Short Story

Dante's Inferno Map by somnium-maris

Hmmm…………….as the course is running throughout the Easter weekend, the writing continues.  I feel this piece has all of the possibilities of becoming something far better, and I like the idea of the story.

The exercise had to involve five separate scene’s crammed into 900 words.  My response needed to have a protagonist in the first scene, an antagonist in the second taken from the point of view of the protagonist; third scene the involvement of both, the fourth with both having a wee tiff with the protagonist subsequently becoming the victor, and the final scene, the protagonist relish the fact.

The protagonist needed to be a weaker person who avoids conflict, and prefers to please all at the detriment to him/herself.  Dodgy I know. Anyway, read on, or, as always, if you can’t be bothered with the read, click the picture above; alternately, read then click. Vaya Con Dios my friends.

Hamish, the sixth, lesser known member of The Famous Five.  xxx

Week Four – Short Story – 04APR15
Angry at himself for his cowardice and inability to confront her, Winter Friday sat glaring at the CCTV images flashing black and white across the screen of his Toshiba laptop. Frown creases etched themselves across his forty year old brow; an inverted smile showed beneath an aquiline nose that bore a history of not being broken.
Sitting in the darkness of his bookshop, his life, his pride and joy, and the only marriage he would ever know, ‘The World Turned Upside Down’, he watched Enfer Eté lift copy after copy from one specific wooden shelf. It was the fourth time in a fortnight that she had repeated this procedure. Always placing the same Picador Australia paperback, ISBN 9781743515860, into the same oversized Dolce & Gabbana tote. His anger tasted like tin at her invasion of his book filled sanctuary.
Winter, swimming in his terror of her, pictured her in his bibliophile mind seated in her gallery three shops south of where he sat. She would be surrounded by a plethora of poorly placed garish paintings of the four local, yet internationally renowned artists. The image of the blonde headed waif who sported the face of an angel and the soul of Hades would not leave him.  His innate loathing of her consumed him to bone depth. Imagined fresh cut flowers littering her gallery filled his nose, and the rank taste of bile reached the back of his tongue. The vision of pointed red horn tips peeked out through the hair on the top of her head.  Did she paint a hoof, as one would paint a nail?
One and a half weeks later with ‘The Australian’ tucked beneath his left arm, and a flat white completing the cliché picture in his right hand, Winter strolled back to his bookshop, passing Enfer’s spartan, well lit gallery. Exasperation struck him with the force of a Norse god as there, front and centre behind the inch thick security glass of the ‘Tears of Fire’, sat twenty eight copies of HIS books; the card read $5 less than his sale price. Furious, Winter stormed gently back to his shop and computer.
“Dearest Enfer, my apologies into the intrusion into your day……’ the email read, ‘I have Markus Zusack coming in for a book signing. I noted your window display earlier featuring his book; as such I thought you may be interested in meeting him. Yours always, Winter Friday.’
Seven weeks, and ongoing losses specific to one book on his part later, increased sales on the part of hers, Markus Zusack sat and started to sign in a small, book lined back room of the World Turned Upside Down. ‘For someone born in 1975, he holds his age well.’ Thought Winter.
Enfer Eté sauntered through his door with her head held high, the smile of a fox at the hen house door lingered across her face; Winter placed a lightly chilled Sem. Sauv. Blanc into her neatly manicured right hand, and without a word, guided her to where the hugely successful author sat and finished talking animatedly to a fan.
Fan now gone, he and Enfer approached, “Hello again Markus, is everything working out well?”  
“Absolutely Winter, and I must say what a wonderful old bookshop you have.  I feel as though there are other dimensions lingering somewhere in the back the more I look.”
“So Markus, without further ado, may I present Miss Enfer Eté. Enfer, Marcus.”
Mouthing ‘hello’ Marcus Zusack reached behind himself; smiling he turned back, a copy of his book held in his left hand. Dollar signs filled her eyes.
“Knowing this is the only book you sell, Markus was kind enough to inscribe it for you.”
Enfer opened her book, the inscription read;
Dearest Enfer, you are the first I have encountered to take my little book from title to profession. Please return Winters books, and compensation for those sold. Smile! You’re on camera! You revolt me. M.”
Anger flaring, Enfer spun on her Gucci heel, facing Winter Friday, and with the venom of a Taipan she spat, “You bastard Winter!”
In smiling retort Winter said, “Equally so you bitch!”
With the last shades of afternoon languidly sliding through the glass of the front door of The World Turned Upside Down, a bell tinkled alerting all within someone had entered.  In the space of seconds, the silvery tones of the bell rolled back through the old and comfortable bookshop again, someone had just left, Winter stood from his desk, and headed for the door. Before him a white plastic shopping sat neatly on the floor just inside his door. Bending, opening, inspecting, Winter found seven of his books, and an envelope containing a cheque made out to The World Turned Upside Down. Winter smiled, all was good in the world, and The World Turned Upside Down once more.
Time like beauty stand still for no one, and as the years passed Winters little bookshop thrived, with ‘Tears of Fire’ quietly closing. It, like its owner fading in both obscurity and memory.
Sitting in a favourite cinema as old and comfortable as his bookshop, Winter smiled in reflection of the singular book related event seared into his memory.  As the film started to roll Winter laughed out loud at the incongruity of the book that was stolen, and its transfer to film.  Of all the books to be pilfered, it was Enfer’s theft of the ‘The Book Thief’ that still bought a twinkle to his eye.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: