder that he did not stop with just turning the book around in his hands. He had to open it and see what it was about.
And there it was, the book was obviously missing the first few pages, and with them another chance to see what the title was or who is the author. But it did not stop him from reading the few lines. Lines that turned into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages, and before he knew it, the book grabbed him firmly under control. Well, our Cordell had that rule about the thirty pages, stating that if he failed to let the book out of his hands before reading the first thirty pages, he would be unable to do so before the book ends. Now, it was all nice and well while he was reading the books in the privacy of his home, but he was in the public bus, on tight schedule to get to work on time. In twenty years of his career, never once was he late. He was a perfect employee, without any vices, or bad habits. If not exactly cherished among his peers, than respected by his superior. Would this be the morning when all of it changes? Maybe he could call in sick? There were a couple of bus stops before he had to get out.
But before he made up his mind, a main character in the book; ravishing beauty with dark hair and dark eyes whose image he could see only so clearly in his mind, started to have some pretty weird erotic fantasies. It was as vivid as it was unexpected. He made a quick look around, blushing, expecting that everyone could read on his face what the book he had in his hands was all about. But people were looking through the windows, unconcerned as always. He got back into her fantasies, feeling as his hands shake, his shoulders slump, and his head falls deeper into the book. Then he felt something changing in his pants too. No need to look, he knew there was something down there needing that book as a cover. Embarrassed but in the same time unable to close the book, he read on.
Even after his bus stop was called out, he remained seated immersed into the story, lost in the beauty of that girl, her dreams and fantasies. When he got back to his senses, and felt safe to get up, they were close to the terminus. Uncertain why, he stormed out of the bus, in the part of the town he was never before. All he knew was that he would not get to his office today, or do anything else before he get to the end of the book. Looking around, he spotted a small island of green hidden in between old buildings. It was someone’s idea of the park, with a single bench and a short brick paved path. There was nobody around and he decided to read on the bench in the park. Enchanted, he kept on reading, oblivious of the place where he was, or the time of the day, not feeling the thirst or the hunger.
Suddenly he became aware that someone has been watching him. Across the street, on the other side of the park, in front of the large old wooden door of one of the houses that have probably been built more than a hundred years ago, there stood a young woman. Dark of the hair, beautiful dark eyes, looking vaguely familiar. She was smiling at him, and when their eyes met, she came his way.
If you were there, you could have seen as she took him by the hand, and led him across the street into that house. All that was left was a book, lying on that bench, until someone snatched it too.
Some believe that he has been kidnapped by spies. Others claimed that he with his perfect health, without smoking and drinking habits, was a prey to some gang specialized in human organ trafficking. There were rumors about some dark cult performing their secret rituals in that part of the city.
For my part, I believe he has found happiness, a secret library with thousands and thousands of books; tickets for the ride to the far away places, on countless adventures and someone to keep him company on those journeys.
This post first appeared on Pavel Jesenski - SF, Fantasy, Alternative History, Short Stories, Book Fragments, please read the originial post: here