Mind your step.
This staircase is old, older than me, and nearly as creaky – and there’s a loose tread, just there. Careful, watch where you’re going… Ah, here we are!
Welcome to my dream bookshop, my hideaway, my secret retreat from all of life’s cares and worries.
Come in, come in! Don’t be shy.
Watch your feet. Those stacks of books on the floor haven’t been shelved yet. Here’s a nice, cozy chair by the window; do please have a seat. You can’t have a proper bookshop without a few comfy chairs about, can you? Of course not!
Do you like it? Excellent, I’m so pleased. We have every sort of book on offer – history, mystery, romance and fantasy; children’s books, all of your favourites, and non-fiction, too.
Oh, here’s my cat, Greymalkin. Yes, he’s a beauty, isn’t he? Black as the devil’s soul he is, but such a good companion. Don’t mind the dust. A little dust never hurt anyone.
And there’s some as says that it’s magic dust…
You say you’d like to see the children’s books? Well step along, step along, you’ve come to the right place! We have Enid Blyton, Edward Eager, Eleanor Estes, and E.B. White – a lot of ‘E’s’ there, I vow, eh? – and fairy tales, Grimm and not-so-grim, and Madeleine L’Engle, and – oh! Oh, dear, no! Don’t touch that! No, don’t take that book down from the shelf-!
But it’s too late.
I ignore the old woman’s warning, and pull out a copy of Knight’s Castle by Edward Eager from one of the shelves…
…and immediately find myself hurtled through time and space, leaving behind the dusty bookshop and ending up inside a dank stone castle.
Even more alarming, I’m faced with a statue – at least I presume it’s a statue – of a knight, encased in full plate armor from head to toe. His face is obscured by a visored helmet; his hands are encased in gauntlets. I can’t be sure if he’s breathing, or if he’s a statue.
Or is he, perhaps, merely a figment of my bookish imagination?
On impulse, I step nearer to the knight in tarnished armor and peer more closely at his helmeted visage. I draw a finger cautiously down his breastplate. Fascinating. Such realism. One would think he was an honest-to-goodness knight. Absolutely fascinating-
Suddenly his hand shoots out and grips mine in an iron vise. I squeak in terror. (I can’t quite manage a scream.)
“Who be ye, wench?” he demands, blue eyes flashing behind the visor. “Be ye harlot, or be ye witch? Speak!”
“I be a wench,” I stammer. “I mean I’m a witch. I mean,” I finish, hopelessly flustered, “my name is…K-Katie, and I’m from the future.”
With a clanking of metal and a hiss of indrawn breath, he tightens his grip and drags me closer. “What if,” he says, his voice a low, silken growl, “I don’t believe you?”
Now, that’s my idea of the perfect bookshop. Of course, one doesn’t need a magical bookstore, or fairy dust, or a secret key to travel through time and unleash a thousand adventures.
No, all one needs is a book…and a little bit of imagination.
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Deadline to enter: 19 September 2014
Although Hive works with UK independent bookshops, those outside of the UK may either donate their vouchers to a UK friend OR give to Carina UK to go shopping for you – and Carina UK will post the books (and the Klevercase) to you! So please – do enter! Details below:
Look for The Dating Mr Darcy Trilogy, out now!