Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Prompt from twitterlit: "The bookstore had emptied, and we were nearly ready to close."
The bookstore had emptied, and we were nearly ready to close. I had gone out the backdoor to take the trash out when I heard the bell on the front door jingle. I tossed the two small bags into the dumpster and made my way back in. There was a young woman standing near the entry, soaking wet from the rain, pale and incredibly thin she reminded me of those pictures you see of scraggly kittens found in alleyways.
“Is there something I can help you with?” I asked. Her head snapped up, as if she hadn’t expected to be addressed. She looked at me, her pale grey eyes wide. Then she shook her head and started towards the further end of the row of books. “We’ll be closing in 10…” My voice trailed off as I watched her, almost in slow motion collapse onto the floor.
I went to her quickly. I thought she had fainted, but as I got closer I saw that she was not breathing. I called 911, the sent a police car that was right around the corner but they couldn’t revive her. There was a lot of commotion then, people in and out. The fire department, EMT’s, more police. It was several hours actually before the place was finally cleared out.
I locked the front door, weary and sad when I noticed a small brown sack sitting not far from the end of the first row of books. I assumed that it belonged to the police until I opened the bag. A small notebook filled with nothing but pencil sketches, a toothbrush, four foreign coins and a small velvet bag that contained 10 small red gemstones.