RAVENNA APPROACHED the bookstore and hesitantly opened the front door. Her gaze danced around the room in search of the old bookkeeper. She moved further inside the shop and her brows furrowed in confusion. The shop was empty. As the door shut behind her, the bookkeepers head popped out from behind a massive stack of scrolls.
"Ah! It's the mysterious little witch from yesterday," the old man said with a warm smile. "I had a feeling you would return today."
His smile was infectious. Ravenna ducked her head so he couldn't see hers. She held up her knapsack and said, "I've come to return these. Thank you for letting me borrow them. They were very interesting to study."
"Yet they didn't help you with your task, did they?" he surmised.
She shook her head. The bookkeeper waddled out from behind his shield of scrolls. "I feared as much," he chirped as he approached. "I didn't have very much in means of self-help spells. Most folk who come in here looking for a spell or potion recipe are up to no good."
He took the knapsack and gestured for her to follow him. He led her further into the depths of his shop, where the magical spells had originally hid, and stopped in front of pair of wooden tables. Both tables were covered in reading material, much like the rest of the shop. The bookkeeper dumped the contents of the knapsack out onto one of the tables and then set it aside.
"When you left yesterday, I realized just how inadequate I really was to help those who wish to learn about the magical arts. So I decided to reach out to some of my peers, other bookkeepers from around the country," he announced proudly. His fingertips dusted over the edge of an unraveled scroll. "In turn, those shopkeepers reached out to their own local wizards and witches. I awoke to quite a bit of new reading material this morning."
"You mean all of this was brought to you...overnight?" Ravenna's eyes widened. She couldn't help but stare, shocked, at the vast amount of scrolls and books that covered the tabletop. It was way too much for one courier to carry.
The bookkeeper nodded and said, "There's a spell for everything, dear."
"That makes sense," she muttered. She moved forward toward the table and picked up a scroll. It looked completely different from the scrolls she'd studied previously. This scroll was less complex. The symbolic designs were simplified and well labeled. A small child could perform it with ease.
"I say, you start with this pile and I will work through this one," the bookkeeper said, easing down into a rickety old chair. He pulled a scroll closer and unraveled it with shaky hands. "If we both start now, then I believe we'll be finished by the afternoon."
Ravenna glanced around and found a chair stuffed aside in the corner. "May I?" she asked politely, gesturing towards it with her hand.
"By all means, please take a seat. You might be young, but we've all got the makings of horrible knees!"
YOU ARE READING
[wattys 2018 shortlisted] Humans see her as a dangerous threat -a witch that must be executed. With the uncontrollable ability to form ice at her fingertips, Ravenna is forced into hiding amongst the humans, stealing to survive. That is, until she h...