Entering the shop was like walking into another dimension. The scent of old paper swirled through the air as dim lights flickered imitating candlelight in the dim dark of the shop. It was crammed with shelves and books. Not a speck of wall could be seen anywhere. and it seemed to be far larger than the exterior would suggest. Sylus knew he was going to struggle in here, but before he could say a word, Daniel darted into the cavernous depths of the store.
Sylus stood a moment in the doorway utterly overwhelmed. It wasn’t his usual sense of confusion but more of a sense of where could he possibly begin in a sprawling place like this? The first thing he knew he had to do was find Daniel. He knew the boy was excitable and this was his first time in a book store. Until now, all his reading was done or obtained online. And he was quite the reader.
Rather than worry too much, Sylus began making his own way through the myriad of shelves. He wasn’t much of a reader himself, but it was never too late to start. It wasn’t that he had any disinterest in books, but more that he lacked the downtime to really enjoy them. Things were quiet now so perhaps he could find something to fill some of his idle time.
We could practice our abilities.
“Something that isn’t work, Qai.”
We haven’t even begun…
Sylus raised a hand to silence the voice in his head.
“Well hello there!”
Sylus jumped as he turned to find a lithe man standing beside him.
“Turnstop’s a small town and we’ve never seen you around here before,” a wide yet narrow grin on his lips.
“I-W-we’re from out of town…”
“We?” the man looked around.
“Y-yeah I-I’m here with my son,” Sylus laughed nervously, “He kinda darted deep into the shop already.”
“Ooo, he should be careful. One could get lost among all the shelves…”
“Look, can we shelve the ‘mysterious book seller’ trope?”
The man shrugged, “But mystery is fun!”
“It’s overdone.” Sylus stepped away.
“So how can I help you?” the man slid up beside him again.
“I-I don’t need help. Thanks.”
“Are you sure? There are an awful lot of books here. All kinds too! What sort of reading material tickles your fancy?”
“I-I’m here for my son. I’m not looking for myself. Thank you, though.”
“We can’t help but notice you’ve wandered down the horror aisle. Are you looking for something specific?”
“I told you. I’m just wandering around until my son finds what he’s looking for.”
“And what exactly is he looking for?”
Sylus gave a sharp sigh, “A journal.”
“Oooo for what? Daily use? Note-taking? Dream recording? Alchemical recipes? Or perhaps something a bit more aracne?”
“What? No. He’s ten years old. He just wants a journal.”
“Hmm…” the man stood a moment in thought.
“Dad?” Daniel called from somewhere deep in the shop.
“If you’ll excuse me,” Sylus pushed past the man toward the sound of his son’s voice.
“I’m coming, Dan…”
As Sylus moved deeper and deeper he began to feel as though the store was infinitely deep. No matter how far he went in, he could never reach the back.
“I’m coming Dan!”
Sylus froze in place. He could no longer tell where Daniel’s voice was coming from.
It was all around him. Everywhere and yet nowhere.
“DAN! WHERE ARE YOU?!”
“Oooo,” the shopkeep showed up beside him again, “We’d pay that no mind.”
“That is not your son. It is the abyss that surrounds us all. The weave of space and time that is between all things. Immeasurable yet eternal.”
“We don’t normally play with our visitors like this, but you are different.”
“Of course… The one cursed book store and my fat ass ends up in it…”
“Cursed? No. Not at all! A fixed point in infinite time? Yes. Exactly!”
Sylus turned to face him.
“Look, I’m knee deep in weird shit every time I open my eyes. I’m not saying this is too bizarre for me, but it is a bit generic.”
Sylus sighed, “‘Old book shop with an eclectic owner claiming to control some kind of eldritch power’. You know. That ridiculousness that fiction is wont to indulge in.”
“Edritch? No no no! Not eldritch! You misunderstand! It’s purely temporal!”
Sylus glared at him. “Where’s my son?” he muttered, deadpan and unimpressed.
“Aisle fifteen. We believe he’s examining our comic selection. It’s quite extensive spanning across space and time and diementions…”
Sylus’ glare intensified.
The shopkeep shrugged, “Ordinarily our stock is far less complex to account for mortal comprehension, but it seems we’ve encountered something wholly unique today.”
“Who is we? I only see you…”
“We? Oh, why WE! The shop and this body in every incarnation! All at once together as one! Us!”
Sylus shook his head, “This is ridiculous.”
He began wandering away from the shopkeep.
“We wouldn’t be this way if you were a mere mortal. What exactly are you?”
Sylus froze mid step.
“Your tendrils are a lovely shade of violet. We haven’t seen a set so colorful in a long time.”
Sylus froze mid step.
Look into his eyes.
He turned to face the man.
“We have a feeling you might be looking for some very specific tomes…”
It was hard to see in the dim of the shop, but appeared as though the man had no eyes at all. Dark, featureless orbs framed in sunken sockets gazed back at him.
“You are a denizen of the Void, yes?”
Sylus stepped back.
“Finally,” the man motioned toward the door. The bolt locks slid shut and the sign flipped to closed. “Someone who understands.”
“U-under… Excuse… What… What’s going on?”
“You reek of a Lord. We are very familiar with this scent.”
He is not of this world.
“No shit,” Sylus spat.