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The bookstore woke at dawn, the way it always did




Space and Time Books

By Melissa Yuan-Innes


Cover art © 2014 by Reimund Bertrams


Space and Time Books awoke at dawn. This August morning had the grey-blue, cloudy sky of a Turner painting. Though the bookstore had never stirred from Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street, it knew about Turner paintings from osmosis, since books constantly whispered their words aloud. They paused only when John Tsui, the owner, came in and began measuring out the coffee. The rich smell of coffee, the store thought, was worth a thousand words.

John pored over the accounts, shaking his head. The bookstore took no notice; John always grunted before his first coffee.

Nathalie came in, shaking the rain from her umbrella. “Hello, love. What’s the damage?”

Worse than I thought.” He pressed her hand to his cheek. Her burgundy nail polish harmonized with the oak bookshelves. The bookstore hummed. It liked harmony.

He shook his head. “I can’t do this any more. It’s not fair to you.”

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