A bell chimed as [detective] entered the store. He paused at the threshold, looked up. It seemed odd. Almost out of place for a store like this. Too cheerful, he thought, before drawing his attention back to the man behind the counter.
He was small. Meek, [detective] thought. A thin mustache and balding on top. The color still clung to the hair horseshoeing around his head. A strong chestnut brown. Small eyes stared back at him from beneath a pair of thin, gold framed glasses. When he got closer to the counter, the lenses seemed to enlarge the man's eyes. Magnify them as if he were staring through the bottom of beakers.
The shopkeeper nodded awkwardly, the gesture nearly bringing him to a full bow as if the weight of his head had brought the rest of him down with it.
[Detective] removed his hat and nodded back. "Morning."
If the shopkeeper responded, [detective] couldn't make it out. Mice spoke with more authority.
"Looking around." [detective] waved his finger lazily in front of him, causing the shopkeeper to nod/bow again. He seemed to catch himself mid bow and pull up to avoid further embarrassment.
[Detective] nodded again and walked away, saving the both of them from needing to keep communicating. It was a nice place. Too many bookstores now pretended like they were salons or fancy hotels. Displaying books like they were expensive perfumes. [Detective] enjoyed the rustic, almost cozy feel of the room. There was order, yes. One look at the owner told you the man was a cataloguer. One of those people who could spend hours alphabetizing their shirts. But there was a dash of sloppiness, that made it distinct. A book or two, after having been pulled from a shelf, its back cover glossed over, perhaps the first few pages perused, were left to linger on top of the bookcases instead of being placed back in their proper place. It was the kind of behavior he expected would drive the small man crazy, but spend enough years in the same place, doing the same thing, hour after hour, then a little untidiness begins to feel exciting.
[Detective] picked up one of the books and glossed over the cover. A woman wearing a tight red dress was stepping out of a limosine, a white shawl over her shoulders. Flashbulbs burst as paparazzi took her picture. A red carpet lay at her feet, waiting to be trampled by her heels. In the background, behind the limo, obscured by shadows and the burst of cameras, a madman stood watching, a maniacal grin on his face. He a gun could be seen poking up just over the trunk of the car. It was as fair an estimation of a criminal as the pulps tended to get. Usually they were brilliant masterminds, cleverly stripping crime scenes of clues except the singular calling card left behind to taunt the police. Most weren't that creative, or smart. But a grinning idiot ready to pop a famous actress in front of a bunch of witnesses, yeah, he'd come across one of two of those.
Looking up, he caught the shopkeeper eyeing him. HIs eyes darted down as soon as [detective] caught him watching. [Detective] held the gaze, waited for him to look up like a kid waiting for a frog to resurface. When he did, [detective] waved the book and made a show of putting it back in its proper place in the shelf. The man smiled and nodded, this time getting it right and letting the motion end at the neck.
[Detective] continued perusing the aisles. Mysteries, romances, English Literature. He spun a magazine wrack as he passed by. A cheery chimney sweep on one of the covers danced for him as he spun in and out of few. The romantic, almost soulful look on his face seemed to vacillate between sad and passionate. The woman standing next to him wore a pink blouse, the top button scandalously loose. He started to wonder what the story could possibly be about. Were they really selling the idea of a romance between a woman who looked like that and a man who spent his time breathing in ash. Then he realized he was staring at it and had to give the magazine credit. It had gotten his attention.
He picked it up and considered flipping through when something caught his eye. A bookcase at the end of the aisle. Something there had moved. It was small, so insignificant it could have been a trick of the light. A car passing outside and the sun catching its windshield and casting a shadow through the door. But no. There it was again.
[Detective] placed the magazine back on the wrack and marched forward. The books were non-fiction. Atlases, specifically. All about far off places. Tahiti. New Guinea. Thick-spined tomes. None of which seemed too inclined to move. But there it was again. Looking up, [detective] saw it. A thick square of paper had been taped to the top shelf, the words, "South Pacific" scrawled across it in thick black ink. Every few seconds or so, the card fluttered. Back and forth. Like the expensive earrings of some starlet sauntering down the red carpet. [Detective] held out his hand. Nothing. Not a whisper of breeze. Rubbing his lips, he took another step forward and started to place his hand to the vcard, but stopped and looked over .
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Location A bookstore
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Event Your character is being watched
Letter Use the letter A
Words Reach 600 words
Character A soulful chimney sweep
Prop Include a blouse
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
Words Reach 900 words
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